GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

March 6, 2014

Las Vegas Weekly

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RAMONES BY GEORGE DUBOSE/AP; SOFAR SOUNDS BY NATE LUDENS MARCH 612, 2014 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM 47 A& E | NOISE By 1984, the dearth of cool con- certs in Las Vegas had subsided to the point where we could enjoy shows on a more regular basis by artists who hadn't been embraced by local com- mercial radio. The mass acceptance of MTV seemed to clear the path for rock and pop bands to stop bypass- ing Las Vegas simply because it was Las Vegas. In late '82 we actually had second-row tickets for a Talking Heads' performance at the Aladdin, only to have it canceled the week before. 1983 had seen great shows by The Kinks and Stray Cats at the Convention Center (where The Beatles had played in '64), a venue soon to be supplanted by the newly opened Thomas & Mack Center. The year ended with a wild show by the Dead Kennedys at a ware- h o u s e near the railroad tracks. So it wasn't too surprising when the Ramones announced their fi rst- ever Vegas gig, at the Moyer Student Union Building at UNLV. Phoenix had become a regular tour stop, and the band had played Reno and Salt Lake City a few years before. My wife and I had been fans for years, having seen Joey and the boys in the Bay Area a number of times, so hearing about the show on KUNV's Rock Avenue program, we pogoed at the chance to get tickets. The Ramones did not disappoint. In a trademark performance, they blasted through more than 30 songs in about an hour, hits—"Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Teenage Lobotomy," "Blitzkrieg Bop"—and several songs from their new album, Too Tough to Die. Imagine our joy, seeing what we had become accustomed to in San Francisco, tak- ing place in our own hometown. After swarming over a stage diver and hustling him off the dancefl oor, the renowned security force for the event (believed to be UNLV football players past and present) approached me about three-quarters through the set, having noticed that I was holding a microphone. Another advantage of the early-'80s Las Vegas concert market, you see, was that venue security rarely checked vigor- ously for recording equipment snuck in by those of us wanting to enjoy the show again at a later date. I had gone so far as to wrap the very long mic cord around my waist a few times, all very 007 until there's a fl ashlight in your eyes and you're coughing up a trea- sured cassette. I was escorted out with 10 minutes to go in the set (though spared a trip to the security offi ce), and to this day, even in the most hard- core trading circles, you won't fi nd a recording of that show. I'd like to think it's still languishing in an ex-college football player's attic somewhere, but I kind of doubt it. A R C H I V E S SONIC FLASHBACK Ramones // December 7, 1984 // UNLV's Moyer Student Union BY DENNIS MITCHELL If 40 music fans gathering to see a show without prior knowl- edge of the artist bill wasn't sur- real enough, the March 1 Las Ve- gas debut of the 40-city-strong Sofar Sounds live concept took place in the jungle-themed room of Zappos and Downtown Project leader Tony Hsieh's Ogden apartment. After we arrived and gawked at the faux foliage, Richard Grewar of the DTP Music Team—which initiated and produces Sofar Las Vegas—asked us to sit on the hardwood loor and keep quiet, though we could mess with our cameras and social networks (and hashtags for Sofar and the bands, of course). A Sofar show might be a gloriied house concert, but its potency comes from audience members sharing their discoveries with their Internet circles. "It's that lack of knowledge of what goes on in Vegas with new music that we think will intrigue people even more," says Sofar co-founder Rafe O er. During Saturday's show, we took in two engaging LA acts—indie-blues trio The Dead Ships and soulful synth-pop act Sun Rai; Austin expats and hilarious spoken-word poets Krissi Reeves and Mike Henry (the latter also on the DTP Music Team); and homegrown quartet Rusty Maples, which seemed taken aback by the anomaly of a quiet, focused audience. In the end, both Grewar and Sofar LA co-leader Jaime Bernberg were thrilled with the results. "The enthusiasm for more—people wanting to know when the next one was or o ering to host—was immediate," Bernberg says. "You really can't ask for more after the irst Sofar show in a new city." –Mike Prevatt For info on Sofar, visit bit.ly/Sofarsignup or email sofarlasvegas@gmail.com. > HAPPY FAMILY The Ramones played the Student Union in '84— and Dennis Mitchell wasn't there to see the end. Las Vegas. In late '82 we actually had second-row tickets for Aladdin, only to have it canceled the week before. 1983 had seen great shows by The Kinks and Stray Cats at the Convention Center (where The Beatles had played in '64), a venue soon to be supplanted by the newly opened Thomas & Mack Center. The year ended with a wild show by the Is a Punk Rocker," "Teenage Lobotomy," "Blitzkrieg Bop"—and several songs from their new album, Tough to Die our joy, seeing what we had become accustomed to in San Francisco, tak- ing place in our the renowned security force for L O C A L S C E N E SOFAR OUT Downtown Project debuts a refreshingly di erent live show > EVERGREEN CONCEPT Soulful LA synth-pop act Sun Rai plays the irst Sofar Sounds show in Las Vegas. 47_Noise 2_20140306_CB.indd 47 3/5/14 4:11 PM

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