Kings of Leon steadily evolving

They trimmed their beards, which means they no longer look like a bunch of Foghat roadies circa 1976 or a pack of stoner yetis.

In the annals of momentous rock 'n' roll body hair modifications, Kings of Leon's cleaner look doesn't quite rank up there with Metallica shearing their sheepdog coifs in the mid-'90s, but it does signify almost as much of a shift in direction for this bunch as it did when 'Tallica trimmed their locks and decided to french kiss the rock radio airwaves.

Kings of Leon began as scruffy Southern rock disciples whose soulful, dirt-beaneath-the-fingernails garage rock was as shaggy and unkempt as their manes once were.

But since debuting with 2003's "Youth and Young Manhood," the Kings have steadily evolved into a band whose ambitions are as outsized as the hooks on their superb new disc, "Only by the Night."

"We're gonna show this town how to kiss these stars," frontman Caleb Followill howls on "Manhattan," a tempestuous rocker where Followill emotes with enough force to bruise his lungs.

A big-sounding record that sees Kings of Leon eyeing the rock grandeur of a band like U2, "Night" is an equally moody and defiant album meant to get fists in the air and hearts in a vice.

Oversees, Kings of Leon are huge, having completed an arena tour of the U.K. last year.

Here, the Nashville-based band -- which is comprised of three brothers and a cousin -- has found much critical acclaim that has yet to translate into album sales.

But hey, it took America a while to come around to The Killers -- perhaps it will be the same with the Kings.

See the band at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Road. Tickets are $30.50-$56; call 693-5066.

Remember that iconic scene in "Poltergeist," where that young blonde is drawn to the white noise of the family TV set, only to be sucked into the void by some unseen evil?

That's kind of what experiencing the latest disc from Philly firebomb Genghis Tron is like.

"Board up the House," the band's second full-length, is an unhinged, free-form freakout that crashes grindcore velocity and throat-mincing shrieks headfirst into Kraut-rock inspired electronic ambience and harsh soundscapes.

The result is breathless and exhilarating, as "House" is an album full of hairpin turns where Genghis continually pivots in unexpected directions.

This is as good as heady metal gets.

See the band at 8 p.m. Monday at the Beauty Bar, 517 Fremont St. Call 598-1965.

On its MySpace page, Brooklyn's Santogold claims to be "the only live act that can boast of having out-aged Barbara Bush, having outlived Mr. Miyagi and out-styled Liberace."

And it doesn't stop there.

The genre-defying project, fronted by the inimitable Santi White, also claims to have a following on the International Space Station Mir.

And that would make sense, actually, considering how far-out Santogold's sound is.

An equally smooth and chaotic take on everything from brusque indie pop to bass-heavy dub to buoyant electronica, Santogold's self-titled debut, released this past spring, is like a big, sexy grizzly bear: hard to contain.

So don't even try.

See Santogold at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Tickets are $25; call 632-7600.

Other shows of note: Seattle splatterpunk greats The Accused, Friday at the Ice House (650 S. Main St.; call 315-2570); brash and bratty pop punks The Pink Spiders, Tuesday at the Beauty Bar ($10); Lez Fest, featuring 8 Inch Betsy, Pariah Piranha and Box Squad, Thursday at the Double Down (640 Paradise Road; free; call 791-5775).

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476.