Rush headlines weekend full of prog rock

It's a big weekend for even bigger jams.

Brevity takes a knee to the groin over the next two days, as a trio of progressive rock gigs will test attention spans with an emphasis on highly involved song structures and instrumental mastery.

First, there's punk-prog outfit Coheed and Cambria, who blend high-energy, adrenaline-laced anthems with elaborate sci-fi lyrics that form dense concept albums. To wit, the deluxe version of the band's latest disc, "Year of the Black Rainbow," comes with a 352-page novel penned by Coheed frontman Claudio Sanchez and author Peter David. Joining the group on this tour is Brit forward-thinkers Porcupine Tree, who intermingle touches of psychedelia and metallic flourishes with their heady hard rock.

See Coheed and Cambria, with Porcupine Tree, at 8 p.m. today in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Road. Tickets are $25.50-$32.50; call 693-5583.

Speaking of Coheed, the band that's perhaps their biggest influence is also in town this week: prog granddaddies Rush. For their current "Time Machine" tour, the Canadian power trio is playing their seminal 1981 disc "Moving Pictures" in its entirety for the first time. The band's biggest selling album in the United States, "Pictures" blends Rush's signature band geek musicianship with their most adept hit making, resulting in classic rock radio standards such as "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight."

See Rush at 8 p.m. Saturday in the MGM Grand Garden arena, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Tickets are $62-$157; call 891-7777.

Yet another of the multitude of acts influenced by the aforementioned Canucks, art funk oddballs Primus will be playing a special midnight show after Rush's performance Saturday night.

Led by bassist extraordinaire/cartoon character come to life Les Claypool, the hard-to-categorize trio is driven by their frontman's acrobatic fretwork along with guitarist Larry LaLonde's idiosyncratic sound sculpting and drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander's dexterous playing, resulting in a concussive yet freewheeling sound.

See Primus at midnight Saturday in The Joint. Tickets are $35.

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