Chris Stapleton, Ministry, gospel awards highlight weekend in Las Vegas

Jesus, whiskey and inflatable chickens: Three shows, two nights in Las Vegas.

“Pretend I’m a shelter for heartaches.”

He sang of words that cut like razors, his voice doubling as a salve to soothe said wounds.

“Fire a-w-a-a-a-a-y,” Chris Stapleton instructed an angry lover in the song of the same name, submitting himself as a willing pincushion for her barbs at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday.

From a distance, Stapleton possesses the air of a throwback to outlaw country’s ’70s heyday: the beard, the dented cowboy hat, the quiet-storm demeanor.

But his sound is rooted back further still, to the early ’60s, when Ray Charles’ “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” spiked that titular sound with soul and R&B overtones.

Plenty of artists have done their own take on this fusion, most notably ’70s and ’80s chart mainstays Conway Twitty and Ronnie Millsap.

Stapleton takes things further with a voice that conveys heartache — among many other emotions — as directly as a Dear John letter.

Of course, R&B is short for “rhythm and blues,” and the latter figures prominently in Stapleton’s songbook: Tunes such as “Midnight Train to Memphis” and “Them Stems,” performed back to back at the start of the night, were more George Thorogood than George Jones.

As the evening progressed, Stapleton celebrated Nevada’s legalization of recreational marijuana (“Let’s do this for states’ rights,” he said by way of introducing “Might As Well Get Stoned”) and dedicated a stinging “Broken Halos” to the victims of the Route 91 Harvest festival massacre.

He also showcased his ample Southern rock bona fides: During an eruptive “Second One to Know,” he slashed at his guitar hard enough to snap its strings and prefaced “Devil Named Music” with strains of “Free Bird.”

There were plenty of less blustery moments: Alone on stage midway through the show, Stapleton performed “Whiskey and You” and “Either Way” accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, singing with an emotiveness that resonated just as loudly as his band’s temporarily muted amplifiers.

Really, if it wasn’t for that cowboy hat, he might be considered one of the great contemporary soul singers.

He should be regardless.

“If you love Jesus, make some noise.”

Noise was made.

It was Saturday night, and yet Orleans Arena was filled with Sunday’s finest — dresses that sparkled, heels that towered, fedoras that put bird plumage to good use — at the 33rd annual Stellar Awards, which salute the best in gospel music. (The ceremony will be broadcast on TV One at 9 p.m. Friday as well as in syndication afterward.)

Now, the idea of a gospel awards show in Las Vegas, the land of temptation, can seem counterintuitive: Imagine if Christ cultivated his apostles from the Men of Sapphire.

But then again, this is Sin City, so perhaps a little redemption was in order.

Besides, there’s certainly no preaching to the choir here.

About those choirs: Preach, they did.

When Ricky Dillard &New G performed, it was such an exultant release that it felt like a series of thunderclaps rolling through the room, the power of song rivaling that of a storm front.

Perhaps the biggest attraction of the night, though, was an appearance by Snoop Dogg promoting his exceptionally well-done, emotionally charged new gospel double album, “Bible of Love.”

“I’m not where I’m s’pposed to be / Sitting here smoking trees / When I should be on my knees,” he rap-sung in supple yet assured tones during “When Words Are Few,” clad all in black, gold medallion shining from his neck, as he performed in front of a stained-glass stage design.

Sure, one might shamelessly, guiltily pine for the rapper to intermingle his faith with his G-funk past (“Gin and Jesus Juice?” “Drop It Like It’s Lot”?).

Instead, Snoop has come with a sincere take on the music that his grandmother introduced him to as a child.

“It’s growth and development, me becoming who I am,” he said backstage minutes after concluding his performance. “This was a style of music that I hadn’t made that was always a part of who I was, so I wanted to take my time and put something together that could represent that part of my life.”

Why now?

“It just came to me,” he explained, speaking softly as a crowd began to form around him. “One thing about my spirit, it just happens.”

“Everybody needs a punch in the face.”

Words to live by.

Such sentiments form a robust portion of the life-coaching acumen of Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen, who voiced as much in song Saturday night.

At the same time the gospel awards were raising spirits, the industrial metallers were raising fists a few miles away at Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq.

The attire here was slightly different: leather mini-skirts in place of designer leather ball caps, pierced septums substituting for crucifixes, a tad more tattooed foreheads in the house.

But there was a similar celebratory air in the room when Ministry churned into standards of the genre, batten-down-the-hatches guitar fusillades such as “Just One Fix,” “Thieves” and “So What.”

During the entirety of the George W. Bush administration, Ministry delivered album-length salvos against the commander in chief.

Now, it’s Donald Trump’s turn on Ministry’s new record, “AmeriKKKant,” where band members declare themselves to be “Victims of a Clown” and are touring in support of the album with giant inflatable chickens designed in the president’s likeness positioned at each side of the stage.

“I’ve got something to say to you,” Jourgensen spat during “Antifa” as a pair of ski mask-clad individuals waved flags bearing the colors of the anti-fascist group. “I’ll back it up with my fist.”

Naturally.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Dream of AJ Montgomery
AJ Montgomery lost part of his leg in a vehicle accident but found his dream as a performer in “Le Reve.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly Clinton-Holmes of the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes chats with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, director of the Stirling Club's New Year's Eve entertainment.
Month-by-month entertainment coming in 2019
“True Detective” Season 3, HBO (Jan. 13) Travis Scott, T-Mobile Arena (Feb. 6) Robbie Williams, Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas (March 6, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 16) “Game of Thrones” Season 8, HBO (April) Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (May 17-19) “Fiddler on the Roof,” The Smith Center (June 4-9) “The Lion King” (July 19) Psycho Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay (Aug. 16-18) Life is Beautiful, downtown Las Vegas (Sept. 20-22) “Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum” (Oct. 15) “Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) “Star Wars: Episode IX” (Dec. 20)
Lacey Huszcza invites you to find something to love at the Las Vegas Philharmonic
Lacey Huszcza, executive director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic talks about the orchestra's wealth of programming. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gina Marinelli offers La Strega preview
Gina Marinelli used a pop-up New Year’s Eve dinner at Starboard Tack to preview items she’ll feature at her new Summerlin restaurant, La Strega. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Year’s Eve at Sparrow + Wolf
Sparrow + Wolf’s New Year’s Eve party was a sort of official unveiling of its newly renovated space. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Debra Kelleher Of The Stirling Club
Debra Kelleher, DK Hospitality President talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the Stirling Club.
Richard Ditton Of The Stirling Club
Richard Ditton, an investment partner of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
NYE at the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes reports from the reopening of the Stirling Club on New Year's Eve 2018.
Michael Stapleton of the Stirling Club
Michael Stapleton, COO of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
Recap the Countdown on Fremont Street — VIDEO
Nearly 40,000 people packed Fremont Street to enjoy America's Party Downtown. As the tradition stands, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman counted down the clock on the 3rd Street Stage, alongside her husband and former mayor, Oscar Goodman.
New Year's Eve live from the Las Vegas Strip Bellagio Fountains - Video
Reporter Aaron Drawhorn near the Bellagio Fountains as hundreds of thousands gather to celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas
Ryan Reaves describes the flavors in Training Day beer
Ryan Reaves talks about the flavor of Training Day, the new beer from 7Five Brewing that was launched at the PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves describes his new beer
Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves talks about his new beer from 7Five Brewing at a launch party at PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' five biggest NYE concerts
Imagine Dragons at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Lady Gaga at The Park Theater at Park MGM, Maroon 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Bruno Mars at T-Mobile Arena, and Tenacious D at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye @bizutesfaye
New American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
Bellagio Conservatory display is Majestic Holiday Magic
Majestic Holiday Magic at the Bellagio Conservatory
Las Vegas Ready for 2019 NYE Fireworks Show
The city of Las Vegas is ready to celebrate "America's Party" with a new and improved fireworks show that will pay tribute to the Golden Knights.
Sugar Factory makes a shareable Christmas cocktail
If you’re looking to share holiday cheer, this goblet is big enough to split among at least a few friends. The bubbly punch is made with cherry vodka, cranberry juice and a scoop of Christmas tree gummy candies — just in case it’s not sufficiently sweet.
New Year's Eve fireworks are ready to fly in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Fireworks by Grucci unveil details of “America’s Party 2019” New Year's Eve fireworks and entertainment extravaganza during a news conference at the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like