We’ll be counting down the end of 2010 soon, but before then, let’s do the same with the biggest Vegas music stories of the past 12 months:
1. Bands making their Vegas debuts. Early on during his band’s recent gig at the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip, Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor shot the crowd a look like, “Who knew?”
The Dandys were making their long-awaited Vegas debut in a year full of them. The city continues to climb the ranks as a live music destination, and this was underscored by a bevy of acts like the Pixies, Pavement, The Avett Brothers, the aforementioned Dandys and scads more making their first stops in town.
Vegas has long had lots of shows to choose from. The difference? Increasingly, it has lots of good ones.
2. Indie-centric Cosmopolitan opens. Speaking of debuts, the superb dirt blues duo the Black Keys will be playing their first Vegas gigs this coming February at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a surprisingly indie-minded venture on the Strip, which is normally as corporate-minded as a NASCAR driver’s jumpsuit.
From the house music played throughout the place (think Deathcab For Cutie, Beck, Julian Casablancas, and not just the hits) to bringing in of-the-moment acts like Best Coast and Aloe Blacc for multinight stands at its sports book-cum-lounge, the sounds are as fresh as the digs at this new joint.
3. Brandon Flowers goes solo. Don’t think The Killers are gonna go terminal any time soon. Still, it was more than a little surprising to see band frontman Brandon Flowers go solo with a strong album of dusty, Western-tinged firecrackers in “Flamingo.”
Perhaps the most interesting development was Flowers making no bones about the fact that the songs he penned were initially intended for the next Killers record, and many of them, including rousing first single “Crossfire,” would have fit in comfortably in the band’s hit-strewn repertoire.
Clearly, Flowers isn’t big on downtime.
Let’s hope that’s a sentiment his bandmates share.
4. Escape the Fate continues to try and escape its fate. Shortly after the release of what was positioned to be their breakout album, their self-titled, major label debut, Vegas’ next-big-band-in-waiting, rockers Escape the Fate, continued to battle fortunes just as hard as their metal-tinged tunes.
In November, the band pulled out of a European tour with Brits Bullet for My Valentine so bassist Max Green could enter rehab, another bump in the road for this resilient bunch.
Things appear to be looking up since then, though.
They’re hitting the road again in the new year, and now that they’ve partied like rock stars, the stage is set for them to become some.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.