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Local Music

Neon Reverb report: Locals night at the Bunkhouse

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Same Sex Mary’s Adams (right) and Aragon.
Photo: Bill Hughes

The Las Vegas music scene has taken some heat lately, for (some say) not living up to its promise from five years ago, not producing a next wave of must-see homegrown acts, not energizing Downtown more when Downtown seems primed for musical energy.

Such concerns were washed away, for one night at least, Thursday at the Bunkhouse, where four local mainstays reminded a smallish but supportive Neon Reverb crowd of the Vegas scene’s continued depth and variety.

Same Sex Mary: These guys oughta be the Bunkhouse house band. The bluesy Boulder City rockers just sound right in a smoky bar with wood paneling on the walls. Don’t be fooled by spectacled frontman James Adams’ professorial vibe; he can rock out plenty. The best SSM songs shimmy and shake, then get all slow and haunting. The tone from Tsvetelina Stefanova’s 1960s Farfisa Compact Deluxe electronic organ has a lot to do with that. And, of course, any band with Jason Aragon on bass steps to the stage with a natural advantage.

Dreaming of Lions: It seems too noisy in the bar to connect with Chris Leland’s personal tales of love and loss, but before long, the veteran singer/songwriter has me locked in on his honest words and simple music. Nice to see Wyatt McKenzie, who recently returned to town after more than a year away, up there again with Leland and harmonica player Joe Ervin. Look for a new DoL album soonish, Leland tells me after the set.

Dusty Sunshine: Speaking of new material, the Dusty gals (and Aragon) are playing some songs from an upcoming EP, and it sounds like the soul/folk/blues/whatever group’s next chapter will bring some thunder. Playing the Bunkhouse’s outdoor stage, Dusty shifts from the tranquil, harmony-driven cuts off last year’s debut LP to stormier stuff that stirs up the night’s largest crowd.

Fuzz SoLow: “Welcome to Neon Reverb. This must be, like, the 100th annual one.” And with that, the one-man-band also known as James “Fuzz” Berg from Black Camaro is off and stomping. He’s stringing together—and sometimes looping—vicious electric guitar riffs while his feet keep the beat on bass drum, hi hat and what appears to be a tambourine taped to a suitcase. Hardly anyone’s inside the venue when he begins, but before long the sound and the man in the big, white headband have drawn quite a crowd.

For more local-scene face time, head back to the Bunkhouse tonight for The Clydesdale (is that Aragon again?), Zach Ryan and the Renegades, Coastwest Unrest and Rusty Maples.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is Las Vegas Weekly's Managing Editor, having previously served as Arts & Entertainment Editor, Music Editor and a ...

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