A dozen hot concerts
Elvis Costello & The Imposters (The Pearl, May 13) For the first time in 25 years, the bespectacled one will share the stage with his Spectacular Spinning Songbook—a giant wheel that will randomly select his setlist. May its aim be true.
Lauryn Hill (Cosmopolitan pool, May 13) Fool me once, right? Still, Ms. Hill appears to have righted her ship since her infamous ’07 Rio no-show. We might be willing to forget that whole wasted night if she delivers a fiery performance like the one she brought to Coachella. Nah.
Echo & The Bunnymen (Red Rock Casino lounge, May 20) Playing a full album live is sooo passé. So the melancholy Brits are doing two classic LPs—1980’s Crocodiles and 1981’s Heaven Up Here—back to back. Yeah, we’re wondering how Vegas qualified for a tour stop, too (not that we’re complaining!). [UPDATE 5/6 @ 5:50 p.m.: We should have known it was too good to be true. This show has been canceled.]
Rammstein (Thomas & Mack, May 21) German industrial-metal, meet Las Vegas sports arena. Expect anyone who experiences this sensory assault to stop using “spectacle” to describe future rock concerts.
My Chemical Romance (House of Blues, May 29) Diehard fans insist MCR is the best live band in the world. We’re not quite willing to go there, but any band that covers Dylan and The Damned commands our attention.
Punk Rock Bowling (Fremont East, May 27-30) If the reunited Descendents were the only band playing, we’d still be pimping the hell out of this one. But then, there are 23 other acts on the three-day festival bill and umpteen more doing club shows across Downtown throughout the weekend. Rumor has it there’s already a moshpit going.
Tim McGraw (The Joint, June 7) One of the summer’s biggest country tours squeezes into the Joint. How big? More than 40 of the Country Strong star’s singles have hit the top 10. Not that we’re promising he’ll play all of them, mind you.
Paul McCartney (MGM Grand, June 10) Do we really need to tell anybody why they should see this guy in concert? Okay, how about this: “Eleanor Rigby,” “Helter Skelter,” “Blackbird,” “Paperback Writer,” “Get Back,” “Let It Be,” “Yesterday,” “Hey Jude.” Yep, he still plays all that stuff live.
The Flaming Lips (Cosmopolitan pool, June 17) Everybody needs to see The Flaming Lips at least once in life. Unless you consider furry costumes, floodlights and giant crowd-surfing bubbles boring. In which case, by all means, skip.
Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas Motor Speedway, June 24-26) We’ll admit, we’re a little unsure how this one’s gonna turn out: A hundred thousand people, give or take, partying from dusk till dawn three June nights in a row out at the Speedway. But when the single largest electronic dance music festival in the country plunks down in our town, we go. After we sleep for a week.
Vans Warped Tour (Plaza parking lot, June 30) Whether you know all 66 bands on the bill or just dig Against Me!, Warped—back in town after a six-year Vegas hiatus—is as much about the experience as the music. And if you’re under 21 and spend lots of time complaining about the spotty all-ages scene in town, there’s really no excuse for missing this one. Just remember the sunblock.
Widespread Panic (The Joint, July 15 & 16) Phish has been avoiding Vegas like the plague since reuniting, but local jam heads needn’t panic. Widespread’s got ’em covered, times two. Unpredictable setlists, crazy covers and mind-numbing solos shall ensue.
Plus! Merle Haggard (Sunset Station, May 13); Jimmy Eat World (House of Blues, May 14); Stevie Nicks (The Colosseum, May 14); Experience Hendrix (Las Vegas Hilton, May 21); Kylie Minogue (The Colosseum, May 22); Guitar Wolf (Hard Rock Cafe, May 31); System of a Down w/Gogol Bordello (The Pearl, May 22); Deftones w/Dillinger Escape Plan (The Joint, June 11); Reggae in the Desert (Government Center, June 11); Bruno Mars w/Janelle Monae (The Pearl, June 16); Panic! At the Disco (House of Blues, June 18); Britney Spears w/Nicki Minaj (MGM Grand, June 25); Rush (MGM Grand, June 24); Wiz Khalifa (The Joint, June 27); The Avett Brothers (Silverton, July 22); Tony Bennett (The Pearl, July 24); Weezer (Red Rock Casino, August 5); Toby Keith (Red Rock, August 6); Death Cab for Cutie (Cosmopolitan pool, August 20); Sugarland (Mandalay Bay, August 27).
A cool album six-pack
The Cars, Move Like This (May 10) Hello again. You might think we’re crazy, but Ric Ocasek’s return to the band that made him famous has us moving in stereo. First single “Blue Tip” sounds like a good old Cars song, which is just what we needed. Let’s go.
Danger Mouse & Daniel Luppi, Rome (May 17) Production whiz + Italian composer + guest vocalists Jack White & Norah Jones + spaghetti western theme = well, we’re not exactly sure what. But color us way intrigued.
Lady Gaga, Born This Way (May 24) To hear her talk, the promised “greatest album of this decade” will teach cats to speak, turn the sky pink and make chicken taste like fish. And we’re not betting against her.
My Morning Jacket, Circuital (May 31) The rootsy rockers have always been better live than on record, which bodes well for a disc leader Jim James calls “the most live” of MMJ’s career. Hey, as long as it’s better than 2008’s Evil Urges, we’ll be happy.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver (June 21) The hip indie folk name to know goes self-titled for its second LP, which will include a “Civil War-sounding heavy metal song,” according to frontman Justin Vernon. And we thought cannons and bayonets were the only metal on those battlefields.
Kanye West & Jay-Z, Watch the Throne (TBD) Okay, this one might not drop before fall, though a Kanye tweet about a “summer 2011” album has speculation running high. Whenever it does see the light, expect the collabo between hip-hop’s two biggest names to sell at least three copies to every person on the planet.
Plus: Okkervil River, I Am Very Far (May 10); Raphael Saadiq, Stone Rollin’ (May 10); Moby, Destroyed (May 17); Kate Bush, Director’s Cut (May 24); Foster the People, Torches (May 24); Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys (May 31); Eddie Vedder, Ukelele Songs (May 31); Arctic Monkeys, Suck It and See (June 7); Fucked Up, David Comes to Life, (June 7); Battles, Gloss Drop (June 14); Atari Teenage Riot, Is This Hyperreal? (June 21); Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV (June 21); Jill Scott, The Light of the Sun (June 28); Incubus, If Not Now, When? (July 12); They Might Be Giants, Join Us (July 19); Fountains of Wayne, Sky Full of Holes (August 2); Jane’s Addiction, The Great Escape Artist, (August 23); Red Hot Chili Peppers, TBD (August).