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Weekend in Vegas: Them Crooked Vultures rock The Joint, a take on the ACMs, and bull riders at ‘Fantasy’

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John Paul Jones of Them Crooked Vultures performs at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on April 17, 2010.
Photo: Erik Kabik/Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Them Crooked Vultures at The Joint

Josh Homme of Them Crooked Vultures performs at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on April 17, 2010.

Josh Homme of Them Crooked Vultures performs at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on April 17, 2010.

David Grohl of Them Crooked Vultures performs at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on April 17, 2010.

David Grohl of Them Crooked Vultures performs at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on April 17, 2010.

Notes on a Monday:

• The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel put on a general-admission, hard-rock show Saturday night starring Them Crooked Vultures. For those of us who have jostled for a suitable standing location for these types of concerts, including those at the old Joint, this sold-out show was not uncomfortable. The metal rails separating sections, and the slightly tiered raking, of the floor of the hall keeps the masses in good order.

It could have been, too, that many fans of the musicians onstage would rather stand stoically and enjoy the show than push toward the stage. If there isn't a concert T-shirt reading, "Too Old To Mosh," there should be (I did see one, "Middle-Class Act," that was pretty funny).

Members of the arbitrarily named Them Crooked Vultures span generations, dating to the 60s and 1960s. John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin — how is it that he is 64? Sprightly, youthful in his stage manner, amazing musician; he even makes the keytar (the good-idea-at-the-time synthesizer fashioned with a guitar strap and played as such) look dignified. Edgar Winter might be the only other musician who can carry around that hybrid instrument and not look sadly dated.

Former Nirvanan and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl never disappoints. As someone tweeted during the show, behind the drum set the flailing Grohl looks like "Animal" from "The Muppet Show." Except for Animal's red hair, this is true. And front man Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, most famously) is a happily dangerous individual who boasted that he'd been thrown out of every club in Las Vegas. Or maybe he said he'd been thrown out of 100 clubs. Whichever, he seems that sort, the type of guy likely to hurl a shot glass into the Chihuly ceiling sculpture at Bellagio.

The band played everything off its first album, a blend of rock influenced (not coincidentally) by Led Zep and Nirvana, and members have said they are working on a second release for this year. I hope they'll be back. They're worth standing for.

The 45th Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 18, 2010.

The 45th Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 18, 2010.

The 45th Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 18, 2010.

The 45th Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 18, 2010.

• Worth noting as the aftermath of Sundays' Academy of Country Music Awards show at MGM Grand Garden Arena is this was a show Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson held up as an example as an annual event Cowboys Stadium and Arlington, Texas, might try to wrest from our mitts. Here's how: The Texas Events Trust Fund collects a 6-percent tax on hotels in the state and funnels that money into an account to reimburse municipalities for expenses at venues such as Cowboys Stadium. Christensen pointed to the ACMs as an event that officials in Texas could seek as a good fit for Cowboys Stadium, with Arlington benefitting from public money to move the show to its city.

It isn't that far-fetched: Cowboys Stadium is a domed football venue, primarily, but 50,000 fans can be seated for a show like the ACMs. That giant, high-def screen makes it happen. It's hypothetical, but officials in Las Vegas remain wary of that particular venue's versatility and how it might cut into business here.

• Head's up: Announced Friday afternoon by the UNLV Performing Arts Center is an appearance by Bernadette Peters on May 1 at Artemus Ham Hall as part of the school's "New York Stage & Beyond" series. Tickets are $45, $60, and $90. As always, call 895-2787.

• An act I've been hearing about for months is returning to Vegas on Friday night, and that might be the night to finally catch Metal Elvis. The band takes the stage, or is scheduled to, at 8 p.m. at the Hard Rock Café. This is what it seems — a heavy-metal treatment of Elvis classics, fronted by one Chance Tinder. "Lonesome Tonight" should be interesting. So should, "Rock-A-Hula-Baby."

Professional Bull Rider Ryan McConnel takes the stage during a performance of <em>Fantasy</em> at the Luxor.

Professional Bull Rider Ryan McConnel takes the stage during a performance of Fantasy at the Luxor.

Professional Bull Rider Ryan McConnel takes the stage during a performance of <em>Fantasy</em> at the Luxor.

Professional Bull Rider Ryan McConnel takes the stage during a performance of Fantasy at the Luxor.

• Was Team USA a little distracted during its trip to Vegas as it attempted to defend its Professional Bull Riders World Cup championship? As Team Brazil topped the five-team field, members of Team USA caught "Fantasy" at Luxor three straight nights. The initial connection was Ryan McConnel and "Fantasy" star Angelica Bridges, who met during Wednesday's charity mechanical-bull riding contest on Fremont Street. Some cowboys even changed flight plans to take in Sunday's show. Maybe the lyrics in one of the signature songs should be changed: "Save a Bull, Ride a Cowboy"...

• Tonight's show at Tropicana, the cool thing starring Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns at Tiffany Theatre at 10:30, followed by Soeren Johnson's Satin Saddle Orchestra in the Celebration Lounge at midnight, is still on. Though there was talk that this week would be the final week, the hotel's entertainment list reports that April 26 will be the last night of this now-storied showcase. After that, renovations are to begin on Tiffany Theatre.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

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