The warehouse, revisited
Vegas’ underground music scene comes full storage, er, cycle
Thu, Jul 23, 2009 (midnight)
Photo: Corlene Byrd
I’m daydreaming about Pinollas’ legendary Dead Kennedys ’83 show as I hunt for the site of Kid Meets Cougars’ Saturday-night CD release party. In Las Vegas’ punk-rock heyday, warehouse shows weren’t so much the exception as the norm—with kids and cops regularly butting heads over the legitimacy of such underground music gatherings. Hmm, I wonder as I finally stumble onto the Whiskey Wolf Warehouse off Polaris between Sirius and Desert Inn, will the cops bust up tonight’s indie bash?
More importantly, I wonder whether the show will be air-conditioned, considering 8 p.m. temperatures are hovering near an unusually sticky 100 degrees. A quick inspection of the facility—more storage unit warehouse, really; apparently Bee Movie the Band practices here—reveals the presence of a couple of oscillating fans offering little relief even before the windowless room fills with bodies. It’s gonna be an oven in here.
I’m amazed as car after car pulls up over the next hour; soon there are close to 100 people milling around outside, some drinking, some wishing they were. Maybe the cops really will show.
Nah, the closest we come to reliving Pinollas’ iconic moment—when Metro swooped in but allowed the DKs to finish performing to avoid a riot—is an announcement from electronic opener Ex-Dinosaur: “Everybody should come inside, because technically, we shouldn’t be doing this here, and apparently there are some cops rolling around.” Cops never materialize, but the ploy works all the same, packing the “venue” as Pan de Sal hits the “stage,” a stack of wooden pallets topped with carpeting.
Sonically, the tight quarters work far better than I expected, thanks to ceiling insulation and clever speaker placement. “We set it up in surround,” Kid Meets Cougar’s Brett Bolton explains. The beat-happy Pan de Sal gets the crowd—filled with local musicians—moving pretty vigorously to set up Kid Meets Cougar’s similarly high-energy set. Birthday couple Bolton and Courtney Carroll coordinate their electronic pop concoctions—from new disc For Breakfast—with videos projected onto the wall; the live debut of Mike Thompson’s “Hey Hey” is, in the words of its proud director, “a moment.”
Close to midnight the show nearly does get shut down, without help from law enforcement. Pan de Sal’s Jeff Madlambayan starts spraying champagne on Bolton, Carroll and everything else on or near the stage. Bolton’s mic is toast, but quick-thinking buddy Vincent Campillo of Afghan Raiders helps KMC avoid further damage, ripping off his shirt and toweling off the band’s laptop. Now that’s punk rock. Jello Biafra would be proud.