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Spotlight on summer concerts

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Pop phenomenon Lady Gaga returns to Las Vegas on Aug. 13 for a concert at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Photo: Justin M. Bowen

Punk Rock Bowling (Sunset Station, May 7-9): What has typically been a zany industry get-together has ballooned into a full-on music fest this year, with the likes of Hot Water Music, Against Me!, NOFX, 7 Seconds, TSOL, Flogging Molly, Fucked Up, The Adolescents, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and D.R.I. performing outdoors in the Amphitheatre and inside Club Madrid over three days and nights. Full-fest passes cost $80, or you can pay by the show. No bowling shoes required.

Jimmy Scott (Jazz in the Park, May 8): Turns out the high-voiced jazz singer has been living among us in secret for several years, so let's belatedly welcome the soon-to-be 85-year-old to town in style. As always, shows in this series are free, so grab a blanket and start planning your picnic-basket contents.

Carrie Underwood (Orleans Arena, May 22): Which American Idol grad has scored the most No. 1 hits? Kelly Clarkson, right? Or maybe Chris Daughtry? Um, Jennifer Hudson? Ha! Underwood owns them all, with nine chart-toppers since winning her Idol crown in 2005. Which means if you listen to country radio, you should recognize nearly everything she plays live.

Frightened Rabbit (Beauty Bar, May 24): Even if the Scots' new-album title, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, wasn't quite so inviting, we'd have them on our list. They've toured with Death Cab and been handpicked for a festival by Belle & Sebastian, so you know they've got their melodies down; but the Rabbit's brand of indie is a good bit more epic than either of those bands. In other words, it's worth the $10, even if it is on a Monday.

Bamboozle Road Show (The Joint, June 3): The folks behind Warped Tour stopped loving Las Vegas years ago, but they can't keep the pop-punk and emo fans from getting their fill. Good Charlotte, Third Eye Blind, All Time Low, Boys Like Girls, Hellogoodbye and a slew of others are set to rock the Hard Rock from noon till, well, whenever mom needs to pick up the kids.

Lady Gaga (MGM Grand, August 13): She packed the Pearl in December; now she's ready to cram the Grand Garden Arena. Unsure if you're down with the Gaga? These excerpts from Joe Brown's review of her last Vegas go-round might get you off the fence: "[The show] rendered all previous showbiz obsolete ... A pop pack rat, Gaga gobbles supermodels, pop stars, drag queens and movie monsters ... perfect for Vegas."

Also: Sugarland (Primm, April 23); The Eagles (MGM, April 24); Deer Tick (Beauty Bar, April 28); Daughtry (Orleans, April 29); Merle Haggard (Cannery, May 8); Kenny Chesney (The Joint, May 14-15, July 2-3);Paramore (The Joint, May 16); Minus the Bear (House of Blues, May 19); De La Soul (Hard Rock pool, May 21); As I Lay Dying (House of Blues, May 22); Nas with Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley (The Joint, May 29); Crosby, Stills and Nash (The Joint, June 4); Reggae in the Desert (County Amphitheater, June 12); Sting & The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (MGM, June 18); Rihanna (Mandalay Bay, July 17); Carole King & James Taylor (MGM, July 17); Justin Bieber & Sean Kingston (Planet Hollywood, July 24); Rush (MGM Grand, August 14); Cyndi Lauper (House of Blues, August 21).

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