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The 2014 Fall Culture Guide: Music

The 2014 Fall Culture Guide:  Visual Art |  Music |  Lit and ideas |  Family food and festivals |  Theater and dance

So, how's your schedule look next week?  And the week after that?  And the week after that?   Whether you're an art-lover, a dance aficionado, a foodie or a live music fan, our culture guide's got the goods for one very busy fall.  And we mean busy in a good way - this year's calendar is brimming with sights, sounds and tastes to engage, inspire and entertain you.  Enjoy.

Sept. 17

Sponsor Message

You might say that Oleh Krysa (1) grew up in a musical household, but that wouldn’t quite capture how the joy of music infused, imbued and inspired his childhood in the Ukraine — most often in the form of community gatherings that would always culminate in spirited outbursts of singing. (Ah, life before the Internet.) The young Krysa would join in, but he would ultimately find his real voice in the violin — and a lifelong career in music in which he’d garner unanimous acclaim for his precise, studied but never labored interpretations of both classical and contemporary work. In this installment of the UNLV Chamber Music Series, Krysa joins UNLV faculty Mykola Suk, Bill Bernatis, Andrew Smith and Jason Bonham to perform selections from Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann. (AK) 7:30p, $25, UNLV’s Doc Rando Hall


Sept. 19-20

Sponsor Message

Coconut bra optional (but encouraged)

Hawaiian music is so much more than the oversweet twang and sway of a beachside ukulele. As these Hawaiian music masters prove — George Kahumoku Jr., Led Kaapana and “Uncle” Richard Ho’opi’i — the signature sound of the islands is also rich, complex and achingly poignant. (And, okay, it totally makes you want to don a grass skirt and sip an umbrella drink.) No schmaltzy twang Muzak here: Kahumoku is the mastermind behind the acclaimed “Slack Key Show” in Maui, a famous dinner show that treats tourists and islanders alike to the true, soulful musical expression of Hawaiian culture. (AK) 7p, $35, Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center,


Sept. 19-21

Sponsor Message

Bring your bear rug and fireplace, baby

I don’t care if you’re Archie Bunker, no one can resist the seductive, clothes-melting vocal sexytime hypnosis of the likes of Babyface, Keith Sweat and Ledisi. They’re just a few of the musical artists appearing at the three-day Las Vegas Jazz Festival. Until then, continue to imagine Babyface serenading a scantily clad Archie Bunker. You’re welcome! (AK) Start times vary, $65-$975, JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa,


Sept. 20

Sinatra saturation

A Sinatra look-alike contest, a Sinatra photo exhibit, a period singer crooning countless Ol’ Blue Eyes’ classics with The Las Vegas Downbeats, free-flowing classic cocktails ... the only thing missing from “An Evening at the Copa: A Century of Sinatra” are his bouts of violent rage and legendary womanizing. Afterwards, stop by the Morelli House, lovingly restored by the Junior League of Las Vegas, for a nightcap or — in the spirit of Sinatra — four. (AK) 6:30p, free, Fifth Street School,


Sept. 22

You don’t look a day over 149!

Nevada turns 150 this year. What better way to celebrate than with a Marlboro-studded cake filled with gold, escort mags and slot club cards variety show? At the Nevada Sesquicentennial All-Star Concert, Nevada’s finest musicians and vocalists will sing the state’s praises and, with any luck, do a choral dubstep finale of “Home Means Nevada.” The after-party is hosted by Gov. Brian Sandoval and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki. No word yet on the details of Sandoval’s DJ set. (AK) 7p, $25, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center

Sept. 24

A little mood music

With his reassuringly melancholic voice — at once distant and distracted, as though singing a half-remembered dream — Gordon Lightfoot pushed the boundaries of ’70s soft rock into richer territory beyond Saturdays in the park and horses with no names and sentimental ladies and all that. (I remember hearing “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” on AM radio as a kid, thinking, You’re allowed to write songs like this?!) At this special concert event, “Gordon Lightfoot: 50 Years on the Carefree Highway,” (2) the singer will also share stories about his music and life. (AK) 7:30p, $24, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center

Sept. 27

Hope they kept the antlers

Venerably crusty — or is it crustily venerable? — downtown venue Bunkhouse Saloon emerges from plastic surgery this fall after months of extensive makeover by new owner The Downtown Project. What lies beneath the bandages? Music-wise, an eclectic roster of soul and funk (Allen Stone, Bad Rabbits, Bonavox, Sept. 27), retro dreampop (Washed Out (3), Sept. 28) (3) classic post-rock (Bob Mould, Sept. 30) and blip-hop (RJDs, Nov. 21). (AK) 8p, various prices, Bunkhouse Saloon,


Sept. 27

Meet the new boss

After two seasons of test-driving new musical directors, the Las Vegas Philharmonic kicks off this fall with the man they chose for the job: new Music Director Donato Cabrera. He’ll conduct the season’s first Masterworks Series concert with a housewarming gift in tow: This fall season-launcher features guest vocalist Deborah Voigt, a soprano acclaimed for her startling range and versatility. For an extra $50, you can welcome the new maestro over cocktails in The Smith Center’s Founder’s Room. (AK) 6p, $26-$96, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center,


Sept. 30

Admit it: You sing it in the shower

With her 2013 hit, “Royals,” a lush outsider club anthem for Generation Y, Lorde went viral — but her sudden popularity felt less like another suffocating overnight sensation than a refreshing antidote to ubiquitous GIFs of a twerking Miley Cyrus. Ironically, Lorde, not yet 18, won’t be able to partake of Vegas’ fabled adult excesses — but, also, ironically, the maturity reflected in her lyrics suggests she’s already over it. (AK) 9p, $50, The Joint at the Hard Rock,


Oct. 10

The more, the mariachi

What?! I chose Chess Club as my extracurricular activity, when all this time I could’ve been learning the awesomely mawkish trumpet riffs to “Cielito Lindo”? Indeed, since 2002, the Clark County School District’s Mariachi Music Instructional Program has taught upward of 3,000 students in more than 17 district schools the art of mariachi. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Viva El Mariachi! student concert will feature the program’s best, brightest and loudest. (AK) Free, 7p, Clark County Library Main Theater


Music unmasked

London-based mixman SBTRKT (4) used to wear a tribal mask at his performances. It wasn’t an image gimmick, but a wardrobe choice born of principle: He wanted the focus to be on the music, not any cult of personality. But the critical acclaim for his work put any such concerns to rest, as both consumers and press praised his cosmopolitan, omnivorous, brainy but groovy sound constructions that meld club beats and mood-drenched UK soul. Mindful dance music? It’ll move you in more ways than one. (AK) $30, 8p, House of Blues


Nov. 5-23

Explosions + grown men in make-up = rock ’n’ roll

The conventional wisdom is that the Vegas residency is the tombstone marking artistic death but, I dunno, I have this strange hope that KISS, in all their stubborn insistence on simply, you know, sticking it out for this long, will turn what was formerly considered musical soul-obliteration into a big ol’ party with lots of unreasonably tight leather clothes and pyrotechnic explosions and total guitar face-meltery. *Unfurls tongue in rock ’n’ roll solidarity* (AK) $49, 8p, The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel,


Nov. 19

We all live in a yellow harmonium

Tahir Faridi Qawwal credits his youthful interest in Eastern music to ... the Beatles? Yep. Qawwal eventually studied under Indian and Pakistani qawwali masters, leading to his signature sound. And what sound is that? The seven-piece Fanna-Fi-Allah Sufi Qawwali Party — featuring two harmoniums, tanpura, tablas, hand-clapping and singing — performs the qawwali music of the Sufis of Pakistan, infectious, hypnotic, evolving melodies that can go on for up to 30 minutes. (AK) 7p, $10-$12, Winchester Cultural Center


Nov. 15

An island of musical delights

New Las Vegas Philharmonic Music Director Donato Cabrera has said he hopes to deepen and diversify the organization’s programming, and now he’s putting his hula skirt where his mouth is, in “Pops Series I: Aloha from Las Vegas.” Conducted by Hawaii Pops’ Matt Catingub, “Aloha from Vegas” will feature traditional and popular Hawaiian music, much of it sung by special guest Amy Hanaiali’i, Hawaii’s best-selling vocalist of all time. (AK) 7:30p, $26-$94, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center


Nov. 20

The sound of freedom — literally

In recognition of America’s fighting men and women, the UNLV Wind Orchestra presents an evening of patriotic classics (no, no “God Bless the U.S.A.,” so you just stop with that nonsense right now) with a roster of rotating guest conductors taking the stand, including Col. John R. Bourgeois, Director Emeritus of United States Marine Band. (AK) 7:30p, prices TBA, UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall


Nov. 22

The Celts want a drumstick

(Black and white infomercial image of glum family listlessly sitting around Thanksgiving dinner table): Are you tired of the same, boring old Thanksgiving dinner? (Cut to color image of same family at Thanksgiving dinner table, surrounded by jolly Celtic bagpipers playing, singing and jigging): Make it a Celtic Thanksgiving! Featuring the Desert Skye Las Vegas Pipe Band, champion piper Jack Lee, the Celtic Crown Academy of Irish Dance and the Las Vegas Highland Dance Association. Call now! (AK) 3:30p, free, Clark County Library Main Theater

Nov. 22

Africanized beats

If music is a universal language, then Alex Boyé’s (5) work must be covered in passport stamps. The London-born Nigerian singer has garnered worldwide acclaim — and millions of YouTube hits — with his Africanized versions of hot singles, from Lorde’s “Royals” to Frozen’s “Let It Go.” It’s more than mere musical piggybacking. Instead, his renditions cleverly exploit melodic possibilities, and his voice — in all its flights and aerials, always earthy, always real — make them completely his own. (AK) 8p, $25-$75, UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall


Dec. 6

The Prine of your life

Through all his avatars — folk singer, rockabilly hero, country rocker — John Prine’s barbed and startling lyrics have always been the common denominator, whether he’s singing about Vietnam vets in “Sam Stone” (“But the morphine eased the pain/ And the grass grew ’round his brain/ And gave him all the confidence he lacked/ With a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back”) or love in all its imperfections in “In Spite of Ourselves.” (“She thinks all my jokes are corny/ Convict movies make her horny/ She likes ketchup on her scrambled eggs/ Swears like a sailor when shaves her legs.”) (AK) 8p, $39-$79, The Pearl at the Palms


Dec. 7

Ohmygod, like, catch this concert

Ah, the ’80s, that insouciant swirl of neon, synthesizers and hairspray shot through with the dread of nuclear annihilation. Now you can reminisce — about the music, anyway — at Totally ’80s Symphonic, in which a 21-piece orchestra performs ’80s classics from greats such as Eurythmics, The Cure, A-ha and Tears for Fears. Totally. (AK) 7:30p, $24, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center


Dec. 13

Holiday sounds from all around

Okay, so Vegas isn’t exactly a winter wonderland in December. It’s more like the dirt gets really, really cold, and maybe blows around a bit. But The Desert Winds should put you in a properly jolly holiday spirit with their Colorations in Frost concert, featuring seasonal classics from cultures around the globe. (Other dates in the series: “Colorations in Indigo,” Oct. 4; “Colorations in Crimson,” Nov. 11; “Colorations in Purple,” Feb. 28; “Colorations in Emerald,” April 11; “Colorations in Amber,” May 16). (AK) 7:30p, $10-$15, CSN’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre,

Dec. 13

Singin’, swingin’ holiday tunes

If you want holiday music, but you don’t want HOLIDAY! MUSIC! — you know, explosive saccharine choral blasts all up in your facial vent — check out this holiday show by singer Kristen Hertzenberg and pianist Phil Fortenberry. (6) The talented duo will perform seasonal songs with qualities the holiday season so often lacks these days: class and panache. (AK) 2p and 7:30p, $25-$40, Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center


Dec. 20

Hearts on fire but also on ice

This event brings together two curious objects of American fascination: ice skating and the rock band O.A.R. Pandora Unforgettable Moments of Love on Ice features the all-stars of ice-skating — including Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Brian Boitano and Evan Lysacek — gliding and carving to live tunes by indie/college powerhouse O.A.R.  (AK) 7:30p, $29.50-$99.50, Mandalay Bay Events Center


Jan. 10

Two masters make beautiful music

To call violinist Bella Hristova a rising star is an understatement. Classical music magazine The Strad chose to put it this way: “Every sound she draws is superb.” Hristova will perform Max Bruch’s First Violin Concerto, conducted by another luminary: Rei Hotoda, whom you might recognize for conducting the 2014 Youth Concert Series. (AK) 7:30p, tickets TBA, UNLV’s Doc Rando Recital Hall


Where Strip performers perform when they’re not performing

How to describe The Composers Showcase? (7) It’s kind of like this secret society/church/after-hours social club for Strip performers whose creative juices don’t stop flowing when it’s curtain call at the casino gig. You’ll hear them sing and play original work, from bawdy show tunes to teary torch songs. But just as great as the talent on stage is the chatty cocktail-klatch bonding going on at the tables. (AK) 10p, Jan. 21, March 4, April 15 and May 27, $20, Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center


Feb. 26

A concert for a Queen

The UNLV Wind Orchestra will perform Italian composer Ottorino Resphighi’s “The Queen of Sheba” with the benefit of four fine composers, including Dr. Cody Birdwell of the University of Kentucky, Gary Smith of the University of Illinois, and UNLV’s own Thomas G. Leslie and Dr. Zane S. Douglass. (AK) 7:30p, $10, UNLV’s Doc Rando Recital Hall


March 7

You plucked me all night long

When Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser join forces, the result is (weird Transformers wermph-wermph-wermph sound) 2CELLOS, a musically intrepid duo dedicated to exploring the world of cello music — whether that’s Bach and Vivaldi or bold interpretations of AC/DC songs. Devil horns at a cello concert? HELLZYEAHz. (AK) 8p, $25-$75, UNLV’s Doc Rando Recital Hall