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on the road to the rodeo

Jennifer Nettles 2

December 1- 7, 2016







The Lique



She dances, she teaches, she cracks jokes, but most importantly, she sings. You should be familiar with Miranda Sings, a.k.a. Colleen Ballinger, the YouTube star who has won over the hearts of millions with her hilarious satirical take on popular artists. Ballinger’s character and alter ego is a quirky, egotistical and overconfident singer who runs a (surprisingly) successful vlog, and she’s coined the hit catchphrase “Haters back off” to address the naysayers who send in hate mail. Sings’ vlogs have amassed such a following that they’ve spawned a Netflix exclusive series, Haters Back Off. Now that she’s conquered the entertainment world, she’s heading to The Smith Center to bring some of her sporadic “scat” to Las Vegas. “Where My Baes At?!” (361 Symphony Park Ave., 7 p.m.) Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve already gotten a taste of The Lique, our city’s own soulful, jazzy, hip-hop quintet led by master wordsmith Rasar Amani. In July, the group released its full-length debut album, Democracy Manifest, and it’s been in heavy rotation on our office playlists ever since. It’s a masterwork, chock-full of powerful, poignant political raps over a smooth, jazz-heavy backdrop, and tracks such as “Batman” and “Walk Into My Office” are perfect examples of the potent formula. They’ve taken it to New York and California, and now they’re bringing it back home along with local singer-songwriter Cameron Calloway at the Bunkhouse Saloon. We hope the two acts will hit the stage simultaneously to give us a hometown treat. (124 S. 11th St., 9 p.m.,



Mikey Francis and Miranda Sings


Still hungry for more local music? Venture to Backstage Bar & Billiards for the We Are Pancakes Cookies and Mimosas EP Release Party. You might be saying to yourself, “Man, that’s a lot of food in the name of one event,” but trust us, this is one appetizing, satisfying dish that’ll tickle the palates of even the snobbiest music nerds. Besides performing at venues throughout the city, the indie-rock quintet took part in the Road to Life Is Beautiful’s battle of the bands, where they made it to the final round. While they didn’t win, the event was the perfect introduction to local music fans and opened up a world of indie rock fused with crafty, electronic weirdness. If “Nothing” can serve as an indicator for where the band’s going, we predict big things. Catch ’em before they blow up. (601 Fremont St., 8 p.m.,


Cap off the weekend by witnessing a local boy rock a stage built for the big guys. DJ, producer and vocalist Mikey Francis sharpened his skills as a musician by playing in the electro-rock band Black Boots and spinning regularly at smaller venues such as Insert Coin(s) (RIP) and on the LGBT club circuit. Tonight, he’s taking the stage at Heart of Omnia, where he’ll bring that experience to life in a set that favors the crashing hi-hats and persistent bang of house. Francis recently posted an all-too-cute photo of himself hanging ten with his daughter on a skateboard, so show him what’s up by cruising in and getting down to an eclectic set. You might need a helmet for this one. (In Caesars Palace, 10:30 p.m.,


Thankfully, the rodeo is in town, so you can kickstart your week by catching country superstar Chase Rice bringing his North Carolina swagger to our

December 1- 7, 2016

desert. Rice stands out from the crowd of rising artists because he tackles the genre with an unconventional approach that takes elements from country, pop and hip-hop and mixes them into an aurally pleasing Southern cocktail. Aside from rocking rooms across the nation and meeting fans on tour, Rice has been able to hunt, toss around a football and fish. He’s livin’ the life, and you can watch it all unfold on Facebook. Then “Ready Set Roll” into The Chelsea for his performance. (In The Cosmopolitan, 8 p.m.,


The boss is in the building! Night Bass label owner AC Slater is bringing his bassbacked bangers and house-heavy hits to Beauty Bar. The Los Angeles-bred DJ burst onto the scene in 2008 with a remix of Math Head’s classic “Turn the Music Up.” The track became a hit with core dance music fans, and it may have even trumped the popularity of the original. Slater recently collaborated with U.K. garage phenom Taiki Nulight on the brief double-sided EP, My Peoples, that fuses the groovy low-end courtesy of Slater with the splashing hi-hats of Nulight. It’s a welcome addition to Slater’s already prolific discography, and we think the songs will grace his sets for years to come. Grab some buddies to get “Psycho” when the beat drops! Oh, we almost forgot to mention that it’s Nickel F—n’ Beer Night, so you can get properly oiled to dance the night away, you dancing machine. (517 Fremont St., 9 p.m.,


A-Trak dropped his rambunctious remix of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll” in

2009, and yet it’s still managed to find its way into the sets of everyone from turntable legend Tiësto to trailblazing trap monster RL Grime. It’s a testament to the track’s wide appeal. But if you have yet to become enchanted by the song, it flips the leading melody from a high-energy rock tune to a boomin’ electro-house track. He’ll be sure to drop it when he hits Surrender tonight. (In Encore, 10:30 p.m., 7

Ryan Lofty


SIGHTS & SOUNDS Ryan Lofty turned dual passions for television and music into his day job By John Carr

December 1- 7, 2016

Photography Zach McKee


backyard of a co-working space Downtown, DJ/producer Ryan Lofty has made a day job out of creating music for television and media, and has reached a level of fulfillment that many musicians only hope for. Lofty spent more than a year as a composer for the Walt Disney Company, and he currently owns and operates Future Vega, a music production company that has created tracks for clients such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Real World. The live DJ gigs he’s landed at Life Is Beautiful and the pre-EDC party at Foxtail Pool in SLS alongside Rezz and Borgore aren’t too bad, either. For Lofty, hearing his work blaring from speakers at a festival or club is a reward for the long, late hours he puts in crafting both his own artist releases as well as music he is commissioned to make for various TV shows and other commercial projects. “[Production companies] have really tight turnaround times. So often there’s no option other than work through the night,” Lofty says. He feels most inspired at 4 a.m., and he gets a huge amount of satisfaction from sending the finished product off to a client. Being able to focus on a project and power through one of those all-night sessions require a comfortable space. So Lofty has filled his studio with plants, concert posters and the all-important water dispenser. And there is one particular personal need that’s paramount: “I [must] control the temperature of my studio.” He calls 75-80 degrees the “money spot.” The career path Lofty has carved is based on values and visions that came from a young age. As a kid, Lofty watched the cartoon Rugrats and fell in love with the music created by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, who is also a prominent film composer. Understanding how Mothersbaugh established such a multifaceted personal brand helped Lofty build a framework for himself. “You don’t have to be pinned down to one thing,” he says. “You can use one part of your career to influence another, and live your whole life doing what you want to do.” Lofty’s decision to move from L.A. to Las Vegas in 2014 was spurred by the opportunities he saw to nurture his talents. “The cost of living is lower here, so I have breathing space to grow both my company and myself,” he says. For him, the key is as simple as going out of his way to help his clients achieve their creative goals. “I try to have the greatest karma in the fucking world.” 7

A Country Christmas Jennifer Nettles brings her holiday-themed show to The Foundry By Mark Adams

Christmas With Jennifer Nettles Dec. 3, 9:30 p.m., $43, The Foundry at SLS Las Vegas,

It’s been a busy 2016 for Jennifer Nettles. Perhaps best known as half of the country chart-topping duo Sugarland, the singer-songwriter released two solo albums this year (May’s Playing With Fire and October’s To Celebrate Christmas), wrapped up filming on NBC’s TV-movie Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love and hit the road on tour. ¶ The star is bringing her Christmas With Jennifer Nettles show to The Foundry at SLS Las Vegas December 3—just in time for the National Finals Rodeo, when country-music fans descend on the city. Nettles somehow found time in her jam-packed schedule to chat with Vegas Seven about the tour, country music’s relationship with Sin City and more. You’re bringing a holiday show to SLS next week. Will it be strictly holiday music, or will you weave in hits that you charted with Sugarland and your recent solo material? I will definitely be

adding in some hits, too. While it will be holiday-themed, I don’t think I could do a show and not offer some of those hits to the fans. It’ll be a nice mixture. There’s always the argument that it’s too early to play Christmas music or put up your decorations. What’s your rule of thumb with that? I’ve hosted the CMA

Country Christmas show [for seven years now], and conversations for that show always begin in the summer. This year I was shooting the Dolly Parton sequel, which is set at Christmastime but was shot in July, [and I] recorded my Christmas album this summer, too. Anything in showbiz that’s around [the holidays] starts in the summer, so where that’s concerned, I don’t think Christmas ever stops [for me]! On the other hand, it’s a heavy work season for me; I’m usually so busy that decorations around my house don’t go up until mid-December. You’re here during National Finals Rodeo, one of the biggest weekends of the year for rodeo and Las Vegas. Are you a

December 1- 7, 2016

rodeo fan? I have had the pleasure of going

organically and authentically, then all the better. That’s just a part of who I am, and I love that [our] music serves as a gateway. We have made that joke before: “If you don’t like country music, then please come over here and listen, because you actually might like it and you just don’t know it.”

Vegas is fast becoming a destination for country music, with the Academy of Country Music Awards filmed here and residencies by artists such as Reba and Brooks & Dunn. Do you think country music and Las Vegas are a good fit?

Your Dolly Parton TV-movie sequel is premiering this month. Can we expect more screen projects out of you? I defi-

to several over the course of my career—being a part of and singing at [them]. Outside of music, I haven’t been able to go and didn’t grow up in the rodeo scene. Now, as an adult and having been able to be at so many and to be performing, I have enjoyed it.

Well, I think Vegas and all music are a good fit. [For] entertainment, in general, it’s a fantastic [location]. And I love that country music has such a relationship with Vegas that we do have our ACMs there, and obviously the rodeo and the residencies.

Do you like performing here? It’s interesting, because it is such a destination town. There are so many people who [visit] for the entertainment, so [there’s] definitely a very specific energy in the crowd. I also find that [the audiences] are much more celebratory. People [go to Las Vegas] on vacation and to let their hair down. [Vegas] definitely has its own vibe. Have you had a chance to explore the city after your performances? I love all of

the Cirque shows. I get such enjoyment and inspiration from those. I have a dear friend who has a home [in Las Vegas], and I have just started with her to get out and about and see a little bit more of Downtown. It really is beautiful.

With Sugarland, you really helped country cross over by introducing it to many who might not consider themselves country fans. Was it a goal for songs such as “Stuck Like Glue” to be a gateway to the genre? I just think it’s

what it ended up [as]. If you have a certain goal of that nature, you’re going to end up disappointed. But if that is who you are

nitely have been putting myself out there and am open to it. I would love to do more acting. For me, as an artist and a storyteller, I find it to be very rewarding to be able to celebrate a character in that way and tell [a] story through acting. I’m enjoying it, and I hope to do more. You’ve been so busy, putting out two albums, touring and working on other projects. What is on the docket for early 2017? One of the things that I’m excited

about is going over to the U.K. for the C2C [Country 2 Country] festival. It’s a festival that they host over there where they celebrate country music, so I’m excited to be a part of that. I’ve been writing some more again, because even though I just put [Playing With Fire] out in May, I started writing [the songs] almost two years ago. … I’m constantly wanting to create something new. 7

"I love that country music has such a relationship with Vegas that we do have our ACMs there, and obviously the rodeo and the residencies."

Clockwise from top left: Lady Antebellum; Reba, Brooks & Dunn; Kacey Musgraves.

Lady Antebellum In 2009, the Nashville trio ended Rascal Flatts’ sixyear winning streak for Vocal Group of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards. And should you mosey into The Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea concert hall Wednesday night, you’ll know exactly why that is. The group’s winsome harmonies, charming stage banter and obvious chemistry guarantee a great night out. Dec. 7, 8 p.m., $69,

Seven country acts to catch during National Finals Rodeo By Mark Adams

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Gary Allan

Looking for a little rock ’n’ roll at your post-rodeo party? Known for hits such as “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird,” the Southern-rock pioneers bring their gritty jams Downtown for a two-night engagement at Golden Nugget’s Grand Event Center. They might not have released an album since 2012’s Last of a Dyin’ Breed, but after a 60-year career, they shouldn’t need new tunes to earn your ears. Dec. 2-3, 10 p.m., $98-$360,

The tatted-up California cowboy closes out NFR week with two shows at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Prime yourself with Allan’s latest release, “Hangover Tonight,” which is the lead single off his forthcoming album. Who knows? Maybe more new material will work its way into the set list ... Dec. 9-10, 8:30 p.m., $40-$50,

Reba, Brooks & Dunn Ronnie Dunn told Rolling Stone Country in August that there’s “no end in sight” for his residency with musical partner Kix Brooks and longtime friend Reba McEntire—and we’re guessing hordes of country fans were all smiles to hear that news. The trio is, of course, returning to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during rodeo week for another installment of Together in Vegas. Dec. 2-3, 7:30 p.m., $60-$205,

December 1- 7, 2016

Kacey Musgraves She might have a girl-next-door look and a fan following from her stint on Nashville Star, but don’t mistake Musgraves for a country crossover diva. The Pageant Material artist’s songs have a throwback feel, edgy social commentary and are co-written by Musgraves herself. Basically, she’s more Loretta Lynn than many of her contemporaries. Catch her open for King of Country George Strait at T-Mobile Arena. Dec. 2-3, 8 p.m., $75-$200,

This might be your last chance for quite some time to catch the veteran cowboy crooner. With no Las Vegas dates listed, it seems McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill, are sidestepping Sin City during their 2017 Soul2Soul world tour. Maybe Faith will make a cameo when McGraw takes the stage at MGM’s Grand Garden Arena? One can only hope. Dec. 10, 9 p.m., $80-$130,

Dee Jay Silver You never know what you’ll hear at a Dee Jay Silver show, as the country mash-up DJ weaves his beloved genre with rock, pop and hip-hop in his high-energy sets. Experience Silver’s boot-scootin’ party atop the Mandalay Bay at House of Blues’ Foundation Room. Dec. 10, 10 p.m., 7


Honky-Tonk Tunes

Tim McGraw

>>> Where to Boot-Scoot in Las Vegas Four country dance floors where you can get your do-si-do, two-step and line dance on By Ashley Miles

The country spirit is in the air as Las Vegas gears up to host yet another installment of National Finals Rodeo, December 1-10, when cowfolk from the Wild West and the Deep South invade the city of sin to cheer on their favorite rodeo gods. Don’t miss your chance to lasso a cowboy or cowgirl and celebrate the local happening by checking out these beloved country bars, complete with dance floors fit for an old-fashioned honky-tonk.


Open Wednesday through Saturday night, Stoney’s serves as a one-stop country haven, with a dance floor solely dedicated to choreographed line dancing. It also has one of the best ladies’ nights in the city, with well cocktails and select wines and draft beers going for just $1—and everyone can enjoy the allyou-can-drink draft beer deal for $20. To avoid the embarrassment of trying to master line dancing on the spot, stop in at 7:30 p.m. any night for free lessons, where instructors break down the moves for beginners. Did we mention the mechanical bull? Town Square Las Vegas, Suite 160,


Hailed as the best western gay bar in the city, Charlie’s hosts special events each night of the week, including Drag Karaoke Tuesdays and Studs N Suds Fridays. Come for the cheap drink specials and stay for the down-and-dirty line dancing—with a soundtrack alternating between country crooning and pop diva hits. 5012 Arville St.,



The self-proclaimed “last remaining real honky-tonk bar” in Las Vegas offers an authentic western atmosphere complete with pool tables and HD TVs for watching the day’s big game. The 24/7 venue features live country music acts Friday through Tuesday, and of course, a bamboo hardwood dance floor perfect for stompin’ and twirlin’ until the sun comes up. Grab a partner to brush up on your two-step or refine your line dancing during the free lessons offered every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. 2333 N. Jones Blvd.,


Made famous by the popular 2000 movie Coyote Ugly, the bar chain opened Strip-side at New York-New York in 2001. Just as in the film, bartenders frequently entertain guests by dancing on bar tops and keeping the shots flowing. Learn how to line dance from the coyote girls themselves every Tuesday and Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m. And don’t forget the saloon’s daily happy hour, 6 to 9 p.m. At New York-New York, 7

December 1- 7, 2016

[ HEAR ]


WHERE BEATS MEET EATS Techno Taco Tuesday feeds the needs of Las Vegas’ underground scene By John Carr Tacos & Beer 3900 Paradise Rd. UPCOMING EVENTS Dec 6: On the patio: Bad Beat, Lance Le Rok, Pedro Flores, Eder More and Rob Fernandez Dec 13: In the tent: Cuartero & Cristoph

December 1- 7, 2016

Photography Eder More/MNTRA

has already attracted a loyal house and techno following. The weekly dine-and-dance series from event promotion outfit MNTRA ( is popular with locals but also welcomes international guests, a credit to the turntable talent being booked by MNTRA co-founder Tino Gomez. As a promoter, Gomez puts a significant amount of fuel into curating each week’s lineup starting with artists he loves, from regionally recognized DJs including L.A.’s Contessa to global sensations such as Malta’s Jewel Kid. He especially likes working with performers who share an interest in building the underground community worldwide. “These guys don’t act like superstars; they’re more interested in the city,” Gomez says. And with dance music being so prevalent in today’s media, he also enjoys interacting with people who want to bring the techno scene front and center. Each week, MNTRA’s no-cover event takes over the Tacos & Beer patio from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., but once a month, a tent goes up in the parking lot, filled with lively decorations such as black disco balls and lasers. These larger affairs essentially act as flagship events, but what remains the same is the casual, inviting social feel of a house party—a house party with extensive food and drink menus, that is, and happy hour specials starting at 11 p.m. Word-of-mouth praise for the lineup and format have helped Techno Taco Tuesday expand faster than even Gomez planned. He originally intended to stick to local DJs at first, and hoped to eventually extend invitations to regional, national and international talent within the course of three years. Instead, “Everything happened in a year,” he says, laughing. If you can’t make it down, you can stream the live event (or peep past lineups) at With Techno Taco Tuesday’s final tented event for 2016 scheduled for December 13, Gomez looks to expand MNTRA beyond just parties to a fullblown record label, publicity group and booking agency. Judging by its track record, MNTRA might just knock those goals out in 2017. 7

Jennifer Nettles on the Road to the Rodeo | Vegas Seven, Seven Nights | Dec. 1-7, 2016  
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