Travel: Viva Las Vegas for live music |

Travel: Viva Las Vegas for live music

Andrew FerschVail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailySocial Distortion frontman Mike Ness plays Vegas on June 27. The musicians solo career has a cult following but fans of Social D should still enjoy theshow.

Weekends in Vegas are supposed to be a thing of legend and no matter how many attempts the city makes to become family friendly, that isnt likely to change any time soon. Even Hollywood is still churning out movies dedicated to getting drunk in Sin City and making bad decisions. The only bad decision that most folks make though these days is drinking too much and ignoring the stupendous selection of entertainment options available on any given weekend. With the snow finally off the roads, the nine-hour trip to Vegas isnt too daunting and its just in time for some excellent entertainment.

This Friday countrys most prolific punk rock greaser/crooner Gary Allan is headlining the House of Blues while Vegas stalwart Barry Manilow spreads the love at the Las Vegas Hilton. Saturday night Cher takes over the Colesseum at Caesars Palace competing with the Jaegermeister Music Tour, which features Hatebreed and Type O Negative. For Godsmack fans, lead singer Sully Erna will be performing at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. For those folks who want a little more twang and a little less rage, Charlie Daniels and Shooter Jennings share the stage on May 31 at the Orleans Arena.

The first weekend of July sees some equally huge names when illusionist/comedic headliners Penn and Teller (at the Rio) play the same night as comic powerhouse duo Kevin James and Ray Romano (at the Mirage) on Saturday, June 7. Waiting to wipe that smile off your face later that night is Soilent Green the band Rolling Stone once lumped in with Pantera and Black Sabbath as one of the most important metal bands of all time. Theyll be tearing the roof off the House of Blues. Guitarist Brian Patton said their Vegas show isnt one to miss.If you like rock and you like metal, hopefully youll like us. If you havent [heard us], by all means check us out. Live is way better than the studio for us, Patton said.

The weekend of June 13 might be scary if you arent a Reginald Dwight fan (Elton John, if you didnt know) as he rocks the Colosseum at Caesars Palace Friday night. Your other option is actor Jason Schwartzmans band, Phantom Planet. Theyre part of the Civic Tour and play with Panic at the Disco at the Palms. It doesnt slow down on Saturday start kicking up dust after the sun goes down with the Stone Temple Pilots. Theyre playing the Pearl Concert Theatre.

A shorter Saturday trip might be in order for June 21, though there are so many options, choosing just one will likely leave you feeling slighted. George Michael plays the MGM Grand and country superstar Tim McGraw plays Mandalay Bay Events Center with the terrifically talented Jason Aldean.Aldean, who has penned such hits as Why and Laughed Until We Cried, said its really weird to tour with McGraw, especially considering he used to sing covers of McGraws songs in Macon, Ga. before he got big. He also shared his excitement about hanging out in Vegas.First of all Vegas is one of the coolest towns that there is. Theres always something going on there; its just a fun town. Ive played there quite a few times, from the big rodeo they have to some of the casinos with guys like Trace Adkins, Aldean said.Also on June 21: Gnarls Barkley goes crazy for the Outernational Music Festival at Mandalay Bay Beach and the UFC Ultimate Fighter show takes place at the Pearl Concert Theatre.

Some might say that the best was saved for the final weekend of June, though. The Divine Miss M Bette Midler is headlining Caesars Palace on Friday, June 27. That same night Smash Mouth plays the Hard Rock; Social D front man and quintessential Vegas rocker Mike Ness plays the House of Blues. Mike Ness said he always looks forward to playing Vegas since it was one of the few places that let Social Distortion play back in the day. He also didnt rule out the idea of becoming the house entertainment sometime in the not-too-near future.I think some day Vegas would be the perfect place for me to be house entertainment, whether its once a month, same venue, or more, Ness said. As far as the commercial side of [that happening] I dont know if they recognize us yet maybe Wayne Newton has to die first and the new generation has to take over.Saturday is just as nice with another show by Bette Midler, Styx and Boston at the Thomas Mack Center, and Blood, Sweat & Tears at the Tropicana.Sure, Vegas is sweltering hot in the summer and yes, casinos thrive on taking away your life savings, but at least they do it all in style and with a mighty fine soundtrack, to boot that still counts for something.For full transcriptions of interviews with Jason Aldean, Mike Ness and Soilent Green visit

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