The City of Las Vegas hates live music off the strip or out of casinos. It has to be the case, because of the 7 years I have been supporting independent music we don’t get all ages venues open very long unless there is a large casino or corporation chain attached. March 1st, 2012 changed even more entertainment laws to ensure the closure or adding even more restrictions to those restricted few that do have the ability to hold such events. Then if those owners do actually go through the many hurdles of the city, it seems that all it takes is one vocal crackhead from downtown or an over bearing grandmother with a toy dog in her purse in the burbs to say they can’t hear the voices in their head or Dancing with the Stars on TV to stop hundreds from having a great, safe time. Then councilmen and women and other elected officials get to throw their weight around, listening to the loud, not the masses who are actually enjoying the events and putting money back into the area (Jack in the Box tacos after a show!? ENTERTAINMENT TAXES!?).
So the masses need to get loud. Since March 1st both the Junkyard (outdoor venue) and The Aruba Hotel was affected most, to the point of both cancelling shows and changing the age limit of others. This is confusing to me, because everything they had set out to do was approved by the city previously, but since that March 1st change, even the enforcers of the law stated they haven’t had to harass this many businesses entertainment licenses in the past. I suggest all supporters of independent and local music alike should ask for clear answers from their lawmakers in Nevada and other local scenes that make it difficult to have small to mid level all ages concerts. Ask them to give us a clear path so we can bring music to the Valley and not force the kids to casinos for concerts. Why can every other live music market have concerts with bar and food and all ages, but Las Vegas’ venues have to be strip based with those ‘luxuries’?
What these larger corporate venues and lawmakers don’t understand is that we need to have the ability to grow bands and develop them, both musically and professionally. If there are no options to grow a band from a small 150-300 capacity 21+ bar to a 1200+ capacity all ages concert hall, it only hurts the amount of bands that can be successful in town and makes bands wanting to play here, take on the daunting task of having to be known in other forms (video, tv or movie placement, radio, etc) before being able to get a show here, which will have to be casino or strip based. If you don’t know the industry, being able to move up in a market is key, and since the Huntridge, Jillians and University Theatre opened and closed, we are missing that mid level venue that helps those bands make that leap to the big time. We do, however, have an over saturation of those large 1200+ cap concert halls and small 300 and under cap rooms, with only a hand full of those small venues being all ages options.
The best way to show the city and the people with money that there is a demand for more, is to attend and or support the ones we do have. There are great independent, regional, national and even international bands playing every week at such venues as The Sanctuary, The Cheyenne Saloon, The Beauty Bar, The Box Office, The Bunkhouse, LVCS, Bikini Bar, Boomers, Aruba, Yayo Tacos, eStrings, Gold Mine Tavern, and more. If you see someone promoting one of these places online, share it to your friends, or if you see a flier on your car, pass it forward, not to the trash. Very small gestures like that can go along way in supporting the growth of music in Las Vegas. Remember everyone has different music tastes, if you see something you may not be interested in, chances are you are friends with someone who is. If you can share puppies, memes and celebrity gossip, why not do something good for aspiring musicians and share music, concerts and links!?