The Vegas Punk Scene
Those who bitch about “the scene … maaaaan” always did and probably always will, but the state of the scene is pretty damn good if you’re really being honest with yourself. There are more good bands than ever and more decent venues than ever. We have a few promoters who actually give a damn about bands and putting on quality shows (you know who you are and we thank you) and that’s a few more than most places. There is something cool to do almost every single night that doesn’t involve Elvis or a blue man … all you need to do is pay attention and then get off your ass and go. The “good old days” are now – and always have been. Respect the past but don’t deny that the future is pretty bright too.
Jason Bracelin & The LV Review Journal
Yes, they did a feature on the label and we are eternally grateful. But that’s not the point. With print publications dropping like flies and most mainstream pubs abandoning local music in favor of DJs and the absurdly over hyped “nightlife community” the LVRJ, and Jason Bracelin in particular, continue to write about, support and feature local artists. Hell, Sounds of Threat – an honest to goodness, noisey punk band – were featured in the actual newspaper! That’s as cool as it gets. If you see Jason out in the world – thank him. You’ll miss him when he’s gone on to bigger and better.
If you’d have told me three years ago that SquidHat would eventually be putting out vinyl (and some of you did) I’d have said (and did say) “You’re nuts. It’s too expensive. It’s hard to do. It’s scaaaaary.” Well, here we are three years and six vinyl releases later and Pirate’s Press was a big part of it. They made it easy. They made it look good. They didn’t gouge us or try to rip us off. They assigned us an actual person (love ya Carl) who works with us on every project and every step of the way. And the product is absolutely first rate. These are honest people doing great work for all the right reasons. Check them out.
The Double Down Saloon
The Double Down celebrated its 22nd anniversary this year and, if you are a part of the Vegas scene, chances are it has played some impactful role in your life. You might’ve seen your favorite band there, played there, done something horrid in the bathroom there, whatever … everyone has a Double Down story. For me it’s seeing Peccadilloes for the first time in 2005 and falling in love with Las Vegas for the right reasons. No Double Down – no SquidHat. You can decide for yourself if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. In Baltimore, where I grew up in the 80s, we had Hammerjacks. It was a legendary, 7 day a week rock club that got all the cool bands. You always had a place to go that got what you were about and would have LIVE music that you cared about. We were sure it would last forever. It didn’t. In fact, it is now under a parking lot of Raven’s Stadium. Things were never the same for Baltimore music after that and I assure you that if something were to lead to the demise of the Double Down our scene wouldn’t be the same either. Don’t just enjoy it … appreciate it.
Running a small business means a lot of time chained to a computer in the spare room that you lovingly you’re your “office.” Postmates is an app that allows me to experience the things I love about living here even when I can’t physically leave the house. They will quite literally pick up anything from anywhere and bring it to you within an hour. The app lets you track the car from pick up to delivery and the drivers are cool. They even get to know you by name. Seriously folks: life changing. Want to have brunch from Bouchon in your PJs while watching Saturday morning cartoons? Done. Want to eat bacon wrapped shrimp from El Dorado Cantina in your undies without the fear of arrest? Done. Think Uber, but for food. Something that actually makes a smart phone smart.
Living In Las Vegas
If you live in Las Vegas and hate it, wow, I am sorry. I fucking love it. I’ve met more cool people, made more friends and met the love of my life here in a mere three short, sweet years. I get to do what I want, around my schedule, and I’m not even in the top 100 weirdest or most interesting people in my circle of friends. Every day is as exciting or as boring as I want it to be – but by choice – not circumstance. I get to watch bands, smoke, drink and eat sushi at 4am if I want to … and NONE of it involves the strip. New York is fine … but shit still closes there. Here you are limited only by your lack of imagination. Yes, it is hot, it’s the desert. Atlantis is wet, because it’s underwater. No one lied about that in the brochure. Everyone says “You’ll hate it if you stay 10 years.” Well, I hope I get a chance to find out.
Vegas Bands On Tour
Touring is still a bitch but lots of local bands did it this year and not only survived but made new fans in the process. From the Gashers to the Quitters hitting the road for two week stretches to the 45 day run that Mercy Music did … to the ridiculous, Santa-like “visit every house in America” schedule that Bobby Meader put together – hitting the road is still the best way to be heard, get better at what you do, and make a living playing music. The van is mightier than the cable modem – if you’re serious about what you do.
The Artistic Armory
The Artistic Armory isn’t just cool … it’s necessary. The thankless and difficult task of running an all-ages venue that actually takes care of artists and gives a whole new generation a chance to see the future of music in a safe and social environment makes Dustin a Nobel Prize candidate in my book. A scene starts with its all-ages crowds and thrives because of it. The Armory is leading the way and becoming the stuff of legend in the process.
The Return Of Vinyl
I love the fact that vinyl is back, and not just because we release our bands on vinyl but because this renewed interest in the medium has allowed us the opportunity to do so. Listening to vinyl makes music the focus. You have to want it. There is nothing quite as cool as kicking back and really listening to a record. Plus, the medium allows the artist to tell a story in two sides rather than just trying to write that “hit single”. Long live the vinyl LP. I hope we get another 65 years out of it.
If you’re reading this then I’m grateful for you and you didn’t suck at all in 2014. Even if you hate SquidHat or me personally you’ve still taken an interest in something that I am very passionate about and that makes it all worth it. If you came to a show, bought a CD/LP/download, made a flier, hung a flier, wrote an article (good or bad), cursed our name, put up or even covered up our sticker in a bar … whatever … then you are what makes “this thing” great because you are why we do it. AND, if you are one of the amazing artists that made awesome music for us to release I can’t thank you enough. We are creating our grandchildren’s “classic rock” and I, for one, am damn proud of it. – Allan Carter