the Double Down Saloon
Las Vegas

by Jarret Keene
Las Vegas City Life

Two a.m. on a weekend night at the Double Down Saloon isn’t the most comfortable place on Earth.

You can cut the cigarette smoke with a knife. The guys’ toilet is unmentionable. There’s even a kid wearing a spiked Mohawk. (Damn, that’s a lot of Mom’s hairspray.)

Worse: On April 8, opening bands the Livends (Texas gothabilly) and the Wastrels (San Diego hardcore) performed the most miserably irritating sets I’ve heard in the 15 years I’ve been attending punk shows. Dudes, quit prolonging the inevitable; jump right into flipping burgers or withdrawing from your trust funds. You suck, no matter what your girlfriends tell you.

After the out-of-towners, Vegas punk trio the Pervz went on. I’ve heard they’re about to sign a deal with an independent label. This is likely true, as the Pervz are polished, good-looking and demonstrate a considerable amount of energy. Too bad their music lacks emotion, passion and intelligence.

Tsar, on the other hand, is an L.A.-based quartet that specializes in punked-out, hell-for-leather power-pop. The band’s music sounds like James Williamson-era Stooges covering Cheap Trick after ingesting a shitload of speed.

Tsar absolutely tore the fucking roof off the Double Down, so much so that I don’t think the audience even knew what was happening. Songs like “Band, Girls, Money” and “Straight” hit like a gale-force hurricane filled with razorblades, causing me to pledge that whenever some hipster praises the lame butt-rocking of The Darkness I’m gonna flay him with a copy of Tsar’s upcoming (June 7) release on TVT Records.

The next night, Tsar set fire to Matteo’s Underground Lounge in Boulder City. Lanky frontman Jeff Whalen, wearing a T-shirt that reads, “I Have the Pussy So I Make the Rules,” played to an audience of 40. You wouldn’t have known it from watching him. The guy put his heart into every note, riff and pissed-off lyric.

That night was also Poizen Ivy’s birthday party, and the SinCitySounds.com mistress had the great taste to bring Tsar to Vegas for these shows. For that, she gets a big sloppy one from this music writer.

thanks to aaron clemens for that heads up! + ashley meets jay and drew + anti