Friday, May 3rd, 2019
7:00 pm (event ends at 1:00 am)Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
$39.50 - $64.50+
This event is 18 and over
$39.50 G.A. $44.50 G.A. (day of show)
$59.50 Club, $64.50 Club (day of show)
All guests must have a valid government/state issued ID for entry to the venue. No refunds.
International customers, if you are having issues purchasing, please reach out to us at 702-862-4728 for help completing your purchase.
Tickets purchased in person, subject to $2.00 processing charge.
All general admission tickets are standing room only.
ALL TICKET PRICES INCLUDE NEVADA'S 9% LIVE ENTERTAINMENT TAX
Special room discounts via Caesars Hotels & Resorts for traveling fans. For hotel rooms use promo code: BRB15 at www.caesars.com applicable for rooms at The LINQ Hotel and the Flamingo.
*Advertised times are for doors -- show time not available*
* Venue closes between 12am - 1am unless otherwise noted*https://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/1830267/
Violent Femmes’ ninth studio album and first full-length collection in more than 15 years, WE CAN DO ANYTHING may well be part of a long musical continuum but it is also among the most provocative and playful in the legendary band’s remarkable canon. As the title makes plain, founding Femmes Gano (vocals, guitar, banjo) and Brian Ritchie (acoustic bass guitar, vocals) remain intrepid as ever before, traversing infinite genre and emotion via their immediately identifiable mash of rambunctious folk, minimalist punk, cubist blues, cosmic jazz, and back porch rock ‘n’ roll.
“What the Femmes are,” says Ritchie, “and I think we always have been, is a repository for American roots music. Most people think of us as a kind of rock band but we’re a lot more than that and I think this album represents all that in a really natural, cohesive way. It just flows smoothly between all these ideas.”
Violent Femmes came together in 1981 and were quickly applauded as one of the most inventive and original bands of the era, constantly pushing forward with their singular blend of folk and punk, sarcasm and spirituality. The Milwaukee-based band first attracted attention while busking in front of their hometown’s Oriental Theatre. The performance caught the ears of that night’s headliners, Pretenders Chrissie Hynde and the late James Honeyman-Scott, who invited the young group to open the sold out concert with a brief acoustic set. From there Violent Femmes released eight studio albums and more than a dozen iconic singles, among them such classics as “American Music,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” “Nightmares, “Add It Up,” and of course, “Blister In The Sun.” Violent Femmes’ remarkable three-decade-plus career has earned them cumulative worldwide sales in excess of 10 million, with 1983’s VIOLENT FEMMES awarded with RIAA platinum certification eight years after its initial release.
The turn of the millennium saw Violent Femmes begin a long hiatus from the studio, only coming together to record a 2009 cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” – returning the favor after Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse’s psychedelic soul version of “Gone Daddy Gone” proved a worldwide smash. Violent Femmes officially returned to full time action in 2013 with an acclaimed performance at Coachella before embarking on a wide-ranging tour that included headline dates and ecstatically received festival sets around the world.
“We went a few years without playing together,” Gano says, “but when we did it was just instant. There it is. There’s the sound we make when we play music together. When we get together to do this thing called Violent Femmes, there’s an energy between us that’s just very intuitive. That was right from the very start and it hasn’t changed.”
Violent Femmes captured their fresh momentum on the 2015 EP, HAPPY NEW YEAR. Recorded in Hobart between sold out shows at the world famous Sydney Opera House and Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art, the EP was cut live in the studio – no baffling, no isolation booth, “the right production approach for the music that we make,” says Ritchie.
“It had the feeling people are looking for from us,” he says. “A feeling that I think exemplifies the rawness of our approach.”
The aesthetic success of HAPPY NEW YEAR led Violent Femmes to consider a proper new full length LP, though of course a conventional record was never in the cards. Rather, the band was determined to keep on the way they always have, driving in their own idiosyncratic lane.
“One of the things about the band getting back together again,” says Ritchie, “was can we make some sort of a valid artistic statement? A lot of bands of our vintage return and then try to do what other people are doing nowadays. We were always outside of the times – even at our most popular we were considered outsiders – so we had no obligation to try to be current. Because we never were current. Ever.”
Violent Femmes’ timeless timelessness is manifest in the songs featured on WE CAN DO ANYTHING, with many chosen from Gano’s voluminous archives of ancient cassette demos and old journals.
“There was a massive amount of material to draw from,” he says. “I had so many cassette tapes, with songs and musical ideas recorded over 20 years or more. First we had to bring them into the digital world as to be able to access them and then it was just an incredible amount of listening. We did a whole lot of compiling and discovering forgotten songs.”
Gano unearthed and polished off a number of songs that stand out as vintage Violent Femmes, from the utterly irresistible “Memory” and the murderous “Big Car” to his fractured fairy tale, “I Could Be Anything,” all as clever and potent as they are musically kinetic. Of the album’s more recent songs, Gano co-wrote “Holy Ghost” and “Foothills” with Sam Hollander and Dave Katz (Gym Class Heroes, Katy Perry, Train), and “Issues” with Hollander, Katz, and Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin (Christina Perri, Howie Day).
“I’d written with other people,” he says, “friends or band mates, but never this kind of blind date songwriting. To go and meet somebody and sit in a room to write, knowing nothing about each other. We were all really happy with how the songs turned out, though I had thought we were writing songs for other people. But with my voice and my lyrics in there, the songs naturally fit the band even though I thought they were for somebody else to sing.”
WE CAN DO ANYTHING was recorded as Violent Femmes traveled North America on a hugely successful tour alongside Barenaked Ladies. At seven weeks, the “Last Summer On Earth 2015 Tour” was the longest live trek for the Femmes in over a decade and its effect was to sharpen the already integrated unit even further.
“There’s nothing like a well-oiled band that’s on the road,” Ritchie says. “There’s this infinitesimal adjustment you make with each other when you play together every day. Your senses become attuned to each other, to the music and the general spirit of music making.”
The trek saw Gano and Ritchie fronting a seven piece combo featuring versatile drummer Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls, Nine Inch Nails) as well as the one and only Horns of Dilemma, Violent Femmes’ ever-evolving cabal of multi-instrumentalist backing musicians. Veteran Horn of Dilemma Jeff Hamilton took on the producer role, overseeing the recording by virtue of expertise, expediency, and his long creative relationship with Violent Femmes.
“It just made sense,” Gano says. “He’s able to maneuver and communicate with both of us. He’s ingrained in what we do, he knows our strengths and weaknesses, the basic characteristics of what we’re doing and what we’re trying to go for.”
Initial tracks were recorded in Brooklyn followed by a few additional stops at studios across the country. The Nashville sessions saw Violent Femmes and the Horns of Dilemma blowing at full gale live in the studio, busting out explosive arrangements that veer on a dime from hard charging stomp to intimate melancholy. The sessions showcase the indispensible contributions of such longtime Horns as percussionist John Sparrow and saxophonist Blaise Garza – a Horn of Dilemma since he was 14 years old. Additional fuel came from Barenaked Ladies’ Kevin Hearn, who stepped off his own tour bus to lend accordion, guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals to tracks including “Issues,” “I Could Be Anything,” “What You Really Mean,” “Foothills,” and “Traveling Solves Everything.” As if that weren’t enough, the multi-talented Hearn is also responsible for WE CAN DO ANYTHING’s whimsical cover drawing.
“He’s a very good influence and a great musician,” says Ritchie. “He subtly raises the level of the music just by being there.”
“What You Really Mean,” the album’s sole cover, was penned by singer/songwriter/artist Cynthia Gayneau – a.k.a. Gano’s “oldest sibling and a really fine songwriter who most people don’t know about.” The tender track might as well be an original Gano composition, hewing remarkably close to the tunesmith’s own sonic sensibility and lyrical heart.
“I feel so close to that song,” Gano says, “I let everybody think it was one of mine, just in case anyone felt differently about it because it was written by my sister. It wasn’t until we were putting the credits together that I let it out, ‘By the way, I didn’t write this one.’ I’m thrilled with how it turned out, I think it’s gorgeous.”
Violent Femmes intend to celebrate the new album by spending significant time on the road, lighting it up for a fervent following that now encompasses multiple generations of fans. Though it will come as no surprise to the band’s legion of loyal supporters, WE CAN DO ANYTHING affirms Violent Femmes as a vital and contemporary musical force, its joyous sound and ageless energy suggesting the universe will be graced with more music before the passing of another decade.
“There certainly are songs,” Gano says. “And there will be more songs written. It’s just a matter of what we want to do. We were somehow able to do this, which I’m very glad about, but we had many many years of not being able to do it, so we’ll see…”
“Since we’ve been given the mantle of ‘elder statesmen,’” Ritchie says, “maybe we should start to behave that way. Hopefully we’ll be a little more stable than we’ve been in the past, though if you think about it, the Femmes have been going for 35 years. It’s not unusual for bands to take the occasional hiatus. What is unusual is going for 35 years and still sounding good.”
More than 17 years have passed since Iowa transplant Dave Keuning placed an ad in the local Las Vegas Weekly looking to form a band, mentioning Oasis as one of his faves. An eager 20-year-old named Brandon Flowers, who shared Keuning’s love of groups like New Order and the Cure, answered it, only to have Dave promptly hand him a TASCAM-recorded four-track demo of “Mr. Brightside.” The result was the formation of The Killers, who have released five consecutive chart-topping albums and toured the world thanks to a songwriting partnership which molded such hits as “Somebody Told Me,” “When You Were Young,” “Read My Mind,” “A Dustland Fairy Tale,” “The World We Live In” and “Spaceman,” among others.
“Brandon was definitely the best one to respond,” laughs Keuning, who, while still officially a member of The Killers, hasn’t been a part of the touring band since performing with them at Lollapalooza in Chicago last August, choosing not to follow the group for the Wonderful, Wonderful World Tour which ended this past September. “That decision was one of the hardest I’ve had to make in my whole life,” admits Dave. “On the other hand, I knew I just couldn’t do that amount of touring, nor ask them to cut down on the dates.”
Up until that Lollapalooza show Dave was the only other Killers member other than Brandon to have played at every Killers show since its first gig in early 2002. Burnt out from touring and wanting to spend more time with his 13-year-old son, Keuning is now the name for the music created by Dave in his San Diego home studio, taking hundreds of voice memos he’s stockpiled while on tour and starting to turn them into songs.
Prismism is the result, a collection of 14 tracks – with all the instruments, save some drum parts, played by Keuning himself – which, like the title says, sees things from all sides, focusing on details without missing the big picture, a Picasso’s-eye view of life’s Faustian bargains, Sophie’s choices and existential conundrums. It’s no wonder Dave includes shots of books by noted philosophers like Sartre and Foucault in his video for the harrowing title track, reliving a jealous temper tantrum in reverse, as the wanton destruction – shattered LPs, broken wine bottles and ripped-up pillows spewing feathers – miraculously fixes itself. If only humans could heal as easily.
Prismism examines our basic relationships and interactions, with family, friends and co-workers, how one can feel trapped by their surroundings, as well as those that rely on them, emotionally and/or professionally. It applies to Dave’s difficulties in reconciling his domestic and career choices and finds the solution in the very thing that brought him here in the first place – the music.
Combining both acoustic and electric guitars, as well as a longtime fascination with keyboards and electronic music – which he wasn’t allowed to explore as much as he would’ve liked in The Killers – Keuning has created a psychic diary that allows us to connect the dots and learn what brought him to a career crossroads.
“Got restless legs/And a restless heart,” he sings in “Restless Legs,” one of two songs accompanied by self-produced videos he will release digitally before the album comes out in early 2019.
“The lyrics speak for themselves,” says Keuning. “That’s just what came pouring out of me. It was all I could think of… No other subjects came to mind. It was all I had. The beauty of the words is they’re open-ended enough that you can relate them to your own situation.”
When he first began writing and recording, Keuning had no plans to sing, but finally decided to take the plunge.
“I never wanted to be the singer in The Killers,” he insists. “And I don’t care if people don’t believe me. I’ve definitely had those thoughts, but I can honestly tell you ever since I picked one up at 14, all I ever wanted to do was play the guitar.”
With idols ranging from Angus Young and Keith Richards to Michael Jackson, Keuning’s music reflects that eclectic musical palette. Synth-infused tracks like the title song and the techno- squiggles of “Pretty Faithful” share space with acoustic guitars and big beats (“The Queen’s Finest,” “Gimme Your Heart”), “Mr. Brightside”-style electric rock guitar riffs (“Broken Clocks”), a stylistic nod to New Order (“If You Say So”) and even an EDM/pop hybrid (The Edge-style melody of “Stuck Here on Earth”).
“We are numb/To all these things we can’t control” “Hope and Safety”
“In a way I’m embarrassed it’s taken this long to put out my own music,” admits Dave, who began by writing “Stuck Here on Earth,” which spurred him to keep going. “The fun was seeing it grow from an idea into a finished song,” he says. “And then I was just curious to see where it would take me. And I was pleasantly surprised by the results.”
And while he had grown tired of the long stretches away from home touring with The Killers, Keuning is anxious to play his new music to his fans, though they shouldn’t necessarily expect him to perform any of his old band’s songs, at least not right away. Even if he reserves the right to change his mind at any point. “Seems I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t,” he admits.
“Help yourself/Make things right/So recklessly” “Prismism”
Don’t call Keuning a “solo” project. Although Dave played most of the instruments he is open to enlisting new players and exploring new collaborations, John JR Robinson whose drum credits include Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You” and Madonna’s “Express Yourself “ just to name a couple of his many credits played on “The Night,” Mark Stoermer played some keyboards on “Pretty Faithful” and Seth Luloff played drums on half the album. In the end, he is trusting his talents to point the way to the future.
While admitting he’s still actively sending in song ideas for the next Killers album, he wonders if perhaps some of his new music will catch their ear. “But there’s no stopping me now. I’m going to pump out new music for the rest of my life, for audiences big or small, Killers or no Killers. Now that I’ve got a taste of how enjoyable this is.”
Prismism: it’s all how you look at it and listen to it, but one thing’s certain: Keuning’s here to stay.
Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
3545 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV, 89109