Countering Typical Vegas Culture: A Weekend at Bunkhouse Saloon

Colette Pomerleau / March 29, 2017

I spent a weekend in downtown Las Vegas in one of the last music venues the city has left. Bunkhouse Saloon provided a much-needed break from the typical city landscape. I had previously been drowning in neon and EDM, but the cowboy-themed bar hosted a weekend of incredible music. For that, I was able to breathe again.

Soft Kill. Photo: Press.
Soft Kill. Photo: Press.

Friday night’s show with Soft Kill was just the beginning for their west coast + European tour with Moving Units, Modern English and Chameleonsvox. The eager crowd was lucky enough to hear new music, as the band is coming out with their fourth record soon. Their latest full length album, Choke (released in 2016 via Profound Lore Records) “speaks on topics of loss and longing, and the choices we are all asked to make.”

I was speaking on loss and longing and knew that I would relate more than ever to their sounds and words.I recently moved from Portland, Oregon, where most of the band is based. Being able to experience them in Las Vegas felt surreal, because all of the memories I associate with their music conflict with the overindulging culture of “Sin City”. Soft Kill’s vibe is much more than it’s brooding tone; the band has a noticeable progression from their first album, An Open Door (2011), but the urgency is consistent.

Most memorable live track:
“Selfish Love” live was all I needed to feel content with everything in the world. Soft Kill proved that they could carve out a universe within their recordings and live performances, distinct enough to drown out even the most obnoxious city.

To hear more:

GØGGS. Photo: Press.
GØGGS. Photo: Press.

Seeing GØGGS headline Saturday night was worth the repetition in spending my weekend in the same place. GØGGS is made up of Ty Segall, Chris Shaw of Ex-Cult and Charles Moothart of CFM and Fuzz. According to the band, the name means nothing. This collaboration means everything to fans of their other projects. The musicians all share at least one common theme between their stage presence: it always feels like things are about to explode.

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Most memorable live track:
“Glendale Junkyard”, a song “inspired by one of the biggest junkyards” Shaw has ever seen, was the most relatable, touching again on the excessiveness of living in Las Vegas. During their set, Shaw paced the stage and stared out past the crowd with memorable expressions. Segall and Moothart exchanged guitar and drums during a few of the songs, which strangely stirred up the crowd even more. By the end of it all, half of the venue knew each other from throwing elbows and spitting out sounds, mimicking the ones that numbed my senses by the time I was walking out the door.

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