HITS Daily Double
With the venues all within a couple blocks of each other, this section of Freemont St. is fast becoming a new entertainment district. It could become like Austin’s Sixth St., but with casinos, cheap hotels and the Glitter Gulch.


Weasels, Bands Converge on Downtown Vegas for Fast-Paced Amplify Confab
By Rodel Delfin

The 2006 Amplify Music Conference in downtown Las Vegas is in the books. The confab featured over 80 acts (more than 250 artists nationwide submitted music), and six industry panels were held over a three-day period. The event added a new twist by picking several acts that had standout perfs throughout the event to perform on the third night, and then selecting a final four to receive awards, similar to Sundance. Conference organizers placed judges at each venue reviewing acts throughout the first two nights. Although it may be perceived as a talent competition, it did serve the purpose of bringing to attention and re-showcasing acts that otherwise may have been missed by industry folks due to schedule conflicts or simply being not known about. Another appealing aspect of the conference was the short showcase length: All showcases during the conference were 15 minutes long. This allowed conference-goers to see more bands in a shorter period of time, and obviously if the band sucked after the first song, there were only about 10 minutes left in their set. With the venues (Celebrity Theatre, Jillian’s and the Beauty Bar) all within a couple blocks of each other, this section of Freemont St. is fast becoming a new entertainment district, and we hear more clubs are scheduled to open next year. It could be like Austin’s Sixth St., but with casinos, cheap hotels and, of course, the Glitter Gulch (plus, the conference badge allowed comp’d entry to Olympic Gardens and the Sapphire Club). August is down season in Las Vegas, so downtown hotel rates averaged about $40, which made it cheap for bands. Meanwhile, Strip hotels like the Wynn and The Hotel at Mandalay Bay had rooms 50% below their regular prices. (Btw, the SW Steakhouse at the Wynn definitely rivals Mastro’s.) So which bands stood out from the crowd? Here’s the short list: Fletch, Away Station, Embassy, Deer & the Headlights, Lydia Vance, Forget McCarron, the Tramlines, Vitruvian, the Scene and Black Market, who received the top award. And kudos to the industry folks who participated on the panels, representing a slice of current and up-and-coming players in the music biz: J/Arista’s Victor Murgatroyd, Worlds End manager Andrew Brightman, Interscope’s Jeff Sosnow, Atlantic’s Danny Wimmer, Angry Bear Talent manager Berko, Geffen’s Evan Peters, Virgin’s Ken Blaustein, Hollywood’s Matt Harris, Island’s Will Westfall, FearlessKevin Knight, SideOneDummy’s Bill Armstrong, MySpace’s Jon Pikus, We the People’s Nate Israel, BMI’s Myles Lewis, Sony/ATV’s Jon Nelson, Warner/Chappell’s Stephanie St. Gal de Pons, Windswept Pacific’s Todd Parker, ASCAP’s Jennifer Knoepfle, manager John Boyle and Killers attorney/manager Robert Reynolds. We’re hoping to win our gambling money back next year… BACK TO THE NEWS: Lots of heat building for the David Ferreria- repped PlayRadioPlay! Word on the street is that the band already has an offer from one East Coast major. They return to the Big Apple this week for their second trip of label meet-and-greets… Meanwhile, label calls continue for Amplify bands—the Robert Reynolds-repped Away Station and the Kevin Held-managed Embassy, who already have a pub deal with hotshot Jon Nelson at Sony/ATV… Finally, we hear an East Coast major is about to close a deal for Shut-up Stella, which has signed with Ron Moss at Rondor Music Publishing. So get on it if it’s not too late… BUZZIN’: Aviatic and the ExplodersHit me up: [email protected]

SIDESTORY Thurs., Sept. 7, TBD, Troubadour