Lovers & Friends
Remember when MTV still played music videos? If you do, here’s a festival for you. With a ridiculously loaded lineup of over 50 R&B and hip-hop acts, Lovers & Friends is an open-air survey of the sounds that ruled the airwaves in the late ’90s/early aughts, from chart queens such as Ms. Lauryn Hill, TLC and Ciara to R&B smooth talkers such as Usher, Ne-Yo and Akon to rappers Ludacris, Nelly. Vegas has has become a destination market for music festivals of nearly every genre. Add R&B to the list when Lovers & Friends hits town at Saturday and Sunday at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, 311 W. Sahara Ave. Tickets start at $195; loversandfriendsfest.com.
Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Gala
In 1972, Vassili Sulich of “Folies Bergere” gathered other dancers from Strip shows for a series of performances at UNLV. From those humble beginnings, Nevada Ballet Theatre emerged, and it’s celebrating that heritage with a 50th Anniversary Gala. Scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, the evening will feature performances by Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre students, the group’s Future Dance Scholars and Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets, principal dancers with the San Francisco Ballet. Tickets start at $40.95 at thesmithcenter.com.
‘Clown Bar 2’
Majestic Repertory Theatre had such success with “Clown Bar,” Adam Szymkowicz’s noir comedy in which cop Happy Mahoney returns to his former life as a clown to investigate the death of his junkie brother, artistic director Troy Heard commissioned a sequel. In the interactive “Clown Bar 2,” it’s a year later, Happy has gone missing, and two cops he used to work with go undercover as clowns to learn what happened. The world-premiere production is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays through May 29 at 1217 S. Main St. Tickets are $35 at www.majesticrepertory.com.
No need to leave the epic recordings to the metal dudes: Country superstar Eric Church wrote and tracked his latest triple (!) album, “Heart & Soul,” while on a monthlong retreat to the North Carolina mountains, where he and his band created a song in the morning and then recorded it that night. The result is a 24-song collection of soulful, socially aware, roots rock-meets-arena rock that should sound right at home in the expansive confines of T-Mobile Arena,which Church headlines at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets start at $39; axs.com.
Derek Hough: ‘No Limit’
There’s no limit to what Derek Hough can do as the dancer, choreographer, actor and singer brings his stage show back to The Venetian’s Summit Showroom. From ballroom to salsa, the cast performs it all in a high-energy 90-minute production. Hough’s “No Limit” show kicks off next week, running at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays through Sept. 10. Tickets start at $45; ticketmaster.com.
No bones about it, Phoebe Bridgers’ penchant for skeleton-adorned attire seems especially apropos for a Friday the 13th show. The acclaimed singer-songwriter brings her introspective brand of indie rock to the Amp at Craig Ranch with a special guest appearance by Bridgers’ former band, avant-garde rockers Sloppy Jane. Doors open at 6 and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $43; etix.com.
“More Than I Can Chew” is a telling song title from “Hushed and Grim,” the latest record from progressive-minded metallers Mastodon. A sprawling double album clocking in at nearly 90 minutes, it is indeed a lot to digest, and will surely suffocate some with a sensation akin to getting buried in an avalanche of anvils. But for those with a healthy appetite for knotty, labyrinthine jams dark as a mine shaft, it’s quite the feast. See Mastodon at 8 p.m. Friday at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. Tickets start at $50; houseofblues.com/lasvegas.
FOOD & DRINK
SoulBelly marks 1 year
SoulBelly BBQ, opened by chef Bruce Kalman, a James Beard Award nominee and “Top Chef” contestant, celebrates its first anniversary beginning 5 p.m. Friday at the restaurant, 1327 S. Main St. The party features dishes from SoulBelly and bites from five guest chefs: John Bates and Evan LeRoy of Austin, Texas; Burt Bakman of Los Angeles; Keris Kuwana of Las Vegas; and Andre James of the Raiders. The party also features brews, specialty cocktails and live music, including chef Kalman performing with house band Hot Sauce from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50; eventbrite.com, then search SoulBelly.
Johnathan L. Wright
Painting for a cause
Refuge for Women Las Vegas, which provides support programs to empower sexually exploited women, is presenting Poppy Prism from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Pinot’s Palette, 2260 Village Walk Drive, Suite 104, Henderson. The evening features a painting class, light snacks and appetizers, and a cash bar. Tickets: $42. Purchase: pinotspalette.com/thedistrict/events. All proceeds benefit Refuge for Women.
Johnathan L. Wright
Barbershop Battle of the Bands
The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails, a speakeasy inside The Cosmopolitan, is hosting its Battle of the Bands on Thursdays, with the finale June 9. Bands are competing for a $2,000 prize and a six-month residency at The Barbershop, which offers men’s grooming, a full bar and nightly live music from behind a janitor’s door. Visit thebarbershoplv.com/bob for details on the battle.
Johnathan L. Wright