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Fear notes: Ministry of Love to continue with big show despite singer's illness

Ministry of Love
Ministry of Love

If you've thus far held off on seeing Ministry of Love play, or include yourself among its fans, its Friday show is a must-attend.

The Las Vegas alt-rock band's Aug. 17 headlining show at the House of Blues is the official CD release party for its EP, A Promise For Forever, which was recently released on Negative Progression Records. So Friday night, House of Blues, record-release party -- all signifiers of big, noteworthy show.

However, a larger purpose casts a different, though hardly dimmer light on the event.

Yesterday, the band posted on its Facebook that singer Meg Vitale has been diagnosed with cancer. Specifically, she's dealing with papillary thyroid carcinoma. It has reached her lymph nodes, which means surgery and radiation treatment are imminent. It also means after this concert, Ministry of Love faces some serious downtime.

"I'll be going to UCLA for treatment," she says. "I'm terrified. Trying to stay positive, but cancer is a pretty scary word. ... For the first time in my life, I'm speechless. ... Physically I feel fine, just tired a lot."

However, a cancer diagnosis has not completely thwarted a live performance war horse like Vitale, who insists Friday's show must go on. "I'll be giving my all on stage Friday, not like I don't always, but it's going to be a big one for me, and my last for a long time," says Vitale. "I can't wait."

It's a blow to the band to encounter such rotten luck fresh after the release of A Promise, which sold out its initial shipment at both Las Vegas and Arizona locations of Zia Records, and has been getting the big national publicity push, according to bassist Patrick "Pulsar" Trout. The EP was actually completed last year, which the band hoped would whet the appetites of labels interested in releasing a full-length album. Instead, Negative Progression opted to release the EP looking to whet the appetites of music fans before sending the band into the studio again. 

MOL is already a veteran of the House of Blues stage, having played three times before. "But this is our very first time headlining there, which is more than a little bit of pressure, but is also super exciting for us," says Trout.

And no doubt poignant, as Trout and his bandmates rally around their frontwoman: "We're going to stand by Meg through this all the way."

Friday's show, with Next Generation Rising, The Runaway Lives, Amarionette, Scream the Lie, Hometown Letdown, Take the Lead, starts at 5 p.m. Tickets are $12. 

IN OTHER LIVE MUSIC NEWS: Formerly local-based Americana quintet Romance Fantasy has scheduled a one-off comeback show Aug. 16 at The Royal House. It's been five years since Vegas has seen the (full) band in action, as frontman Michael Valentine -- born Rod Pardey -- has been living in L.A. and most of his bandmates elsewhere in the country, but the opportunity for shows both here and in SoCal was too hard to pass up. 

"We are reuniting now because a good friend of the band is having a blowout 40th birthday party weekend in L.A.," says native son Pardey. "Friends were excited to hear we would all be in the same town. They suggested; we said no. Then they pleaded; we said no. Then they used the word 'genius' to describe my songwriting; we booked immediately thereafter."

And then there was the lure of playing music again. Well, sort of. "I miss being creative," says Pardey. "I miss the buzz of a good idea. But the execution is tough. Real tough."

Romance Fantasy has previously released a self-titled EP, and played for both South by Southwest music conference in Austin and The Killers, whose song "The Ballad of Michael Valentine" pays homage to the band. In fact, drummer Ronnie Vannucci did time in RF before he officially joined The Killers. 

The free show, with Trevor and the Joneses and World Record, starts at 9 p.m.

NEON REVERB UPDATE: Promoters have recently added shows to the fest's Sept. 11-16 installment. They include: Natural Child (Sept. 12 at Beauty Bar), Superhumanoids and JJAMZ (Sept. 13, Beauty Bar), AgesandAges and Dry River Yacht Club (Sept. 13, Bunkhouse), Moonface, Foxygen, and The Knew (Sept. 15, Beauty Bar), Black Light Burns and Psychostick (Sept. 15, Bunkhouse), and Hunx & His Punx, Shannon & the Clams and The Bonaventures (Sept. 16, Las Vegas Hostel Pool). Updates can be found at www.neonreverb.com.

NEW SHOW ANNOUCEMENTS: The Joint has recently announced some notable shows for its concert calendar. Silversun Pickups will play the Hard Rock Hotel venue Sept. 14 with School of Seven Bells and Atlas Genius. Tickets are $25-$30, on sale Saturday. Guns N' Roses will play 12 dates between Oct. 31 and Nov. 24. Those tickets, at $41-$111, go on sale Friday. ... The Cosmopolitan's Boulevard Pool will host Blink-182 Sept. 28-29; $55 go on sale Friday. ... The Album Leaf will play Artifice on Sept. 28 with Drew Andrews; tickets are $15 at the Big Mark's Tickets website. ... Beauty Bar has a handful of new shows posted, including King Tuff (Aug. 30), Penguin Prison and Class Actress (Oct. 6, as part of its 8th anniversary party), Old Man Markley (Oct. 18), and METZ (Nov. 10). Ticket info for those shows TBA.