For a city too distracted to pay attention, Las Vegas has almost always boasted a soundtrack dependent on words. It’s a town that exalts the singer and takes the band for granted. Even all the thump-thump anthems in the Strip megaclubs include a vocalist, and pity the DJ who drops an instrumental and gives the dance floor a reason to return to the bar.
However, for one night, you can go hear some music and not have to endure some singer trying to mask being pussywhipped with fake swagger, or yelping about his daddy issues.
Instrumental Fest started with The Bitters’ guitarist Jeff Murphy, who, according to bandmate Frank Klepacki, had long wanted a night exclusively featuring live instrumental acts. After deciding to go for it by randomly picking a date and then soliciting other musician-friends from vocal-less groups, he hit up southwest bar Money Plays, which offered to stage such an event.
The Bitters, who fuse Frank Zappa and traditional metal influences into a rhythmically intricate prog/fusion mix, will be joined by fellow genre-melding act Dinner Music of the Gods, surf rock mainstays Thee Swank Bastards and newer outfit Fish Leg — all performing with one another for the first time. Words may be banned, singers may be exiled to the bar area, but all musical styles will be welcome — a rare night of free-form music in a local bar.
The night will also act as a CD release party for The Bitters’ new album Live in Vegas, a recorded document of the band’s 2012 shows from venues like Money Plays, Double Down and Motor City Cafe. It’s already available online, but if you want to hear it the best way possible, just come to Instrumental Fest — the band will play it in its entirety. 10 p.m.; Money Plays, 4755 W. Flamingo Road, www.moneyplayslv.com, free.