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September 22, 2017

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Rumble with the jungle animals

Jaguar Love joins Kid Meets Cougar for free touring concert series


Courtesy Photo

Portland-based Jaguar Love will perform Sunday at the Thunderbird Lounge at the Aruba.


  • What:Jaguar Love
  • When: 10 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Thunderbird Lounge at the Aruba, 1215 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas 89104
  • Cost: Free

Love is in the air, or in the Rumble's case, it's in the Thunderbird Lounge at the Aruba.

This month's installment of the free touring concert series embraces Portland-based electro-indie duo Jaguar Love, along with local acts Kids Meets Cougar and Pan De Sal at 10 p.m. Sunday.

With this lineup, there's definite dance-party potential — as long as cougars and jaguars play well together.

Las Vegas Weekly phoned Jaguar Love — singer Johnny Whitney and guitarist Cody Votolato — which is headlining all the stops on the West Coast, "somewhere in between San Francisco and Los Angeles" just after their Rumble appearance in the city by the bay.

How did you guys get involved with the Rumble?

"Actually our manager knew some of the guys that did the Rumble, I think they were friends, and they got talking and thought it would be cool to have us be a part of it and you know — we really liked the idea. It seemed to be a good match."

How do you feel about playing with different local bands at each stop?

"It's cool — it's always kind of a treat to meet people that live in the city and get their perspective on what's going on there and everything."

Which city are you looking forward to playing the most?

"We were looking forward to San Francisco, but I've been hearing a lot about Vegas. We had kinda a weird show there recently, so I'm looking forward to that one to be honest."

Why was the last show here awkward?

"This summer we had a really last minute booked show at a weird little bar — it was like a tranny bar or something. It was cool though. It was just weird because no one was there. It was booked like a week in advance or something. But we had a show so that's good."

You have a new album coming out next month, is it going to be similar to your last release or can we expect your sound to vary?

"Yeah, March 2, it's quite a bit different because we wrote this whole record by programming it. All the drums and bass are all synth and electronic drums so it's got a more dance floor feel to the album than kinda the more rock thing that we did on Take Me to the Sea."

Will you be playing a lot of the new stuff on Sunday?

"It's gonna be only songs from the new record that we're playing. We haven't really had a chance to rework some of the old ones quite yet, but we're going to be doing that on our next U.S. tour. "

Speaking of reworking, you were a three piece on the first — what're the perks and drawbacks to playing now as a duo?

"The perks are it's much easier to like set up and all that, and play. The drawback is sometimes in a live situation when you don't have a drummer, it can kind of seem like not as vibrant or intense, especially if the PA's kind of lackluster [then] our live show suffers a little bit because it kind of just sounds bad you know — but we always still put on a good show I think either way. Sometimes the sound is out of our control so we just perform the best we can."

What can fans expect from a live show?

"We're highly energetic when we play and we try to get the crowd involved. We spend a little bit of time usually in the crowd throughout the show, which I can't tell sometimes if people really like it or if they're really annoyed by it, but you know depending on the vibe of the show we'll spend lots of time in the crowd playing. [We] like for people to dance and have a good time and leave feeling like they've experienced something that's really cool."

I read somewhere that your name has to do with Johnny's singing sounding like a jaguar's scream, is that true?

"No, that's not true at all. I've never heard that, but it's kind of funny! [Laughs.] No, it was sort of a struggle to come up with a band name and we went through a handful of different ones. Johnny had really wanted to use Jaguar in the name and I wanted to use Love so it was just like why don't we just put it together? And it looked good written down, and it sounded good to us, so we just went with it. I wish I could say there was some deep meaning behind the name but it just kind of felt good. [Laughs.]"

You were both former members of the Blood Brothers. Do you think you have a lot of the same fans from that or does Jaguar Love's style attract a different crowd?

"It's hard to say, there definitely was a little bit of spill off but not like a ton. I think we've definitely just been creating our own world and being engaged in that. ... Most people who like us know about the Blood Brothers but I think there are lots of people who are just finding out about us that don't. ... We've definitely gotten some criticism from people who didn't know that, saying that we were ripping off the Blood Brothers and that the singer just sounded like the guy from [them] — which is kinda funny. ... We try to identify with the Blood Brothers as little as possible, we don't want to try and live off of that. It's something to be proud of, but we're also really proud of Jaguar Love and this is what means the most to us in our lives right now."

— Originally published on

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