Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 | 2 a.m.
From blues to hip-hop, old-school Vegas lounge vibes to late-summer reggae, this weekend’s musical offerings are all over the map. Make your plans accordingly but save Saturday night for the big kickoff at Sam Boyd Stadium.
J. COLE The rapper and producer will take a break from his current 34-date K.O.D. tour next week to headline his own inaugural Dreamville Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, joined by SZA, Nelly, Big Sean and more. But first, he pays a visit to T-Mobile Arena Friday night with support from Young Thug, Jaden Smith and Earthgang. September 7, info at t-mobilearena.com.
BIG BLUES BENDER This fabulous blues bash at the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas is celebrating its fifth year and gunning for another weekend sellout. Topping the lineup this year are Tab Benoit, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, JJ Grey and Mofro, the Marcus King Band, Samantha Fish, Lee Fields & The Expressions and Curtis Salgado. September 7-9, info at bigbluesbender.com.
PAUL SHAFFER When David Letterman’s former musical maestro brought the vintage vibes to Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace for the first time in December, his special guests included the Righteous Brothers, Penn Jillette and Martin Short. Paul Shaffer is the ultimate lounge act, mixing in plenty of stories from the superstars he’s worked with among his favorite soul and R&B tunes, and he’s back at it this weekend with more surprises in store. September 7-8, info at caesars.com.
UNLV VS. UTEP After the Rebels’ promising performance at USC last week, dare we say this is the year UNLV football turns it around and makes a greater impact? It’s time to hit Sam Boyd for the home opener and find out. September 8, info at unlvtickets.com.
THE ORIGINAL WAILERS Mandalay Bay Beach, the south Strip resort’s famous, sprawling aquatic playground, is nowhere near finished hosting summery outdoor concerts this season. Next up: reggae legends the Original Wailers, led by Bob Marley’s former guitarist Al Anderson, with support from Ozomatli and Chali 2na. September 8, info at mandalaybay.com.