Psycho Las Vegas 2017: Saturday Recap
Shockingly, our trio of psychos awoke with nary a hangover (I think?) on Saturday morning. Our plan was to try and squeeze an epic brunch in before our first “must see” band of the day (Cough) was scheduled to appear on The Joint stage. Ian and I were debating for a few weeks whether we should venture over to the Wynn for their buffet (an experience I once documented in 2013), or go with the old reliable Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan. We opted for the latter, and thankfully when we arrived shortly before 10am there was no line to be seated. I’m a wee bit embarrassed by the sheer volume of food I put away during our morning feast, but it propelled me through the entire rest of the day (my only other sustenance on Saturday was alcohol) so I guess in hindsight it was a good idea. Anyway, here’s an absolutely disgusting look at everything I ate that morning in addition to a few cups of coffee:
Back at the Hard Rock we found ourselves with a little time to spare before Cough so we cracked some beers to get the party started. Fueled up and anxious for a hard and heavy day/night, we descended to The Joint as if shot out of a canon and commenced our Day 2 Psycho Las Vegas experience.
Ever since Ian recommended Cough’s Still They Pray last year I have been obsessed with that record. I ranked it #12 on my list of the top 100 albums of 2016. When I was in Denver I was giddy when I stepped foot into TRVE Brewing and heard the record blaring from their sound system. Cough was one of the bands I was most excited to see at the festival, and they did not disappoint. Their set was the perfect combination of slow, loud, and heavy. You might describe it as punishing. Can I accurately tell you exactly which songs they played? No. Can I tell you that it was a complete sonic assault, a wall of noise that hit you in the face for almost an hour straight? Yes. So, so good. See these guys if you get a chance. You won’t regret it.
After Cough’s set we returned to our room to drink Grimm Color Field, Alchemist Heady Topper and Grimm Double Dry-Hopped Forcefield. We skipped Diamond Head and Summoner…I think? Did we stop by the Vinyl stage and listen to Summoner? So early, and yet already my memory is hazy…
While I’d listened to M and the self-titled EP at Ian’s request before Psycho, I was lukewarm on seeing Myrkur’s set on Saturday afternoon. Thank God I decided to head downstairs with Ian and Ben to scope things out, because it turned out to be one of the best performances of the entire weekend. Backed by Kayo Dot (!), Myrkur (Amalie Bruun) brought pretty much everyone who entered the Joint to their knees with her one-woman-black-metal act. Judging by the new songs she played from the forthcoming album (which I pre-ordered from my phone minutes after the set), Mareridt is going to be a really special record. If you want to soak in more of what we experienced in Vegas, check out this performance recorded two nights earlier in New York.
Song To Hall Up High
Early Saturday evening turned into a complete shit-show as we prepped ourselves for the Inter Arma pool experience. Far more booze was consumed than the previous day, and whatever altered states we achieved on Friday night were exceeded on Saturday. Somehow Ian and Ben found the time (and stomach space) to eat poutine at one of the Hard Rock’s other restaurants (Goose Island I think? I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened), and if memory serves they left the premises to run some errands that I was not a part of…maybe that was while I was watching Earthless and Elephant Tree, which were two sets I watched by myself.
Man, I was so happy to wander into The Joint and hear the familiar sound of Earthless jamming out. I haven’t seen them live in years but they’re still so fucking good at what they do. When I moved to LA and would see them around with bands like Ancestors, Tortoise or Titan, drummer Mario Rubalcaba was the guy I simply couldn’t look away from. Much like the late Jerry Fuchs, he’s a monster. He’s so captivating it almost detracts from his bandmates. It’s hard to tell when songs begin and end with Earthless because they shift so seamlessly between tunes, so I’m not sure how long I actually watched them before venturing over to Vinyl to see if Ian and Ben were nearby.
I’d never heard Elephant Tree before. I know Ian and Ben talkedBandcamp about wanting to see them, but I just assumed I was going to see Weedeater at the pool instead. Alas, the line to see Weedeater stretched almost from the pool to the parking lot elevators (!) so rather than wait I turned around and decided to watch Elephant Tree. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was so impressed by these guys that they were the first band I chose to listen to at work upon returning from my weekend out of town. Honestly I don’t know much about the band, but scope out their . If your tastes are like mine (and if you’re reading this that is likely true), I think you’ll dig it.
Elephant Tree – Attack Of The Altaica [MP3]
Finally it was time to don our swim gear and head out to the Pool. No, wait. First we had to intoxicate ourselves further. Newburgh Project DeCicco Weiss #2, Grimm Super Shine, Interboro Humleridderne, and the The Bruery Sour In The Rye with Kumquats took care of that, along with whatever Ian and Ben obtained on their earlier (non-poutine eating) errands.
What better way to watch one of the most-anticipated sets of the weekend than in a pool when it’s 99 degrees out at 10pm and you’re out of your mind? That’s how I took in Inter Arma, and theirs (again) was one of the most memorable performances of the weekend. The silliness of watching (and listening) from a pool (sometimes underwater) might have gotten in the way of any professional critique I could offer, but long after the luster wears off this experience I’ll be able to remember flopping around to these guys. Also I was so excited to be in the pool shooting video of myself and the band that I dropped my phone in the water. Nice goin’, douchebag. Don’t worry, the phone still works perfectly. If that’s not a ringing endorsement for the iPhone 6, I don’t know what is!
Hot for Teacher (for about a minute)
An Archer in the Emptiness
The Paradise Gallows [MP3]
After Inter Arma was raced back to the room to change out of our swim trunks and back into street clothes. After all, we still wanted to see Neurosis. Then the plan was to split up, with me going to see Psychic TV and Ben and Ian going to see King Diamond. Of course, once we got back to the room it was hard not to want to keep ourselves wasted. Apparently we lost track of time because before long Ian was falling asleep, Ben was stuck hunched over his “work station,” and I alone had the strength to head downstairs for more music. My night ended with Psychic TV’s performance. I would say it was way weirder than I thought it would be, but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Harry Nilsson, The Creation and Pink Floyd covers. A song from Snakes and two songs from Allegory And Self. Never having seen ’em before I don’t know if this is commonplace, but it was definitely unexpected. Also (I’ll be honest) by about 1am after a day of drinking and smoking I felt myself starting to fall asleep even though I was right up front along the railing. Insert old man emoji here.
Jump Into the Fire (Harry Nilsson)
Just Like Arcadia
How Does It Feel To Feel? (The Creation)
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Pink Floyd)
Thee Starlit Mire
After You’re Dead, She Said [MP3]
I returned to the room after Psychic TV to find Ian passed out and Ben still hunched over our desk manipulating his fancy incineration device (a position he pretty much maintained throughout the weekend). I slept pretty well that night, which was a good thing because Sunday nearly killed me. To be continued…
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