Of course everyone in our little Psycho crew woke up refreshed and ready for Sunday. Ian was out like a light at the veryÂ un-rock ‘n’ roll hour of 11:00pm. Ben was…well, Ben might have actually outlasted me. I think he, the desk, and Dr. Dabber merged into one entity with a singular consciousness at some point during the weekend. Nevertheless, we were awake and functional early enough that we decided to venture out for breakfast and more booze (can you imagine!) before the final day’s schedule commenced.
My buddy Peter recommended I eat at Firefly sometime during the weekend, and when we learned the restaurant offers a unique brunch menu we made that our destination. Holy hell is that place good. You can actually get anything off their regular tapas menu along with the special breakfast-y tapas menu during brunch hours. They’ve got mimosas and bloody marys as well ($25 bottomless). Here’s a little collage of everything we ate, including some delicious huevos rancheros, chilequilles, patatas bravas, albondigas and more:
From brunch we headed over to Total Wine and stocked up on more beer (plus some snacks) to help us through the day. Once back at the hotel Ian…I don’t remember what Ian was doing but I think Ben and I went on an errand to a part of Vegas I’ve never seen before and likely will not visit again. Eventually we all reconvened in the room for some beers (Grimm Splish,Â Barrier Groove Angle,Â Grimm Super You,Â Interboro Super Local,Â Against The Grain Rico Sauvin,Â Firestone Walker Leo V. Ursus: Adversus,Â Mikkeller Windy Hill…) and then headed downstairs to catch the first act of the day at The Joint stage.
Much like Cough, Cult of Luna/Julie Christmas, Sumac and Khemmis, Windhand was one of the few bands I considered a “must-see” during the weekend-long festival. I like the self-titled record and loveÂ Soma, so I was super stoked when they opened their set with two straight songs off the latter record. Ian gave us a history lesson on the guitarist’s custom pickups that enable him to play super loud. You know, for someone who’s played guitar most of his life you’d think I’d know more of the science behind it…but I don’t. Oh well. In any event apparently they used to play with two guitarists, and judging by what I heard on Sunday they can definitely get by with just one.
Zeal And Ardor
I’m at a loss for how to describe Zeal and Ardor’s set. This was one of the performances that intrigued me most at the start, but I left feeling a little underwhelmed by what I’d seen. The biggest takeaway seemed to be that the drums sounded…off. It was obvious to me that the drummer was incredibly technically proficient, and smooth as hell, but what he was playing didn’t seem to provide the requisite black metalÂ oomphÂ one would expect. I later found out that he’s the drummer from Krallice, and watching them live (likeÂ this) his style makes way more sense. Also, I didn’t recognize Charlie from Palm Zero, who I’ve met a few times before due to us sharing a mutual friend. The band is filled out with another backing vocalist, the guitarist from HULL, and the bassist from Angels Of Light. Not a bad group to surround yourself with at all.
Come On Down
We Never Fall
Blood in the River
Ship on Fire
Don’t You Dare
Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas
This was easily my favorite performance of the entire weekend. They sounded incredible, the lights were fantastic, Julie Christmas was completely unhinged. Who could ask for anything more? The set consisted ofÂ Mariner in its entirety so if you enjoyed that record as much as we did you were in for a treat. Even during soundcheck when the synths were finding the right levels you knew you were about to hear a unique performance. While standing around chatting idly about what was about to commence, Ian inadvertently referenced an interview with Christmas on a metal podcast whose host just happened to be standing next to us. That was kind of serendipitous and cool. You can hear that interview here. Sadly the collaborative behemoth that is CoL/Jxmas (I just dubbed ’em that – you can Venmo me royalties if you’d like to co-opt it) is only playing a handful of shows together in the states. There’s a show tonight in MA and a show tomorrow in NYC. If they’re not already sold out, GO! If you already have tickets…well…you’re in for a treat.
A Greater Call [MP3]
The Wreck of S.S. Needle
Sometime before Swans were scheduled to appear we decided to walk across the street for Korean BBQ. Around this time I was starting to feel a little exhausted, and my head began to ache. I later realized that I skipped my daily coffee intake (stupid alcohol instead of coffee at breakfast) and I’m so reliant on caffeine that withdrawal kills me. I figured eating more and drinking more would quell the pain but I think that only made things worse. Either way, the KBBQ was still really good for what you’ll find in a random off-strip strip mall location. The banchan were serviceable, but the bibimbap was solid and the meat (in our case duck breast, tongue, kalbi, and spicy chicken in lemon sauce) were all quite good. The meal definitely enabled me to extend my night. Without it I likely would have passed out immediately upon returning to the hotel room. Instead we drank more and altered our states a bit before heading downstairs for the final run of bands…
As I was pretty out of it by this point both in terms of intoxication and caffeine withdrawal, I chose to sit upstairs during Swans’ performance. I’ve seen them live recently and wasn’t really too keen on watching them for their full two hour set anyway, so why get myself stuck in the GA section if I intended to sneak out early? There’s no denying the intensity of any Swans show, and even though I departed after about 40 minutes what I heard was pretty incredible. Maybe someone who saw the whole set can confirm but…why the hell does the setlist only include one song? Did they just jam on it for two straight hours? Jesus. I still likeÂ The Glowing Man, though. Have you heard it? If not, here’s a tune for ya. Swans –People Like UsÂ [MP3]
I Am The Sun
My options upon leaving the main stage (The Joint) were to slip into Vinyl and watch Domkraft or walk to the pool and see Code Orange. I chose Domkraft, and I think I chose wisely. Never having heard these guys before I was really impressed with their sound. They definitely fit in with groups like Elephant Tree, Khemmis, Toke, Earth Witch…shit like that. I kind of like how I’m now referencing bands like Elephant Tree even though I only discovered them a day or two before I discovered Domkraft. Anyway, both their self-titled record andÂ The End Of Electricity are now on my Discogs want-list, and I’ve listened to both a couple times since returning from Las Vegas. Check ’em out.
Speaking of Elephant Tree, apparently they playedÂ again on Saturday night. This time they were out by the pool, and they marked the final band of my Psycho Las Vegas 2017 experience. As you can tell by the picture below, I was in no shape to continue partying and rocking.Yes, I ended up missing Mastodon. No, I’m not ashamed. Their new songs sound terrible anyway. I can’t remember if Ian said their performance was enjoyable or not. Oh well.
And with this embarrassing, drunken mess of a selfie…my Psycho Las Vegas experience was (for all intents and purposes) complete.