Psycho Las Vegas: Day 3
Sunday morning was a cakewalk compared to Saturday. Maybe it was the dinner of wagyu beef, truffle mac and cheese, and that weird french fry amuse-bouche lining my stomach before ratcheting up the drinking. Maybe it was getting to sleep at the reasonable — by Vegas standards — 2:00 am. Whatever the case may be, we awakened at a perfectly acceptable hour and even had a chance to grab a sit-down breakfast before the first bands took the stage(s). I think I had a sausage, egg and cheese omelet and about 30 cups of coffee. Afterward, I ran up to the room and grabbed a couple of beers before I found my way to the House Of Blues stage. Warhorse was performing. I don’t know anything about them, but there were no other acts scheduled for that time so I sat through their set patiently. I think I was drinking a Homespun can from Suarez Family Brewery.
Have A Nice Life
I recently saw HANL for the first time. I was taken aback by the enthusiasm from the crowd, which is something I definitely don’t often see at shows in Los Angeles. I can’t remember the last time I stood in a crowd surrounded by people who were screaming along with every single word to each song being played. As an outsider — who doesn’t know every word to every song — it was a unique enough experience that I chose to watch their the start of their set in Las Vegas even though they basically were playing opposite Weedeater (who were on the Main Stage). I stayed through “Bloodhall,” at which point I left to catch the other band. No one has posted a setlist for the Have A Nice Life show, so I can’t share it here. I’m pretty sure it’s the same as the one they’ve been playing on their most recent tour. Some new songs, some old songs, all of which the fans in the front row know every word of.
Weedeater played Psycho Las Vegas in 2017, but they were relegated to the Pool Stage that year. This time they were on the Main Stage in the Events Center. I was really, really impressed by their set. They played mostly songs from God Luck And Good Speed, which is my favorite album of theirs. Even more impressive was the ease with which Dave “Dixie” Collins took down an entire handle of Jack Daniels. Talk about #lifegoals, if I can ever polish off an entire handle during an hour-long set while maintaining coherence, it’ll be one of my greatest accomplishments ever. Says a lot about my life, no? What else can I say about their set? Oh! Their Skynyrd cover was amazing. The crowd was super into it, the sound was massive, and when they left the stage I wondered if maybe I’d already seen the best set of the day. Don’t miss Weedeater if they ever play near you.
God Luck And Good Speed
For Evan’s Sake
It Is What It Is
Jason… The Dragon
Gimme Back My Bullets [Lynyrd Skynyrd]
Well, I didn’t get to see/hear them play “My Father, My King.” I should have figured as much, it’s not really a song for a festival crowd. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped me from grinding my teeth as I watch the setlists for the remainder of the US tour get posted. They’ve played eight shows since Psycho, and at half of them, they’ve played it as an encore. What a crock of shit! I’ve been waiting since 2002 to see that shit LIVE and I still haven’t! How much money is it going to cost, Mogwai? How many more times am I going to have to see you in order to have a chance at beholding the spectacle that is “My Father, My King.” By the way, as much as I like Kin and Every Country’s Sun and Atomicmy first Mogwai show…I look at that setlist from 2002 and it gives me goosebumps. What I wouldn’t give to be able to shout, “Don’t do it!” during “Like Herod” in 2019. Maybe not as important as hearing “My Father, My King” but it beats hearing all these new songs. “Cody” was the highlight of the set for me. “Mogwai Fear Satan” was a nice surprise.
I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
Party In The Dark
Don’t’ Believe The Fife
Mogwai Fear Satan
We’re No Here
Man, I used to see Steve from Dead Meadow at work all the time, but I haven’t seen him in years. When did he stop wearing glasses? Has it been that long since I’ve last seen the band live? They’re all over Los Angeles, it can’t have been that long… My favorite Dead Meadow story is the time Ian and I went to see them with Maserati (my first time beholding the godlike drumming of Jerry Fuchs, RIP) and +/- at Northsix in Brooklyn. Maserati was incredible that night, Fuchs was super nice when talking to a clearly starstruck me, and then later Ian sat down on the floor during Dead Meadow’s set before puking an eating a bodega turkey sandwich. I mean, how does any Dead Meadow show top that?! I don’t have a setlist for their Psycho show, but I know I recognized “Let’s Jump In,” which brought back memories of Feathers and how amazing it was to see them live around the time that album came out. I kind of get the same vibe from DM as I do from Earthless these days. I’ve seen it so many times I can still appreciate it, but it doesn’t quite floor me the way it used to. Great visuals, though.
After Dead Meadow there was a short lull in my schedule so we decided to grab a bite to eat at a place in Mandalay Bay called Libertine Social. They’ve got pretty basic gastropub fare, so we split a roasted beet salad that was pretty good, their house burger (which is topped with white cheddar, caramelized onions, bordelaise, and a pickle), and a side of their Belgian fries with malt vinegar aioli. Washed down with a beer. Then I headed upstairs to grab a couple more beers before the last bands of the weekend took the stage at the Beach.
I think it’s been…four years since I’ve seen Deafheaven live? The first time was in 2013 when they opened for Boris here in Los Angeles, but I’ve definitely seen them since then. Right? Maybe? I don’t know. Their show hasn’t changed much through the years, even if some of the nonessential personnel has. George and the other guy are still there. The guitarist. I like him. He came into the store some time in between when Sunbather and New Bermuda came out and seemed genuinely shocked that I recognized him. As for the performance, I have to imagine being so far from the crowd fucked with the energy on stage. Usually, George is right up in our faces, spitting and pumping his fists, looking like a Hitler Youth cosplayer and whatnot. He’s ditched this look for what you see above. Instead of leaning into the crowd and riling everyone up, on this night he just kind of gyrated and humped the mic stand. It was oddly off-putting. Nevertheless, the song selection was about as good as I could have asked for (except they didn’t play “Violet”). It felt like a really short set, too. Like they didn’t use all of their allotted time. Maybe there were some sound issues going on that we weren’t privy too? Four songs in one hour seems a bit… short.
Brought To The Water
One of the best and biggest surprises of the weekend was Power Trip. Along with Perturbator, they were one of the bands not on my schedule Ian made me promise to watch. I knew I was in for something unique when the two people in front of me were comparing their Power Trip tattoos. “Oh, so this is that kind of crowd,” I thought to myself. During the first song, the crowd in the ankle-deep wave pool started kicking water around and kind of half-moshing. The pool security staff seemed miffed by this and broke up several attempts to expand the mosh pit. After the second song, I think, the singer announced that he hadn’t yet seen a circle pit in the pool, and now was the time to form the first pool circle pit of the weekend. The crowd — not wanting to disappoint the singer — obliged. It was at this moment the security staff decided to just…step back and let the crowd do what they were going to do. I even caught a smile or two spread across the faces of the security team as they watched a pool full of grown men in ankle-deep water splashing around and kicking up little clouds of water as they circled around one another. It was the most hilarious sight of the weekend. At that point I decided to sit down in the sand and let the rest of the band’s set unfold before me. It took until 10 or 11 pm on Sunday night to happen, but I think I finally admitted that this was the pinnacle of the weekend.
Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)
My weekend ended after the Power Trip show. I didn’t stay at the pool for Kadavar, but I could hear them from my hotel room so it was almost like I was still there. Alas, I had to be awake at 5:30 am in order to drive back to Los Angeles for work on Monday morning. I got to sleep shortly after the Kadavar set (it was loud in our room), which meant I got about four hours of sleep. The drive back to LA was uneventful, but I made it in good time and spent the entire day longing for my bed. Psycho Las Vegas… she takes a lot out of you.
It’s hard to say whether I’ll attend Psycho if there’s another event in 2020. The location is perfect, it’s a well-organized and well-run event, but I thought the bands this year paled in comparison to 2017. It stung a bit that three bands I most wanted to see had to cancel almost at the last minute. If the lineup for 2020 is better there’s a good chance I’ll go regardless of whether or not I can score another free hotel room. But if it’s a similar lineup to this year and no free room? I think I’d pass.
So that was my festival experience. Did you attend this year? What’d you think? Highlights? Lowlights? Leave a comment and let me know.
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