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Psycho Las Vegas: The Rave Up Of a Lifetime

Psycho Las Vegas was the metal festival of a lifetime. You need to start planning to go next year.

Psycho Las Vegas was the metal festival of a lifetime. You need to start planning to go next year.

When Psycho Las Vegas was announced, most people could hardly believe what they were seeing. It was the sort of festival that had a lineup that had always seemed impossible, especially in America. There's a lot about this festival that's hard to believe. When would you ever expect to see a band like Acid King play while sitting in a pool? Who would ever think that walking through one of the main festival areas you could find yourself pulled into a game of craps with Matt Pike? Who ever dreamed that Arthur Brown would play a show in America, much less announce a full on tour from the stage? It's these sorts of things that get me excited for the future of rock and roll.

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The atmosphere at Psycho was electric. Not only was everybody seeing their favorite bands, but also all of their best friends, and in the most garish environment possible too. It was a rock and roll vacation for the ages.

August 26-28, Psycho Las Vegas, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

It's hard to summarize an event like this in just a handful of paragraphs, but I will start by saying that the headliners were all well worth it. Arthur Brown blew me away, I had honestly never expected to see him live, especially not parading around the crowd as he did. Later that evening he even paid a visit to the center bar, the main party spot throughout the festival. It was surreal seeing such an icon just… there. Saturday's performances from Blue Oyster Cult and Electric Wizard were just as nuts.Blue Oyster Cult seemed to guide the crowd into a demented frenzy. Meanwhile, Electric Wizard had the entire audience in thrall. It was a fitting prelude to the greatest set of the festival, appropriately delivered by Mr. Vincent Furnier, Alice Cooper himself. The set climaxed in a medley of Pinball Wizard, Suffragette City and The Ace Of Spades. As they ended in a wave of crashing guitars and triumphant solos it became clear, Alice Cooper has been on top for fifty years now because he is the best we've got.

August 26-28, Psycho Las Vegas, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

The beauty of Psycho Las Vegas is not just in the headliners, great as they are. Hell, there were so many headliners that I can't even begin to talk about all of their sets in the space I have here. The truly amazing part about Psycho is the once in a lifetime performances you get to see. Death, for example, were amazing to get to watch, especially since they too were excited to throw down and party. Sure I could ramble on about Sleep, but at this point anybody who would be into Sleep has either already seen them or is planning on seeing them. What was more special to me was witnessing the first ever, and possibly only ever US performances by bands like Tombstones and Belzebong. It gives you an interesting look into the scene and shows you that there is a real depth to this kind of music.

August 26-28, Psycho Las Vegas, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

It was the obscure bands that throughout the course of the weekend kept me going. Not just cult favorites either. I loved seeing Subrosa for example, even though it was for the sixth time. There were other bands that were relatively unknown in the states, like Chrch, who really blew me away. Other smaller acts that impressed me were Holy Grove and Mantar, both of whom captured the full power of their potential on the Vinyl stage. For many of these bands it was their biggest show to date and it left a perpetual sense of magic in the air. It's rare that you have a fest like this, where you get to see your friends live out their dreams. Many of the bands on this bill I've seen fairly recently, often playing to diminutive audiences. So watching these groups come out and kill it in front of so many showed me that there is a lot more going on in the doom scene than we often give it credit for. As someone who's always been a doom freak this makes me excited for the future.

Mantar

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It's truly impossible to talk about all of the standout performances we saw this week at Psycho given the relatively small space I have for this piece. I will say though that The Joint and the Paradise Pool stages were perfect and wonderfully unique. Their is something inherently magical about watching a band like Elder deliver a masterful set to three thousand people at The Joint stage. Meanwhile, watching Satan's Satyr's perform one of their best sets ever (I should know, I've seen them seven times!) while lounging poolside was a once in a lifetime experience that I want to revisit time and time again. The Vinyl stage saw its fair share of stellar performances too, watching the masterful work of Kayla Dixon, frontwoman of Witch Mountain left me in awe. I know I'm probably a little biased since many of these bands are friends of mine, but I was also impressed with many bands that I had little or no connection to, and so was everyone else. Just take INVDRS, one of the lesser known bands on the bill, who played an incredibly heavy 1:30 set to a packed house of freaks who had no clue who they were but were willing to give them a shot.

August 26-28, Psycho Las Vegas, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Ultimately, that's what Psycho Las Vegas was about, people giving bands a chance. It was about going to see a band you had never heard of at 3 in the morning just because they were there. Almost every set I saw over the entire weekend had a massive crowd. Psycho Las Vegas is a very cult-like event. At first I thought this was going to work against them, but as I rapidly found out, people were very willing to check new stuff out at Psycho. Rather than getting lost up their own asses in the deluded rock and roll fantasy of the whole thing, people kept trying to watch new and exciting bands to see what the fuss was about. It led to a sense of community and unity that will resonate with all of us for the years to come. After all, we are psychos and we are scum.

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