Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Culture: Psycho Las Vegas Redux

(Drivebycuriosity) - I am a connoisseur of heavy metal. I really enjoy atmospheric rock music with very heavy riffs. Fortunately my wife shares this taste. So we went to Las Vegas and attended Psycho Las Vegas which took place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. About 80 bands played over three days and there was also a pre-party. The bands performed on three stages - two indoors, including "The Joint" with a capacity of 4,000 -  and in a pool area, called "Paradise".

The program focused on black, doom, psychedelic & stoner metal and massive walls of sound shook the huge casino complex over three days. It was like an all-you-can-eat buffet. There were a lot of bands we really enjoyed and which we want to see & hear again. We were overwhelmed by the quality & quantity of the metal feast - and some of the promising bands, which I had pre-selected by checking on YouTube, played simultaneously - so we could watch just some of them. I apologize to all the great bands we missed and I cannot mention here.

Unfortunately the light show did not cooperate and most of the time shot blinding beams into the audience which ruined the quality of the pictures a bit. But anyway -  I show here some images I took there (with my iPhone 7plus).

I was impressed by Neurosis (pics above the second paragraph). It seems the band, founded 1985,  is like cognac and is getting better the older the members get. Obviously the group benefits from 3 decades of performances and they delivered a very intense experience with massive, fierce & hypnotic riffs & vocals. If you are into mega-heavy metal you have to see them while it is possible. 

Sleep delivered another outstanding performance (pics above this paragraph) and shook the room with their hefty riffs & violent growls. And there were similar bands. Minsk mesmerized the audience with their explosive sound and I also indulged in the immense riffs by Wolves in the Throne Room,  Slomatics, Windhand & North.

                                                           Big Surprises

Dark Castle was one of the big surprises of the feast (darkcastlemetal). The band has just 2 members: vocalist/guitarist Stevie Floyd & percussionist Rob Shaffer. Stevie screamed the typical growls which define black metal and her riffs were more fierce & massive as the riffs of most of her male colleagues. Congrats for the amazing performance!

I also felt blissed by the Myrkur concert. The medieval-metal band is dominated by Amalie Bruun, a Danish musician and actress. I was impressed by Amalie´s voice, she sang partly with an angelic voice, which reminded me a bit of Kate Bush, and switched suddenly to the metal typical heavy growls and then back to melodic. Her band, dressed like torturers of the Catholic Inquisition, assisted her with heavy doom metal riffs. Gorgeous!

                                                       A World Of Its Own

Subrosa will also stay in my memory for a while. The quinttet (Rebecca Vernon: Guitar, vocals, Sarah Pendleton: Electric violin, vocals, Kim Pack: Electric violin, vocals, Levi Hanna: Bass & Andy Patterson: Drums) call themselves an experimental sludge-doom metal band. Vocals & instruments converged to an outstanding performance.

Cult of Luna with Julie Christy was another surprise. I had seen Cult 2-times before (2015 2013), but together with Julie they delivered a different experience, less heavy but interesting anyway. I enjoyed the explosive finale of their concert.

Psycho had a another favorite of mine: 2 hours of the great Swans (here my reports from 2016 & 2015). Again Michael Gira & his band performed their idiosyncratic & very massive industrial symphonies. Bravo!

At least 2 more bands left a great impression on me: Melvins, who played as like the Cure had turned into a doom-metal band, weird & explosive, and the hypnotical  Yob (yobislove). You have to see the magic of Mike Scheidt and his band by yourself, I have no words to describe them.

We stayed in the hosting hotel which turned out as a pleasant place. In the casinos, restaurants, bars & the pool areas they played all the time classic rock songs. I heard there Led Zeppelin`s "Kashmir", my favorite Zeppelin piece, about 3 times. The place was filled with the metal crowd which turned it into a world of its own.

Thanks to bands & organizers for the great experience!

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