It has been a long time since Las Vegas, Nevada has had a premier music festival that they could call their own. But from October 24th – 26th this year, the city of sin will shine even brighter with Life Is Beautiful Festival. Over a hundred established musicians of various genres, culinary chefs, and art shows will descend upon downtown Las Vegas for one of the largest unknown festivals in the valley. Las Vegas has not even been considered a prominent festival destination since Vegoose Festival in 2007. But now, with Life is Beautiful in its second year, the future looks bright for this budding event. Last year, organizers brought Vegas natives The Killers, southern rock band Kings Of Leon, and indie alternative god Beck to headline the first-ever event. It’s a tough lineup to follow, but LIBF organizers pulled out all the stops this year. They have fashioned a unique lineup of seasoned festival veterans and current chart toppers to create one of the most anticipated lineups of the year.
The hometown heroes of this year’s festival, Las Vegas based pop band Panic! At The Disco has had a monumental year and a half, dominating the charts in 2013 due largely to their fourth full length album, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!. The band, fronted by Vegas native and lead singer, Brendon Urie, was originally a pop punk outfit. However, over the years, they slowly divulged into a crisp sounding and insanely catchy pop band. Experiencing a rekindled success with new singles “Miss Jackson”, “This Is Gospel” and “Girls/Girls/Boys”, PATD! is set to have one of the most energetic live sets of the weekend. Of course, there will be grumbling over the radio friendly band, but that is all left at the door when you actually experience a PATD! live show. Urie is a blur on stage, running and jumping around as he rips through hit after hit. Regardless of their numerous successes on mainstream radio, PATD! will acknowledge their hometown with an entertaining set filled with sing alongs and flashy showmanship worthy of the infamous Las Vegas strip.
Recommended Tracks: “Miss Jackson”, “This Is Gospel”, “Vegas Lights”
The English indie rock band is back and readying their second album, This Is All Yours, for a September release of this year. Alt-J is one of the most interesting bands to appear in the last couple of years, distinguished by lead singer Joe Newman’s unique crooning vocals and sporadic instrumentation. They are known for melodic guitar intros that suddenly and unexpectedly give way to wall of bass. Expect more of a low-key performance then many of the other artists that are playing, but do not let this stop you from enjoying one of the finest indie bands currently touring on the circuit today.
Recommended Tracks: “Breezeblocks”, “Something Good”, “Dissolve Me”
While it has been some time since TV On The Radio has gone on a full tour, this has not stopped them from playing a random festival set or two. Having just released a brand new single titled “Happy Idiot”, TVOTR is progressively showing more signs of life. This is, of course, good news because they are one of the hardest-working live acts around and have consistently put out record after acclaimed record. I remember hearing “Wolf Like Me” years ago and thinking that the band who made that song must be killer live. I was not wrong; TVOTR has been heralded as a must see act from multiple publications and music critics alike. Mixing soul, rock, electronica, and a passion for keeping the audience happy, TVOTR has the ability to put on one helluva comeback show.
Recommended Tracks: “Wolf Like Me”, “DLZ”, “Happy Idiot”
Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd, sticks out like a sore thumb on the line up. Having seemingly appeared out of thin air in late 2010, alternative R&B artist The Weeknd is set to give his only festival performance of the year. A show this rare must not be missed! With a small handful of special gigs on his schedule and a new LP on the way, Tesfaye is ready yet again to release his lust-filled material into the world. You may be wondering: what do I mean when I say “lust filled”? To put it bluntly, Tesfaye’s favorite subject is sex and love (primarily sex). Backed by layers of distortion, bass, and string instruments, Tesfaye’s impressive vocals still stand out on his records. Despite being an R&B singer, his knack for beat-making has lifted him above the herd and collaborations with fellow Canadian Drake has given him a huge push in popularity. Hopefully, organizers will realize that The Weeknd should have a coveted late night set to fully experience the crooner’s burgeoning talent.
Recommended Tracks: “Wicked Games”, “Belong To The World”, “High For This”
At this point, any music lover who has heard of The Flaming Lips also knows a thing or two about how crazy their live shows are. This is no exaggeration. They take their performances seriously and turn it into an art form of dizzying proportions. It is almost as if there is a circus on stage performing only for you. Imagine a show filled with flashing lights, giant inflatable balls, streamers, confetti, and costumes all at the same time. The artistic mind behind the timeless band is frontman and founding member Wayne Coyne. A Flaming Lips show is almost too much to handle and can be described as a sensory overload on multiple levels. They are incredible productions that carry the Lips’ large discography to new heights. In the end, though, it is still all about the music and The Flaming Lips have 16 albums filled with psychedelic rock that can make any festival-goer happy.
Recommended Tracks: “Do You Realize?”, “Race For The Prize”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
If you are looking to dance (or just jump up and down at a rapid pace), then Skrillex is the show for you. Grammy award winning DJ and producer Sonny Moore is ready to bring the womp womp to Las Vegas. Known by the world as “Skrillex”, Moore has developed his own version of dubstep and has become the face of the genre. Skrillex plays shows all over the world and is one of the top DJ’s for good reason. His live shows transcend a simple DJ set and morph into an intense, sweaty dance party that he controls with the flip of a switch. While he has his dissenters, Skrillex is still one of the most exciting EDM acts around and if his live shows are anything to go by, he will continue to be the kingpin of dubstep for many years to come.
Recommended Tracks: “First Of The Year-Equinox”, “Bangarang”, “Ease My Mind”
Love him or hate him, Yeezy is still one of the most polarizing figures of our generation. His songs cover everything from poverty to growing up, women, and the G.O.O.D Life. Unfortunately, he has received a tremendous amount of hate for his egotistical quotes and holier-then-thou attitude. While this fits his stage persona perfectly, he incorporates it to every aspect of his life. It is hard to sympathize with someone who thinks he is “God”. Personality problems aside, he is one of the greatest performers around and has proven his merit time and time again. This year, he has been more active in the festival scene, having headlined major events like Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and Made In America. Life Is Beautiful Festival will be a stopping point for his tour in the states and he is sure to bring the hits (and possibly rants as well). With more awards and number one singles then any other artist on the roster, Kanye is ready to burn the house down with a giant f-you to all his haters.
Recommended Tracks: “Black Skinhead”, “Jesus Walks”, “Runaway”
If you need more proof about what one good album will do for you, then look no further then the UK’s Arctic Monkeys. The band has recently ditched the high-speed alternative rock that originally brought them into the spotlight. Instead, they have transitioned into full-blown arena rock with their latest album, AM. Their new sound is much heavier and has silky-smooth hooks that would make even The Who do a double take. Alex Turner is a commanding frontman with the swagger to match. The band is like a well-oiled machine on stage with near perfect sounding live performances. Fans of older material should not be worried as the Arctic Monkeys will always play the tracks that made them a well-established rock act. They are one of the most popular bands in the UK at the moment, and although it took until this year for AM mania to reach the U.S., it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Catch the Arctic Monkeys before they return home to work on their next album. I promise that you won’t regret it.
Recommended Tracks: “Fluorescent Adolescent”, “Snap Out Of It”, “Do I Wanna Know”
It’s the most talked-about reunion in years: the almighty Outkast is back! When rumors started circulating about an Outkast reunion, I didn’t believe them. That was until I saw their name in big bold letters on the Coachella lineup, and I swear younger me just about had a heart attack. Who cares if they don’t have any new material? Who cares if they are playing 40+ festivals this year? All of this does not matter because the six-time Grammy winning hip-hop duo comprised of Andre 3000 and Big Boi are back. After a shaky first headlining performance at Coachella in April, the duo has gotten into their own rhythm and have been consistently fantastic ever since. Bringing their decade-old hits into live form is a dream come true for hip-hop aficionados and fans alike. Hearing huge singles like “Hey Ya”, “Roses”, and “Miss Jackson” that illuminated a generation come to life on stage is a treat that I never thought could happen. While they may be old news on the festival circuit, they will put on one of the best shows of the weekend and if you do not take the chance to see them now, you may never get that chance again.
Recommended Tracks: “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”, “Roses.”, “Hey Ya”
For Life is Beautiful’s festival organizers to nab one of the greatest modern-day rock bands is impressive to say the least. What’s even more impressive is that the Foo Fighters are only playing two festivals in the U.S. this year. They are one of the most popular bands around and continue to make chart-topping rock music year after year. The Foo Fighters are, without question, the highlight of the festival. With seven albums under their belt and another, titled Sonic Highways, coming out this year, the band is gearing up to lay waste to LIB festival. A Foo Fighters show is not merely a good time, but more of a marathon of anthemic stadium rock that has the volume turned up full blast. Your adrenaline will be pumping as soon as the band hits the stage and you will be surprised by how many of the lyrics you actually know. With 2015 looming, the Foo’s are getting ready for what very well could be their year by playing several one-off shows. LIB festival is one of the lucky few events that gets the honor of hosting frontman/guitarist Dave Grohl and his merry band of rockers. I mean, c’mon, they are freaking awesome because of Dave Grohl alone (AKA the nicest man in the music industry). There will be many amazing bands that will be performing over the weekend, but you can rest assured that when the dust settles, it will be the Foo Fighters that stand above all the rest.
Recommended Tracks: “Everlong”, “Best Of You”, “All My Life”