Psycho Las Vegas brings 4 generations of doom bands to the desert (and Drive Like Jehu)
The stoner/doom/sludge-centric festival Psycho Las Vegas goes down this weekend, and we'll be there taking in all the righteous riffs and sure-to-be insane Vegas backdrop. The lineup is truly stacked for fans of the groovier, bluesier side of heavy music, and one of the many cool things about the festival is that it gives fans a chance to chart the lineage of doom and stoner metal, somewhat bridging the gap between old and new. There are established giants like Electric Wizard, Boris and Sleep, young bands who have already achieved great things like Elder and SubRosa, early doom codifiers like Candlemass and Pentagram, and 60s/70s groundwork-layers like Truth & Janey, Blue Oyster Cult, Alice Cooper and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and really everything in between. Now, let's take a look at some interesting and notable artists and scheduling issues.
Friday kicks things off nicely. The festival has three stages, with the main stage in the Hard Rock's indoor venue "The Joint" (thankfully, as temperatures are set to be over 100 in Vegas all three days), with another indoor stage as well as outdoor sets by the pool all weekend. The main stage on Friday is absolutely loaded--if you get there at 2PM and just post up, you get to catch YOB, Wovenhand, Elder, Converge, Pentagram, Down and Drive Like Jehu all in a row. Though Drive Like Jehu are billed as a headliner, they have an hour-long set that's third-to-last on Friday's slate rather than the 12-2AM headlining slots on the other two days. The presence of Converge and those guys is also a nice reminder that there is lots of great less stoner-y stuff here as well. The night will instead be closed, in sure-to-be-very-weird fashion, by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, the British occult-psych maniacs who date back to 1967 (their song "Fire" was a hit in 1968). And that's not even to mention the pool stage, loaded in its own right with Tribulation, Zombi and Death (the 70s Detroit punk version), among others.
A recent schedule change ironed out the most potentially frustrating conflict of the festival which had Boris and Electric Wizard overlapping, as Colour Haze had to drop off due to visa issues, moving Boris over to an earlier set on the main stage where they're still playing their classic Pink in its entirety. Saturday also features The Budos Band, a Daptone-signed instrumental jazz/funk outfit that made the transition into Sabbath-influenced stuff with their 2014 album Burnt Offering.
That day also includes highlights like Subrosa, whose great new album For this We Fought the Battle of Ages will have just dropped, the first shot of a double-dose of Matt Pike with High On Fire, Chicago doomers Bongripper, 70s revivalists Mondo Drag, and more. The night closes with a double-whammy of Blue Oyster Cult and Electric Wizard.
Again, how often do you get to write the above sentence? It's very cool to see famous older acts like Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper on a bill with contemporary bands that they've inspired, and not being relegated to a legacy cruise or casino show or what have you (although this is technically at a casino). Alice closes the festival out on a Sunday that also features the legendary Sleep and Candlemass, Baroness along with Pete Adams's other band Valkyrie, desert rockers Fu Manchu, and proto-metal outfit Truth and Janey. Truth and Janey are one of the gems of the festival, a lesser-known band that hasn't gotten the recognition but that obviously had an effect on today's heavy psych craze.
So keep an eye out for updates from the fest here and on Invisible Oranges instagram. Check out the full schedule, lineup, and some musical highlights (like Truth and Janey and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown) below.