I'm walking down the neon-canopied downtown branch of Fremont Street with a camera in one hand and a double Bacardi pineapple concoction in plastic-cup-glory in the other. People are milling about; some on the traditional Vegas quest for gambling, glitz and boozy glory, others are most definitely of the "I just festivaled for three days straight, I'm covered in dirt and I don't know where my hotel is" variety. It's a scene to behold. The festival has just ended and I'm celebrating (commiserating?) with something decidedly punchy and strong. My body aches, my camera is almost dead and my ears are ringing; it's the glorious post-fest haze and despite my exhaustion, I don't want it to be over. Three days of color, phenomenal music, delectable food, exceptional art and glorious photography.
"Rock and roll is dead. Or rather… rock and roll WAS dead and Blacktop Mojo just poured a bottle of whiskey down its throat and took the damn defibrillators to town on that b*tch until it woke the hell up. " - Kevin Skinner, Fox Force Five News
It's over, complete, done, caput, gonzo... three glorious days of festival. I'm sitting on a plane headed back to Austin in a somewhat bewildered, exhausted haze, relishing the experience, the music, the people, new friends and the glorious, beautiful, incredible photos I'm taking home. It was like a technicolor dream. The best of the music world coalescing into one fantastical, gritty, neon celebration. I've survived Life Is Beautiful 2018; experienced Vegas' slant on the worldwide festival phenomena and folks, they've done it right.
A Saturday to remember. It was fully worth it, but I'm at a loss trying to find a way to adequately express the kind of pain I'm in this morning... my feet hate me. My knees hate me. My back is screaming... am I really this old and decrepit? I guess so. But 'No Ragrets;' Saturday was one for the books. Making new friends, sprinting between stages, catching some of my favorite artists, discovering new favorites, sitting down to chat with the incomparable Welshly Arms and discovering more of the hidden art and culinary delights of Life Is Beautiful.
I conquered Day One of Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, NV yesterday. Wow, what a scene. Nothing could prepare me for this one; from the sheer size of it (...that's what she said...), to the colorful variety of music, culture, art, comedy and food. LiB knows how to put on a show. It's now a gorgeous sunny Saturday morning and I'm sitting here sipping my third coffee waiting for the painkillers to kick in. No, I'm not hungover... I'm festival photographer-over. It's amazing how physically demanding these festivals are, even when you're not dancing the night away. I know I walked at least 36 miles and my feet aren't hesitating to tell me all about it. Help.
I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to share Vegas stories, a la "what happens in Vegas..." but I like breaking rules, and I'm way too stoked about this one, so let me tell you about last night.
Scandalous, I know...
Wow, I've totally just set you up for disappointment. This is not at all scandalous.
I love artists that aren't afraid to be in your face. I also love strong front-women, those who aren't apologetic about doing their thing and doing it exceptionally well. The ones putting on a show that's almost too real, too big and too personal. Where you walk out of the venue and say "wow, that made me a little uncomfortable, but, uh, ...more please?" Kaleido's Christina Chriss gets in your personal space with a deliciously fun, gritty performance. Unquestionably, it's the best thing that will happen to you all week.
These Detroit rockers are veritable veterans in the music world. They've six years under their belt, two stunning EPs and a full album, and an impressive resume of tours including repeat appearances at Vans Warped Tour, opening for Seether, Offspring, Chevelle, Evanescence, Kid Rock and a stint on Shiprocked. They're currently in the middle of an ambitious 44-day tour, playing almost every single day in different cities. They gleefully hint that there's much more in store.
What do you get if you combine the audacity of Outkast's The Love Below, some Blitzkrieg Bop, a sprinkle of groove, a smattering of Bollywood and some 80's classic rock? ...Austin's very own Bourgeois Mystics. "'Keep Austin Weird' is most definitely a cliche, but it is a tagline that we’ve modernized to hopefully become Austin’s premiere hip weird band." - Finesse
Citing influences as diverse as Outkast, punk rock and Bollywood, this eclectic group is putting themselves on the Austin radar with a fresh, creative, catchy sound. I sat down with vocalist and one of three founding members, 'Squiggly Finesse' before their Waterloo Fest Wednesdays show at the Parish. I wanted to learn more about how this group evolved and how they found a unique sound that is carving a new niche in our musically-saturated city. Finesse tells me how Bourgeois Mystics were borne of a low-key jam session; "it was the most natural, organic jam I’d ever experienced." Growing from a trio consisting of Finesse (Keys/vox), Zenith Nadir (bass/vox) and Tonto Luigi (guitar), they’ve grown into their unique sound with nine standing members and plans to add two additional vocalists. They’ve an ambitious year ahead of them; they are recording a new EP for 2019 and planning a full album for 2020 in addition to raucous live shows in Austin and beyond.
Here you'll find archived band, festival and concert stories... plus blog entries from Team dRiFFt as they travel, photograph, interview and adventure!