More than 70 acts will perform this weekend at the sixth incarnation of Life is Beautiful, including EDM stars (DJ Snake, Galantis, Alison Wonderland), nouveau soul standouts (The Weeknd, Miguel, Blood Orange), assorted alt-rockers (Arcade Fire, Cold War Kids, The Drums), some of Vegas’ finest (The Dirty Hooks, Mike Xavier, O Wildly) and dozens more.
Who to see and when? We’re here to answer your burning questions.
Where do I turn for some serious hip-hop disruptors, maybe even a dude with Chia Pet hair?
Life is Beautiful has a strong track record of booking mold-breaking rappers, whether it be the thoroughly unhinged Danny Brown, the moody Earl Sweatshirt or the manic Vince Staples. The tradition continues with the alternately smooth and raw-throated “Black Metal Terrorist” Denzel Curry (Friday), alt-hip-hop spark plug Goldlink (Sunday) and the forever polarizing, boundary-pushing boheme Tyler, the Creator (Sunday), he of the grassy-green coiffure as seen in the video for Kali Uchis’ “See You Again.”
There will be an all-female Spanish indie rock troupe there, right?
Naturally. And a pretty great one in Hinds, whose scruffed-up guitars and howled-out harmonies nail that ’90s alt-rock sweet spot between the beatific and the bracing.
Will Pharrel wear that hat?
Who knows, but the “Happy” crooner will channel his less-sunnier sentiments with N.E.R.D., his rap/rock/funk/you-name-it project with fellow The Neptunes running mates Chad Hugo and Shay Haley. Their latest record, “No One Ever Really Dies,” is their most urgent and in-your-face, a snarling sign of the times.
Don’t recommend any electronic music acts unless they’ve sampled Slipknot, OK?
Well, Parisian electro duo Justice fits those rather specific parameters with their parameter-less thump. You know ’em from their 2007 smash “D.A.N.C.E.” and its accompanying pop art video, but their discography is deep on bangers. It’s fitting that they’ve got a tune called “Heavy Metal” on their latest album, “Woman”: The record frequently thunders like the genre in question.
Who’s an up-and-comer not to miss?
Tellingly, you hear kids laughing and playing merrily in the background on Superorganism’s “Nobody Cares”: The group’s self-titled debut is one big toy box of sound, to be plundered with childlike whimsy. The international eight-piece, whose members hail from the U.S., England, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, is all bubbly beats, burping basslines, laser-fire synth zaps and detached, pulse-slowing vocals. “Have you ever woke up from a daydream / And realized the whole world’s gone crazy?” singer Orono Noguchi wonders at one point, soundtracking the madness.
I need some guitar face melt-ery. Options?
OK, so LIB is not the most guitar-driven of festivals, but there will be at least one six-string superhero in the house when St. Vincent hits the stage Saturday. She’s not a traditional shredder by any stretch — don’t come for any tongue-wagging leads. Instead, she’s an inventive, one-of-a-kind player with some of the most wild, warped guitar lines and tones you’ll hear at LIB — or any other fest, for that matter.
Will any of the headliners be outshined by the acts playing at the same time as them?
Outshined? Who knows. Outdrawn? Maybe. When Florence + the Machine goes up against Travis Scott on Saturday, it’ll be interesting to see how the chamber pop chanteuse does against the of-the-moment rapper, who’s graduated to festival headliner status in his own right. It’s his “Astroworld,” after all. And we’re just living in it.
Contact Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.