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Las Rageous festival returns to downtown Las Vegas

Updated October 18, 2019 - 1:05 pm

The undead are coming.

Quick, grab a pretzel. Maybe an adult beverage. Definitely some earplugs.

It’s going to be loud and revelrous and sweaty when Las Rageous returns to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center this weekend, Rob Zombie and more than a dozen other acts in tow.

The two-day hard rock and heavy metal festival shifts to the fall this year after its previous two incarnations took place in April.

But the cooler temperatures won’t do anything to quell a burning question: What makes Las Rageous so outrageous?

Does it truly live up to its title?

Let’s assess a handful of this year’s performers and get to the bottom of it all.

Rob Zombie

Outrageous bona fides: Not only does this hobgoblin-voiced shock rocker conjure the greatest album titles in the history of heavy metal hyperbole (“The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser,” “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor,” “Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International,” etc.), he also paints the silver screen blood-red as the auteur behind modern-day grindhouse gross-outs such as “House of 1,000 Corpses,” “The Devil’s Rejects” and his latest, “3 From Hell.” Whether it be through his discography or filmography, Zombie has been waterboarding polite sensibilities for decades.

Most outrageous act: There are plenty to choose from here, but we’ll go with his 2012 spat with co-headliner Marilyn Manson at a gig in Detroit. After Manson blamed Zombie onstage for his set getting cut short and threatened to beat him up, Zombie returned fire during his set. He lampooned Manson as a pale imitation of Alice Cooper, called him by his birth name, Brian, and engaged in the verbal equivalent of blasting a mosquito with an elephant gun. The two have since made amends and hit the road together on several occasions, but not before the vegan Zombie indulged in some beef for once.

Outrageous-o-meter reading: 8

Bring Me the Horizon

Outrageous bona fides: Back in the day, these cheeky Brits were bad boys with even worse taste, goofing on a visually impaired musical icon by titling a song “For Stevie Wonder’s Eyes Only” — in Braille — and garnering headlines when frontman Oli Sykes was accused of urinating on a female fan at a gig. They’ve since gone from metalcore heels to radio-friendly hard rockers with pronounced electro-pop leanings on latest album “Amo,” with art-pop pixie Grimes even stopping by for a guest vocal spot. Hope she donned a raincoat in Sykes’ presence.

Most outrageous act: Dude, you don’t spill Chris Martin’s Zima! OK, so we don’t know for sure if that was the Coldplay frontman’s drink of choice at the 2016 NME Awards — seems about right, though — but it wouldn’t have mattered when Sykes sprung atop Coldplay’s table during the group’s performance, spilling everything in sight. Afterward, Sykes said it was “pure coincidence” that it was Coldplay’s table that got trashed. Way to cost yourself a point there, guy.

Outrageous-o-meter reading: 5

Whitechapel

Outrageous bona fides: These Tennessee deathcore kitten-huggers take their name from the London district where Jack the Ripper did his thing. Keeping in character, their first record, 2007’s “The Somatic Defilement,” is a concept album with songs delivered from the perspective of said serial killer.

Most outrageous act: OK, so there are certain things that are clearly prohibited in the Official Deathcore User’s Manual: enunciating, show ponies, band logos done in balloon font, songs preaching the efficacy of butcher knife safety. At the very top of the list? Cleanly sung vocals. That’s right, if we can understand what you’re saying, best not say it at all. Your job is to alternately grunt like a Yeti being force-fed a bowling ball and shriek like a badger being inserted into a paper shredder tail-first. Yet, to the dismay of some genre purists, Whitechapel frontman Phil Bozeman began crooning away on the band’s 2016 disc “Mark of the Blade,” expanding upon the melodic vocals on Whitechapel’s latest album “The Valley,” while irritating innumerable deathcore party poopers. Hey, cheesing off scene snobs is always a highly estimable act.

Outrageous-o-meter reading: 7

Dance Gavin Dance

Outrageous bona fides: There’s ups, there’s downs, and then there’s life in a band with Jonny Craig, the rock ’n’ roll equivalent of being a cinder block hurled onto a trampoline. This post-hardcore troupe has been put through the wringer by its former singer, whose struggles with addiction have been equally sad and scandalous, resulting in canceled tours, fractured lineups and telenovela levels of drama. Craig last toured with the group in 2016, and as he recovers from his struggles, the band is diligently doing the same.

Most outrageous act: Like Bernie Madoff with more tattoos and way less savvy for ripping people off, Craig once infamously listed a MacBook for sale on Twitter, taking hundreds of dollars from more than a dozen fans, then just made off with the cash. He would subsequently apologize and enter rehab, attempting to come clean and get clean at once.

Outrageous-o-meter reading: 8

Atreyu

Outrageous bona fides:Kneeing optimism in the groin like nobody’s business, these charm school valedictorians have been “Living Each Day Like You’re Already Dead” for years now. Kinda gothy, kinda hair metal-y, they’re the musical equivalent of doing keg stands at a funeral. Think Lestat fronting a Bon Jovi cover band. Better yet, don’t think at all — it’ll only get in the way of the morose fun.

Most outrageous act:In an interview with Rock Sound TV last fall, Atreyu singer Alex Varkatzas puffed up his feathers like a rooster taking credit for the advent of the egg. “People get confused and say, ‘You’re a metalcore band,’ but we invented metalcore,” he said of a genre that existed more than a decade before his band did. To be fair, perhaps Varkatzas was speaking of the more melodic modern incarnation of the sound, which Atreyu certainly helped popularize in the early aughts. Either way, he’s clearly saving money on calendars. Smart.

Outrageous-o-meter reading: 3

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

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