Living large

Even the security guards were dancing, the mood loose, the moves tight.

As L.A. duo They. began their R&B calisthenics routine on the Huntridge Stage Saturday during the opening night of the three-day Life is Beautiful music and arts festival, a pair of female staffers keeping an eye on the area indulged in some momentary shoulder rolling and hip swiveling, followed by a bout of shared laughter.

It was a nice break from the stern countenances and crossed arms of most stage sentinels.

It was also a scene that encapsulated the event’s cheerful vibe.

Whether or not you buy into the notion of Life is Beautiful representing a “soul collective” meant to “inspire and transform,” as written on the first page of the fest’s guide, there’s no denying the aggro-free atmosphere that hangs in the air alongside the co-mingled scent of suntan lotion and reefer.

On Friday, the crowd was big, boisterous and camera-ready.

To walk the Life is Beautiful festival grounds, which doubles as one giant terrestrial photo op, is to drop payload after payload of inadvertent photo bombs. You have to juke and jive with a running back’s speed and agility to avoid being persona non grata in this sea of selfies.

It’s all encouraged: festival volunteers in blue T-shirts will even snapshots for you at certain locations, like the monkey-bar enhanced purple box by the Ambassador Stage, where some revelers posed hanging upside down.

If you needed a break from it all, you could play a quick round of cornhole in the black light-lit El Cortez parking garage, cop a pirogi, maybe get a body paint tattoo.

The soundtrack to it all?

Vast and varied.

Here are five performances of note from Life is Beautiful day one:

Pimp my wheelchair

Of course, the wheelchair’s rims were gold. Having broken his foot a month earlier, rapper/sweater aficionado (he has his own line, naturally) 2 Chainz rolled out onto the Downtown Stage, his ride gleaming beneath the fading daylight right along with his bejeweled teeth. And by “rolled out,” we mean he was pushed by a buxom lass in a short black dress that she must have accidentally left in the dryer too long, because when she bent over, you could see her backside! We’re sure she blushed aplenty. 2 Chainz? Not so much. He raps like a drill sergeant of the id, his bellowed rhymes delivered in choppy melodic clusters over bass lines that creep by slowly, as if tar-dipped. On Friday, he was joined by a phalanx of backing singers who added a soulful backdrop to trap anthems about guzzling codeine and saluting those members of the fairer sex in possession of ample derrieres. “All I want for my birthday is a big booty (nice young lady),” he bellowed during “Birthday Song.” Mr. Chainz was not born on this day, and yet, his gifts had arrived early.

A drama queen receives her court

The lady in black gave voice to a sentiment as dark as her dress. “It sounds kind of goth, but everyone is probably going to leave you at some point,” Lorde noted, perched at the lip of the Downtown Stage. She was introducing “Liability,” a breathy, saturnine piano ballad from her second record, the truth-in-advertising “Melodrama.” “They say, ‘You’re a little much for me,’” she observed on the song’s chorus. “I’m a little much for everybody.” Lorde’s catalog is posited on sonic minimalism and emotional maximalism: the beats murmur, the synth broods, the occasional finger snap punctuates all the dead air. But in her physical bearing and her words, Lorde, still but 20 years old, is an outsize presence, all flying elbows and heart-on-the-line lyrics that address loneliness in terms as stark as the feeling itself. “I’m dancing, but why am I sad?” she wondered aloud through a big smile at one point. Simple: The former is among the best remedies for the latter.

Hey Mr. DJ, turn that guitar up

There’s no moshing at Life is Beautiful — it’s not some hard and fast rule, it’s just that this fest doesn’t book hard and fast bands. But the Fremont Stage had the feel of a massive pit when Big Gigantic had the crowd packed in so tightly, you could detect the flavor of gum your neighbor was chewing. Four years ago, this jazz- and hip-hop-informed electronic music duo performed on one of the smaller stages at the inaugural Life Is Beautiful. This go ’round, their audience had quadrupled — at least — with sax-fired dance music that was a mix of the corporeal (a powerhouse drummer, said horn player) and the digital, with electronic flourishes provided via laptop. Earlier, at the Fremont Stage, British DJ/producer Bonobo embraced this dynamic to a different end, crafting chiming, luminous soundscapes with a four-piece band.

Their tunes often began with a meditative lull, the reverie eventually punctured by tendrils of guitar, pricks of percussion or dashes of flute, their songs washing over you like the ocean waves captured in the nature footage projected on the screen behind them.

On dead girls and such

“Is life beautiful?”

Pause pregnant enough for labor to be induced.

“For a moment.”

So said the man in turquoise, aka Dreamcar singer Davey Havok, who doubles as frontman for punk fashion plates AFI.

This ’80s infatuated supergroup, whose lineup also includes everyone from No Doubt save for Gwen Stefani, mines an era that predates a hefty portion of the Life is Beautiful crowd, its alternately brooding and bombastic songbook the stuff of empty hearts and full dance floors, all propulsive synth lines, funky guitar accents and slapped, strutting bass.

Havok, a human emoticon, punctuates the end of almost every lyric with a dramatic yelp, as if he just sat on a tack, while giving winking, ceaselessly dramatic voice to songs about being beloved by dead girls and killing for delicacies (of the flesh).

Their later afternoon set on the Downtown Stage was akin to feasting on cotton candy for dinner: Not the most substantive of choices, but who can argue with a good sugar buzz?

Pearly gates to hip-hop heaven

It was like watching a preacher advance to his pulpit on a crotch rocket.

Chance the Rapper (Chancellor Bennett) took to his headlining set on the Downstage Stage astride a motorbike as pyro punctuated the moment with fire and sparks. It was a grand entrance for a man prone to humble sentiments: Unlike most of his peers, Bennett focuses less on the material than the immaterial (faith, love, righteous fealty). “Ain’t no Twitter in heaven,” he exulted early on in his 90-minute performance, delivered with the zeal of a Sunday sermon. “I know the difference between blessings and worldly possessions.” The gospel underpinnings of the 24-year-old MC’s latest mixtape, “Coloring Book,” which took home this year’s Grammy for Best Rap Album, became more full-throated on stage, where a quartet of backing vocalists sang in churchlike unison. Bennett has a warm, lived-in kind of voice – it’s as disarming as his omnipresent smile — whether he’s singing softly, sweetly while reminiscing about his grandmother or rhyming deftly, opening the throttle on his tongue.

His message is inherently spiritual, but there’s something there for the secularists. “Music is all we got,” Bennett announced between tunes at one point, offering salvation in song.

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

ad-high_impact_4
Local
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Entertainment
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like