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Tips for surviving Psycho Las Vegas

Forget the Rio Olympics. A far, far more grueling and telling measure of one’s physical prowess is his or her ability to power through the three-day hard rock endurance test that will be Psycho Las Vegas. Here are a few tips on making the most of your weekend.

Bring earplugs, dudes

Back in the day when they were playing hole-in-the-wall rock dives, husband-wife duo Jucifer performed with so many amplifiers, they’d have to play from the lip of the stage, with singer-guitarist Amber Valentine making her throat and six-string roar alike while drummer Edgar Livengood bashed his kit so hard, he’d have to duct tape his headphones to his skull so they wouldn’t fly off. They’re playing bigger rooms now, which gives them space for even more amps, of course. So, earplugs are a must. And you’ll want to keep ’em handy for plenty of bands, chief among them cochlea-savaging Brits Electric Wizard. “Our riffs kind of carry over a big stage, they carry through the air,” singer-guitarist Jus Oborn says. “It’s so loud. It’s crazy.”

Take a break from the bombast

Yeah, the volume levels at Psycho Las Vegas should rival the din of a Yeti fight in a glass factory positioned upon a suddenly awakened fault line, but there are a number of bands this weekend who aren’t all about cranking their amps to 11, Nigel Tufnel-style. Sure, Salt Lake City’s SubRosa can conjure cresting waves of sound akin to the tide coming ashore, but mostly, their enveloping doom is as majestic and gorgeous as the mountains that surround their hometown, with dual violinists and the stirring vocals of a trio of frontwomen. The shadowy waltzes and spare dirges of San Diego’s Black Heart Procession creep by as quietly as a teen trying to sneak out of the house past curfew, while Murder City Devils singer Spencer Moody, normally caffeine incarnate, will chill out and make your grilled cheese sliders even tastier with an acoustic set at Culinary Dropout on Sunday.

Don’t sleep on Sleep

If heavy metal riffs were 1980s Sylvester Stallone action flicks, the bad boy that powers Sleep’s “Dragonaut” would be “Rambo III,” where Sly takes down a big-ass Russian helicopter with a single explosive arrow. Yes, it’s that devastating. The Sleep canon is alternately trance-inducing and jarring, with Mike Pike’s muscular guitar playing capable of mesmerizing like a hypnotist’s swinging pocketwatch. In a weekend devoted to scads of power-chord prodigies, Sleep just may top them all. Ruskie aircraft, beware.

On second thought, don’t sleep, period

C’mon, are you really going to miss the extraterrestrial sounds of Denmark’s improv instrumental troupe Oresund Space Collective from 5 to 7 a.m. on Saturday? Your synapses will be as fried as your post-show breakfast eggs. With music documentaries about the Melvins and the SoCal desert scene beginning at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday, bands hitting the stage shortly thereafter and playing until the following morning, there will no time for shut-eye. Hey, that’s what the pillow beneath your cubicle is for come Monday.

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