Sunday was the final day, the fourth straight day, of metal and mayhem. To say I was tired would be to say the sun rises every morning. I was exhausted, but there were still a lot of quality bands to see and I was going to see them, by God.
Before I go further, a little word about the venue. The Hard Rock does an excellent job of hosting this event, and they have for the last two years. Kudos to them. However, their security could use a little work. They were inconsistent, to say the least, and especially in regards to the Pool area. I lost a pack of mints and a small, travel-sized tube of Tylenol because “they didn’t belong” in the Pool area, and yet, the previous two nights they were just fine. So, maybe get some rules and stick by them, you think? Also, get the lines moving faster. There was no excuse for some of the wait times. There’s another thing I’m going to complain about but I’ll get to that when the moment is right.
Coven was first up for me and I’ve wanted to see them for a long time. They have a unique sound, firmly grounded in the late 60’s, and the band really rocked out. Jinx was terrific, both as a presence on stage and as a singer. She was great, in fact. Their presentation was blasphemous while also being fun. And what good is being evil if you’re not having some fun? I was very pleased by their show.
Zakk Sabbath was supposed to be next, but they got delayed, so I waited a bit and saw Enslaved. I cannot say enough good things about this band. I can’t believe I’ve been listening to them for over 20 years now. Their set was heavier on the newer stuff, although they threw in some cool oldies. As always, Enslaved are great live, and you’d be a fool to miss them if they ever come near you. One of the best bands of the weekend, by far.
Zakk Sabbath at last was up, and oh my God were they great. The best performance of the entire festival, they ripped through Sabbath covers like they wrote them. What helped is that they played some more obscure songs for most of the set, and that really appealed to the fans like me. How many more times do I need to hear “Paranoid” live? Not many, I can tell you that much. But songs like “Tomorrow’s Dream?” I’ll take that any damned day. Zakk was incredible, at one point leaving the stage (this show was at the Pool) and walked around in the crowd, shredding like he was born to it. Hint: he was. But now we’re going to get to my last gripe of the piece: YOU NEVER STOP A BAND FROM PLAYING WAR PIGS, NO MATTER IF THEY RUN OVER THEIR TIME LIMIT. Never! The sirens started for the song intro and then the band was told their set was done. That’s some prime time bullshit right there. Like we couldn’t spare five minutes for ONE OF THE GREATEST METAL SONGS OF ALL TIME???? All that said, Zakk Sabbath was the best show of the weekend, I think. My neck is still hurting from the headbanging.
Sunn O))) was next and I was looking forward to seeing them. This was my first time. I’ll say this: if you think of their performance as a noise experiment, you’ll get into it a lot easier. These aren’t really songs, per se, but palettes of sound and noise forming to send you into a meditative state. They sent me right to sleep, but not in a bad way. I got into the wall of sound vibe and drifted off. Definitely unique.
The night (and the weekend) ended with Dimmu Borgir. Now, I’m not going to talk any smack about them. They’re a pretty darned good band and live they are really good. But there’s something that sometimes happens when a band reaches a certain level of success. It’s like they get so polished live that they lose any sense of danger along with their rougher edges. Even the guitars felt safe somehow. Anyway, there were really good, like they always are, and were a worthy headliner.
And that was it. The weekend came to an end, leaving me with sore feet and knees, a knot in my shoulder, and a lot of fantastic memories. I got to spend time with some of the greatest friends I’ve ever known and even got to meet some new friends.
Let me finish by saying this: Psycho Las Vegas is more than worth the time and money. You should do yourself a favor and go if you haven’t. You’ll get a great mix of different bands and styles of Metal, as well as a few curveball choices to keep you on your toes.
What more could a fan of music ask for?