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Live Review

Time to Get Psycho: The Pool Party

This is the third year of the Psycho Las Vegas festival and the previous two years really delivered the goods. We got a nice cross-section of different types of Metal, mostly bands that were closer to underground, maybe swimming slightly above that level, and a few well-known headliners. The last couple years featured Alice Cooper, King Diamond, and Mastodon as their Big Hitters. This year we’re getting Danzig, Witchcraft, and Dimmu Borgir. The festival official starts on Friday, but each year they have a kick-off pre-party by the Pool on Thursday.

I’ll be covering as many of the bands as I can, doing little reviews of their shows, but please keep in mind I’m going to see the bands that I want to see, since I can’t see everyone due to overlapping times. Some of you may not like my choices. Hell, I may end up not liking them, either.

Due to having to take a budget airline, I failed to see the first few bands of the day. This means I missed Haunt, which may forever (ahem) haunt me. But I got there in time to see the last three bands, so here’s a little recap of the metal mania that went down.

Elder was up and the sun was doing its thing, but not surprisingly, all the heat was coming from the stage. Elder was pretty incredible, doing their 70’s prog/hard rock/doomy kind of thing to perfection. These guys know just the right moment to throw in a twin harmony and chase that with some stellar groove. If you ever get the chance to see them, please do. They were excellent.

If you ever dreamed of seeing Bell Witch play their depressive drone doom to a crowd gathered by a pool in Vegas, this was maybe your only shot. It was everything it sounds like it would be. Dragging, droning, intense, heavy. Everyone that stuck around was transfixed. I would be surprised if someone didn’t just say screw it and allow themselves to drown while floating in the pool during the set. Bell Witch was crushingly heavy, and slow, and for some reason, it worked. There were plenty of bikini clad ladies wearing their battle vests who would agree. It was kind of surreal and all kinds of cool.

Wolves in the Throne Room closed the night and think about this: in the space of four hours we got a rocking progging band, a ride down into the depths of Doom itself, and then some prime Black Metal fury. All by a pool that’s normally an MTV hedonistic hot spot. Not too bad. And man, did WITTR deliver. I don’t really know how to describe the band live. They give off this vibe that is simultaneously full of destruction and healing at the same time. Every time I see them play I expect an ancient Pagan Nature God to rise suddenly from all the dry ice smoke and strike the earth with a spell of lush vegetation. In any case, they were excellent, and a fantastic way to end the first of several night of pure metal might.

More to come tomorrow!

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