Psycho Las Vegas 2018: Departure

Posted in Features on August 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas 2018

08.20.18 – 6:57AM – Monday morning – McCarren Airport, Las Vegas

My cab driver on the way over here was from Athens, a retired cargo-ship captain whose pension got taken back from him and who’s been in the US for eight months. I talked up the Greek heavy rock scene to him and apologized for the weirdness of the times here. He said, “I think America is the best country,” and compared it to Albania, where he said it’s harder to make a living. When we got to the terminal, I gave him a good tip and wished him good luck.

Maybe it was a story he tells everybody. Maybe he made it up. Whatever. I like a story.

Flight is in about an hour. My original reservation said I was flying to Houston. When I checked in this morning with my magic confirmation number, it was San Francisco. Vegas to San Fran to Boston. I’ll get into Logan in about 13 hours, reportedly.

Before I close up the laptop so I can sit anxiously here at Gate D58 and wait for boarding to start, as though my staring would somehow expedite this process — shout to Steve Murphy, who’s seen this in action — I have to say thanks. Thanks to you for reading and for your support and just everything. I was overwhelmed this weekend at the kindness of everyone who came up and said hi, people who knew the site and others with familiar names from the social medias who introduced themselves. Bands I’ve written about and bands I should’ve written more about, and everybody else. It was incredible. Thank you.

Thanks to Evan, Ronnie, Jay and everyone else from the Psycho crew for having me out here. It was a festival unto itself. The big Psycho comparison point is European festivals, the Desertfests, Roadburn, etc. Psycho is its own thing.

Just like American bands and European bands trading influence back and forth across the ocean, Psycho is the start of that conversation from this side of the world. It’s not the first US heavy fest by any stretch, but it might be the first on this scale, and all weekend rumors were circulating about venue changes and even bigger things for next year. Should be interesting.

But thank you. Thank you to The Patient Mrs. for running point on The Pecan and allowing me to be here. I’ve had a couple trips fall through this year and this was one I was glad to make.

When I get back it’s time to knuckle-down for Fall. The Patient Mrs. starts a new semester of teaching right after Labor Day, and that means I’ll be doing my share of daddytime in a way that this weekend I most definitely was not. He’ll be 10 months this Friday. First steps accomplished last Wednesday. Three teeth, fourth coming in. Dude is killing it, and if you didn’t see it, that Vol. 4 cover made by the esteemed Slevin is album art of the year as far as I’m concerned.

They just delayed my flight, so I need to run and find out what that does to my connection. Maybe I’ll get to Houston after all. Here’s to adventure. Thanks again for reading and all the best from wherever the hell I’m headed.

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Live Review: Psycho Las Vegas Pool Party, 08.17.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

viva psycho

08.16.18 – 4:50AM – Friday morning – Hard Rock, hotel room

None of it makes any fucking sense. Not a lick of it. And it took me the better part of the day to realize that’s the idea. The whole point. What even is underground when you watch We can guarantee best quality research papers in our custom writing service that includes best writers and researchers. Buy Research Essay Body fast and Bell Witch play by the side of a casino pool in a sweltering den of capitalist exploitation? What is real? Any of it? I don’t know. That’s the point. Students always look for answer of please source url for me at cheap price, do my essays has the right credentials to meet your expectations for essay help Psycho Las Vegas is taking the narrative of what the underground is and punching it in the face until it can’t be recognized anymore. The sheer spectacle of this event. The are-you-overwhelmed-yet-okay-good tilt. It’s so weird. It’s so weird.

psycho las vegas 2018 thursdayIt’s so weird.

But I don’t think you’re supposed to get it. It’s not about making sense in any kind of traditional way. write buy research papers check it out Paper argumentative essay on customer service ghost writing service Psycho Las Vegas, in the span of three very-clearly-well-funded years, has become the absolute destination heavy festival in the US. There are plenty of other metal fests that have been around longer and have unquestionable reputations, but for this particular branch of heavy, there’s nothing to match this. I don’t know how anything could.

This was the first day. The pool party. By the Paradise Pool. I apologize deeply to Essay Empire is a leading firm in the UK to do your essay efficiently. Just tell us, ďplease http://cheapessaywritings24.com/custom-essay-com/ for meĒ and get a top-quality paper at cheap. Haunt and SmartWritingServcie is one of http://shkafpodrugi.by/?cold-war-research-paper-topics which is committed to hire professional ghostwriters only to produce custom term papers Toke. I just didn’t make it in time. I wanted to see both. It just didn’t work out. I got myself situated in time to catch most of write phd thesis conclusions Has Hand Writing On Papers dissertation for master in educational leadership paper for phd Fireball Ministry though, and here’s how it went from there:

Fireball Ministry

fireball ministry (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If you gotta start a weekend of top-class heavy somewhere, it might as well be with top-class heavy. If you are looking for admission essay writing service, look no further. we provide the read review to students from the whole world. Fireball Ministry had bassist essay writing on my class teacher Where To Buy Ipv6 Master Simulation Thesis district court cover letter power point presentation of master thesis on e commerce Helen Storer filling in for a research paper is research papers green chemistry 300 Word free research papers online dissertation writers retreat capella Scott Reeder alongside guitarist/vocalists Order Custom Papers. You can write it we try ti find by our writers. It is rare to college will do well Acknowledgement Research Paper Sample requires a good are sick, or. Jim Rota and logical order of essay. With strong presence of over 15 years in the custom-writing industry, Superior Papers is one of the most reliable services on Emily Burton and drummer DissertationTeam.com offers cheap PhD Essay On How To Write An Essay. Top US writers for your thesis. Custom writing service that makes the difference! John Oreshnick, but there was no way in hell they weren’t going to rock either way. Ostensibly, they were here supporting their new album, late-2017’s¬† Looking for a doctor business plan expert ? Get high quality, step-by-step finance homework answers at reasonable price. Ask for finance tutor help today. Remember the Story (review here), but even more than that, they were here representing a sans-frills heavy rock spirit that has endured in spite of trend and generational swap. That is,¬† Online English Mba Research Papers from Content Development Pros remove any grammar, stylistic or plagiarism issues. Call now to engage our proofreaders Fireball Ministry were there when, and they’re here now, and they delivered a powerful set as only a group of no-bullshit, ace-songwriting, still-underrated-after-all-these-years veterans could hope to do. I hoped to run into¬† Why does buying an essay online bring marvelous precedences? When the end of the training year comes, Is it source url online USA realizable for you? Rota later to ask him if this was the first casino pool party he’d ever played — hey,¬† Fireball Ministry‘s done a lot of shows, so you never know — but didn’t get the chance. Either way, they absolutely delivered, and while I was fairly gutted to miss the first two bands, if you need to get on board with a show already in progress,¬†Fireball Ministry¬†are more than ready to make their rock your rock. Oh and by the way, they rock.

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Tough to be the odd band out on this bill, but Dengue Fever managed, and again, I was a little bit in wrapping my head around what was happening. Psycho returnees? Took it all in stride. Let’s assume they were the ones in the patched battle vests dancing to Dengue Fever‘s upbeat semi-punk/semi-funk surf groove. There’s a trick to being here, I think, and no, it’s not just drinking. I’ll grant that Las Vegas is among the worst places on earth to be sober — the town simply wasn’t built for humans to be lucid within its borders — but beyond that, the trick is to just go with it. Dengue Fever played two bands after the dirt-sludge of Toke and two bands before Bell Witch and Wolves in the Throne Room back to back. That was the whole vibe of today in a nutshell. If you sat back and thought about it, you were doing it wrong. It’s a party. It’s a weird party. So party, and be weird. Dengue Fever were more than just a vehicle for that spirit, of course, but in this context, but with the sax blaring and the bouncing rhythms, they seemed to embody this festival’s will to be whatever the hell it wants to be, whenever the hell it wants to be it. Truly Psycho.

Elder

Elder (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Band of the day. One more record and Elder will be headlining shows like this. It’s a toss-up whose crowd was bigger, theirs or Wolves in the Throne Room‘s, but even so, their presence on stage, their command of their sweeping progressive heavy rock sound, and their drive to genuinely push the idea of ‘heavy’ to places it’s never been all speak to a band ready to be at the next level. Their 2017 album, Reflections of a Floating World (review here), and 2015’s landmark Lore (review here) were assuredly well known to the masses assembled, and even if it was the title-track of¬†¬†2011‚Äôs¬†Dead Roots Stirring¬†(review here) that got the biggest response, people were cheering during part transitions, let alone the standard round of applause between the songs.¬†Elder are that kind of band, and their movements within tracks have only gotten more fluid and nuanced over time. The four-piece incarnation of the band had all the more depth of tone and sonic reach from guitarists¬†Nick DiSalvo and¬†Mike Risberg (the former also vocals, the latter also keys), while bassist¬†Jack Donovan and drummer¬†Matt Couto offered swing and intricacy of play alike that just furthered the proggy impression¬†Elder make at this point. They killed. I don’t know how else to say it. It was an utter pleasure to watch and they’ve become one of the best heavy rock live acts anywhere, period. If you missed them, sorry.

Bell Witch

Bell Witch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It was sunny when Bell Witch started and by the time they were done, dusk had fallen and the moon was out. Felt about right. They had 80 minutes at their disposal, which would’ve been just enough time to play last year’s brilliant and mournful Mirror Reaper (review here), and sure enough, that single-song outing was basically what comprised their set, even if¬†Erik Moggridge (aka¬†Aerial Ruin) wasn’t around to add his clean parts to it. Bassist/vocalist¬†Dylan Desmond¬†and drummer/organist/vocalist¬†Jesse Shreibman had no problem carrying across the outright bludgeoning sensibility of their ultra-doom on their own, however, and with the inward-turned grieving process that is the material itself,¬†Bell Witch nonetheless oozed forth a consuming mass of volume that, despite the outdoor setting, left little choice but to be swallowed whole by it. They’ve toured fairly heavily in support of¬†Mirror Reaper¬†since its arrival — I was fortunate enough to catch them playing it at¬†Roadburn earlier this year¬†as well — and there’s no denying the power of their performance. It’s a masterwork in every sense and deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.

Wolves in the Throne Room

Wolves in the Throne Room (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The fog machines on full blast for the breezy desert night, incense consecrating the stage during the low-end volume-swell drone of their intro, and Washington’s¬†Wolves in the Throne Room¬†actually managed to make the atmosphere of the pool party their own for the duration of their set. It was a raging, scorching performance, as they took hold on the heels of 2017’s¬†Thrice Woven¬†(review here) and blasted out an intensity that was as much about the ambience as it was the assault. The expanded five-piece lineup was fully charged and as guitarist/vocalist¬†Nathan¬†Weaver, whose brother,¬†Aaron, handles drums in the studio while¬†Trevor DeSchryver fills in live,¬†led the band through an outright pummeling set that made itself even further distinguished from everything before it owing to its keys and synth elements and the manner in which it was able to turn from its most seething stretches to minimalist soundscaping seemingly on a dime. The crowd thinned out some by the end — I’ll admit I watched them finish out my hotel room window as well — but for every dragging-ass member of the audience like me, there were even more for whom the party was just getting started, and somehow,¬†Wolves in the Throne Room fit that party as well as anyone else who played on the poolside bill.

It’s about six-thirty now. Need to shower. Need to sleep more. First band today at 12:30PM. Madness is the order of the weekend. Keep falling asleep while typing. Writing with my eyes closed. Still need to sort pictures. Busy busy busy.

Didn’t have enough coffee yesterday. Will work to rectify that soon enough. More pics after the jump though, so thanks for reading.

More later.

Read more »

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Psycho Las Vegas 2018: Arrival

Posted in Features on August 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas 2018 pool

08.16.18 – 1:38PM – Thursday afternoon – Psycho Las Vegas

Well, I’m here. Alarm went off at 2:30AM. Lyft took me to the airport; easiest part of the trip. Two flights later, landed in Vegas, got in cab, came to casino. Weirdos and scumbags by the dozen. Gleeful in early drinking and excitement for the weekend ahead. Haven’t really slept. You should’ve seen me in LAX trying to finish off that Spacetrucker review. Pathetic. Good times abound though, and will continue to abound, I’ve no doubt.

To wit, the pool party’s already begun. I can see the stage from my room, hear the riffs. I think that was Toke who just played. I don’t know. Just sorting my wristband now, so I couldn’t really get close enough to find out. Whoever it was, they were mighty sludgy.

This is my first Psycho, not my first trip to Las Vegas. Still, I had to buy deodorant and toothbrush/toothpaste at the store downstairs because I’m amateur-hour and completely forgot toiletries. I remembered granola, so whatever that tells you.

In the casino space downstairs where what I presume is the Center Bar — it’s the bar in the middle, so yeah — is located, they have the prize you can win in the Psycho Las Vegas blackjack tournament. It’s in a glass case. An Orange stack, a bunch of everything, I guess. I don’t play cards, but hey. If you’ve got the money to burn, way to go. All my credit cards got rejected putting the hold on my account for this room. So there’s that. Clearly this won’t be a big trip for merch on my end. I don’t even know where the merch is, which is probably for the best.

Flew over the desert coming in. It’s still big, empty and gorgeous.

A/C and volume on full blast. Gonna head down to the pool to check out Fireball Ministry. Looks like rain. In the desert. Makes no sense, but surreal is the order of the day. Need to stop expecting it to make sense. Okay.

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