New Music: Avalon Landing

November is a great month for movies and music in 2013. This week has already seen a new “Greatest Hits” release from The Killers, but the focus of this post is on another one of  Las Vegas’ own music treasures (by way of Buffalo, NY) Avalon Landing. I’ve been enjoying Avalon Landing for a while now, and have seen them a couple times opening up for another Vegas’ powerhouse, Imagine Dragons.

You may remember Avalon Landing, as I introduced you to them back in July. Over the past few months they’ve changed drummers, and have really increased their promotion of this new release.

Avalon Landing released their second full-length record Reside this Tuesday. The record has the same style as their first release Demo’s, Dead Ends & Do Overs” but the lyrics definitely show the maturation of the band. They have definitely expanded on their sound and this new album is a bit more polished and refined, which does the band well.

The first single off of Reside is “About Face”.

Avalon Landing has started to tour around a bit more, but currently only has dates listed for Las Vegas. I hope to catch them again soon.

You can listen to the whole record on SoundCloud.

I do hope that they become the next big band from Las Vegas, but as of right now there is a lot of tough competition for that title.

You will like them if you like: The Fray, One Republic, The Script.

Life Is Beautiful Quick Take

LIB1

Life is Beautiful

This past weekend @begt and I had the pleasure of attending Downtown Las Vegas’ inaugural Life is Beautiful festival. This festival was a mixture of music, food, art and education. A more hearty review will be forthcoming, but in the interest of timeliness, here are a few highlights and lowlights from the festival.

Highlights:

1)      In my opinion, the festival did its job. It provided an event unlike any other in Las Vegas while showcasing some of the best food, art and music that Las Vegas has to offer.

2)      Las Vegas can be a great host to an eclectic group of performers and festival attendees.

3)      The performances were great and the performers were fairly diverse. From hip-hop to electronic and funk the attendees had many choices to fit their moods.

4)      Performances from hometown heroes Imagine Dragons and The Killers that were impeccable and which contained pleasant surprises.

5)      Do you want to eat something you’d not normally eat at festival? They had you covered. The choices were endless.

6)      The art…THE ART. The new murals were incredible and such a great addition to downtown.

Lowlights:

7)      Whether it be the culture of Las Vegas, of the many southern California attendees or the micro-culture of festival, trash & recycling were an issue. This needs to be addressed next year. The festival organizers should look at larger festivals and events in more progressive parts of the country and see how they handle waste. There is every reason to believe that this festival can be a “no waste” event when it comes to handling food/drink waste.

8)      Some of the scheduling choices seemed to be not well thought out. Placing hip-hop staples Jurassic 5 at the same time as Janelle Monae and crowd pleasers Empire of the Sun and the Killers opposite each other didn’t seem to support fans with consistent tastes. Somehow, someway, I was able to catch most of J5’s set, and the last few songs of Monae’s set while still seeing 2.5 songs from one of my local favorites Most Thieves at the unfortunately located Homegrown stage.

9)      Drinks were club prices. I didn’t expect to find cheap drinks, but $13 for a one-shot cocktail is really too much. A $9 beer? No thank you.

10)   The lack of “Vegas” spirit from the attendees. I realize that many (a majority?) of the attendees were not from Vegas, but the amount of people at both the Killers and Imagine Dragons who were not into the show was disappointing.

11)   Native American Headdresses? Really people, what the hell are you thinking? Not cool. It is not a thing. It is equivalent to wearing blackface or dressing like a Nazi. It is not cute, it is not cool.

LouFest Wrap-Up Part 2

So for the first post I blamed my post LouFest honeymoon. The delay for this second post is due to my body telling me to go to sleep instead of writing blog posts. My body won every night this week, except for this one! (Checkmate nature).

Day 2 of LouFest was epic. I am not one to use this word lightly…or even really at all, but I cannot find any adjectives that will accurately describe the way that I feel about Sunday. We started off with rain that cleared up moments before the first set. @Begt, Jennifer and I sat in the car (literally across the street from the entrance) and waited for the storm to blow over.

So, without any order, except for number one being number one, here is my Top 5 LouFest moments from Sunday:

5a) We entered onto the LouFest grounds just as the rain slowed to a drizzle. @Begt had convinced us that the band to see first thing was the Mowgli’s. I’d been listening to the other Sunday opener a bit, but maybe it was the rain, the pre-funking, or the universe commanded it, but that first set from the Mowgli’s set the standard for the day. This Southern California based 8 member band is a mix of sunshine, the beach, sparkles and love. Their energy from the first song all the way through their hit “San Francisco” was absolutely contagious. They immediately connected with the crowd through their poppy, loved filled jams. They have an Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros feel about them, but they are their own breed of band. They are touring throughout the US this fall with WALK THE MOON and others. If you can, you owe it to yourself to see them perform.

5b) The second show of the day was another SoCal based group, Youngblood Hawke. if you own a radio, you’ve most likely heard their catchy anthem “We Come Running”. This band also played with incredible energy and had the crowd on their feet and dancing in the muggy early afternoon. I had enjoyed “We Come Running”, but now consider myself a fan. My favorite performance from them was “Forever”. Here is an acoustic version of the song.

4) Like Day 1, there were a lot of bands that were either right before or right after a band I really wanted to see. This was the case with the Nashville based Wild Cub. This band was a SXSW fan favorite and have been hitting up various festivals all summer. Their set took place right before the Alabama Shakes. We had already been hanging out by this stage because much of the surrounding area was tree covered and we wanted to rest while listening to Local Natives. I had listened to a few Wild Cub tracks before, and was pretty impressed. This group put on a hell of a show. Some of their tunes sound like they could have been composed in 1985 but with a contemporary flair. I am really looking forward to hearing more from them in the future. They have a few festival shows this fall, but I am sure they will be back on tour once the weather gets nicer. Enjoy their “hit” Thunder Clatter:

3) If loving hippie makes me a hippie, call me a damn hippie. After seeing Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros in July, I’ve been anxiously awaiting seeing them at LouFest. Literally the only complaint I have about LouFest is that they scheduled ESM0’s to perform immediately before the Killers. This meant that if I wanted to get a good spot for the Killers I’d have to leave ESM0’s early. This was not a good position to be in. But, it had to be done because…its the Killers…the greatest American Rock Band of my generation (you can take that to the bank my friends because that statement is as true as gold is valuable). They started off their set with my two favorite ESM0’s songs “Man on Fire” and “That’s Whats Up”. As a kid decked out in UNLV gear, I was dancing like a hippie because ESM0’s are just that good. Alex was also a bit more aware of his surroundings than he appeared to be in Las Vegas.

2) About a month after first seeing Imagine Dragons live in 2010, we started listening to the Imagine Dragons Pandora station with religious fervor. One of the songs that frequented this station was from a quirky quartet from Cincinnati, OH. Having a band name that is written in all caps may seem presumptuous, but when you are WALK THE MOON you can do whatever the hell you want. This may just have been the best set of the entire festival. They rocked out on most of their catalog including “Next in Line”, “Tightrope” and the incredibly catchy “Anna Sun”, which had the entire crowd screaming. What little of my voice I had left after this show was lost after the Killers. This band is touring with the Mowglis this fall, they shouldn’t be missed.

1) This weekend could not have ended on a better note. If you’ve read this blog at all you know how I feel about Las Vegas’ own The Killers. From the moment I saw the black and white Nevada flag on the main-stage just before the first show on Sunday, all the way through their set, I was ecstatic for this set. The set was filled with many of their most popular songs, and started out with “Mr. Brightside” and included a version of “I Think We’re Alone Now” made famous by Tiffany. In true Vegas fashion the show concluded with one hell of a pyrotechnic show during “When You Were Young”. I was thrilled to see the Killers again, and am looking forward to seeing them again next month at Life is Beautiful here in Las Vegas.

Well St. Louis, you definitely captured my heart this time. Will I attend LouFest next year, you ask? Yes, yes I will.

LouFest Spotlight: The Killers

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the Killers in our discussion of LouFest. I realize that the Killers are in fact, one of the most well known American bands in the world. From what I’ve been able to gather from other media outlets and European music mags, the Killers may be the biggest American band in the world. This does not stop them from being one of my most favorite bands, and the band I am most looking forward to performing at LouFest. The Killers are the Sunday headliner for LouFest (Saturday is Wilco).

There are very few bands that exist on my “must see live” list and my concert “bucket list”. The Killers are atop both of those lists. I do admit that seeing them live in Las Vegas probably differs from seeing them in other locations, but lead singer Brandon Flowers has a genuine charisma that I’ve not seen from any other lead singer (including the charismatic likes of Rob Thomas and Adam Levine).

I saw them late last year when they returned to their hometown of Las Vegas for a set of shows to close out 2012. In my life their are few times when I’ve been so ill that I could barely walk…their December 29th show was one such day. Unless I was in a hospital, I was not going to miss this show. I had been waiting for years to see them live…and when I did, it was magic.

LouFest will be the second time I see them live, and the third time will come next month when they headline Vegas’ own Life is Beautiful Festival.

The Killers were formed in Las Vegas in 2001. They’ve released four studio albums, with the most recent in 2012, Battle Born.

I am sure their festival set may differ from their set from the most recent “Battle Born” tour. However, I know every song they play will be amazing.

One of my favorite songs from Day and Age, “Spaceman”:

As @begt already has seen, The Killers have on occasion while in the UK performed my most favorite song of all time. Both Flowers and  band co-founder Dave Keuning are admittedly huge Oasis fans… “Don’t Look Back in Anger” performed by the Killers:

When I saw the Killers in December, they started the show with a song not often performed live since the tour of the same name. “Sam’s Town” will always mean Las Vegas to me no matter where I live. For the first three years I lived here, I could see Sam’s Town (a local casino) from my house. When this started playing this song, my sick self started shaking.

I cannot post this without sharing my favorite Killers song (one of my top 5 favorite songs, now you know two), which is also from Sam’s Town, “Read My Mind”.