My City, My Heart

 

I have lived in Las Vegas for more than a decade. I was not born here, but I fell in love with this place shortly after I moved here. This is my home. I choose to live here, and I am not sure I will ever leave. The last few days have been such a surreal experience that is tough to put into words. I want to have words for it, but I just cannot get there…yet. I know I’ve been sharing some sad songs, and while the sentiment I want to share now may seem sad, its more of a love for my home. When I say Home Means Nevada, I mean it. This post is an ode to my home.

“Home Means Nevada” as performed by The Killers

 

“Viva Las Vegas” as performed by The Killers

“Vegas Lights” by Panic! At The Disco

“A Shot at The Night” by The Killers

 

“Its Time” (and more) by Imagine Dragons

“I don’t ever want to let you down, I don’t ever want to leave this town, cuz after all the city never sleeps at night”

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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.

Autumn Sounds

Fall is my favorite time of year, and living in Las Vegas it is the BEST time of the year in our fine city. Despite not having any plans for any live shows in the near future (though I am pretty sure I will be seeing Imagine Dragons & The Mowgli’s here in Vegas at the end of the year), I’ve still be listening to a lot of music and have caught a couple shows in the last month (other than Life is Beautiful).

Two days before Life is Beautiful, @Begt and I (along with a few others) went to see The Naked & Famous at the BLVD Pool at the Cosmopolitan Resort here in Las Vegas. As I’ve mentioned before, this venue is pretty amazing. The show happens right above the pool, and for larger shows the main pool is drained (it was half-drained for this show). I had thought that this show would be the most well attended of the shows I’ve attended this summer/fall (including Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, WAVVES, G. Love, etc…) however, this show was not as well attended as ESM0’s which was pretty darn packed. Apparently TNAF is not as popular as I expected.

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The sound at the BLVD pool can be a bit sketchy, and this show definitely highlighted that. With the electronic beats from TNAF there was some distortion. This was a bit distracting, but it was not the end of the world. I really expected the group to be a bit more talkative. As groups go, they were pretty quiet and stuck to business. They played a mix of songs from their two full length albums. The crowd favorites were definitely “Punching in a Dream” and “Youngblood”. My favorite “Girls Like You” was one of the earliest songs in the set. The set ran just over an hour, which is not surprising noting that TNAF’s catalog is not very expansive. I do think that they are more of an “inside” band, and North America will get to see them open for Vegas’ natives Imagine Dragons on their upcoming arena tour.

I enjoyed the show, but would think they would fit better in a smaller indoor venue.

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Life Is Beautiful Quick Take

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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.

Life is Beautiful Spotlight: Dawes

For a 2 day brand spanking new festival, Life is Beautiful has over 40 bands on tap. I am not going to lie, I am a bit skeptical of how this is all going to play out. Despite that, there are many bands which I am greatly looking forward to. Once the schedule comes out (any day know folks), I will know which bands I will be able to see, and which acts I may lose out on. One of the bands I am hoping to see is SoCal based “folk-rock” outfit Dawes (most of the band was previously in the similarly named Simon Dawes). I’ve waded in and out of Dawes’ land for the last few years, and renewed my interest when seeing that they were on the bill for LIB. Life Is Beautiful is on the tail end of a summer filed with festivals and shows crisscrossing the US.

The band released their 3rd LP Stories Don’t End in April.

From watching some of their live videos this low-key sounding band puts on a pretty good show. They are also kicking off the Grills & Guitars Kick-Off Party which is one of the many premium add-on’s to the Life if Beautiful tickets.

Check out: “Time Spent in Los Angeles”:

and my personal favorite “When My Time Comes”. I am pretty sure this one song will make their show for me:

Local Music: Avalon Landing

Being over 30, and wanting to get 8 hours of sleep has really prevented me from discovering more local Vegas music. However, I’ve been out and about enough to hear my favorite local band (not including the Killers or Imagine Dragons), Avalon Landing.  They are not Vegas natives, rather they are originally from Buffalo, NY.

I was already sold on the band because they are named for the novel that plays a prominent role in one of my favorite movies, Finding Forrester. However, I first heard them when I was preparing for a show when they were opening for Imagine Dragons when ID released their Continued Silence EP. I purchased their first full length: Demos, Dead Ends and Do Overs, and listened to it religiously until the show. They play Las Vegas pretty frequently, but have only ever seen them one other time when they again opened for Imagine Dragons.

Their sound is reminiscent of The Fray, but their lyrics are a lot less “Jesusy” than the Fray. They pack a lot of energy into their live shows, and they are big supporters of the local music venues here in Las Vegas. They have been recording their next record, and I am excited to see what it has to offer.

Here is “Old Phone Books”

And “Erie County Welcomes You Back”