The Year 2013 pt. 1

When I sat down in front of my monitor this evening, I had every intention of starting my first ever “Best of the Year” post here at Sandy Beats. However, as I put on some writing music, I was notified that today is Tuesday aka new release day. I did what any music fan would do, and clicked on the New Releases on Spotify playlist. As I scrolled down the list filled with some classics (The Velvet Underground, ZZ Top), some new music from one of hip-hop’s uncle’s  (E-40), and new stuff from everyone’s favorite motivational kink (R. Kelly), I saw what I did not realize I was looking for…Childish Gambino’s (aka Donald Glover aka Troy) new release because the internet.

I was lucky to see and hear some of these new songs at the Life is Beautiful Festival in October. While I was a fan of Childish Gambino before seeing him live (okay, I am a HUGE fan of the TV show Community and through that became a fan of CG), I now consider myself a real fan. I have listened to his first release Camp a few times, and really enjoyed it. After seeing his live show, I was lead to believe that this new record would be a bit more gritty and dark. Camp is not all rainbows and sunshine, but I do get the feeling  that because the internet is a bit darker. It has been said in the media that Glover is going through a “dark period” and he has taken a leave from Community. Everyone needs a break, and music is one of Glover’s outlets, so I am not to judge his person…however…this record is pretty incredible. I would not be able to write a Best of 2013 article without having heard this album.

After a couple listen’s my favorite track is “sweatpants”. This was also a favorite of mine from his LIB set.

The first single from this new record is “3005”. Check out the video:

Most of my 2013 has been filled with indie folk, Imagine Dragons, and bluegrass…the time is ripe for some unique beats and lyrics.

Life Is Beautiful Quick Take


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.


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.


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

Life is Beautiful Banner

One of the best things about living in Las Vegas is music. I’ve never had the chance to really live in a place where music is all around me. Over the last 7 years I’ve seen some of the most amazing shows. Vegas is home to some of the biggest acts of the last 10 years (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Panic at the Disco).  However, since 2007, Las Vegas has lacked a music festival to call its own. Now we have a festival whose name holds true to this amazing town. Life is Beautiful.

Headlined by, in this author’s opinion, one of the 3 best rock bands from the USA in the history of Rock & Roll, the Killers as well as the Kings of Leon. Other acts include Vegas natives Imagine Dragons, Beck, Empire of the Sun, and more. The festival will also feature world class chefs, artists and the best up and coming bands Vegas has to offer, including one of my new favorites, Most Thieves (who have been supporting the Killers on the Battle Born tour).

This festival may quite possibly become the go to music festival in the US. It will certainly put Downtown Las Vegas back on the map.

Check out the announcement video for the other acts.


EDIT: Here’s some info about tickets, straight from the Festival’s blog.

Tickets for Life is Beautiful Festival go on sale this Friday, June 7th at 10am PST on and any Ticketmaster location.

2-Day General Admission tickets will be sold the following price tiers:

  • Early Bird (available until sold out): $99.50
  • Special (available after Early Bird sells out): $119.50
  • Advance (available after Special sells out): $139.50
  • Regular (available after Advance sells out): $159.50

VIP tickets are $349.50 and include:

  • Exclusive VIP lounge with shade, lounge seating, activities and more
  • Viewing Areas at Main Stage and Ambassador Stage
  • VIP restroom facilities
  • Access to special VIP food concessions
  • Access to special VIP beer, wine and spirits concessions
  • Commemorative Poster and more!