New Music from Imagine Dragons

I am still very much in recovery mode from Life is Beautiful, but one of Sandy Beats’ favorite bands (who should have headlined LIB, #betterthankanye) Imagine Dragons released their new tune “I Bet My Life” last night. This was the song playing on the radio when my alarm clock went off this morning. Freaking awesome.

Enjoy!

Life is Beautiful Preview – Day 2

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Here I sit, Tuesday night and already thinking ahead to Saturday at Life is Beautiful. I am not going to lie. I am least excited for Saturday. That is not to say, I am not going to have fun. There are some AMAZING acts performing on Saturday, and this is my hometown festival…there is no other option than having the best time I can manage. If there is a day that I wander onto a performance that I love…Saturday is the day.

So, there are a few acts that are not to miss on Saturday. In order of awesomeness, they are:

1) Fitz & the Tantrums – as far as live shows go. There are few bands that can even compare. The energy of this LA based group blows most bands away. It does not matter if you aren’t familiar with their songs (which, lets be real, means you haven’t been paying attention), you will dance. If you don’t at least nod your head, you have no soul (I am just kidding).

If you don’t tap your foot or nod your head while listening to “Moneygrabber” please do not tell me.

2) The Roots – Philly bred hip-hop hybrid The Roots are a staple of American pop music. They’ve been relevant longer than many festival goers have been alive. I was first exposed to them in the 90’s as a hip-hop alternative to the prevalent “gansta rap” and they are now best known as the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Regardless of how they are known, they are a headline worthy act, and I wouldn’t miss seeing them live.

3) OutKast – I’ll be honest, when I saw OutKast with @begt at LouFest 2014 I actually said to myself “how can Outkast fill up a 2 hour set”. Those are words I lived to regret. I’ve never been a really intentional fan of Outkast, except maybe during the Dungeon Family record era. Their LouFest show was incredible. Each song better than the last, and the show itself was visually stunning. I know the choice is between Outkast and The Flaming Lips…two very visually dramatic performances, but Outkast will win this round for me. I can also assure you that you know more Outkast songs than you think you do.

For example, “Whole World”…you’ll be singing along in no time.

Other bands of note that I am hoping to catch on Saturday include: Welsh rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen (best name ever?); NYC Based post-punk outfit Bear Hands; @Begt’s recommendation J. Roddy Walston and the Business; and English Indie rockers Alt-J.

I’ll leave you with Catfish and the Bottlemen with “Fallout” which is a freaking awesome video that I probably like more because of my recent trip to the UK.

Life is Beautiful Preview – Day 1

Life is Beautiful 2014 is only a few days away. It seems like it got here super fast, but its been a busy fall for me, so it is probably just my imagination.

I will be honest, the lineup this year did not have me itching like the 2013 Lineup. Unless this is your first visit to the blog, you know how big of fan I am of bands like The Killers, Imagine Dragons and Childish Gambino who all had big performances last year. This year it is not the headliners that have gotten me excited, rather it is the smaller bands and local acts that will be causing me to move my feet and nod my head.

With 3 days of music and just around 69 bands on the bill, there is a lot more room for lesser known and local acts to have their place.

This year, I decided I would break the preview up so as to make sure I can actually finish three posts as opposed to failing and finishing one long one. With that in mind, here are my picks for Friday. I won’t be able to hit all of these acts up, but I am going to give it my best shot.

It is my belief that Friday has the most solid line-up of the weekend. Literally every time slot has someone I want to see…and a couple have multiple acts I would like to check out. I am not sure if that will happen this weekend, but I will give it the old college try.

My first tough decision comes at the start of the day. It is a choice between two local acts. The first is Ekoh, a local hip-hop artist who has been working the scene for a while. I’ve known of him for a while, but haven’t had the chance to see an entire set until he opened for one of my favorite hip-hop artists, Grieves, this summer. The other choice is local rock outfit Rusty Maples. Also veteran’s of the Vegas scene, this group could be poised to make it big. I had seen them a couple times over the last few years, but became very excited to see how far they’ve come when they opened for Built to Spill early this fall.  This will be a game time decision, but to show you just how tough it will be…here are the two acts in question.

First is Ekoh with “Zzyzx Road”

Next here are the Rusty Maples with “Long Walk Home”

With toughest decision of  the day out of the way, I am off to the races.

Up next is Portland based Priory. This group has had a minor radio hit with “Weekend”. I am not a huge fan of “Weekend” but the rest of their stuff sounds pretty good. Enjoy “Alone” off of their first release.

At this point, I could head over to the Mainstage to see Phantogram (who I hear is awesome live) or hit up a double header of Kentucky pop rockers Sleeper Agent and LouFest 2014 favorites Vintage Trouble. This would mean I would also miss electro act Girl Talk, but it would put me in great position to see one of my first SoCal favorites (and one of the three last remaining “Christian”-ish groups that I still follow), Switchfoot. There is no doubt that I will be seeing Switchfoot, I just am not sure which path I will take to get there. Check out “When We Come Alive” from their recent Fading West release.

At this point, I will be sticking near two stages who have the rest of the bands I will be watching. My only regret is that I won’t be able to see one of my LouFest 2014 surprises, RAC. From Vegas native and former Rilo Kiley front-woman, Jenny Lewis  to fellow desert dwellers and some of Utah’s finest, Neon Trees, and the artists who @begt and I saw at Red Rock, Seattle based The Head and the Heart (!!!). Ending the evening for me will be Vegas locals (and the biggest Vegas headliner of this year’s Life is Beautiful) Panic! At the Disco.

Just so it is clear who I am most excited for, please enjoy “Down in the Valley” by The Head and the Heart.

Stay tuned for preview of Day 2 and Day 3

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

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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

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 www.lifeisbeautifulfestival.com/tickets 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!