Life Is Beautiful Review

Life Is Beautiful Review

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After three days of music and art in downtown Las Vegas, it is time to briefly share the annual spectacular celebration called Life is Beautiful.

Downtown’s Artwork

Downtown Freemont became an urban art gallery, setting up picture worthy backgrounds for all attendees that want them social media points.One of the most popular feature is the abandon motel turned art motel by the collective Meow Wolf.

Based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, bringing oddness and psychedelic creativity.Ever walked into a room with wall to wall pillows with giant like pillow form rock’em sock’em robots in middle? Walking inside is like a different dimension, where the first floor each room was different construct of artwork and displayed diversity.

ZHU

Steven Zhu put quite the performance at the Downtown Stage (main stage) on Sunday’s Life is Beautiful. Discovering the vocals on his songs like “In the Morning,” “Faded,” were sung by him is intriguing.Also, major kudos to the saxophonists to be queued in for “Automatic” and “Palm of My Hand.”ZHU proved his worth to be on the main stage.

EDC Jr.?

Each year Life is Beautiful has always makes the attempt to bring a plethora of variety when it comes to line-ups. This year it seemed to be a lot more of electronic performers this year and notice a lot of attendees to keep going to the Fremont Stage, a.k.a., the tent where the djs mainly perform. The amount of those attendees dressed up like it was Electric Daisy Carnival reunion.

On Saturday’s Day 2, one of the side stages on the way to the Toyota Music Den, was the Forest of House, a specified setup for dj’s which play constant EDM. Drawing all the ravers of the festival, looking like a refuge for when the EDM artists are not performing.

Rebuttal

Don’t get me wrong, Life is Beautiful brought TOKiMONSTA, Bonobo, Goldroom, Wild Thing and Tycho to shift away the EDM dimension, with their live-sets and TOKiMONSTA’s diverse tracklist.The outlook just seemed attendees were mainly attach to the electronic platform, instead of diversifying their music taste buds.

Lil Dicky over Schoolboy Q?

On Saturday, Schoolboy Q took the main stage and was not feeling the crowd, which is a shame because Schoolboy has awesome singles from Oxymoron and Habits & Contradictions.

On the other side of the festival and in the same day, there was white-boy rapper David Andrew Burd, also known as Lil Dicky. His debut of the evening, apparently harnessed the energy what Schoolboy Q wanted. The crowd was bumping to the comedic style rapper songs and his comedic interludes.

The main stage does symbol the popular act, which seem the popularity just wanted to hear “THat Part.” He did his best to please the crowd, but it identified the mass audience to only know his popular singles.It was a shameful because “Collar Greens” is by far one of his best songs period.

The Heavy Hitters

The three days were packed with major artists. The first day, wheel chaired 2 Chainz ran the trap. Lorde came through with a Kate Bush “Running Up the Hill,” with her personal swagger of dance moves with the opening track “Tennis Court.”

Chance the Rapper took us to church, with the Social Experiment to be his band and brought everything he had from “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” tracks from Acid Rap and everything from Coloring Book.Chance proved once again why he is featured in every music festival line-up this year so far.

Blink 182 brought out the true blink-fans, but the melancholy for original guitarist Tom Delonge is truly missed, Alkaline Trio front-man and Tom’s replacement stepped up when it came down to Tom’s parts in the Blink catalogue.

Day 2, Local Natives made double efforts by doing a smaller acoustic performance at the Toyota Music Den, before they performed later that evening.Muse was filled with illumination and lighting suiting the Las Vega leitmotif.The rockers did their best delivering “Supermassive Black Hole,” “Hysteria,” “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Time is Running Out,” with seven albums on their belt and closing the downtown stage with two filled hours of music, it was a site to see.

The final day, arguably probably the best day, had rising acts like Mura Masa and Dua Lipa to prove worth the hype.Life is Beautiful also had The xx later in the evening, with the crowd unifying to thier mellow stillness and chill vibe atmosphere.

The Haim sisters channeling their girl rock diversity from playing old hit singles like “My Song 5,” “The Wire,” even doing a Shania Twain cover of “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”

Also could not forget the early evening performances of Cirque Du Soleil.Cirque arrange to do some variety performances from the strips shows like The Beatles: LOVE, Mystere, Michael Jackson’s ONE, KA and so forth. Having these acrobatic performers to show locals and outside attendees, to appreciate a piece of the Las Vegas entertainment.

The Huntridge Stage

It’s debatable to individuals, which were their favorite stage, but to share an opinion, the Huntridge Stage had to be considered most favorable.The setup of the stage felt more intimate for the crowd.

Witnessing Kali Uchis first performance ever in Las Vegas and Vince Staples giant red-orange background which made Vince Staples appearance looking like an iTunes commercial, or even The Revivalists energy. The combination of the artists, who’ve perform on that stage, delivered something different from the other sets.

Gorillaz

They were the first to confirmed to be appearing Life is Beautiful and were the last performers of the weekend. Mastermind Damon Albarn brought an entourage and opened with “Last Living Souls” off of Demon Dayz. Throughout the performance the fictional characters will be shown on the monitors, theming through each song. The guest lists were Vince Staples, Pusha-T, De La Soul, Jehnny Beth from Savages appeared for “We Got the Power” and Peven Everett for “Stylo.” When Gorillaz officially ended their set, it was like the audience snapped out of hypnosis, no one wanted it to end.

Life is Beautiful did another great success.Teaming with local vendors and bring another year of bringing a movement that shares the great satisfactions and appreciating of living: food, art, friends and music.

Cover Image Credit: Life is Beautiful // Christopher Kilkenny

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WALK THE MOON's Press Restart Tour Comes To Denver

If positivity had a sound, it would be the Press Restart tour.
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Last night WALK THE MOON brought their A-game at the Ogden Theater in Denver. This vibrant Indie, pop-rock, feel-good, group is currently on their Press Restart tour featuring songs from their newest album release, What If Nothing. The album captures a lot of their original sound, while also encapsulating some of the rawer, more implicit lyrics linked to life, passion, and the meanings of both. If positivity had a sound, it would be the Press Restart tour.

The members of this band are all overwhelmingly talented. Front-man, Nicholas Petricca, is a phenomenal pianist, singer, dancer, and synthesizer. He handles the lead vocals and a lot of the background harmonies, but what's most special about him is his energy. This latest album features a lot of inspiration drawn from his recent experimentation in spirituality and that was evident at the venue last night. Nich quite literally filled the venue with this elated, almost magnetic atmosphere that really draws you into his set and makes you feel alive. It somehow connects you to him, not just as an artist, but as a person, and as a soul. His vulnerability on stage creates a sort of "oneness" between the crowd and the band.

Likewise, slappa-da-bass member Kevin Ray impressed me as always last night. Kevin is ridiculously good at multitasking and that was apparent on stage as he played bass, aided in percussion, and made intimate connections with audience members somehow simultaneously. If you're lucky enough to find yourself on Kevin Ray's side of the stage during a show, you're in for a treat as his interaction is really unlike any other. He seeks out smiles from every person on the floor and will make sure to smile back as soon as he sees that you're looking. He makes sure to get to everyone in the crowd and he makes the experience very personal and intimate. His ultimate goal is just to make sure that everyone is having the time of their life, and he effortlessly accomplished this last night.

The band also includes members Sean Waguaman on drums and Eli Maiman on lead guitar. Sean is like Superman with sticks. He went hard all night long and really embodied what is is to be a non-stop entertainer. If he has a kyrptonite, I definitely didn't see it last night in Denver. Likewise, lead guitarist Eli Maiman played the guitar like you wouldn't believe. He has a special skill for making the guitar sound like something that's not a guitar. His solos provide the sounds for Petricca's atmosphere. His guitar had a voice, and when I listened, it spoke. This tour is also special because the foursome is accompanied by friend and percussioinst, Lachland "Lucky" West and he elevated the live sound by bringing a little something extra to the group that you can't hear outside of a live show.

So, unless slapping on some face-paint, listening to uplifting rock music, and dancing your heart out with a crowd full of people as happy as you doesn't sound like your cup of tea, I highly encourage you to go see WALK THE MOON the next time they come to Colorado. This band is different. Good different.

Cover Image Credit: ellapizarrophoto.com

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Send All Therapy Bills to the Prom Committee

Cue the pig's blood.
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It's about damn time someone addressed the elephant in the room: school dances.  For decades now, we as adolescents accepted the horror, the emotionally traumatic experience of a school dance.  Our parents encouraged us to go, our peers expected us, and the media blew the entire occasion out of proportion with examples like Footloose and Back to the Future.

I survived several school dances and I will tell you right now, Kevin Bacon never showed up to one and never would my entire graduating class have banded together to turn a mill into a suitable dance hall, even if Kenny Loggins did serenade us the entire time with songs about being free and heaven helping the man.  Nor did Micheal J. Fox make an appearance with a prepared guitar solo in hand and I know I didn't but did anyone ever feel especially enchanted or under the sea while at a dance?

I didn't think so.  It's practically impossible to feel anything remotely positive while at a mandatory school dance. Even if you do gather the courage to ask a girl to dance or get lucky enough to be the one asked and therefore rescued from the lonely corner of cowering teenage girls, you stay about six inches apart from each other (leaving room for Jesus if you're at a Catholic school, leaving room for your hormones to rage at any other school) which doesn't really help in elevating the romance of the moment.   Not to mention the all too intimate atmosphere created inside the same gym that the basketball team sweats in during the winter and everyone else sweats in during assemblies and pep rallies throughout the year.  Yes, the humidity in the air that the poor girls with curly 80s Jennifer Beals hair try to counteract with hairspray and gel: that’s the lingering sweat of your peers.  Breathe it in.


But wait, there’s more! Yes, not to worry, there’s more factors contributing to this school dance ritual. 

Has anyone thought to argue with the sadistic reality that dances are only forced on us during the most awkward and insecure time in our lives?  There are no dances before 6th grade, when crippling insecurity hasn’t rooted itself so deeply in your growing-pained bones, and there are hardly any formal dances after the age of 18, when everyone is mature enough to know how to ask and accept a dance, or at least give it a shot.  They only occur when we are so hormonally unstable that getting a blue fruit roll up in our lunch instead of a red one could set us off.  We worried enough about the shirt we put on or whether our mom kissed us goodbye when she dropped us off in the morning, why on Earth did someone decided to pile on school dances?  Because that’s exactly what teenagers need: more opportunities for peer pressure and social anxiety. 

So if you’re a boy, you worry about asking a girl out and there’s the matter of how to ask her out and which girl and when to do it and where to do it and how many of your friends are going to post it on Snapchat (earlier generations didn’t have to worry about this at least) and what. If. She. Says. No?!

Well, you may as well just curl up and die right there on the cafeteria floor.

And if you’re a girl you worry about what to wear and whether or not someone will ask you and if someone does, you have to say yes to the right person because obviously who you go to the seventh grade dance with is a vital decision in your life, and what about if no one asks you?  Do you go by yourself and hope someone asks you to dance during one of the three slow songs or do you stay home with your cat and a Hillary Duff movie?

And let’s not forget the fact that social dance isn’t taught anymore so if a slow song does come on and you do happen to have a partner, you don’t have a clue where to put your arms and where you should look and whether or not it’s normal to have your feet stepped on or to be the one stepping on the girl's feet every other second.

Does anyone see a benefit here?

I was talking to my friend about the violation of humanity in forcing only adolescents to attend formal dances and he’s of the opinion that it’s the administration giving themselves an opportunity to watch middle and high schoolers alike suffer.  And while it’s a humorous and possible reason, I don’t know that it’s all the way true.  The majority of administrators and teachers hate school dances.  They have to haggle and barter and threaten one another's parking spots just to get enough chaperones and, especially for high school dances, they spend at least half the year trying to rally enough funds to host said dances.  'Do it for the children,' they tell parents as they stand diligently behind the Prom Fund donation box during soccer games.  Unless your child is Homecoming King or Queen material, they'd prefer that you didn't 'do it for the children' thank you very much. 

But parent guilt is an all powerful persuader so Mom or Dad pay the recommended $10 donation and  eventually the school gains enough money to put on the Homecoming or Freshman dance or the all hallowed Prom and all the students buy their dresses that they'll be tugging at all night, whether their boobs are too big or too small, and the high heels that they can't walk in yet and will inevitably ditch at the door and suits that always hang a little awkwardly on shoulders that haven't quite filled out or arms that are too long for the sleeves.  They will huddle in groups, their palms dripping with sweat and their hearts terrifyingly rabbit-like, as if awaiting to be herded on to the train for Auschwitz.  Then 'Choo, Choo!'--"Hero" by Enrique Iglesias comes on and it's time to accept your fate and get on the train (ask the girl to dance/await your suitor in the corner) or bolt for the bathrooms to wait out the song.  If you're like I was at my Freshman dance in high school, you'll choose option B and wait out those lingering, humiliating 3 minutes in the bathroom with 30 other girls.

So maybe next time you attend a school function and there is a tempting, harmless-looking little donation box for the upcoming Winter Wonderland Dance, just remember that whatever you put in that box is going towards the emotional scarring of your already-fragile adolescent child.  And you'll probably get stuck with the therapy bills, or at the very least, the tears at the end of the night.

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