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Path to totality: The heavy Psycho Las Vegas festival makes year 2 simply as unforgettable

The moon blacked out the sun on Monday, however a deeper type of darkness descended upon Las Vegas some Two Days earlier, as Virginia doom-metal band Cough chanted about “ritual suicide” inside on a bright Saturday afternoon. Invite to Psycho Las Vegas.

2017 Psycho Festival

: Friday For the 2nd August weekend in as several years, the celebration took devoted fans of metal, psychedelia and other heavy music on a regularly interesting journey inside the Hard Rock Hotel. As in 2016, Psycho disappointed selling out tickets but drew a substantial crowd– and extremely prospered as a destination occasion, logistically and sonically speaking.

This year’s Psycho played a bit like 2 festivals, one tucked carefully inside the other. Metal remains the piece de resistance– Virginia doom leader Pentagram headlined Thursday’s VIP swimming pool celebration; stoner mainstay Sleep provided an expectedly beast set on Friday; falsetto-voiced Danish veteran King Diamond re-created 1987 concept-album Abigail (complete with haunted-house staging) on Saturday; and Southern prog-metal favorites Mastodon liquidated the vacation on Sunday– and most of the crowd ended up for that, judging from turnout and the abundance of Motörhead spots.

However Psycho creator Evan Hagen’s tastes clearly run in varied directions, and he programmed the fest for others with roaming spirits. On Friday alone: Sludge champs the Melvins fuzzed-out The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the middle of their loud assault; French prog-rock outfit Lava wowed with an arty efficiency verging on musical comedy; Ethio-jazz legend Mulatu Astatke got the room grooving (even if the sound team blended the bandleader too low in the mix); and psych-rock warriors The Brian Jonestown Massacre droned indefatigably previous 3 a.m.

2017 Psycho Festival: Saturday

Psycho’s exploratory vision peaked with a two-hour Swans performance Sunday night. Progressive icon Michael Gira steered his five bandmates through a series of long structures– rather literally, the 63-year-old conducted them with his body as he played guitar and sang in his moaning baritone. Gira modulated dynamics so deliberately, at points it felt as if he were lobbing balls of sound onto the audience. It was less rock program than classical concerto, with electric guitars in place of strings.

Oakland quintet Neurosis likewise produced an enormous efficiency. Standing near the metal/experimental nexus at the heart of Psycho, the band merges standard metal sounds with less conventional tune structures– and put those weapons to effective usage during a Saturday-night set that never ever let up.

The celebration when again produced some cool discoveries, mostly inside intimate Vinyl. Ohio’s Mouth of the Designer dusted electronic weirdness onto its metal foundation on Friday; Brazilian trio Saturndust jammed out on tribal psych late Saturday; and Kansas City act Merlin– whose frontman used a cape and sunglasses– left an endearingly semi-pro impression on Sunday.

2017 Psycho Festival: Sunday

The host residential or commercial property stayed a strength for Psycho, offering– in addition to its 3 places– hotel spaces for much of the crowd, an array of solid dining alternatives (Pizza Specialty, Pink Taco, Culinary Dropout) and toilets that put any celebration equivalent to shame. On the drawback: beefed-up security, which appeared overly concerned with potential moshers, and the disappearance of free water inside the Joint on day two, with bartenders offering $8 bottles instead. The fest was once again boosted by outstanding noise, its phase lighting was greatly improved and, though it hardly seemed possible after 2016, the merch area’s stockpile of Tee shirts felt a lot more enormous, with the room acting as de-facto celebration HQ.

In 2015, Psycho developed itself as a winner, standing out in a market jumbled with celebration choices. Last weekend, it proved it was no 1 year marvel, laying the groundwork for another successfully heavy edition in 2018.