(Live Review) PSYCHOFEST 2022 DAY 1 - Las Vegas, Aug 18/22
Review by Mark McQueen
Greetings from Psychofest 2022, now coming from the Resort World Complex in sunny Las Vegas. It is I, your reviewer “The Beard,” and alongside me, as always, my irrepressible sidekick “Little Johnny.”
Over the next four postings, we will outline for you what Psychofest was like this year. Just some background, with over 130 bands across 6 stage’s this year a lot of great stuff got missed. Even putting in almost 16-hours a day, we can still only see so many acts. Apologies to all the great bands that we missed this year.
Remember, these reviews are just one man’s opinion and do NOT constitute a binding contract. Lol. So, although readers of these reviews may feel an urge to rise vehemently to the defense of their personal favorite act, just relax. This is meant to be lighthearted and fun. No one’s personal views should change based on reading these reviews. As the tagline says, buy the ticket and enjoy the ride.
So, with that disclaimer in place, let’s get to it.
Day One: Thursday August 18th Psycho Swim Day
Thanks to Bailey for securing our cabana. I must say, with all the umbrellas up, a clear view of the stage from said cabana wasn’t really happening. The upper level of the Ayu Day Club did afford some great stage views; however, we did not discover that tasty morsel until Friday Night. In the meantime, (while Little Johnny ran around the pool area looking at all the fine tattooed metal ladies in their swimwear, with his mouth hanging open like Beavis), the Beard settled in, water and beer in hand, to start enjoying the first day of musical entertainment.
Rifflord had a pretty standard stoner sound. A nice choice for an opener as we were all quite ready for some riffs. Good band, enjoyable.
Kicked off the fest well, but I wouldn’t buy anything from them. No one to compare them with as they were the festival opener, but I added points for that honor. Harmless and fun. Got us all into the day.
I’m going with 80/100
This was a doom band, but played a little faster paced on several numbers. Their standard doom was really solid for a new band. The singer had serious hair, (not long just serious). We are talking “Messiah Marcolin” hair. There was even more than a touch of the Candlemass sound to his vocal stylings.
Considering Candlemass is one of The Beard's favorite groups, if you look and sound like them you are probably going to get a good score. He did and they did. Exceptionally fine set.
I guess this is kind of non-definable. It had thrash, noise, industrial etc. If Primitive Man met a hardcore band and a thrash band and they all said "let’s form a supergroup", it might sound like these guys.
Not my choice of sound, but oddly a bit compelling. I am going to go higher than I might normally and reward this odd sonic bombardment.
Sludge/punk. Ok, but honestly the styles are not favorable to me, so this one I just let kind of happen. I did not “dislike” it as much as I was “disinterested” in it. Of course, Little Johnny thought they were good. Little Dude loves almost anything punk. Not for me though.
Heavy sludge, but far more melodic than I thought they would be. Again, these guys caught grooves that I liked. That is why you watch. Sometimes surprises happen. This was another Johnny favorite, but we are only halfway through the day. Little guy's going to burn out literally under the sun and figuratively in expending energy. Deathchant had a 90 sound with 80 vocals.
BRIDGE CITY SINNERS
Folk banjo music? Yep, I’m serious .
I believe this what is known as a pallet cleanser For many others it is also known as halftime/dinner time/nap time/ break time. I suppose for fans of Amigo The Devil these guys have a place.
Johnny had nodded off in the cabana after Deathchant. He awoke to banjos and thought maybe he was hallucinating.
Although the vocalist made the cardinal mistake of inciting the crowd by complaining that they were “staring at her like a zoo animal,” I will admit, the last few songs grew on me lyrically. I will call them a solid (if misplaced) 76/100. Talented, just needed a different environment.
Right from the go this band brings it. Great powerful stoner jams. These guys are in synch and coming after the banjo band “slotting” is a definite boon to them.
This was a strong set until a freak 20-minute rainstorm shut us down as Elder and their equipment were getting soaked and that can be dangerous. This is certainly going to delay things.
Elder grade incomplete. Ruined by rain.
On the plus side they agreed to a make-up set at 1:00am in one of the other venues.
New Orleans based sludge thrash. Powerful heavy sludge metal with indistinguishable vocals, heavy thudding sound.
Crowd appreciated them and that matters when judging a set, but after their much better set last year at the House of Blues stage (Psychofest 2021), I could only muster up an intermediate grade this time.
Thrash black & speed all have a place in this band’s arsenal. As usual, the performers in Midnight play in all black outfits with masks on completely eclipsing their identities.
In 2021, Midnight was the set of the fest. Tonight, (as night one headliners), they played an entertaining and energetic set, but never rose to the Beards elusive 90 scale.
This concluded the bands at the Pool Stage, so Little Johnny and I headed in to check out some of the late-night sets.
Soft psyche pop was the order of the day and after a long day already, it was not of particular interest to me or Little Johnny, so after only a few numbers, we wandered over to the “Dawghouse Venue” to catch the late night re-do set from Elder's earlier rainout.
Spaceface gets only a 60/100 from me.
The redo Elder set showed me they are a mix of stoner with southern. Like if the Almond Brothers were a stoner band. (As opposed to just a stoned band which of course they certainly were).
Although some numbers (again like the Almond Brothers) seemed to run long, (or maybe I was just getting that tired), I did like the combination, so I am allotting Elder a very solid 86/100 for the evening including having to perform twice.
Cancer Christ were punk hardcore music, with fully costumed band members and audience members carrying signs like “Christ hates Cops.” This band kind of has to be seen, rather than just heard. A very visual band with blood, nudity, and violence.
Johnny and I may have nightmares now. This was quite the way to end night one.
Sound 74 show 89
Grade 82 for pure craziness.
So ends night one ... 11 bands 15 hours.
Time to put Little Johnny to bed. We still have a long weekend to go.