Life is Beautiful is returning to Downtown Las Vegas for the second time this weekend, and we’re sending a team out there to bring all the action back to LIVE. This line-up feels much more like a reunion than a meet-and-greet. Rather than up-and-comers, these are tried and true names in the industry – one right after another. The headliners are simply fantastic – giants from every genre are represented. There is a multitude of amazing music at our hands, so to help everybody sort things out we made a list of the 10 Things You Can’t Miss At Life Is Beautiful.
**DISCLAIMER** Our excitement to see the following headliners exceeds levels of quantification and therefore will not be included on the list, but you should know that we will be at each and every one of their sets and in no way are we suggesting that they are not “un-missable”: Outkast, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, The Flaming Lips and YES EVEN KANYE.
Let’s get down to it.
10: ASTR (Friday, 4:15 at Ambassador Stage)
ASTR will be the perfect way to start this festival. Their feel-good brand of synth pop is lyrical and light-hearted, though we suspect that their live show will deliver much more low-end power. Their recent Varsity EP is amazing, but what impresses me most about these guys is their excellent remix/covers. Check out this re-work of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” to get a feel for their style.
9: Tycho (Saturday, 5:45 at Ambassador Stage)
I maintain that this downtempo electronic outfit is one of the greatest gifts that music has ever received. Scott Hansen and his uber-talented band provide laidback grooves that stir your soul. Their sound is cinematic and rich – and with beautiful visual production programmed live by Hansen on stage, you’d be troubled to find a set as cohesive as Tycho’s. This track, “Awake”, was recently featured on Skrillex’s weekly Selects playlist. Get lost in this…
8: St Lucia (Sunday, 8:45 at Huntridge Stage)
Don’t let their perfectly swooshed hair-dos and patterned loafers fool you, these guys will seriously rock the f*ck out. As the patron saints of positivity, St Lucia (Jean-Philip Grobler + band) is nothing if not uplifting. Their synth-rock studio sound is unique and memorable, but their live show is absolutely electrifying. Their driving breakdowns will add a much-needed jolt of energy on the last evening of the festival. I just caught their recent show in Los Angeles and TRUST US this is not one you want to miss. We’re already counting down to our second helping! You can’t go wrong with any of their songs, but our current favorite is “We Got It Wrong”.
7: MS MR (Saturday, 6:35 at Western Stage)
As one of NYC’s most dynamite duos, Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow have stolen our hearts with their dark and melodic synth-pop. The colorful Plapinger, who also co-founded Neon Gold Records nbd, has quickly become an icy new kind of female icon alongside the Lana Del Reys and the Florence Welchs of the world. Their music is so much more than girl pop though – the lyrics are poignant and the messages are relatable. This is a downright fun set that will fit perfectly in the sunset slot to kick our Saturday into high gear. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here is their smash hit “Hurricane”.
6: Alt-J (Saturday, 9:05 at Ambassador Stage)
Despite being superfan of these guys, I hadn’t planned on putting them on this list until I had the chance to see them in LA last week. Touching on both old and new material, Alt-J delivered an absolutely perfect (albeit a little rehearsed) performance. Their tight harmonies and clear vocals were as entrancing as ever. I guess I’ve been kind of cold on the new album, but this performance reminded me that they are still the innovative musical masterminds I knew them to be. Whether you’ve seen them a million times or this is your first foray, I wouldn’t suggest skipping this tour – they cover all the bases. Here is my favorite track off the new album “Every Other Freckle”.
5: Lionel Richie (Saturday, 8:25 at Downtown Stage)
This is the only headliner that is allowed on the list because I mean who hasn’t been waiting their whole life to wiggle to “All Night Long” as Lionel Richie sings it live?! This will be one of the big musical checkmarks in my life – I’ve been listening to Lionel’s easy, sensual grooves since as long as I can remember. For all of you naïve music fans turning your noses up and saying “whatever I don’t even know any of his music”: you need to resect The Father of the R&B Ballad. I’ll be feeling all the feels to “Hello” and then boogie my cares away to “Dancing on The Ceiling” and I suggest that you do the same. So you can tell your kids about it. Because that’s how important Lionel Richie is.
4: Broken Bells (Sunday, 6:05 at Downtown Stage)
There are few albums as good as Broken Bells’ self-titled debut album, but their second release After The Disco sure tried. A little more upbeat, the album showed their versatility in the studio and also allowed us to see another side of their skill on stage: the lightweight groove. James Mercer (of The Shins) and producer Dangermouse (of Gnarls Barkley/Gorillaz/DangerDoom/everything ever) have been working together since 2005 and the chemistry is unparalleled. Let this new-age psychedelic rock usher in your last evening at Life Is Beautiful. Here are some BeeGee vibes for you, “Holding On For Life”.
3: Galantis (Sunday, 7:05 at Huntridge Stage)
I’m never going to be able to shut up about Galantis. Comprised of Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw, this bubbly electro duo is our new favorite export from Sweden. These cats TOOK OVER after smashing their set at Coachella that left everybody stunned. These guys are well on their way to EDM superstardom a la Martin Garrix or Avicii, and you’re going to want to say that you were there when it was all beginning. Don’t. Skip. This. Set. They’ve finally begun releasing new material, here is their latest single “Runaway (U & I)”.
2: Little Dragon (Sunday, 8:25 at Ambassador Stage)
There is nobody else like Little Dragon. This Swedish electro-quartet has cornered a sound all their own. The unique tone of Yukumi’s voice is recognizable in an instant – you’ve probably heard her on SBTRKT, The Gorillazand Big Boi’s albums too. Their songs are intensely danceable (for boys too!) Am I a fan? Well let me put it this way: Spotify emailed me a few months ago saying that I’m officially in the Top 10% of Little Dragon listeners worldwide. I am planning on proposing to Yukumi on stage at their set, so you won’t want to miss that! My all-time favorite Little Dragon track, “Pretty Girls”.
1: THE FOOD
Let us not neglect that Life is Beautiful is actually a full-on food festival as well. Yes I realize that Phantogram is playing but WHAT ABOUT IRON CHEF CAT CORA’S SET ON THE CONTAINER PARK STAGE?! Instead of retreating to Spicy Pie nine times in one weekend (no hate to Spicy Pie, shout out to all the good work you’ve done), we’re going to be dining like kings this time around. Hungry? How about a California Roll from Nobu or a Mashed-Potato Bacon Burger? And if you’re just in the mood for a snack, grab some cookies and cream popcorn or an order of Stroganoff Fries. Don’t waste your money on expensive buffets at your hotel…this festival is as much about the nomz as it is the music. Live Nomz Blog.
Life is Nomz.