11 reasons to go to the heavy stacked music festival (2021 updated lineup included)
There have been a lot of ups and downs on the way to Psycho Las Vegas, which was due to take place in 2020, canceled for obvious reasons, then postponed to 2021 but not without multiple programming changes, including several European groups having to postpone their sets to 2022. However, Psycho persevered, added a few new names of last minute – including headliners Mastodon, as good as Knocked Loose, Vio-lence, Goatwhore, and Mutoid Male – and is about to descend August 20-22 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, with the Psycho Swim pre-fest pool party August 19.
That said, Psycho Las Vegas is as much about the overall experience as it is about the bands. Fans of metal and other music and artists gathering in a large casino in the heart of Las Vegas among other gamblers and tourists vacationing in the city above the summit is always a surreal experience and a chance to come together and partying with old and new friends, or at least people watching you move between slots, restaurants and many unique stages. As we wrote in our 2019 recap:
The biggest stage, the Events Center, is literally an arena, and every band that played it sounded and looked amazing (kudos to the sound, video and lights crew). Another stage, House of Blues, a true multi-level club connected to the casino with theater-style seating on the upper level, is also a great hall to see live music in …
Thursday night there were groups at a pool. Friday and for the rest of the weekend one of the stops is a beach, only one is Mandalay Bay’s many bodies of water created as part of their vacation mecca.
Psycho Swim is full, but tickets for the main party are still on sale (and set hours have been revealed). If you’re on the fence, we’ve put together a list of 11 Reasons Why Psycho Las Vegas Is Worth It (without issue) assist. Here are the fixed times (click on the photo to enlarge), followed by our list …
It’s always a blow when a festival loses a headliner, but it’s exciting to hear that Psycho has landed such a big replacement: Mastodon. Progressive sludge lifers have been going strong for 20 years, and even if you don’t love their newer music as much as their aughts-era classics, there’s no denying that Mastodon is still bringing it live.
Classic Death Metal in Vegas
When you think of Las Vegas you probably think of casinos, the Strip, the residences of aging crooners, but do you think of … classic death metal? Well, thanks to Psycho Las Vegas, you can now. This year’s lineup features not one but three pioneering death metal bands: Florida OGs Obituaries who helped shape the genre in its early days, fellow Floridians Cannibal corpse who took the genre in a decidedly cruder direction and continues right after his fellow vets A dying fetus, and Immolation, which helped define the New York death metal scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Mastodon is not the only very exciting novelty. Kentucky hardcore / metalcore band Knocked Loose has just been added as well, and it’s a pretty big name to add shortly before the festival. With their two albums (2016 Laughter tracks and 2019 A different shade of blue), they quickly became one of the biggest and best bands in today’s metalcore revival, and their gig is crazy.
Classic / hardcore / metalcore emo
Psycho Las Vegas started out primarily as a music festival in the stoner / doom / heavy psych realm, but has grown a lot over the years, and 2021 is pretty heavy on classic bands in the emo / hardcore / post- realm. hardcore / metalcore. There are groups like Poison the well and Eighteen visions, which helped shape metalcore before it exploded into the mainstream, there are the newly reunited mathcore greats (and the people of Vegas) Curl up and die, there are emo veterans Cursive, post-hardcore / melodic hardcore veterans Boysetsfire, melodic punk veterans Death by stereo, and the underrated, back in action Adamantium. Best of all, all of these bands are all playing on the same stage (House of Blues on Saturdays), so you can have emo in one place. And if you’re excited about these bands, you probably also want to know that veterans of emo-adjacent indie rock lapel pin play that same scene on Friday.
Also note: Eighteen Visions, Death By Stereo and Adamentium play a psycho-presented San Diego Show the Tuesday before the party.
Ty Segall / OSEES on the beach
If you want to get to two of the best psychedelic garage rock bands out there, you’re in luck, as stage bosses Ty Segall and OSEES both perform at this festival (Friday and Sunday respectively). The two groups always bring warmth, and make things even hotter: they will both be playing on the beach.
Poolside Killer Groups (aka Psycho Swim)
One of the funniest parts of Psycho Las Vegas is Psycho Swim, the Thursday night poolside party, which takes place poolside at the Mandalay Bay Daylight Beach Club and always features tons of cool bands. This year is no exception, with headliners Dark old man, sludge metal supergroup – Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac), Santos Montano (Zozobra), Nate Newton (Converge) and new member Stephen Brodsky of Cave In (who replaced the late Caleb Scofield) – who released two big new albums last year, which were their firsts in six years. They will be joined by great stoner metal Bongzilla (fresh from their debut album in sixteen years), garage punks Daughters of Death Valley, metalheads infused with afrobeat Here is the man, dark psychedelic group Sacred Light of Blackwater, and more.
Danzig in spectacle Danzig II: Lucifuge
Danzig is playing a classic album in its entirety is still worth checking out, and this year he will headlining the main stage at Psycho Las Vegas on Saturday with a performance from his classic second album from 1990, Danzig II: Lucifuge. This is one of the Misfits singer’s best solo albums, and it’s rare to see. A few years ago he made a handful of Danzig III: How the gods kill shows, but some of the Lucifuge the songs haven’t been played since the 90s.
While Psycho still has mostly metal / heavy lineup, do you realize that one of its biggest names is The Flaming Lips? If that sounds weird on paper consider The Flaming Lips a loud punk band even before half of the bands in this lineup formed, they’re masters of modern psychedelia, and they’ve got plenty of sour guts inducing tracks. . that sound scarier than some of the metal bands. Plus, a Flaming Lips concert is a unique and unforgettable experience that even the most stubborn metalheads should try once.
GZA performing Liquid swords before a late night HEALTH set
There isn’t really a lot of hip hop on this festival, but there is one must-see rap set: the legendary GZA performing his iconic second album from 1995 Liquid swords. Wu-Tang members always fit in perfectly at rock festivals, and this special GZA beach ensemble should be no exception. To keep the party going after GZA, head to House of Blues, where big names in industrial pop music HEALTH play a late night set from 12:30 am until closing. HEALTH’s albums are eye-catching, but their live performance is a heavy sensory overload that is perfect for a metal-oriented festival.
Down play NOLA + Eyehategod, High On Fire, Weedeater, Red Fang
Danzig isn’t the only headliner to play a full album. Down (members of Pantera, Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity & Crowbar) play their 1995 classic debut album NOLA in full. Psycho 2020 was originally the first show announced for their NOLA set (but then the pandemic happened and they did it live), so it’s a long time coming. For even more mud in Psycho, there are associated legends Eyehategod, mainstays of Psycho Weedeater, and giants like High On Fire and Red Fang, and more.
The best of today’s metal
Psycho has a lot of veteran actors, but he also has some of the best bands in the metal scene today, including blackened shoegazers. deafness (whose expected new album comes out the day before their Psycho set), the noisy deathgrinders Full of Hell (who just announced a new album), the inhumanly heavy sludge group Primitive man, trad-doomers Khemmis, death metal infused with hardcore Terrifying death, and probably others that we miss.
Get your tickets for Psycho Las Vegas here and see the full schedule and times below:
(click on the timetable photo to enlarge)
Photos from 2019 below:
See and read more HERE.
2021 Psycho Tickets HERE.