BY MATT MARTINEZ | Go Venue Magazine
Music festivals are some of the best ways to see many of your favorite bands and discover new bands that you may never have come across. Some music festivals are a one-day spectacle, where some may last a couple of days or all weekend. Psycho Las Vegas is an annual music festival happening in Sin City, Las Vegas, this year taking place at the new Resorts World Hotel. Psycho Las Vegas set out to host 130 bands across six stages over their four-day run. This was my first time attending the event, and I was excited to see what this festival had to offer.
Day 0 of Psycho Las Vegas, specially named “Psycho Swim,” was an all day even taking place outside at the hotel’s Ayu Dayclub. It was a metal pool festival! Resorts World has a stage setup next to the pool area and hosts similar events throughout the year. But this day, it was time for the metal heads to take over. It was a sight to be hold as many patrons filled the Dayclub up and were ready to raise hell for some amazing bands. Some attendees came dressed in normal looking swimsuits. But what made this event so much fun was that a lot of fans came dressed to impress. With woman donning some very scantily clad swimsuits, blackcraft attire, and themed swimsuits. The men didn’t want to be left out as a troupe of Luchadores showed up for the party, but more than that, many metalheads were wearing their battle vests in the pool. Psycho Las Vegas even had their own brand of beer called Psycho Unlimited Helles Lager. And this beer was flowing throughout the even as many patrons were buying it by the bucket. As this was an all-day party, the first band hit the stage at Noon, known as Rifflord who got the headbangers started early. Throughout the day many other stellar bands would keep the chaos going like Early Moods, Uniform, Starcrawler, Deathchant, Bridge City Sinners, Elder (who’s set had to be cut short due to a flash rainstorm), Eyehategod, and headlining this day was Midnight. Throughout many of these bands the pool was turned into pure chaos as fans were circled pitting in the pool. Splashing and going crazy for all the music they got to hear. When the flash rainstorm happened, it didn’t slow down the pool pit one bit, as the fans just went crazier. Halfway through the day an indoor stage did open that hosted bands like Worship, Salem’s Bend, Kadabra, Love Lorn, Spaceface, and ending the night was Cancer Christ. All in all, Psycho Swim set the bar for what the rest of the festival had to live up to.
After a day of drinking in the sun while moshing in the pool had ended, the true Psycho Las Vegas festival was ready to begin. Things kicked off good and early at 10am with Wizards of Wax spinning some great tunes in the showroom, and two bands hitting the stages at Noon. Being as this was a music festival at a Resort hotel in Las Vegas, five of the six stages were in doors. We had The Famous Foods stage that was set up in the middle of the hotel’s main food court. The Dawg House stage, that is a built-in stage as part of one of the bars in the hotel. RedTail, which was another bar with a built-in stage on the opposite side of the hotel. The Rose Ballroom, which had a stage constructed in there to accommodate the bands that had been scheduled to play. The Event Center, which hosted the main stage and the headlining acts for each day. And the Ayu Dayclub re-opened after sundown to host even more pool party mosh pits each night. Because there were six stages spread across the hotel, the event layered all the set times perfectly to allow fans the ability to catch at least a song or two of almost every band that played. Should one daring fan try and make it their mission. Some of the bands to play throughout Day 1 were: Devilmaster, Hippie Death Cult, Antichrist Siege Machine, LSDJS, King Woman, Nothing, Marissa Nadler, Holy Wave, Sugar Candy Mountain, Akhlys, Gost, GZA & Inspectah Deck, Cephalic Carnage, Nuclear Assault, Wolves in the Throne Room, Carcass, Mayhem. And headlining the main stage of Day 1 was the all mighty Norwegian Black Metal band Emperor.
Day 2 started even earlier with DJ Painkiller getting the party started at 10am in the showroom before bands started hitting the stages at 11am. As this was a music festival in Las Vegas, taking place in a casino, you know that there had to be gambling involved. Psycho Las Vegas teamed up with Resorts World to provide fans a unique experience where patrons could gamble and win big at a Blackjack table, Roulette table, or have hot hands on some dice at a Craps table. All fitted with custom Psycho Las Vegas branded tabletops. All six stages were in full force throughout the day with bands like: Belzebong, Ruby the Hatchet, Crobot, The Munsens, Warthog, Yakuza, The Happy’s, Psychlona, Twin Tribes, 200 Stab Wounds, Frozen Soul, Tribulation, Boris, Dance with the Dead, Gatecreeper, Tobacco, and At the Gates. This day the main stage hosted bands like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Blackwater Holylight, The Black Angels, Warpaint, and closing out the stage was the skate punk legends Suicidal Tendencies. Suicidal Tendencies opened up the biggest and most chaotic mosh pit of the night and had crowd surfers riding high over the barricade.
Even though it was the last day of the event, Psycho Las Vegas showed no signs of slowing down, as they had the DJ’s spinning tunes at 10am and the first band hit the stage at 11am. After four days of headbanging, moshing, and drinking, you may think the crowd would start to waiver. But not the Psycho Las Vegas crowd. We had fans showing up bright and early to attack the day. This day held one of the most unique and ridiculously fun to watch events of the whole festival. GZA, of Wu-Tang Clan fame, had a two-and-a-half-hour block where he was just challenging the patrons of PLV to chess matches. The amount of people that showed up to watch, and even more that showed up to challenge him, created such a fun and happy atmosphere in the venue. Of course, the day was still filled with auditory pleasure with bands like: Lord Buffalo, Death Valley Girls, Witch Mountain, Succumb, The Dwarves, Creeping Death, Accused A.D., Mothership, Pixel Grip, Undeath, Geneva Jacuzzi, Drain, Monolord, She Past Away, Beats Antique, Raekwon & GZA, Rotting Christ, Amenra, Samael, and High on Fire.
As this was the final day, Psycho Las Vegas saved the best for last, with Mercyful Fate closing the show. It has been 23 years since the last time Mercyful Fate performed in the United Sates, and they felt this event was the one to finally bring them back. The event center that was holding the main stage was packed to the brim with screaming fans. Mercyful Fate brought a whole satanic kingdom with them via their set dressing. King Diamond entered from the top of his kingdom and the fans went wild. Many fans donning variations of King Diamond‘s iconic makeup. The crowd packed in nice and tight for this set, as each member of the audience wanted to be as close to the King as they could. For over an hour Mercyful Fate blessed the people with their satanic rituals through music and songs like “The Oath,” “A Corpse Without Soul,” “The Jackal of Salzburg,” “A Dangerous Meeting,” “Melissa,” “Black Funeral,” “Evil,” “Come to Sabbath,” and ending their set with an encore performance of “Satan’s Fall.” It was an unholy experience 23 years in the making.
This was my first-time attending Psycho Las Vegas, and I didn’t truly know what to expect from it. But walking into Psycho Swim the first day, I knew I was with people who were there to just have fun and let loose while going crazy to live metal music. Over the course of the four days, 130 bands, 6 stages, and an iconic performance from Mercyful Fate, I could not have asked for a better weekend. Psycho Las Vegas continues to run strong and will be back next year in 2023, and I look forward to seeing what special bands they are going to bring in next time.