Downtown Las Vegas festival kingpin Life is Beautiful 2018 is coming up this weekend. It’s definitely up there as being one of my favorite festivals, and it’s one I’ve attended four of the five years it’s existed.
The first couple of years were sparsely attended but they soldiered on, and in 2016 they began selling the festival out. I’m glad that they made it through their growing pains, because since they’ve become a profitable festival they’ve continued to build and build.
One of my favorite things about Life is Beautiful is how they’ve adjusted the start of the festival to begin at 3 PM each day when most city festivals start no later than noon. I love seeing the smaller bands that open up the festival, but making it to one of these all-day events at noon when you spent 12-to-14 hours there the previous day is insanely hard. But the organizers behind Life is Beautiful 2018 know that you’re in Las Vegas and you’re probably gonna hit a club and be out until 4 AM at least one night, so they give us a late start.
Don’t forget that LYFT is the official ride sponsor of Life is Beautiful 2018 and will let you get $5 off two rides between Sept. 21 and Sept. 23 using the code RIDESMART18 while supplies last.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 10 acts you can catch that are in the deep undercard for Life is Beautiful 2018.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
3:15 to 4:00 PM, Bacardi Stage
I caught Wallows opening for Vampire Weekend a couple months back and was wowed by how together their sound is. They have great live energy. You might recognize guitarist and vocalist Dylan Minnette from Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, but this band is worth the attention. They released their debut EP in April and they’re a band with the potential to put indie rock back at the forefront. They play pretty early after the gates open the first day of Life is Beautiful 2018 — circle them on your schedule.
7:10 to 7:50 PM, Huntridge Stage
I’ve been a big Amy Shark fan since first hearing “Weekends”, the song that blew up her profile. She’s done nothing to dissuade that enthusiasm in the time since. Her debut album Love Monster dropped this year and she’s been a festival staple this year. I caught her at BottleRock Napa this May where she did justice to a cover of Eminem’s “Superman”. Her voice is truly unique and she’s got future alt-rock radio favorite written all over herself.
5:25 to 6:05 PM, Huntridge Stage
Nobody knows how to party like Spanish four-piece HINDS. They’re basically the perfect band to smoke a joint, drink a beer, and then crowdsurf to. They’re sloppy in the best way as a live band, and I can’t think of a band that has more fun on stage. They love performing so much that the last couple of years they’ve played somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 shows during SXSW week. Ever since hearing “Bamboo” I was hooked
6:20 to 7:10 PM, Fremont Stage
Too often in electronic music, women have been leaned on just to sing and sometimes write the words that accompany the production. Now that women are finally starting to get their due as producers (and there’s still more that could be done of course), it was only a matter of time until one of those capable of doing both at a high level get their due. Elohim is a producer who also possesses an excellent voice, and almost just as importantly, is easier to relate to than the bros that occupy much of the upper echelon of the electronic music space. Elohim is somehow both mysterious and an open book, not open disclosing her real identity but yet talking openly about serious things like anxiety. It’s no surprise that these things find their way into her music and it has resulted in some seriously deep and mature songwriting. She can still be utilized to sing the hooks on other big-name producers’ tracks, but when you find your way to her Spotify as a result of that, you’re pleasantly rewarded with a slew of awesome original tracks. Her debut album was one of my favorites of 2018 and she’s an amazing live performer.