Sure it may have been a Sunday (Sept. 24) — the third and last day of downtown Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful — but on the scene there were no signs of slowing things down. The last day of the music and art festival still creeped well past midnight, as it had the two nights prior, and the stacked lineup ensured attendance was just as high.
Rising acts like Mura Masa, Kyle and Dua Lipa proved to be well worth the hype, while veteran performers like The xx, Haim and headlining act Gorillaz solidified their status in the top-tier of talent with well-oiled sets.
Here are the highlights of Life Is Beautiful day three.
Most In Touch With the Times
“I can see some of you moving, but not all of you,” Mura Masa observed during his early evening set. He was determined to change that. The rising electro-pop artist — whose self-titled debut features an impressive list of collaborators from Charli XCX to Desiigner and others — proceeded to deliver the ultimate dance party soundtrack. It was only a matter of time until everyone in the crowd was moving to the hypnotic beat of songs like “Love$ick,” featuring A$AP Rocky and “Firefly” featuring Nao. Meanwhile, Mura Masa (whose real name is Alex Crossan) impressively toggled between his synth pad, drum set, guitar and vocals. “Thank you Life is Beautiful, you’re beautiful,” he said towards the end of his set, before sheepishly admitting he never knows what to say. He proved actions speak louder than words when he ended the performance by taking a knee before walking off stage.
Bronx rapper Pusha T opened his set with “King Push” before going into “M.F.T.R.” The energetic performance saw Push clearly articulate one hard-hitting track after another, all of which showcased his lengthy and successful career. Elsewhere, he led fans in a “Good Music” chant — “They call me El Presidente, because I’m the president of Good Music,” he explained — and also promoted his forthcoming album King Push, which he said is coming soon, though he offered no further information on the long-anticipated release. Instead, he dipped into older hits like his Kanye West collaborations “Runaway” and “New God Flow,” his Kendrick Lamar tag-team “Nosetalgia” and many others that reminded fans why a new album is cause for excitement.
Most Pop Prowess
Rising English pop singer Dua Lipa likely increased her fan following during her strong and captivating performance on the small Huntridge side stage. Hits like “Hotter Than Hell,” “IDGAF” and “Be The One” garnered cheers from the first several rows of longtime fans, while “Lost In Your Light” — her collaboration with Miguel — left many impressed and intrigued to learn more about this connected and talented star in the making.
The Haim sisters opened with “Want You Back,” the biggest hit off the trio’s recent album Something To Tell You, which naturally resulted in a rallying sing along. “I know it’s Sunday, but we’re still going to rage, right?” guitarist/singer Danielle asked the crowd — judging by the drinks raised in the air, the answer was a definitive yes. The sisters later complimented the “sexy” looking festival goers, while bassist/singer Este went as far to say she spotted at least three guys and three girls she wanted to make out with.
The sisters then served up favorites from its pop rock catalogue, from the bubbly and uptempo “Little Of Your Love” and the fiercely explosive “My Song 5,” to earlier hits like “Forever” and “The Wire.” They even tossed in a cover of Shania Twain‘s “That Don’t Impress Me Much,”swapping out lyrics to rather say, “So what? You’re Ryan Gosling” or “So what? You’re Elon Musk and drive a Tesla.” When it comes to standard sibling rivalry, there’s no evidence of such here. Instead, these sisters only help build one another up with their humorous banter, relatable songwriting, driving guitar riffs and heart-pounding drumbeats that together create a smooth sailing, explosive rock show.
Best at Keeping the Party Going
“Y’all ready to get crazy tonight?” North Long Beach rapper Vince Staples asked the large crowd gathered at the Huntridge side stage. Staples’ set led right into the final headlining show of the festival, Gorillaz, and he did his part to keep spirits and energy high despite the late Sunday slot. Staples performed a majority of tracks off his latest LP Big Fish Theory, but also dug into the archives for the Major Lazer remix his With You collab “Ghost” before ending with the career-launching “Norf Norf” off his acclaimed 2015 debut Summertime ’06.
Most Animated (Literally)
Damon Albarn and co. walked on the main stage, which was bathed in electric green lighting, for the final headlining show of Life Is Beautiful 2017. A voice echoed, “Hello! Is anybody out there?” while the band got situated, before the members posed a question of their own: “Are we the last living souls?” from its song “Last Living Souls” off its 2005 sophomore album Demon Days.
Throughout the set, the virtual band’s various characters where shown on the large monitor behind the stage as a way to visually introduce an upcoming song. Similar to its guests-heavy set at New York’s Meadows festival (where a large handful of featured artists like Pusha T, D.R.A.M. and more showed) Gorillaz welcomed Pusha and Vince Staples, as well as Peven Everett for their respective Humanz tracks. During songs where the featured vocalist wasn’t present, Albarn subtly danced around as recorded vocals played out, like during the beginning of “Saturnz Barz” or at the end of “Sleeping Powder,” when he twirled like a ballerina inside a jewelry box during the final twinkling notes.
Earlier in the set, Albarn had sang the line, “I don’t think I’ll be here too long,” from “Tomorrow Comes Today” off the band’s self-titled 2001 debut. But by the time the festival approached its final minutes, Gorillaz’ fans surely wished the group would stick around.