Since Day 2 of three-day weekend festivals falls on the Saturday, it makes sense that is usually the most raucous lineup of the weekend. At downtown Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful Festival that was certainly the case as a wide array of headliners from all genres, from rapper J. Cole to rockers Jane’s Addiction, showed they had one thing in common — they all know how to throw a party.
Given this was Vegas on a Saturday night (Sept. 24), Downtown Stage headliner Cole didn’t even take the stage until just before 11:30 p.m., following a memorable 70 minutes from Empire Of The Sun. After appearing this year at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Jazz Fest and more, Cole’s festival performance, from pacing to how to work a crowd, has been finely honed and it showed Saturday night. Pacing the stage back and forth with an energy that looked like he was ready to explode at any moment, Cole worked the large throng into a frenzy during songs like “Nobody’s Perfect,” “Wet Dreamz” and “Apparently.”
Of course the crowd was already in party mode after another stellar set from Empire Of The Sun, one of the most complete live acts in music today. Offering up a visual feast with their lights and colorful costumes to accompany infectious electronic pop tunes such as “Walking On A Dream” and the new “High And Low,” Empire delivered the total package. The set ended on a typical high note as confetti flowed from the stage during the brilliant pop gem “Alive.”
Jane’s Addiction have been throwing some of the best parties in rock for a quarter of a century and they showed they have lost none of their hosting skills with another multimedia feast that at one point included two women suspended in the air hanging over the crowd. And the band’s sound is still as vibrant as ever on alternative rock classics such as “Been Caught Stealing,” “Mountain Song” and the sing-along “Jane Says.”
While those three acts all excel in throwing musical extravaganzas, they were far from the only gracious hosts on day two of the fest. Bassnectar drew a sizable gathering to his closing set at the Troubadour stage, just one of several outstanding sets. Others that stood out included Leon Bridges’ soul stylings, Jess Glynne’s pop/soul on the Ambassador stage, the Wombats, Canada’s Bob Moses had one of the highlight sets with their electronic sounds, and Die Antwoord’s eclectic melding of rap and electronic electrified the crowd.
If any act could be considered the breakout from the first two days it would be Die Anwtoord, who delivered maybe the liveliest set of the weekend on the festival’s party day.