Bleeding-edge punk outfit Fucked Up played to a crowd of about 100 at Triple B on October 16. Frontman Damian Abraham gave sweaty, shirtless man-hugs to most of the audience. He climbed the bar and did shots. The band was melting faces. It was loud. It was goofy. It was awesome.
Life Is Beautiful is going to completely dwarf it.
Having our own baby South by Southwest will be cool, but the lineup is light on actual in-your-face rock, dealing instead mostly in hip-hop and the kind of indie where of the major headliners, Beck brings it the hardest. This is a guy who recorded Sea Change. Kerry King he is not.
The twinkling, downtempo firmament is positioned as the chief rival to Las Vegas’ other current musical obsession, electronic dance music. Whether Life Is Beautiful organizers deliberately set it up like this or it’s an accidental effect of the state of indie rock, we’re going through some seriously polarized musical tastes right now.
In a way, it’s a good thing. All the cool, creative stuff coming next is going to be from the swimming-like-sharks contrarians who only like to play in the fallow fields. Like Fucked Up opener Tony Molina, whose approach could best be described as “What if Rivers Cuomo were also really into Thin Lizzy guitar solos?” In the short-term: thinner crowds and cheaper prices when the opportunity for face-melting arises. It’s a win-win for the crowd-averse misers among us.