You’ve already determined which mega headliners you must see under the Life Is Beautiful lights. You’ve also mapped out an early-afternoon plan to check out your local favorites. That leaves you with the meat of the festival—all those about-to-break newbies and dedicated career musicians. This middle class is what makes music festivals great; it’s where discoveries happen. Of course, with so many acts scattered over the three-day festival, making the correct choices isn’t easy. Ah, but that’s why we’re here. Ease your mind—and schedule—by following these recommendations.
The Native Daughter
Singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis has been the darling of indie folk ever since her band Rilo Kiley debuted in the late 1990s. The former child actor recently released her third solo album, The Voyager, full of highly personal alt-pop introspection. We love her sound, her style and the fact that this L.A. beauty was born in Las Vegas to lounge-singer parents.
Jenny Lewis plays the Western Stage at 8:10 p.m. Friday.
The Smart Spectacle
It doesn’t even matter if you like their songs. You gotta watch neo-psychedelic rockers the Flaming Lips just to witness their weird and elaborate stage shows. These prolific Grammy winners have been playing around with music for more than 30 years, and their sound remains as innovative and bizarre as ever.
The Flaming Lips play the Ambassador Stage at 11 p.m. Saturday.
The Fastest Fingers
With a sound of quick-tempo yearning that’s born of banjo, mandolin and fiddle, Minnesota’s Trampled by Turtles will make you want to return to the Appalachian past you never knew you had. Check out their latest release, Wild Animals, to hear what NPR’s Stephen Thompson describes as a “thoughtful, stately grower of a record.”
Trampled by Turtles play the Western Stage at 5:55 p.m. Sunday.
The Rock ’n’ Rollers
You were probably planning on seeing Fitz & the Tantrums during the 5 p.m. October 25 slot. They’re a great band, but they also live in L.A. and play Vegas all the time. For a much rarer thrill, catch Southern rockers J. Roddy Walston & the Business. There’s precious little rock at this year’s festival, and these guys surely won’t disappoint.
J. Roddy Walston & the Business play the Western Stage at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The English Invasion
According to The Guardian, indie rockers Alt-J from Leeds, England, have found “success without the fame.” But after the September release of their second album, This Is All Yours, that final ingredient may follow. Rolling Stone describes the LP as an “ambling, entrancing listen–full of songs that blur weird folk and electronic zoinkiness, classical filigree and straight-up rock.”
Alt-J play the Ambassador Stage at 9:05 p.m. Saturday.
Las Vegas-spawned emo-savants Panic! At the Disco may live in L.A. now, but their 2013 album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! has our city in its soul. Need proof? Check out the hometown homage “Vegas Lights.” The band has a tough festival slot (playing at the same time as Kanye West), so show your city pride by watching them. Or at least wander over when Kanye inevitably cuts his set short.
Panic! At the Disco play the Ambassador Stage at 10:45 p.m. Friday.