We learned today that while this is the 2nd annual Life Is Beautiful Festival, it was the first year the festival attempted three days of programming. While logistics and operations were much smoother, the line-up fell a little weak today with notable exceptions like Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters and a learning session with famed showmen Penn & Teller. This also allowed for much more exploring of the art installations, food tents and such. Overall, it was a leisurely way to end the weekend and leave us excited for it’s 2015 return.
Chelsea & Jessica’s Day Three
After a relaxing start over at Chef’s On Stage to see female Master Chef Cat Cora whip up some lamb chops smothered in a chimichurri sauce (delicious!), The Orwells were a kick in head. The Orwells lead singer Mario Corso certainly has the punk rock singer type down. A tormented soul drawn to break things including chairs, speakers and mics, the crowd eats it up while the crew obviously festers in anger. If you can get past the antics and spectacle that is Corso, you’ll hear exactly why everyone is talking about this band.
Continuing on, the next stop was The Learning Stage to catch illusionists and scientific skeptics Penn & Teller – a Las Vegas staple. But if you came prepared to see a great trick, you came to the wrong place. The two most popular bullshit detectors in the business were there to enlighten us on why it is they do what they do including insight into their respective backgrounds (education, passion interests, etc). In the brief time spent listening to them you learn just how smart these guys really are, building a new-found respect for Penn & Teller because they’re just honest, educated and passionate guys who are not afraid to admit when they are wrong. And most importantly, they are entertainers for the sake of providing a positive experience and lasting memory for their audience – not some tomfoolery scheme to be something they’re not.
The rest of the day would be spent wandering, conserving energy, drinking kiwi-watermelon lemonades which led to winning a two night stay at The Plaza Hotel (FUN FACT: The Plaza was used as the inspiration for Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel in the Back to The Future trilogy). The conserved energy was helpful in the end for wiggling through the largest horde of people we’d yet seen gathered at any stage this weekend to catch a close glimpse of Arctic Monkeys’ lead singer Alex Turner. Upon observation we assumed the crowd was camping out for Foo Fighters, but mere moments after Arctic Monkeys were through, many filed out to reserve their spot at the Ambassador Stage for Skrillex. This baffling opportunity allowed for an easy acquisition of a prime spot for the Foo Fighters set. A perfect ending to the music filled weekend.
Trina’s Day Three
If you wanted to bake in the early afternoon sun, then the Ambassador Stage was the place to be along with Holychild. As the first band of the day on the last day of the festival, the crowd in attendance for Holychild was light but inclined to dance to the tune of Holychild’s infectious, self-declared “brat pop” which included a somewhat questionable cover of the late Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody.” An “A” for effort on that one, just not the best in execution.
With such a fresh beard that we hardly recognized him, Los Angeles pop and soulster, Mayer Hawthorne, set a playful and groovy mood on the Downtown Stage. Particularly playful with a GoPro camera which, in the middle of songs, he would turn on himself, on the crowd, on himself, on the crowd… it was a pattern. Yes, folks people love to see themselves on the giant video screens waving a big glow stick. The beats were steeped in old school funk and soul, the band was tight and Hawthorne crooned like a pro – even those completely unfamiliar with him were having a good time.
Finally it was time for Foo Fighters. Basically this entire festival was about spending two hours with what may be America’s best and most vital rock band. Everyone knows that Dave Grohl & Company are no joke as musicians but it’s live where they are most essential, inspiring, uplifting, headbanging-worthy and balls to the wall fun. The lights went down promptly at 9:45pm and with no fuss, intro music or bullshit, Grohl blew out onto the stage with a bare spotlight and mad screams/applause to get things started in a typical Foo Fighters manner. Basically, they pretty much did whatever the hell they wanted after surveying the audience as to whether they preferred the band to stick to the set list at hand or “do whatever the fuck we want” and play as long as they can until they get shut down. Headed off the rails, drummer Taylor Hawkins took lead vocals covering the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” (which 60% of the lyrics came out wrong and Hawkins admitted that one day he should actually learn them) and the Queen and David Bowie classic “Under Pressure” which sounded more like a bunch of high school kids who just started a band and this was the first song that they learned. Yes, it was bad but that’s why it was so good: all in fun. “Something From Nothing,” the first single from the new record Sonic Highways, sounded massive and a very heartfelt moment came with a slow jammed “Big Me” as a birthday dedication to a lady whom Grohl called “the biggest Foo Fighter fan:” a 70-year-old named Carter. Curfew, anyone? Yeah, Foo Fighters blew past that, as well. Just because they could. As Jessica & Chelsea stated above, it really was a perfect ending to a very music filled weekend.