In Las Vegas, there’s always something going on. You can walk down the street, and get comped to almost any show, at any casino on the “Strip.” People are always coming up with new ways of entertaining the masses. The Downtown Las Vegas Events Center decided this was the year to have the inaugural Las Rageous Festival. And, in true Vegas fashion, a small stage inside a casino wouldn’t do.Instead 16 bands took over the streets of historic downtown Las Vegas just off Fremont Street for two days this past April 21st, and 22nd.
Most festivals start early in the day, and go until shortly before 11pm to allow for noise curfew, but in Vegas, where the party never stops, everything was pushed back. Doors opened just after 4pm, and saw people slowly packing an empty parking lot behind The D Las Vegas. The main stage was set up at one end, and a secondary stage was conveniently placed on the street in the middle of an intersection at 3rd & Bridger. With the show commencing at 6 pm, and headliners not playing until 11 pm, it was sure to be a long weekend.
Local battle of the band winners hyped the crowd, while national act The Devil Wears Prada came out heavy and set the tone for the night.Of Mice & Men played their first live show as a four piece with bassist Aaron Pauley doing double duty as lead singer as well. The crowd welcomed Aaron as a vocalist, as they ran through a setlist of their greatest hits. The Killthrax Tour made its stop here with Killswitch Engage and Anthrax playing the second stage like headliners, and leaving it all with the crowd. Coheed & Cambria were direct support on main stage for headliner Godsmack, who brought 30 foot flames to the open air stage backdropped by the Golden Nugget.
Saturday started with another battle of the bands winner, followed by local heroes Code Red Riot. Escape The Fate, All That Remains, & Eagles Of Death Metal all played greatest hits within their sets, taking us from thrash metal, to heavy rock and back to rockabilly-rock & roll.
Breaking Benjamin closed out the side stage turning the street into a giant sing along at times, with mosh pits filling in the gaps. Mastodon was direct support for headliners Avenged Sevenfold who played their first show on American soil since the launch of The Stage. Lead singer M. Shadows bantered with the crowd apologizing for taking so long to play in the U.S., and spoke about their upcoming tour, both headlining and with Metallica.
With nothing more than a LED backboard, and some fireworks, Avenged Sevenfold ran through a mix of old and new hits, including “Bat Country”, “The Stage” and even “A Little Piece Of Heaven.” They properly introduced drummer Brooks Wackerman by giving him a few moments to shine in a drum solo mid-set.
Speaking with the fans throughout the weekend, everyone thought it was well planned and executed with enough food and beverage choices. Most were inquiring about the possibility of returning again next year, and with Las Vegas as a backdrop, many fans had a chance to hit the tables in between checking out the inaugural festival, even though you don’t have to be in Sin City to test your luck with InstaCasino. Only time will tell if this was a one off Vegas specialty, or if we might see a new recurring Festival added to the lineup of April and May festivals.