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Average User Rating 9.00
Total Reviews 1
Last Reviewed August 20th, 2006
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
Rage puts on a great/inspired concert set
Venue/Date: Sam Boyd Stadium (Las Vegas, NV)
Concert Date:  
October 29th, 2007
Reviewer: aceshooter

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Vegoose roundup: Fewer stages leads to more discovery

Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Huetz live in Switzerland, August 2007, courtesy of Associated PressAs any avid festival-goer will tell you, both the bane and the boon of a jam-packed weekend is looking at the schedule and trying to make very difficult decisions. Choose correctly and you’ll be granted either a special set from a favorite act or a brand-new discovery. Choose unwisely and you’ll end up watching an hour of by-the-book playing while wondering what’s happening on the other side of the field.

But this weekend’s Vegoose festival in Las Vegas - headlined by two oft-covered favorites this year, Rage Against the Machine and Daft Punk - was a bit different. Presumably due to a drop in attendance - predictions were that 20,000 tickets were sold, a major drop from the first year’s 45,000 - the show was limited to three stages (the nearest and furthest still within a decent outfielder’s throwing range) and a lineup of 27 bands over two days, with only four per stage on Day 2. It made for a grid that looked weak before the fest.

Once inside, however, it served as a major plus for anyone with open ears. Instead of the Coachella dilemma of deciding between a well-liked safe bet or a buzzed-about newcomer, the lack of overlap allowed Vegoosers to take in both. Essentially, each time a band was finished, a mass migration moved across the field to the next set already in progress.

It meant that I could take in an impressive turn from Battles - a trippy, indie-jam Theremin-laced group, due Oct. 30 at the Fonda for a headlining set - while missing only part of Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello, still thoroughly energetic despite an oppressive early-afternoon time slot. (That’s frontman Eugene Huetz in the above pic, from a festival in Switzerland in August, courtesy of Associated Press.) It also meant the piano-infused hip-hop of Atmosphere didn’t fall on empty ears, nor did Israeli act Infected Mushroom’s frenetic trance, propulsive enough to make me feel bad for missing my cardio workout this weekend. And it definitely meant I saw Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah lead a ridiculous 10-piece funk band through everything from “Jump on It” to “Baby I Like It Raw” with the enthusiasm of a lewd James Brown.

In fact, by fest’s end I’d seen at least a couple of songs from nearly everyone on the bill. (Sorry, prog-rockers Umphrey’s McGee, sometimes a man just needs to sit one out.) That leads me to believe that perhaps the scheduling decisions weren’t by default or mistake. Maybe the promoters were just practicing what they preach, ensuring that each attendee actually walked away boasting of the thrill of discovery.

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