REVIEW: Psycho Las Vegas 2019 – Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino


As far as large multi-day fests go, Psycho Las Vegas is still pretty wet behind the ears having only just had their fourth annual incarnation this August but already it has begun growing into what will likely continue to be the summer juggernaut of partying and music. New this year, to the dismay of many, was the location change from the off the strip and perfectly themed haunt, The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, to the megaplex that is Mandalay Bay. Gone is the feeling of a true fest take over and in its place, a sprawling amalgamation of “psychos” and people from any town USA or abroad there simply to gamble, throw pre-wedding bashes, get drunk or maybe attend a conference (*ahem* “conference”). Once everyone got their bearings and navigated through this corporate mega casino/hotel/shopping mall, pushed back a few drinks or whatever preferred substances they were into, and found the locations of the four stages, the complaining ebbed and instead, people experienced the fest for what it is. A gigantic party with a great combination of bands playing for four days.

Rhythm and Riffs, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

Psycho Swim, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/15/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Band reunions and special sets have become common these days especially at large festivals and for some are the major reason to spend the money on a ticket. For me, the most important one was the first North American appearance of Triumph of Death, a tribute to Hellhammer, a band which during its short-lived career was maligned by many in the underground metal scene whom only, later on, would receive due to praise as being one of the key influences of black metal. Tom G. Warrior, wearing a leather style jacket with “Hellhammer” in white across the back, was clearly having a good time performing these songs, some of which had not been performed live ever before. Bantering back and forth with the crowd, making jokes and thanking everyone for being there. Luckily the sound issues in that venue magically disappeared that day and the response from the crowd was very deservedly electric. Truly amazing.

Rhythm and Riffs Lounge, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, 8/16/19

Rhythm and Riffs Lounge, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

Other notable performances by bands that pretty much don’t exist anymore, at least not as far as new material or in the capacity of regular touring bands, were doom heavyweights from the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Warhorse, late 80’s thrash metal heroes Vio-lence, and of course the horror punk Halloween gurus, the Misfits or as they have been going by for this little round of reunion shows, The Original Misfits, which is mostly true I guess. The sound snafus and gear complications definitely reemerged for the Misfits set but to be honest no one there really cared. People just wanted to see them on stage and hear their favorite songs no matter what they actually sounded like.

Replacing the former and beloved “Center Bar” at the previous venue was an actual fourth stage surrounded by a bar and the overwhelming casino which became the main meeting place. It was a bit of an odd setup but it worked out mostly well. Since bands played there it wasn’t always the most conducive place to sit and talk or to take a break from the fast-paced action as the old center bar had been. Only one DJ set occurred, Andrew WK, whereas previously that would have only been used for that late at night after all the bands had played and that was some of the best times had at the fest in previous years. The Rhythm and Riffs Lounge as it was called was a bit too loud and disjointed to be the place to just chill for a bit and I think it would be great to go back a bit to the original idea to give the festers a bit of a much-needed break.

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/16/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

The Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

The Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

Rhythm and Riffs, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

The Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/17/19

The Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The Pool, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The Beach, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The Beach, with a giant stage sitting in a shallow pool, ended up being great for many bands like The Faint and Cold Cave but more than a bit odd for doom or black metal bands like 1349. However, it ended up being an absolutely perfect spot for Power Trip to play even though the stage was about 15 feet high and the crowd stood in ankle-deep water because this is where maybe the first-ever water mosh pit ended up happening and it had to be the most plain old fun I saw anyone having the entire fest.

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

Events Center, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The Pool, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The Pool, Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV 8/18/19

The new location will surely afford Psycho to grow in ways maybe it couldn’t anywhere else and I don’t think the attendees constant opining for the Hard Rock is going to stop anyone from going again next year. I only hope that some of the atmosphere and relaxing spots of the previous years find their way into the new incarnation of Psycho Las Vegas in 2020 and beyond. I too will miss the ease of walking across the street for water, food or whatever needs I might have (it took me about an hour of walking round trip to get to a CVS/Walgreens this year) but this just means I will have to plan better to make a one time run in a car service of some sort to stock up for the four days. Or bring double the amount of money to spend and just accept it as reality. Either way, I’m still in.

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY HILLARIE JASON

 

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