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Concert Photography, Concert Reviews, Life Is Beautiful Festival 2015, Music

Review/Photos: Life Is Beautiful Festival 2015 – Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, The Killers

By: Ronnie Livias | Photos by: Krystyn Bristol, & Jeff Kravitz – 

Kendrick Lamar performing at Life Is Beautiful Festival on Sept. 26, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Jeff Kravtiz/FilmMagic)

Kendrick Lamar performing at Life Is Beautiful Festival on Sept. 26, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Jeff Kravtiz/FilmMagic)

The renowned Las Vegas-based Life Is Beautiful Festival kicked off their third annual music and arts festivities on Sept. 25th with a wonderland of bright lights, amazing food, tasty beverages and some of the best artists on the charts. With a three-day lineup including over 80 performing artists and guest speakers featured on four stages and culinary talents and motivational speakers in two inside speaking halls, the festival stretched across 11 city blocks for the extravagant weekend and Life Is Beautiful fell nothing short of its name.

The festival gates lay just short of the corner of 7th Street and Fremont where over 120,000 attendees entered and exited the event over the weekend. Just beyond the entrance ready to greet eager concert-goers was a giant 20 foot tall metal preying mantis sculpture with fire spraying antennae that combusted bursts of flames into the air alongside the rises and rhythms of the music around. It was difficult to not see or even actually feel this thing, as it pretty much heated up the surrounding 80-foot radius anytime its flame was lit up.

Friday’s events began with T.D.E. freshman signee SZA who brought her powerful vocal fusion of R&B/Soul and contemporary and almost hypnotizing electronic energy to the Downtown Main Stage, alongside fellow “Top Dawg” members Ab-Soul and Kendrick Lamar performing the remaining two days of Life is Beautiful. Opening their first day with an R&B act on the main stage, and running through an artist list consisting of mellow revolution minded reggae actRebelution, thought invoking bass thumping hip-hop music from Atmosphere, fun times and exciting jam ensembles from duo Twenty One Pilots, to the classic melodies of the truly wondrous Stevie Wonder to close the evening.

The layout was organized, although intricately displaced and even a bit wacky in some parts. Las Vegas visitors and residents attending the festival had much to see and plenty to keep themselves occupied in-between their favorite acts; such as the installation of the Art Motel inside the room and board facilities of an old Motel 6 in the heart of downtown. Each room in this 2 floor motel of immense imagination housed installments from beautifully crafted neon signs, to trippy wall art intertwined with black lights, and giant mosaics constructed in 3D set to captivate onlookers.

Day two of Life is Beautiful brought together another day of festivities in the scorching Vegas sun and yet another amazing set of artists to enthrall onlookers in the afternoon and throughout the night. Almost in an effort to surpass the talent and diversity of day one’s lineup, Saturday featured electrifying artists such as British duo Royal Blood, along with Big Data, T.D.E. original Ab-Soul, Glass Animals, 80’s new wave pioneers Duran Duran, Chi-town hip-hop artist Chance The Rapper, female fronted electro-pop band Metric, Snoop Dogg and Las Vegas natives Imagine Dragons.

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons performing at Life Is Beautiful Festival on Sept. 26, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Jeff Kravtiz/FilmMagic)

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons performing at Life Is Beautiful Festival on Sept. 26, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Jeff Kravtiz/FilmMagic)

British Rock-duo Royal Blood performed on the Downtown Main stage, bringing their screaming riffs and hard rock rhythms to eyes and ears alike.

Crowds continued to grow throughout the afternoon and into the evening, many convening to the Huntridge Stage just a few strides away from the main stage area to see Ab-Soul perform a set-list filled with rebellious and rambunctious energy. Burning through hits from his most recent album titles “These Days” and “Control System”, Ab-Soul left his mark on the Life Is Beautiful crowd by playing “Just Have Fun”, “Tree of Life”, “Pineal Gland”, “Track Two”, “Terrorist Threats”, and “Illuminate”.

Shortly after the party atmosphere that Ab-Soul ignited, Metric began playing their electro pop ballads enchanting the crowd with their electronic tones and female fronted vocals. Their mystical and rainbow powered essence propelled Mtheirset into one of the top acts of the night with their endless deliverance of high-energy synthpop. Music fans looked onwardin amazement and in enjoyment as the band continued to play their radio smash hits and Tracks from their new album, the aptly named, Pagans in Vegas.

Chance the Rapper performed with his live band ensemble titled The Social Experiment, and with it came his signature high-energy style that ignited a dance party for fans under the night sky and cooling weather.

Hometown favorites Imagine Dragons closed out the festival Saturday night, playing plenty of hits from their second and newer album, Smoke + Mirrors. Growing up in Vegas and headlining the first year of LIB was a success to the band, but returning to headline once again was the cherry on top for Reynolds and the band. The “I Bet My Life” group took the stage and put on what fans say was “one of the greatest sets of the weekend,” ending with chart-topping hits“Radioactive” and “Demons.”

The morning of day three was a hot one as fans flooded the gates of the Fremont Street festival in hopes to end their weekend with a bang. The sun reflected off the Las Vegas asphalt and the infamous heat exhausted many guests, but the festival had many water refill stations available for unlimited free H2O. This helped many get through the final day of walking and energy exertion from running around the streets of Vegas.

The Troubadour Stage, home to fans of EDM and fellow Electric Daisy Carnival and Insomniac event-goers, deemed to beone of the most crowded places of the festival over the course of the weekend. Sunday acts included Tchami, Madeon, and fan-favorite Knife Party. The 7-Up booth, neighbor to Troubadour, shone brightly with the electric colors and drew attention from all around with the free charging stations and a fantastic dance floor to dance the day and night away to famous EDM acts from around the world. Tchami’s enchanting sound and heavy bass had the crowd jumping and waving out under the night sky as the festival drew to a close.

Afterwards, nostalgic rock band Death Cab For Cutie graced the Ambassador stage with their soothing vocals and catchy riffs. The set included a plethora of hits including new hit “Black Sun” and classics “Crooked Teeth” and “I Will Possess Your Heart.” Vocalist Ben Gibbard had thousands of girls squealing and arms waving when the band closed their set with “Soul Meets Body”, but the mellowness of some tracks led fans to leave the set early and start their trek across the venue to headliner Kendrick Lamar’s set at the Downtown Stage.

Kendrick Lamar wowed fans at Life Is Beautiful with his set of cosmically in-tune music that overtook the atmosphere and brought the last evening of the festival to a close with nothing short of an amazing display of artistry and crowd-interaction. He began his set with songs off of his storyboard concept album, good kid: m.A.A.d city, beginning with fan favorite “Money Tree’s” and continuing on to play “Backseat Freestyle” “Swimming Pools (Drank)”, “m.A.A.d city”, “Poetic Justice” and “ “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”. After the solemn crowd vibes that poured outward, Kendrick dropped another hit single “i” off his newest record, To Pimp A Butterfly, and continued on to play “King Kunta” and close out his set list with crowd banger “Alright”.

With year four of the festival in the works and with year three in the rear view, Life Is Beautiful once again harnessed the power of bringing music, and fans together for an unforgettable experience in world-famous Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click here to check out our photos from day 1 of the 2015 Life Is Beautiful Festival.



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