Las Vegas is an old-school casino town, better known for bad lounge music and half-naked showgirls than anything else. Of course, all things eventually change, right?
Vegoose FestivalCity: Las Vegas
Venue: University of Nevada, Sam Boyd Stadium
Las Vegas is renowned as an old-school casino town, better known for bad lounge music, washed up entertainers, and half-naked showgirls than anything else. Thus, the first ever Vegoose Festival, which took place over the Halloween weekend at the University of Nevada, conspicuously clashed with its host city, a gambling town that has never been particularly famous for its overall hip-ness. Yet, somehow, Vegoose's mixture of jam band music and alternative rock made the usually barren musical desert seem like Austin, TX, for a moment at least. Let's be frank: Las Vegas is not a college town. The main road to any university -- even community colleges, for Pete's sake! -- is usually populated with bookstores, coffee shops, head shops, and record stores. Not so with UNLV! Without the road signs, you'd never guess there was a college nearby. This campus is surrounded by a few new tract homes, a bunch of undeveloped land, and little else. Before entering the university grounds, concert attendees had to park their cars in a dirt lot. We all know this is a dirty town, but that's just ridiculous! Apparently, any property that doesn't feature the continuous ringing sound of slot machines isn't worth the time, the trouble, or even the blacktop to pretty up. After surveying the crowd, you began to wonder if Jerry Garcia's death was just a hoax -- the deadhead contingent had appeared in great numbers. Every first, second, and third generation hippy made it out. Just what were these anti-capitalist, back-to-the-earthers doing in this greedy, money-hungry, formerly-mob-friendly town? Obviously, they didn't come for the buffets. Setting these oddball social and environmental factors aside for just a minute, Vegoose's organizers deserve kudos for the way they put this show together. The four main stages were carefully segregated. The main stadium stage was reserved for big name jam-ers, like Dave Matthews and Trey Anastasio. The two outdoor stages featured either all-alternative or all-jam music. And the hip-hop tent had, well, strictly hip-hop. This meant that if you liked one particular brand of music, you could settle in for the day instead of wasting time nomadically traveling around the grounds to chase down all of your favorites. Although Vegoose's overall atmosphere was comparable to most other big modern rock festivals, it was nevertheless impossible to ignore its unique location and seasonal (late October) timing. A few acts got into the Halloween spirit by dressing up for the occasion. The costume-ball vibe was best exemplified by the Shins, whose members outfitted themselves as nuns, and Beck and band, who were adorned in Boy Scout uniforms. ALO was slightly less successful, however, when its members covered themselves with various silver accessories. These guys explained that they were merely honoring Nevada's reputation as the silver state. But they mainly just looked like freaky sci-fi characters.
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