After canceling last year’s event due to the pandemic, and a plethora of last-minute lineup changes due to travel restrictions, Psycho Las Vegas seemingly pulled an ace from their sleeve. The festival returned this past weekend for a reworked and revamped 2021 edition that still rivaled any of their previous years.
The festivities kicked off on Thursday (August 19th) with the annual Psycho Swim party, despite the cancellation of The Skull (sadly, singer Eric Wagner just passed away from COVID pneumonia). Old Man Gloom, Bongzilla, and Blackwater Holylight had all those who arrived to the festival early in the pool, beers in hand.
The festival got off to its official start on Friday, with Twin Temple on the main stage at 1 p.m. COVID protocols were in place throughout the resort, and everyone walking into the arena (or anywhere else) were required to wear a mask and encouraged to practice social distancing. There were also plenty of hand-sanitizer stations for the crowd to use. Highlights throughout the day included Mutoid Man, Knocked Loose, Obituary, and headliners Mastodon, who were added to the lineup only a week or so prior.
Day 2 was action-packed, with Big Business opening the arena stage, while the House of Blues stage featured back-to-back-to-back sets from Curl Up and Die, Profanatica, and Eyehategod. After that most fans headed over to the Beach stage and its accompanying “splosh pit.” With consecutive sets from Primitive Man, Pig Destroyer, Dying Fetus and Cannibal Corpse, the water saw much more moshing than swimming.
Of course, the main attraction for most of those in attendance on Day 2 was Danzig, who closed out the arena stage playing Danzig II: Lucifuge in its entirety. At one point the venue was so full that security had to stop each person from entering until another person left. Those inside were clearly into it, and even Glenn himself seemed to be in a good mood and enjoying himself onstage. Cult of Fire, who obtained their visas last minute brought the evening to a close with a crushing set.
Day 3 picked up right where the day before left off, with Integrity opening the arena stage with a bloating set of hardcore, while Vitriol, Glacial Tomb, and Creeping Death riled up the House of Blues. The main stage was the place to be though, as Midnight, High on Fire, and Exodus (who brought out longtime former member Rick Hunolt) all played before headliners Down preformed their album NOLA in its entirety. Broken Hope, Devourment, and Repulsion played the House of Blues stage before Drab Majesty closed out the night.
Despite the last-minute changes, the entire festival went off without any real problems, although it appeared that concertgoers became more lax about wearing masks as the festival went on. Everyone involved with the festival is to be lauded, though, as they did a commendable job, all things considered. As the industry continues to adapt to a new life, Psycho Las Vegas successfully took that first step.
See Heavy Consequence’s photo gallery of Psycho Las Vegas 2021, courtesy of photographer Raymond Ahner, as well as a few Instagram images, below. Click on gallery images to enlarge and scroll through. (Note: Danzig did not allow photography.)