How the music scene saved Las Vegas casinos from certain doom
Vegas casinos may remain to be the epitome of grandeur and lavish lifestyles, but many people are unaware of the fact that most of the city’s gaming establishments had already closed down several years ago.
An article posted on The Kong List revealed that many casinos in Vegas have already experienced a slump, with annual revenue losses climbing from 5% in 2007 to 20% by the end of 2010. These figures had also been set to increase, if casino operators hadn’t decided to bring something new to the table. Thankfully, two casinos – the Encore and the Wynn – have taken the risk of reinventing their facilities, and serving as examples to other casinos in Sin City who were struggling to get back on their feet.
A report by The Press of Atlantic City revealed that a growing crowd of younger guests had been seen coming to the casinos not to play per se, but instead, to party. Gone are the days when senior citizens dominated casinos, as hordes of young and energetic guests have begun flocking to the gaming establishments’ nightclubs. With EDM being one of the most popular genres for younger people, Encore and Wynn have decided to play the music in their nightclubs, and lure even more young guests through their doors.
Bringing in the younger demographic is a tactic that many gaming operators are currently adhering to. Recognizing the sudden appeal that zombies have had on young adults, even InterCasino, the longest running online casino website, has released a zombie-themed slot game called Zombie Rush. Online casinos, having the option to alter their games as they see fit, have built a presented a noticeable challenge to land-based casinos, with the industry becoming worth more than $21 billion in 2008. This has prompted casinos to begin looking at other avenues to lure in more patrons, and music seems to be doing a great job of keeping them entertained.
Both the Encore and Wynn casinos seem to have become quite successful from their venture, with their inclusion of EDM allowing the two casinos to garner around $200 million in revenue from their nightclubs. With the success of EDM nightclubs, operators seem optimistic about the future of their casinos. And with the rising popularity of many international EDM DJs, casinos will be able to capitalize more on this venture in the coming years.
Like most up-and-coming writers, our day jobs often get in the way of multi-day festivals. We write all week to get in free, drowning at our crappy jobs to pay the way once we get there. We spend the entire weekend running between bands, posting iPhone photos to social media, and trying to finagle free meals. We do it for the love of live music. We do it because we wouldn’t have lives if we stayed home all weekend. So it was nothing new that a crisis at the office resulted in missing most of Friday. But rolling into Monterey County just after 9pm, I was able to park and get to will call before headliners, Rebelution, even took the stage. At least I’d made it for that.
Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law always lays it down in the most critical of situations. The girl in the ticket booth had no idea who I was, much less who the media organizers were. So there I was, with a line of pre-party-drunk VIP ticket holders waiting behind me while I frantically searched my emails for phone numbers. Thankfully, and one of many reasons why Moore Media shined all weekend, the head organizer returned my text to confirm we’d meet at the artist gate in five minutes. Sort of running along Fairgrounds Blvd., and without wanting to show up sweaty and out of breath, I paused for a few seconds to pull myself together. Luckily I had my two trusted travel partners, Jameson and his lady Ginger, who proved once again essential allies as I journeyed clear across the 20 acre property.
By the time I arrived at the gate, Rebelution was already on stage. Looking out on the crowd, there was no way I was gonna mash through nearly 10,000 fans already up against the railings. It was literally a sea of bouncing heads and puffs of smoke. Fortunately, for those who can afford it, music festivals have turned to offering VIP ticket holders access to backstage areas. For an extra $100, you can hang out with artists and media and stand in side-stage balcony boxes high over the crowds. It can be an awesome opportunity to enjoy the bands while keeping a drink in your hand, but nothing beats being smashed up against railings watching your favorite singer drip sweat down the mic cord. [Read more after the break]
We’re already knee-deep in music festivals, so why not mention another one? San Francisco’s Treasure Island Festival announced its 2013 lineup today, and it features a couple big names and a whole bunch of small ones.
Thom Yorke’s “side project,” Atoms For Peace, is the main draw, with the illustrious and versatile Beck as the co-headliner. Also featured are: Animal Collective, Major Lazer, James Blake, Little Dragon, Sleigh Bells, STRFKR, Tricky and a host of others. This two-day fest takes place this year on Oct. 19 and 20. Traditionally, one day is devoted mostly to electronic acts and the other to indie rock.
Two-day tickets are on sale Friday, May 31, with one-day tickets probably becoming available soon thereafter. For both days, one ticket is $130, and it goes up to $150 as the festival nears.
Happening this weekend, (and officially SOLD OUT, although Craigslist and Facebook have got plenty of resales if you are inclined) the California Roots Music and Arts Festival has become the biggest thing to hit the tiny town of Monterey since the aquarium opened. The fest started out as a one-day show by a guy with a clothing brand. In just four years, producer Jeff Monser has nurtured Cali Roots into one of the most solid music gatherings on the West Coast. This isn’t roots music – this is pure Cali-style roots rock reggae with big names that include Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Matisyahu, and Katchafire plus 40 other bands. A live music feed is available on the Cali Roots website, so if you aren’t going it will be just as fun to crack a Pabst and sit around the apartment complex pool all weekend.
One of the really great trends in music festivals are their zero-waste efforts. Cali Roots is striving to become a zero-waste event by manning normal trash stations with volunteers. Instead of the barrels overflowing with mixed up garbage, staff with be educating concert-goers on how to separate organics and recyclables from landfill products. Monterey’s “Offset Project” works with vendors to provide only compostable and recyclable food ware and when the event is done, all food materials are locally processed and sent to vineyards and golf courses as compost. Good music, good deeds – we can smoke to that.
California Roots Festival, Friday May 24th – Sunday May 26th, Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Rd, Monterey. $50-$150, www.californiarootsfestival.com (no phone)
Artists include Southern boy Big K.R.I.T., Kendrick Lamar’s crew Black Hippy, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Common, Curren$y, Tyler the Creator, rap’s most prolific socio-political commentator Immortal Technique, Talib Kweli, Tech N9NE, and of course Wu-Tang Clan.
Unfortunately, some of the really great artists like Kid Cudi, Common, Jhene Aiko and E-40/Too $hort will only perform certain dates, but for a baseline price of $89 (top ticket prices go up as high as $240, and that’s not including VIP) we can’t get too greedy. My guess, and I got five on it, is E-40 will hold down the Bay Area show. But I’m still hoping for a Kid Cudi appearance.
Check this week’s live announcement with Indiana-born, NYC-bred Supernatural (also performing), who set the world record in 2006 for the longest continuous freestyle rap at the Rock The Bells Festival in San Bernardino, CA. He rapped for 9 hours and 15 minutes. Holy shiiiit.
Music is one of the best sources of relaxation. A melodious number from your favourite music album, your favourite instrumental music album or even a few minutes of mild music on the back ground while you sip a cup of coffee after you return from the office makes a good difference. Music has no barriers or no constraints when it comes to language, type, style and instruments used. Any music that has the right combination of melody and tune is definitely bound to win the hearts of the listeners. Today, with the latest developments in place and internet, the talk of the era, one can easily access their favourite albums and play lists online. Also you can get hold of your favourite videos on the site. All you have to do to listen to your favourite music at the comfort of your homes is to search for the right website.
This not just implies to music websites but for all services. For example if you wish to get in touch with any of the emergency services, health care facility, plumbing services or a locksmith you can very well use internet as an online finder. Let us look at how to search for a trustworthy and reliable locksmith online.
Finding a trustworthy online locksmith service requires plenty of research. Among various type of information which is available online, one needs to thoroughly enquire for the feedback and recommendation that people leave after using their services. We can also collect information from people who are already availing their services. We simply need to type-in on web “Find a locksmith in XXX area” and a wide variety of results will be listed. After clicking one by one on particular company, we can get the detailed knowledge of all the listed locksmiths. We need to look for a licensed personality from a renowned institute, so whenever they visit our houses, we can check their license and note down their license number to be on safer side. Whenever any locksmith commits a crime, his license will be cancelled and thus his profession will come to an end forever.
We can find a genuine locksmith service by searching wide range of locksmith’s website. We can also look for a locksmith based on the services that they provide such as chip keys, ignition keys, replacement keys, auto keys, master keys, remote keys, , transponder keys, video surveillance services, security camera systems, access control systems, intercom systems, installations, repairs, alarm systems, cutting key services, safe vault services, copy keys, lost key services, file cabinet locks, roadside assistance, auto repair, key automotive, cutting key services, iron works & gates services, key stuck services, intercom services, high security locks, and many more. So chiefly, when we are looking for an online locksmith, we should search based on the type of skill held by him and the relevant area. If the requirements meet your criteria, a phone call is enough to call him on your doorstep.
Now a day many companies are dealing in this profession and send trustworthy locksmiths on your demand. Their background is authentically checked for any criminal record. Majority of the 24-7 locksmith service have highly qualified technicians with a genuine history who offer reliable services.
BottleRock is here. And we can only hope it returns.
Arriving late on Friday, I caught the last half of Andrew Bird’s set. I’ve always thought he would be better in a concert hall than a festival, and I still think that. He was good, but there’s something about the violin and looper pedal that runs counter to the spirit of a big rock show. On the next stage, the Shins, who were rumored to have played a warm-up show the night before at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma to about 15 people, were tight and professional. They’re about as surgically precise as a band can be, sounding just like the record. Almost too perfect, but very good. At the same time, Blues Traveler started tearing into their set. I caught “Run Around” and stayed for a couple songs because, damn, that John Popper can blow! I haven’t heard if he and Charlie Musslewhite, who is also playing the festival, are doing or have done a harmonica duet. I don’t know if the world could handle it.
The set up was similar to Outside Lands, but without the one-mile trek between stages. This meant that no matter where you stood, there was music playing. Not that lines were a big problem (the longest I waited for anything was about 10 minutes), but it would suck to know you’re missing the main reason for the $130 ticket because there is not an adequate number of beer stations. The addition of comedy to the festival was tough, making yet another thing to choose from to watch in addition to the great bands. But the comedy headliner each night (last night was Jim Bruer) started at 10:15, just after the last band. Not sure if that meant more or people would stick around because the rock show was over. But there were lines for each of the other comedians throughout the day.
Before the Flaming Lips took the stage (they were the last act of the second stage), it was time to refuel. There was festival food, but this being Napa, there was so much more. Cochon Volant BBQ actually ran out of buns for its pork sandwich, but the line did not diminish upon this announcement. They served instead a plate of just meat and coleslaw, which was incredible. The deep smoke flavor went nicely with a Sierra Nevada fresh-hop Harvest brew, another culinary upgrade from usual festival fare. Tons of restaurants, including Morimoto (of Iron Chef fame), were dishing up fancy foods. And with what seemed like hundreds of wineries on hand with popup tents and tasting lounges, it felt like a good representation of the California culinary scene. Imagine coming from Philadelphia or New Mexico to a festival that not only cares about food but almost worships it like a groupie does a rock band. It made for a good vibe.
Scarfing down my pork and ‘slaw, I got pretty much front-and-center to see the Flaming Lips. I’d seen them at Treasure Island a few years ago as the headlining act, and they raised the bar for me for festival acts. Frontman Wayne Coyne and company did not disappoint. In fact, they raised the bar yet again. Wayne, in a blue polyester suit, stood atop his lumpy, space-age, shiny bubble pulpit with a baby doll in the crook of his arm, cooing an playing with it while the band rocked around him. I’m glad he didn’t do anything crazy like throw it into the audience or rip its arm off or something. It gave that baby a symbolism it would have otherwise not held. The stage faced the setting sun, meaning the band got to watch a beautiful Napa sunset while the crowd didn’t have to squint at sun spots (good planning, BottleRock!). Coyne remarked how beautiful it was, and said how cool it would be if the sun set and then rose again immediately after (this ain’t Alaska, Wayne). He also praised the festival and thanked “whoever got us to play here” because it was a good thing to be a part of. As it got darker, the light show became more pronounced. Lasers, smoke, a truss of lights that moved down from the sky to just above Coyne’s head and shot strobe lights and huge flood lights across the crowd. Being directly in the center, I was blown away. You’ve seen people put hands on their head in that oh-my-god-what-am-I-even-seeing-right-now move of disbelief? That was me several times during this performance. Luckily, there are photos to help explain, because words are hard sometimes. The Flaming Lips received a well-deserved ovation, prompting a real encore (the lights had even come back on already). All this while the headliners, the Black Keys were about half an hour into their set already. People stayed for the Flaming Lips encore, and almost demanded a second encore.
The Black Keys were good. Even had a full band for the second half of their set. But if someone could explain why this is the end-all-be-all of bands right now, I’d love to listen. They rock, yeah, I dig that. But Blues Traveler rocks, too, though I suppose they had their time in the sun as well. Leaving the festival was relatively uncomplicated. There were plenty of volunteers directing the masses to the shuttle locations, and five shuttles filled and left at one time, so there wasn’t much of a wait. Upon arriving at the, ahem, parking lot, it was a different story. I hope everyone loaded their car’s location into Google Maps as a “favorite location,” because with no lights whatsoever and no volunteers directing the crowd, finding your car out of 10,000 in five separate lots would be tough. I parked at the back of a lot, and was really hoping I remembered correctly which one because it’s a 15-minute walk back to the dropoff point, and who knows how long from there to the other lots. I was right, and left with little delay.
One more point is the sound. It was excellent, but could have been a little louder on the main stage, especially for the Black Keys. Maybe this was a city ordinance thing, but it’s a rock show. Give it some gas!
Early on in the Robyn Hitchcock tribute show last Thursday at the Fillmore, a smiling Rhett Miller recalled when first saw the British songwriter, opening for R.E.M. in the ‘80s. “I’ve loved Robyn Hitchcock ever since I was weird,” he said, to scattered applause.
While the line between mainstream and subversive are not as clear these days, the offbeat, neo-psychedelic songwriter is undeniably a cult figure, which was evident on this belated 60th birthday bash planned by longtime fan Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. The bulk of the mixed-age crowd (filling only about ¾ of the venue) was clearly unfamiliar with his repertoire beyond minor hits like “Balloon Man” and “Madonna of the Wasps”. Predictably, Meloy and former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck received the most applause (Fan: “I met you at a show in Fresno in 1984!”/ Buck: “It wasn’t me.”).
Me? I knew about five Robyn Hitchcock songs walking in, which made the evening an exhilarating journey similar to a star-studded Harry Smith tribute show I attended back in college. Viva Hitchcock was the best kind of crash course on an artist with 30-plus years of material, and I do believe the singer can count dozens more as fans after last Thursday.
READ MORE AND SEE MORE PHOTOS BELOW
“There’s nothing wrong with PlayStation and jacking off. . . . but it was really messing with my creativity.”
See that dude in the photo up there? Yeah, that’s not Macklemore. Sorry. You’re cruising BottleRock, you see a guy in a fur vest and waxed-down blonde hair, and chances are that with the amount of Macklemore impersonators out there, it’s not really gonna be Ben Haggerty, b. 1983, hit song, “Thrift Shop.”
And what do you care? You’ve come in hopes that your gut feeling on Macklemore is off-base. You want Macklemore, live and on stage, to somehow take those eyes you so irritatedly rolled at first hearing (or, realistically: seeing) “Thrift Shop” and knock them right out of your head, and say: “Hey man, don’t be so fuckin’ jaded, I grew up on Paid in Full too. Just have fun, okay?”
On this night here in Napa, kicking off BottleRock, Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” has just hit Billboard’s #1 spot, and while you’re watching his dutiful set you realize why he enjoys such wide mainstream appeal: there is simply no reason to really hate the guy. He bounces and traipses around the stage as if following an exercise regimen, he delivers his repeated patter as if it were fresh every night, and he shows up on time (big points in the rap world for that last one). (more…)
It’s hard to imagine how such a minimalist band can incite such riotous reaction from crowds around the world. A plain-sounding guitar, melodic bass riffs and a simple snare drum with one cymbal makes up the Violent Femmes, who formed in sunny Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1980. One might argue that his band, with hits like “Blister in the Sun,” “Add it Up,” “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Dance, Motherfucker, Dance” is truly what made Milwaukee famous.
These are the original folk-punkers. It’s music that simply does not give a shit about what anyone thinks, and these days, that’s a refreshing sentiment. This stripped-down mindset and musical style makes for a memorable concert, creating those fleeting moments where we forget where we are, what we’re doing and all the bullshit in our daily lives.
The only shame is Violent Femmes are playing at the same time as Primus (8pm, Thursday). These bands have many fans in common, and it would be easy to make the completely not hyperbolic comparison to Sophie’s Choice. Which band will you see perform, and which band will die?