The music lineup of Life Is Beautiful 2014 just grew six bands deeper and a bit more electronic. Now joining the roster of scheduled performers is Swedish electro-rock quartet Little Dragon; Nahko and Medicine for the People, a Portland-based folk-hop outfit that LIB organizers saw opening up for Thievery Corporation and liked enough to add them to the lineup; Baauer, a bass/trap DJ from Philly; ascending Los Angeles alt-pop band Echosmith; genre-hopping dance pop diva Kimbra (pictured above), who comes to us from New Zealand; and New York indie rockers Bear Hands, whose single “Giants” is still in the process of blowing the hell up.
In other words: Another Planet Entertainment Executive VP Allen Scott and LIB’s Head of Music Craig Nyman looked at the lineup as it now stands—which is here, if you need a refresher—and decided to double down on indie bands you might never have heard of. Some of them have never even played here before. And they’re doing this, Las Vegas, because in spite of the fact that your sole indie radio source Neon Reverb broadcasts such music only two hours a week, they think you’re ready for it.
“Last year, we played it really safe—what we considered to be right down the middle, with a lot of radio bands and household names,” says Scott. “This year, we have those bands—Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Lionel Richie, Kanye West—but we’re able to take more chances with the lineup. That’s one of the great things about a festival: discovering new bands.”
Scott adds that a number of artists in the “middle of the lineup”—he cites Tycho, tUnE-yArDs and, ironically, Vegas native Jenny Lewis—may have been resistant to play here because of a perceived lack of suitable venues and audience support. LIB provides a chance to “showcase them before a lot of people in the market,” he says.
Speaking of cracking a tough market: I asked the organizers why there are no Latin artists playing LIB—a strange omission, considering just how much of Las Vegas speaks (and sings) a second language. They claim it wasn’t a deliberate choice: “There were availability issues” with some of the Latin artists LIB wanted, says Scott, who goes on to name a long list of favorites.
“There’s your Café Tacubas, Calle 13s, Bomba Estereos, the Mexican Institute of Sound … We want to get them out here, and we know that it’s an important part of this market. I would say you can expect to see some of them next year.”
Scott says that a couple more bands—including one medium-sized headliner—will be announced next month. In the meantime, we’ve got six new bands to discover.