The last place I expected to encounter awesome sound, clean restrooms, tasty barbecue and my favorite band Mastodon was at a two-day metal fest in an outdoor venue in the urban core. I’m pinching myself to ensure it wasn’t a dream.
Anyone sleeping near Third Street and Carson Avenue would’ve had difficulty doing so when, on the first night, Coheed and Cambria kicked off its set with slow-burning “The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut,” followed by melodic, riff-loaded “Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood & Burial).” After C&C, iconic thrash titans Anthrax detonated the second stage at the first-ever Las Rageous fest (held April 21-22 at Downtown Las Vegas Events Center) with “Caught In a Mosh,” which nearly scalped my ears in lower-level VIP. Guitarists Scott Ian and Jonathan Donais dug in hard, their punk-edged, downstroke-chugging attack an ideal canvas for singer Joey Belladona. They put me in such a great mood I didn’t mind when Godsmack walloped the crowd with rock-radio staple “Awake,” everyone singing along with frontman Sully Erna.
The festival’s second night was superior, with Mastodon crushing the competition with pure, ferocious musicianship, especially during incinerating, prog-intensive “Ember City.” Garage-punk ensemble Eagles of Death Metal brought their hardest material, which was a smart move. And I’m no fan of Breaking Benjamin and Avenged Sevenfold, but the bands delivered righteously. Next year, Rageous organizers, bring Megadeth and Ghost!