Twenty One Pilots Years: 2013, 2015
At their February 2017 Las Vegas tour stop, Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph played to nearly 9,000 fans inside the sold-out Mandalay Bay Events Center. But on the afternoon of October 27, 2013, you could easily approach either side of Life Is Beautiful’s Ambassador stage and watch the 2017 best pop duo/group performance Grammy winners exhibit their now-signature jumps and flips. It was that unforgettable performance that gave the world a widely circulated photo of Joseph, seemingly floating atop the outstretched hands of festivalgoers. It’s no wonder Life Is Beautiful brought them back in 2015 after the release of Pilot’s platinum-selling album, Blurryface, for a rousing nighttime set.
G-Eazy Years: 2014, 2016
When the Oakland-raised rapper (born Earl Gillum) was first announced on the 2014 lineup, he had just begun to garner major radio play. He’d scored impressive opening slots on Lil Wayne and Drake’s respective tours, but it wasn’t until “I Mean It” dropped in spring 2014 that his name really started to percolate. After the October 2015 release of his soaring single, “Me, Myself & I,” featuring Bebe Rexha, 2016 saw major moves for Gillum: an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, collaborations with Chris Brown and Britney Spears, a mini-residency at Drai’s Nightclub and headlining status at Life Is Beautiful. The surest sign he’s “made it?” Gillum, along with Bay Area cohort Kehlani, recently contributed “Good Life” to The Fate of the Furious soundtrack.
Alessia Cara Year: 2015
Pegged by Spin as an “emerging artist” on the 2015 bill, Alessia Cara had already begun to turn heads with her alt-bubblegum anthem “Here.” The promising Canadian singer played in the blazing, early-afternoon sun. She has since followed “Here” with several successful singles, opened stadiums for Coldplay, was named “new artist of the year” at the 2016 American Music Awards, played Saturday Night Live and recently reached over 100 million Spotify streams for “Stay,” her collaboration with 2013 festival performer Zedd.
Halsey Year: 2015
As often as you probably heard “New Americana,” Halsey’s hazy ode to rebellious youth that launched her to national airwaves in the summer of 2015, it was nothing like the Chainsmokers’ smash “Closer,” released in July 2016, which featured the singer’s sultry vocals. According to Billboard.com, “Closer” is the first song on record to ever spend its first six months on the Billboard Hot 100 (with 26 of those weeks in the Top 5). Halsey is wisely taking advantage of the buzz, having released her latest single, “Now or Never,” in April, before her second album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, drops in June.
Galantis Years: 2014, 2016
A quick glance at Galantis’ spring calendar shows a nighttime set at Coachella, two sold-out shows at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, several dates at Marquee Nightclub for its #SeafoxSafari residency and an Ultra Music Festival set played to tens of thousands of fans. The Swedish production duo, comprised of Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw, has done pretty well for themselves since their 2014 Life Is Beautiful debut. Even cooler? The evidence of their rising success is captured by their go-to photographer, Las Vegas’ own Dalton Campbell.
Catifsh & the Bottlemen Years: 2014, 2016
Billed last of all the 2014 national acts (and right before the locals) on the 2014 poster were British rockers Catfish & the Bottlemen. The group’s first album, 2014’s The Balcony, had debuted at No. 10 in the U.K. and later sold over 1 million copies, but it wasn’t even released in the United States until January 2015. Catfish & the Bottlemen’s second album, The Ride, proved their staying power, which propelled the band to a Life Is Beautiful return in 2016—with much higher positioning on the lineup poster.