Chance The Rapper, Muse, Lorde, Gorillaz, Vince Staples and more all helped take over 18 blocks of downtown Las Vegas this weekend
It isn’t just the armful of Elvis impersonators, the Strip’s eye-popping, glitzy displays and the city’s very lax street drinking laws that make Las Vegas fabulous. Anyone who’s been to Life Is Beautiful before will likely tell you it’s one of America’s best festivals – a status its achieved in only four previous editions. Its fifth year is no different. The line-up features an eclectic mix of some of the biggest names and hottest new acts, while there’s a ton of incredible food stands, art installations and good vibes around the 18 blocks of Sin City ring-fenced for the event to mean there’s no excuse to ever get bored here.
Centred around downtown LV’s famous Fremont Street, Life Is Beautiful is a city festival with a difference. It transforms ordinary streets into pathways between outdoor stages, meaning you don’t have to be hidden away from the Nevada sun while watching your favourite acts.
Circa Waves were one of the first to perform over the weekend and the Las Vegas crowd greeted them fittingly. Frontman Kieran Shudall spotted a Liverpool FC scarf being waved in the crowd along with, erm, an inflatable naked man.
2 Chainz didn’t let a little thing like a broken leg stop him from performing in Vegas. Going against medical advice, he got one of his dancers to wheel him about the stage in a pink and black ‘trap’ emblazoned wheelchair. Talk about styling it out.
LA R&B duo THEY. brought a ton of infectious energy to the Huntridge Stage on Friday evening, as well as a shout out for Kurt Cobain. Why? They sample Nirvana’s ‘Polly’ on their track ‘Rather Die’.
Sean Paul rolled back the years on the Ambassador Stage with a career-spanning set, featuring the likes of ‘Get Busy’ and ‘Glue’.
Self-proclaimed witch Lorde swapped her arty glass box (as seen at Glastonbury) for a handful of white garden chairs in the unlikeliest move of the weekend.
Still, even looking like she’d just popped down Homebase didn’t make her set any less enchanting, especially her new choreographed routine for ‘Hard Feelings’.
Chicago’s Chance The Rapper added Life Is Beautiful to his very long list of US festivals he’s headlined this summer. His set was justification, if any were needed, of his very in demand status.
From opener ‘Mixtape’ through Donnie Trumpet collab ‘Sunday Candy’ to big hitters like ‘No Problem’, Chance’s set was one of fun and positivity, and the perfect end to day one.
Norwegian rising star Sigrid won over a bunch of new fans on Saturday, with an endearing performance that reached its peak when a dog suddenly joined her on stage. The singer could barely contain her excitement and it only made her all the more lovable.
Following a full band performance, Kiwi duo Broods stripped things back for a magical acoustic set in the Toyota Music Den.
Andrew McMahon and his band kept spirits high with air dancers, beach balls, giant inflatable ducks and a lot of leaping off the piano.
Cage The Elephant put on the wildest performance of the festival – it only took guitarist Brad Shultz one song to be down on the barrier getting mauled by fans.
Brother and frontman Matt, meanwhile, smashed a mirror on stage as he stripped down to his underwear, and convulsed his way through the band’s electrifying set.
Festival veterans Muse closed out proceedings on Saturday night. Frontman Matt Bellamy’s secret to a killer headline set? Many, many jacket and glasses changes, apparently.
Oh, and a ton of streamers and confetti for when your set reaches peak levels of epic.
Life Is Beautiful 2017 wasn’t just about the music, though. There was art at every turn, including this very sparkly sign.
Production company Meow Wolf created this immersive installation, which had something new to explore in every corner of the building that housed it.
Meanwhile, this fire-spouting praying mantis was like Life Is Beautiful’s answer to Glastonbury’s Arcadia spider.
The Bastille-approved FRENSHIP kicked things off on Sunday. Their winning electropop hooks shone through despite technical difficulties to earmark them as ones to keep a close eye on in the future.
Hip-hop legends De La Soul’s positivity was the perfect match for the festival’s upbeat spirit. The Long Island trio proved that, nearly 30 years in, you still only need good songs and a warm presence to make your mark.
Pusha T teased his forthcoming new album ‘King Push’ over on the Ambassador Stage, while also celebrating G.O.O.D. Music. A medley of his work with Kanye went down especially well with his eager fans.
Dua Lipa made the most of her debut appearance in Las Vegas, cramming in as many of the bangers from her debut album as possible. The highlight? When she got the whole crowd to raise their middle fingers in defiance ahead of ‘IDGAF’.
The xx put on a typically beautiful show on the Downtown Stage, weaving together songs from their three stunning albums while giving some tracks a more festival-friendly update.
‘Shelter’, for example, was given a pulsating makeover – more suitable for dancing than swooning.
Long Beach’s Vince Staples proved why he’s one of the hottest rappers around with a fiery set to close out the Huntridge Stage that climaxed with an incredible version of his self-proclaimed “magnum opus” ‘Norf Norf’.
Gorillaz were left with the task of bringing the whole festival to an end, and they did so admirably.
Damon Albarn acted as ringleader of their musical circus as, one by one, guest stars like Pusha T, Vince Staples, Zebra Katz, De La Soul and more helped bring songs from ‘Humanz’ and beyond to life.
Savages’ Jehnny Beth made her now-traditional appearance for ‘We Got The Power’ – a song that encapsulated Life Is Beautiful’s positive message perfectly and proved to be the feather in Gorillaz’s cap.