The festival takes place in the downtown area of the infamous Nevada city
The three-day event is held in Las Vegas’ downtown area, taking over 18 city blocks with outdoor stages, culinary experiences and art installations.
Circa Waves were one of the first to perform, taking to the Huntridge Stage at 5:15pm. After ‘Stuck In My Teeth’, frontman Kieran Shudall addressed a fan holding a familiar flag before discussing his plans for after their set. “Liverpool flag,” he pointed out. “Gonna do some gambling later… generic guy.”
The band then played two songs off of their second album ‘Different Creatures‘ in ‘Stuck’ and ‘Fire That Burns’, before closing out their set with ‘T-Shirt Weather’. “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for watching us today,” Shudall said beforehand. “Enjoy the rest of your day. My voice is fucking going so please help me sing it if you know it.”
Over on the Downtown Stage, Georgia rapper 2 Chainz performed with a broken leg. He entered the stage in a pink and black wheelchair, pushed into view by one of his dancers. He remained in the chair for the whole performance.
“I broke my leg five weeks ago,” he told the crowd after ‘No Problem’. “The nurse told me, ‘You not gonna be able to do that Life Is Beautiful.’ I said, ‘Bitch, you crazy.'” Later in his set, he requested “everyone put their fours up and their phones up.” “You better sing this shit,” he added.
Los Angeles R&B duo They., meanwhile, performed tracks from their debut album ‘Nü Religion: Hyena’ after the sun had set. During their allotted time, they led the crowd in a chant of “Fuck Donald Trump” and asked: “How many Nirvana fans we got in this motherfucker?” After a series of cheers, the pair launched into ‘Rather Die’, which samples the grunge band’s ‘Polly’. Midway through, singer Drew Love said: “Shout out Kurt Cobain.”
Later, Love introduced the track ‘Dante’s Creek’, which interpolates part of Dawson’s Creek theme tune, Paula Coles’ ‘I Don’t Want To Wait’. “This song means the world to me,” he said, asking everyone present to put their phone lights up.
On the Ambassador Stage, Sean Paul played a career-spanning set including the likes of ‘Get Busy’, ‘Cheap Thrills’ and ‘Baby Boy’. “The biggest and realest feeling of love I had in my life was from my mum,” he told the crowd at one point, ahead of airing ‘Rockabye’, his collaboration with Clean Bandit.
“I gotta big up Vegas, so much [sic] beautiful ladies in the crowd,” he said later. “I came here mainly for you. I came to gamble and I came to party, but I came here mostly for the ladies. I know you love good music because you’re out here listening to the SP.”
Coming on stage to Kate Bush‘s ‘Running Up That Hill’, Lorde acted as main support to Chance The Rapper on the Downtown Stage. “It’s been a long time since I was in Vegas,” the Kiwi singer told the crowd after ‘400 Lux’. “It’s been a long time since I played anywhere. I’ve been away making a record. It’s called ‘Melodrama’.”
Where recent Lorde shows have seen her perform in front of (and occasionally in) a giant glass box on stilts, her production was much more modest tonight. Instead, dancers utilised white garden chairs as they backed her through a set that drew largely from her second album.
Introducing one such song, ‘The Louvre’, she told the crowd: “This is about a crush,” she explained. “It’s about the feeling you get bursting in your chest. It’s sweet and ridiculous and you want to do it all the time, but you also hate that person. They’re taking too long to text back and you’re like, ‘Fuck them.'”
Sitting on the edge of the stage to play ‘Liability’, she said: “It still hasn’t sunk in this is my job. It’s been nearly five years. I’m so far away from home now. It still blows my mind that a crowd in Vegas is hanging out with me.”
Her set concluded with versions of ‘Perfect Places’, ‘Team’ and ‘Green Light’. Before the latter, she told the crowd she wanted to “enter into a contract” with them. “I want you to dance as hard as you can,” she said. “I want every arm, every foot, every bit of you you have left.”
Chance The Rapper closed the proceedings for day one. During his performance he praised the “extraordinary” Las Vegas crowd, describing them as “fearless”.
The performance opened with a bang as the rapper began with a pyrotechnics-filled version of ‘Mixtape’, before running through tracks from ‘Acid Rap’ and ‘Coloring Book‘, as well as collaborations with Donnie Trumpet And The Social Experiment and more.
“Pardon my disrespect,” Chance said after a medley of his work with Kanye West, including ‘Waves’, ‘Father Stretch My Hands’ and ‘Ultralight Beam’. “I’ve played about eight songs and I didn’t say anything about who I am or what I am. Pardon my manners. I’m Chance The Rapper from Chicago, Illinois and I’m in Las Vegas because life is beautiful.”