KUNV hosts Rebfest 2017, displaying talented artists: Local bands and Brooklyn-based Caveman awe

By Aron Csiki | April 25th, 2017
Photo courtesy of McCormick & Rigney

While tens of thousands of people spent their weekend at the Coachella music festival in Indio, California celebrating life and music, and getting lit to Kendrick Lamar in casually offensive headdresses, most UNLV students weren’t fortunate enough to participate in that delicious hedonism.

Thankfully, UNLV’s KUNV 91.5 radio station had their own music festival in mind with Rebfest 2017, a music event hosted for UNLV students on the most hallowed day of the year for colleges: 4/20.

The free event took place on a stage set up next to Dayton Complex, and brought forward a variety of local talent as well as the Brooklyn-based indie rock band Caveman. Caveman headlined Rebfest, which was a quick stop for them on their way to Coachella where they performed on Sunday.

KUNV gave out free merchandise and candy, and hosted a raffle for a set of turntables. Next to them was a tent set up by Donut Bar, a donut shop located in Downtown Vegas that makes what can only be described as otherworldly donut creations in portions big enough to knock out an elephant.

Among the local performers were DJ david.cuf, punk band Coastwest Unrest, rapper Chop808, DJ MOOSEthecoolest, rap-duo Play on Words, electro-rock band Rabid Young and indie rock band Brumby.

It can be easy to forget that Vegas is a town teeming with talent and that we live in a musically fertile valley. The performances at Rebfest were a sweet reminder of the genius that is produced locally.

Chop808, is a rapper filled with positive vibes and is standout for busting addictive, motivational rhymes. His sound finds influences in Kanye West, right down to the high-pitched “AGH” he throws in in between verses. Chop808 kept engaging the small crowd at the foot of the stage, getting hands up and telling everyone how beautiful they were as he performed songs from his album “Not An Average Rapper.” He is working hard to release a new album soon.

Coastwest Unrest consisted of brothers Josh and Noah Dickie. The two slayed with sick, speedy guitar riffs and powerful drums.

Play on Words, a duo act by Nick Crucial and Nate Quest, stayed true to their name and spat clever, catchy bars to some incredibly produced beats that kept the crowd’s knees bouncing. Their lyrics dealt with making it through struggle, making it in rap and of course, their love of weed. Crucial and Quest also have their own solo projects.

Rabid Young defined “chill” with their intoxicating, synth-heavy rock. Combined with lead Eric Ricky’s voice, Rabid Young poured out some wavy, foot-tapping hit.

Brumby took the stage next. Now here was a band that had the spirit of Las Vegas and all its musical brilliance. Brumby stunned the audience with their beautiful, melodic indie rock, sending them into a head bopping trance as they stood on stage with a classic mid-2000’s look.

Students sat cross-legged on the grass field listening to Brumby perform songs from their album “The Westwind Kid.” Brumby is an act that is in line and on level with local legends like The Killers and Imagine Dragons, and are every bit as deserving of international recognition.

Caveman closed off the show with a set that can only be described as “wow.” They sounded like true indie-rock veterans. There were no gimmicks; nothing flashy, just pure, enthralling rock. The members dressed casually, with frontman Matthew Iwanusa in a football Jersey and denim jacket. These guys looked like a group of dads that you would expect to see playing in a popular bar on weekend nights as a hobby.

Caveman’s performances of songs from their albums “CoCo Beware,” “Caveman” and “Otero War” were so grand, their music gave the small crowd sitting on the field the same vibe as a large festival stage. Many of earlier artists stayed to enjoy Caveman, and Chop808 even went backstage to express his love.

Rebfest 2017 gave UNLV a killer set of performances. It was showcasing of local talent and just plain good music. Like with many campus events, Rebfest lacked a strong student turnout, but for those who did go, it would have been a small, laid-back alternative to a missed Coachella.

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