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Night Horse: Psycho Las Vegas Preview

3 August 2019

Photo: Night Horse

On a Psycho Las Vegas 2019 bill that features very few repeat performers from last year’s installment, it’s rarer still to find a band that didn’t play the pre-party either of those years. Those select few include Grammy winners High on Fire, Scottish progressive-metal quintet Dvne and L.A. hard-rock quintet Night Horse.

Now in their 11th year, the Tee Pee Records band melds psych, garage and blues-rock into a sound perfectly suited for Psycho (especially in the festival’s early years, when it was almost strictly focused on psychedelic rock). The band is set to play from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in the Rhythm & Riffs Lounge on Saturday night — overlapping somewhat with performances by Black Angels and the Obsessed.

[Check back for our upcoming interview with the Black Angels.]

Nonetheless, Night Horse waxed optimistic about its slot at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on a Facebook post:

“This is what we in ‘the biz’ call Prime Fucking Placement. Stop by the ‘party stage,’ after the Misfits rip out your skull, and have a nightcap with Night Horse and something called Led Zeppelin 2.”

Justin Anthony Maranga, who plays lead guitar and slide guitar for Night Horse, checked in with the Big Takeover in late June to explain why it took so long for the band to play Psycho — and how the festival kicked Night Horse back into gear.

[Watch our YouTube playlist for a video of every band playing Saturday at Psycho, including Night Horse.]

Why are you particularly excited to play Psycho? From your point of view, what makes the festival special — both from a performance perspective and as a personal experience?

MARANGA: We played last year and had a blast. Just looking forward to three more days of good times and good tunes! 

What were your favorite moments of playing Psycho last year? Were you surprised to be one of the few bands to be invited back for the 2019 installment?

MARANGA: Yep! We hadn’t played or practiced together in about five years when we were asked [before Psycho Las Vegas 2018], so it actually got us back together. When we were asked to play again this year, we knew we had to do it.  

Our favorite moments from last year are honestly are a big blur of booze and music, haha.

Do you have any surprises planned for your Psycho set, whether they be songs you wouldn’t normally play, added stage elements, etc.?

MARANGA: Well, if I said anything about it here, it wouldn’t be a surprise, would it?! Anyway, we’re not much for planning.

Do you prefer playing in the heat or in the cold? Indoors or outdoors? What are the advantages and disadvantages of playing at the time and on the stage where you’re scheduled to perform?

MARANGA: Indoors for sure. Sound doesn’t travel well outside. Heat or cold? That’s tough. Cold can be hard because your fingers don’t want to move. Heat makes you want to die. Soooo … I’ll take just-right, thanks.

Tell me something that happened to you in Vegas that was supposed to stay in Vegas.

MARANGA: Left it in the desert and you’ll never find it.

What other bands are you most excited to see perform at Psycho?

MARANGA: The new headliner [the Original Misfits], High on Fire, Electric Wizard, Godspeed, Beach House, Bad Religion, Grails, Opeth, Mogwai, Vio-lence, Uncle Acid, [Mark] Lanegan

What friends of yours are also playing at the festival? Who are you planning or hoping to hang with in your downtime?

MARANGA: Not a lot of friends in the lineup! Time to make new friends.

What can fans and newcomers expect from your performance(s) at the festival?

MARANGA: A rollicking good time, obviously. This is what we do.

For previous installments of the Big Takeover’s Psycho Las Vegas preview series, check out our interviews with:

• Archaon, longtime guitarist for Norwegian black-metal vets 1349
• Colin H. Van Eeckhout, vocalist for Belgian post-metal purveyors Amenra
• Jason Shi and Scott Key, singer/guitarist and drummer, respectively, for melodic hard-rock masters ASG
• Jay Bentley, founding bassist for politically progressive punk pros Bad Religion
• Stephen McBean, singer/guitarist of long-running psychedelic-rock project Black Mountain
• Jean-Paul Gaster, drummer for “the quintessential American rock band,” Clutch
• Jeff Walker, vocalist/bassist for extreme-metal behemoths Carcass
• Greg Meleney, vocalist/guitarist for Portland psych-rock mainstays Danava
• George Clarke, vocalist for shoegaze/black-metal powerhouses Deafheaven
• DJ Painkiller, an L.A.-based metalhead who will be spinning between sets
• Darkest Prince, lead guitarist for black-metal punks Devil Master
• Victor Vicart of Scottish progressive-metal quintet Dvne
• Laura Dolan, vocalist for Cincinnati rock ’n’ roll purists Electric Citizen
• Todd Fink, frontman for electro-pop punks the Faint
• Dylan Walker, frontman for brutal grindcore quartet Full of Hell
• Zack Simmons, drummer for blackened death-metal demigods Goatwhore
• Emil Amos, drummer for experimental post-rock band Grails
• Julien Chanut, guitarist for French sludge-doom band Hangman’s Chair
• Tony Campos, guitarist and founder of thrash revivalists Hell Fire
• Nashville cosmic-riff connoisseurs Howling Giant
• Gabriel Franco, vocalist/guitarist for gothy post-punks Idle Hands
• Joshy, drummer for crusty death/doom-metal outfit Ilsa
• Johanna Sadonis, vocalist for “heavy magic rock” band Lucifer
• Invincible crooner and former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan
• Stuart Braithwaite, founding guitarist/vocalist for beloved post-rock legends Mogwai
• Kelly Finnigan, frontman for Bay Area psychedelic-soul quartet Monophonics
• Thomas Eriksen, centrifugal force behind true Norwegian black-metallers Mork
• Teddi Tarnoff, frontwoman of “Vegas-based dirty rock ’n’ roll band” Mother Mercury
• All-female Motörhead tribute band Motorbabe
• Wino, godfather of doom metal and frontman for the Obsessed
• Mikael Åkerfeldt, frontman for Swedish progressive-metal kings Opeth
• Ben Bloom, frontman/guitarist for funk-soul octet Polyrhythmics
• Ethan Lee McCarthy, frontman for blackened-doom trio Primitive Man
• Tobias Grave, frontman for shimmering post-rock trio Soft Kill
• Kirpatrick Thomas, vocalist/guitarist/conceptualist for acid-rockers Spindrift
• Experimental rock, alternative hip-hop and dance music guru Tobacco
• Derrick Vella, guitarist of death-metal arsonists Tomb Mold
• Niklas Källgren, guitarist for Swedish fuzz fanatics Truckfighters
• Los Angeles Satanic doo-wop duo Twin Temple
• Kevin Starrs, frontman of British fuzz royalty Uncle Acid and the deadbeats
• Sean Killian, vocalist for cult-favorite Bay Area thrash band Vio-lence
• Mike Hubbard, vocalist-drummer for reunited Massachusetts doom-metal band Warhorse
• Bruce Lamont, frontman for experimental heavy-jazz project Yakuza and Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zeppelin 2
• Aaron Rieseberg, bassist for Oregon doom-metal dealers Yob

Also, don’t miss our special feature in which Deafheaven’s Clarke and Mogwai’s Braithwaite discuss their mutual affection for each other’s bands, whether Deafheaven should play their Mogwai cover at Psycho Las Vegas — and the possibility of a collaboration between the two projects.