Rock on The Range 2015 Day 2 Review & Recap: In This Moment Shocks, Babymetal Awes, Judas Priest Forever
The second day of Rock on The Range, perhaps the largest pure rock festival in the United States, finally saw the rain that meteorologists had been promising for the weekend, but that didn't stop Judas Priest, Godsmack and In This Moment from dominating their sets. This is the second in a series of recaps from correspondent Ryan Book.
11:50: Screaming For Silence, a hard rock band from Omaha, NE, kicks Saturday off on the Ernie Ball Stage thanks to winning the battle-of-the-bands-competition hosted by the esteemed string company. We're sure that as kids growing up in Nebraska, they've always dreamed of heading to the big-time...Columbus, OH.
11:57: Despite a nasty forecast, Rock on The Range largely avoided rain on Friday. No such luck on Saturday, as the first bits of storm arrive a few minutes into Screaming for Silence's set.
12:47: "The only didgeridoo solo you'll hear at Rock on The Range." Or so Like A Storm vocalist Matt Brooks says about the instrumental moment from his brother Chris. The Australian band then covers a classic from their fellow countrymen, AC/DC, with "T.N.T."
1:10: The "special guest" that had remained unknown on the lineup page until today turns out to be Saint Assonia, the new band for former Three Days Grace vocalist Adam Gontier. It's the band's first live performance ever but Gontier, like Slash before him, gets sentimental and plays "I Hate Everything About You" three songs in.
1:45: Every time the side stages get rocking, so does the weather. The atmosphere suits Sabaton, a Swedish power metal group that sings primarily about historic battles...a good time for storms. Check out our exclusive interview with frontman Joakim Brodén on Monday.
1:55: A man taking shelter from the rain asks your correspondent if he'll write that the man's wife is hottt (specifically with three "t"s). I'm feeling gracious so...Alyce is hottt. Can't say Music Times never did anything for the people.
2:00: Sabaton feigns playing The Village People's "Y.M.C.A." but disappointingly doesn't follow through.
2:20: There's an unfortunate trend in music where the vocalist of any band gets more than his/her fair share of attention, even when the instrumentalists deserve at least as much attention for their efforts and status within the band. So many groups bring out the vocalist last, after his bandmates, as if he's the crowning jewel on the whole shebang. We're pleased when Of Mice & Men reverse the trend and send out vocalist Austin Carlile first, and then his bandmates come later.
3:00: It seems Mark Tremonti ups the heaviness every time he starts another band. First Alter Bridge turned it up from Creed, and now Tremonti gets even heavier than Alter Bridge. Expect his next group to be metalcore at the very least.
3:30: We note that Scott Weiland has two different megaphones-his signature onstage equipment-waiting for him before he comes on to perform with his band, The Wildabouts. We presume they're tuned differently...or something.
3:45: The big one finally hits about 15 minutes in Weiland's set. His main stage performance empties out fast, but it's nothing personal. Just too early to be this wet.
3:55: Costume of the day: A man wearing a Guns N' Roses T-shirt, top hat and sunglasses moonlights as Slash. The finishing touch: a Guitar Hero Les Paul.
4:20: A lot of people talking crap about Babymetal, a hybrid band combining the blastbeats of metal with the choreographed dances of the J-Pop "idol" genre. Those still scoffing after the band has launched into its set must have serious inadequacy issues because, frankly, the trio of Japanese pop stars and their pale band are killing it. Too many groups in the hard rock/metal scene are just shameless knockoffs of each other and, as absurd as the concept behind Babymetal is, it's about as fresh as you can get. Most fans agree, and one of the biggest mosh pits outside of Slipknot's set starts toward the end of the single "Gimme Chocolate." All of the band's merchandise sells out before the end of the day.
5:00: Maria Brinkman, the frontwoman for In This Moment, has been taking notes from Marilyn Manson's earlier tours. Constant outfit changes, absurd props and songs like "Whore" prove that shock and awe still works. Sex sells and the entire audience is buying. This will end up being the most theatric performance of the day and perhaps even for the entire weekend.
5:50: Closing out the Jagermeister stage today with the relatively local The Devil Wears Prada (from Dayton, 70 miles away). Once again, check out our exclusive interview with the group on Monday!
6:15: Papa Roach opens with newer single "Face Everything and Rise"...a much more uplifting message than the one featured in the band's original hit (and its penultimate song tonight) "Last Resort."
7:15: Ministry's Al Jourgensen isn't happy with the band's time restrictions on the Ernie Ball stage. "These motherf*ckers only gave us 40 minutes to play you our best stuff," he snarks onstage. "I figure we got at least 42 minutes of quality sh*t." Skeletons seems to be en vogue as microphone holders: Gontier had a steel skeletal hand holding his microphone earlier in the day, and now Jourgensen's stand is impaled through some human-bat hybrid skeleton.
8:00: Godsmack's set has special significance for your correspondent: During high school, he had a massive man-crush on the band, and he still harbors feelings for them, even as his tastes have matured.
8:46: Frontman Sully Erna joins drummer Shannon Larkin with his own set of drums and the pair get into an extended drum-off. That flows into a medley of classic riff covers, including Rush's "Tom Sawyer," Metallica's classic bridge from "Creeping Death," as well as "Back In Black" (technically the second AC/DC cover of the day).
9:40: OMG. Rob Halford sounds just as Rob Halford-ish in real life as Judas Priest takes the stage to headline. He's walking with a cane...but that may just be to support the weight of 25 pounds worth of studs and chains bedecking his wardrobe.
10:00: Guitarist Richie Faulkner definitely gets solo of the day as he tears into "Victim of Changes." Naturally, even his Gibson Flying-V is covered in studs.
10:22: It's disheartening how many concertgoers are leaving early, despite Judas Priest being in top form. Perhaps it's a lack of respect for the elder statesman of heavy metal...but it's more likely to be the result of fans looking to avoid repeating last night's traffic debacle.
10:49: What could Priest possibly do to one-up "Painkiller"-a song full of absurd solos and vocal pitches. The answer: "Living After Midnight," a song that-while not true based on our watch-brings the crowd into a fist-pumping finale. Those who skipped out early missed out on the best live set of the festival thus far, and that's including a Slipknot headlining gig that registered high on the scales yesterday. Let's see if Linkin Park can live up tomorrow.