The third and final day of Rock on The Range, perhaps the largest pure rock festival in the United States, was beyond warm, but that didn't stop Linkin Park, Rise Against and Tech N9ne from dominating their sets. This is the third in a series of recaps from correspondent Ryan Book.
11:06: You know how when you're in a long line of traffic, there's always that jerk who drives all the way down the unoccupied lane before "realizing" at the last minute that they need to be in the crowded lane? And then they put their turn signal on and expect you to let them cut in? That's what Otherwise's tour bus did coming off of southbound I-71 this morning. It takes guts to be an a-hole driver when your band name is one the side of the bus.
11:56: They might be high-schoolers, but Unlocking The Truth has already got the diva aspect of being rock stars down: Just a few songs into the band's opening set on the Ernie Ball stage, guitarist Malcom Brickhouse refuses to play another until he gets a circle pit going. He's the only guitarist you'll see at this festival with a Telecaster-style guitar.
12:30: Best haircut easily goes to Art of Dying frontman Jonny Hetherington, who's rocking a mohawk/mullet. Mohullet? Mullhawk? We're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that it's consciously unfashionable, and therefore fashionable.
1:05: Your correspondent spots a Power Ranger in the front row and he hopes that it's a member of Hollywood Undead, waiting to jump up onstage. It isn't, but the actual group doesn't look too different. Member Jorel Decker plays to the hometown crowd, chanting "O-H" for the Buckeye faithful. He's probably jealous that "California" doesn't make for such an efficient chant.
1:40: Columbus natives Starset are delayed due to lightning within a ten-mile radius of the stadium. Both concertgoers and media are encouraged to seek shelter (they don't). Meanwhile, we notice that Tech N9ne's elevated drum kit and light fixtures blocks out the current band's banner (and will do so for every band on the Ernie Ball stage for the rest of the day).
2:07: More than 27 minutes and no rain. The house DJ gets the crowd and security personnel to have a rare "together" moment by playing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" and Bon Jovi's "Living On A Prayer" consecutively.
2:10: Starset finally gets its set, and the band takes the stage in the least comfortable outfits ever, considering the weather: full-on spaceman riot gear. Too bad for them, the sun has returned.
2:25: For the first time this year, all three stages are firing at the same time due to the rain delay. Taylor Momsen and The Pretty Reckless try not to be too loud for the side stages. Just kidding. No they don't.
3:21: We're still a little miffed from the whole highway ramp incident but we'll acknowledge Otherwise as being a solid live act.
3:45: Stationed in the photo pit during Anthrax's "Antisocial," we begin to wonder if it's even possible to post a picture of the thrash band performing without Scott Ian being included. We aim to try below. If you don't see an image below this paragraph...or if the story simply ends suddenly...assume that we've spontaneously combusted.
4:00: It's swell how the metal community has remembered Dimebag Darrell (of Pantera fame, who was murdered down the road in Columbus, OH) and Ronnie James Dio—evidenced by stage banners hoisted by Anthrax—but it would have been nice to hear someone pay tribute to B.B. King, who died on Friday. He may not have fit in here, but his influence on rock 'n' roll by way of the blues is indisputable.
4:20: Rival Suns' Scott Holliday ain't doing too bad in the mustache department, nor is the rest of the band doing too badly in presenting a turn-of-the-century aesthetic. Something tells us that Volbeat will attempt to one-up the vibe later.
4:50: There's something reassuring about seeing Lizzy Hale (with Halestorm) on the main stage, with the only sexual innuendo in her possession being her gray Les Paul (if you buy into that classic metaphor). Either way, the world needs more girls with guitars. We're sure Hale would agree.
5:45: Music aside, we're confused with the aesthetic of Motionless in White. One guitarist is a suave goth, the other is dressed as Mike Myers from Halloween...while frontman Chris Cerulli is wearing a Misfits shirt...with a Bauhaus patch on the back of his jacket. All they can agree on is that they want something dark.
6:06: Your correspondent has seen "Mother" by Danzig performed live five times, all by different bands. Motionless in White's is probably the best...Cee Lo Green's was the most curious. The worst? Danzig at Rock on The Range during 2011.
6:20: Our previous statement on Volbeat are proven correct: The band's stage setup is littered with the image of a skull sporting an Elvis coif. Stage props include headstones for obvious Old West figures, such as Doc Holliday. The group takes the stage to the tune of a banjo. We snark, but we're not going to complain about a cover of Johnny Cash's "Sad Man's Tongue."
6:50: Replica Slipknot masks have been one of the hottest-selling items in the merchandise area...but it baffles us that we haven't seen a single Mick Thomson model (as he clearly has the best mask). The again, we've seen several Joey Jordison models, and he quit the band last year.
7:20: Tech N9ne gets off to as slow start, as result of playing the full recording of his new song "Wither" (featuring Corey Taylor). He accelerates quickly thanks in part to drummer Alien Warr, whom he poached from Jerron Benton recently. He shared that detail with Music Times in an earlier interview, which you'll be able to read Monday afternoon.
7:30: A drone sighting! Someone is taking in Tech's set illegally (maybe...ask the Supreme Court) via a small, white household model.
8:00: Rise Against seems like a oddball in this weekend's lineup...a band so socially-motivated among so many bands preaching booze, sex and drugs (and occasionally violence). We suppose passion is the ultimate gauge of a live performance however, and the Rangers can easily latch onto the aggression of Tim McIlrath and company.
8:28: McIlrath pays tribute to his current location by playing a solo, acoustic rendition of "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Unlike Neil Young, he doesn't yell at us when we sing along.
9:20: Linkin Park takes the stage. It's got a lot to live up based on the headliners of the previous two nights, Slipknot and Judas Priest.
10:05: DJ Joe Hahn of Linkin Park has by far the best setup we've seen at this festival. Heck, even his scratch records are on red vinyl. But are they limited edition?
10:20: We've seen a lot of guys air out music from their past, more famous bands...but Mike Shinudo is the first to do a song from his much less renowned band, as he performs "Remember The Name" by Fort Minor while the rest of the guys take a break.
10:40: "An accidental boob is OK," notes Chester Bennington, attempting to help out crowd surfing females. "An intentional boob is not OK."
10:55: Linkin Park ends its set with "Bleed It Out," but many fans stick around, expecting an encore. The group didn't play "Crawling," after all. Perhaps realizing what concertgoers expect, the studio speakers play an acoustic recording of the band's popular single as crew takes the stage to tear down the band's set. Another Rock on The Range in the books...we're looking forward to next year, the tenth anniversary of the affair. Will organizers book something big? We hope so. Metallica will be on the road in theory...Weigh in with your ideal 2016 headliner in the comment section.
OK, you guys have been cool...so here's a photo of Scott Ian.