Rock On The Range – 5-23-2010

Attended Day 2 of Rock On The Range last Sunday at Crew stadium here in wonderful Columbus, Ohio. This is the event’s fourth year but only the first time I’ve ever been able to attend. I gotta say – it’s a “must go” from here on out! 2 Days, 38 bands plus a ton of vendors & side attractions to check out (my fave was the Harley Davidson cafe where I had a birds eye view of Coheed & Cambria without having to leave the shade or my frosty cold beer).

So I saw bits & pieces of many bands on Sunday but due to scheduling issues couldn’t see them all – had to pick & choose. The best moments I think came from;

Mistress Juliya – Fuse TV’s hot show host was the official MC for the festival & she must’ve been having a blast because by Day 2, she had almost no voice left. Still, she looked great & I wish I could gotten to see her up close(r). Hope she comes back next year.

Apocalyptica – Is there such thing as ‘Thrash Cello’? If so, these guys invented it. 3 Cellists & a drummer performing originals as well as various cover tunes (most from Metallica) made for an unusual, yet very rocking performance. I never thought I’d see a moshpit to cellos – crazy!

Five Finger Death Punch – Win ‘Most Memorable Performance’ by not only rocking everyone’s asses off & offering a brief homage to the men & women of the Armed Forces, but also by vocalist Ivan Moody’s invitation to the crowd to “come up & shake his hand” – which resulted in the most simultaneous crowd surfers I’d ever seen (nearly 100 in the air at once!). They closed with their awesome single ‘The Bleeding’ which Moody claimed he wrote about a girl “from these parts”. By “these parts”, I’m assuming he meant the midwest but who knows. Very awesome live act.

Slash – The Top Hatted One made us all forget about his former bands with an excellent set fronted by Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy. Man, that guy has some PIPES! It was especially cool that the band flawlessly performed not only some G n’ R goodness (‘Night Train’, ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’) but some Velvet Revolver (‘Slither’) and great new originals as well (love ‘By The Sword’ and ‘Starlight’ but sure can’t sing them . . .waaaaay out of my vocal range). I would definitely go see Slash again – he was amazing to watch & hear once more.

Seether – I’ve seen Seether before and they just are crowd favorites, pure and simple. Great selection of songs – including ‘Remedy’, ‘Gasoline’, ‘Broken’, ‘Fake it & ‘Rise Above This’ which are all excellent to hear live. Vocalist Shaun Morgan called playing before the RotR crowd “humbling” as they easily finished choruses with him. Very cool to witness.

The last act of the evening for me was Rim of Hell favorite Rob Zombie. His setlist was virtually identical to the last time I’d seen him but his stage show was bigger & more elaborate, with all sorts of creatures roaming around, a multi-armed skeleton/mic stand thingy (I WANT ONE!) and TONS of video monitors & flames everywhere. The band was tight as always and during an extended guitar solo by virtuoso John 5, Zombie was escorted into the crowd where he used a flashlight to check everyone out. As with every show, Mr. Zombie fails to disappoint. I’m glad he’s still taking the stage & we haven’t lost him completely to Hollywood.

Left before seeing Limp Bizkit, but a surprising amount of folks stuck it out. One teenager ran through the crowd yelling “I’m staying for Limp Bizkit – the rest of you can go home!” but it would seem that only a few of us actually ducked out early. Hey, I was out of the parking lot in 10 minutes so I ain’t complainin’.

Met many folks from some pretty far off places (Maryland & New Jersey being the farthest I think) & am ultimately very glad I went. If you get the opportunity, I HIGHLY recommend attending next year’s event, or Rock On The Range Canada which is scheduled for August 7th in Winnipeg of this year. Truly awesome concert event!

RIP – Ronnie James Dio

Sadly, it was announced today that Ronnie James Dio lost his battle to stomach cancer.  Wow, another legend is gone.  We here at the Rim of Hell are truly saddened by this news, and extend our deepest sympathy to Wendy Dio & the rest of Ronnie’s family.  He will be missed. . .

Music Review: Karnivool – Sound Awake

Got a goodie package in the mail awhile back & one of the gifts inside was the latest CD from Prog rockers Karnivool out of Perth, Australia. WOW, what a welcome feast for my eardrums!

Technically detailed, it features a multi-layered sound that I would personally describe as a mixture of Tool placed alongside the international flare of Cirque Du Soleil. One part hard rock, another part Alternative, yet often with an ambient New Age feel – I can honestly say I haven’t heard anything quite like it. Songs tend to be unpredictable, swelling, melodic and intricate – as if the band members challenged themselves to make music that was both textured and complicated. Instrumental tracks are varied with unusual sequences serving as clever explorations into tribal rhythm, pop sensibility and Enya-esque echoes.

Vocalist Ian Kenny has an absolutely amazing versatility, from softly articulated whispers to powerfully sustained wails, his unique tone lends carefully drawn sensitivity to each tune. Lead guitarist Andrew ‘Drew’ Goddard creates passages that defy easy explanation, hauntingly original & comprised of rhythmic variations that conjure images of a craftsman’s touch.

First single “Set Fire To The Hive” is a bit more driving than some of the accompanying tracks on the disc and features an interesting ‘buzzing’ guitar passage that was surprising in it’s deftness & delivery. Other songs such as ‘All I know’ and ‘Goliath’ are memorable & intriguing, like a palette of vibrant colors to be sampled but to me, the out and out favorite of the CD is the lengthier ‘New Day’. Perhaps the clearest example of this band’s potential, it’s a rising soundscape that starts out acoustically before gradually transforming into something almost orchestral before building again into a stirring sing-along.

I urge anyone who appreciates musicianship and originality to seek out the homepage or take a listen on Myspace as you will not be disappointed. But don’t blame me if the CD finds a permanent place in your car stereo.