Rock On The Range – Day 1 (Saturday, May 21)

After weeks of rainy days, I was ecstatic that the first day of RotR was sunny and clear.  Saw 11 bands this day, and here are my highlights;

Asking Alexandria – Saw these guys a few months back when they opened for All That Remains.  Still a decent metalcore act that had a surprising guest appearance – Sebastian Bach came out near the end of their set & performed ‘Youth Gone Wild’!  Very strange combination what with him being an older 80’s icon, and AA being fairly youthful.  Still, the crowd ate it up – and so did I!  SB has clearly aged, but his pipes were great.  I hope RotR continues getting more surprise appearances (Bach wasn’t on the bill for the weekend – in fact, as he announced “I just got out of jail”).  Great performance to catch!

Black Veil Brides – Imagine an entire band comprised of Nikki Sixx clones (circa 1986) and you have my first impression of Black Veil Brides.   Their sound is also straight out of the Glam era, but edgier with a dueling guitar attack like Avenged Sevenfold.  I enjoyed them, but I’m sure they’re too mainstream for my more ‘brutal’ readers.  Their latest video is below for your consideration.

POD – Haven’t heard much from these guys recently, so I was pleased to see they were on the bill.  Sonny still sounds great & the crowd was really into them – so much so that I couldn’t get ANYWHERE near close enough to the small Jager stage.  I loved hearing the entire audience sing ‘Alive’ along with the band.

Danzig – Critics of RotR say they only feature mainstream acts, so the addition of an oldschooler like Danzig is a welcome attempt to diversify in my opinion.  Glenn’s voice has held up perfectly, it’s his appearance where age is really creeping up (not that I personally can say much either)!  The set was heavily focused on older material, loved hearing ‘Under Her Black Wings’, ‘Dirty Black Summer’, ‘Thirteen’ and of course ‘Mother’ again.  I’m certain Mr. Danzig gained a ton of new fans after this show.

Alter Bridge – Get the award for ‘Coolest comment about the impending Rapture’, which was reported to happen on this day at 6pm according to kooky radio personality Harold Camping.  As the appointed hour came near, vocalist Myles Kennedy commented “I can’t think of a better way to go out than onstage with 32,000 of my best friends”.  The crowd went wild. . . and nothing Rapturish occurred.   I’m sure someone will disagree with me & say they saw Jesus.  Maybe he was in the pit, dunno.

Staind & Korn – Both bands represented themselves extremely well, with Korn probably having the largest crowd of the weekend.  Each band played their obligatory hits, and I was impressed with Staind vocalist Aaron Lewis (the guy can still croon, even after 7 albums).  I was disappointed that Korn didn’t play ‘Faget’ but was thrilled to hear ‘Chutes & Ladders’ – complete with Jonathan Davis’ bagpipe intro.  Love them or hate them, these two acts continue to prove their timelessness.

Avenged Sevenfold – Headlining act of the day, A7X played a fantastic set showcasing their tremendous growth from a west coast fav to full-on arena band.  The stage set was the same as when I saw them on the Uproar Festival tour, which was a good thing since my twins hadn’t had a chance to see it yet.  Sadly, RotR 2009 was the last American show where The Rev played with his band mates before his untimely death, an occasion underscored by vocalist M. Shadows who commented his voice was failing but he wouldn’t have missed this show for the world.

USA Today ranked Rock on the Range as one of the 10 best festivals in the US, and Day 1 proved this was no accident.  Stay tuned for my thoughts on Day 2.

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One Response to “Rock On The Range – Day 1 (Saturday, May 21)”

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