Louder Than Life (Day 1)

The first annual Louder Than Life Festival was held in Louisville, KY over the weekend.  It still amazes me how different a festival can feel based on what part of the country said festival is held.  Being from Texas and not being prevued to anything remotely as exciting as many of the festivals I’ve covered this year.  it’s apparent that the primary reason these festival or so big elsewhere is that draw.  Louder Than Life barely in it’s infancy is already packing them in well before noon.

One of the reasons Danny Whimer festivals always have a consistence and stay true to one another whether it’s the lineup, the atmosphere, or way everything just comes together to make you feel like you’re part of the festival, Louder Than Life was no exception.

Day one started as expected with droves of people, beautiful weather highs in the mid 50’s, and lots of food and beverages.  The day started with early with FLAW  and Nonpoint kicking things off on the Marshall Headphones Stages and Monster Main Stage South.  Short sets would keep the day part of the festival running smoothly.  

Wilson was high on the list of bands to see play the Marshall Headphones Stage on day one and they did not disappoint.  Jason Spencer took every opportunity to win the crowd over with their special brand of “Fuckery” showcasing several track off their new album "Full Brand Fuckery" including “If You Ever Leave Me, I Will Find You” and “Susan Jane” at one point Kyle Landry made his way up the lighting rig and just hung there and played and played and played obviously the highlight of their set. 

Festival veterans Pop Evil always bring the best out of fans Matt DiRito and Chachi Riot just have a way of captivating an audience and making it their own, the energy those two create is without question dynamic and is a sight to see.  Leigh got the crowd started early commanding attention before they ripped into a twenty five minute set that include “Goodbye My Friend”, “Beautiful”, and “Deal With the Devil” to name a few.

Fuel, Theory of a Deadman, and Thousand Foot Krutch (who’s set got pushed back, until later in the evening) seemed fill the void adequately but lack what more fans where there to see.  If one stood out it would be Theory of a Deadman but somehow the fan response wasn’t there as with the other bands.

What’s better than seeing a 80’s Metal Glam Band, being in one that doesn’t take it all that serious, yet keeps the hits coming and the crowd wanting more?

Steel Panther takes every element of 80’s Metal and makes it better, from Michael Starrs ridiculously over the top front persona to Lexxi Foxx’s pretty boy Aqua Net supported hair style it’s all there.  Satchel and Stix Zadnia have all the right pieces in place. Steel Panther belted out hits like “Pussywhipped”, “Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World”, and “Just Like Tiger Woods” to name a few and still found time to involve the audience which carelessly poking fun at one another without seeming overly rehearsed.

Memphis May Fire and Miss May I capped off the Marshall Headphones Stage, Levi Benton does an amazing job as the frontman for Miss May I, their set gets tighter and tighter every time I see them perform.  Justin Aufdemkampe and B.J. Stead and amazing duo on guitar which is truly showcase on “Refuse to Believe” off their latest release “Rise of the Lion” 

Mastadon had been out for a couple of months in support of Once More Round the Sun from the crowds mixed reaction it was hard to tell whether or not they were excited to see the band or not, all doubts were laid to rest as they opened their set with "Tread Lightly” and the title track “Once More Round the Sun” ironically Mastadon kept the conversation to a minimum and focus solely on the task at hand, which in hindsight was rather refreshing.  

Myles Kennedy and Alterbridge have always flown ever so slightly under the radar in the last couple of years, their music and style is quite unique yet has never caught my attention until Louder Than Life, Myles Kennedy’s style and stage persona command attention yet never overshadow the other members of the band.  Their thirty minute set consisted of many fan favorites including “Addicted to Pain”, “Blackbird”, and “Rise Today”, as the set ended Myles and company waved at the fans as the cheers could be heard for and encore but of course that would not happen, not by choice mind you, but based on schedule there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room even for an impromptu encore.

The biggest surprise of the evening had to go to Limp Bizkt, Fred Durst and Wes Borland (the non-speaking part of the band) just know the right jesters and motions to set the crowd into a frenzy. The appear is still there, long after many rap metal bands have faded Fred Durst still has a way of keeping an audience and today was no exception.  The only thing missing from today’s set was “Nookie” which was replaced by a couple of covers “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Killing in the Name”.  Durst even went as far as venturing out into the crowd during “My Generation” the highlight of the set had to be the invite for a fan dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle to crowd surf his way up to the stage and join along, which he did!  Say what you want Limp Bizkit got out attention on Day 1

One of the biggest disappointment of the day was Stone Temple Pilots, it was apparent by the crowds response that they weren’t buying into the fact that Chester was still Chester from Linkin Park and not Scott Weiland.  At times during the set you could see the reality set in even as the band carried forward Chester tried to keep it as tight and professional as he could but even the Scott Weiland swagger and stage moves where no match for the loss of energy in the bands overall performance. At times it seems as if the fans where just waiting for the set to end.  The only time Bennington seemed to feel comfortable was during “Out of Time” and “Black Heart”. 

As headliners go Korn is really one of the top performers they always exceed expectations tonight was no exemption.  The crowd was ready as the chant for “Korn, Korn, Korn” rang throughout. The band started their set with fan favorite “Falling Away From Me”,  as Ray Luzier made his presence known, there’s just something amount the way he looms over his monstrous kit.  “Twist” and “Got The Life” kept the pace “Shoot and Ladders”, “Never Never”, “Freak on a Leash” and “Blind” rounded out their 40 minute set!

The evening probably could have ended and the crowd would have probably been content with what had transpired on day one.  

This wouldn’t be the case however since there was still one more band, and the band few would argue deserved to headline day one.  As the opening notes of “Dragonaut” off the new “Redeemer of Souls”  you knew the even was far from over Rob Halford and company came out with one goal in mind and that was to convert anyone still on the fence into Judas Priest fans by the end of their set.  The band showcase two other tracks off of their latest release the tittle track “Redeemer of Souls, and “Halls of Valhalla”.   Ironically the newest addition to the Judas Priest family guitarist Richie Faulkner appears to have brought a rejuvenation of sorts to Judas Priest his relentless fretwork and admirable stage presence speaks volumes taking unwanted attention off of Halforls mechanics. Not that Ian Hill or Glen Tipton still don’t have it, those guys are timeless in their own right.  Their forty two minute set covered every aspect of Judas Priest career including “Victim of Changes”, “Turbo Lover”, “Breaking the Law” to round out the evening.

Priest wasted no time, waiting for the cheers for an encore, as quickly as they left the stage they returned with Halford riding the Harley in full gear on “Hell Bent for Leather” and the crowd were just as quick to show their approval. The band seemed fresh throughout their entire set and proceeded to end the evening with a second encore  which featured “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”, and “Living AfterMidnight” Priest was able to keep the crowd going and wanting more.  It’s not often that after a long day that you find yourself walking back to your car and thinking to yourself, if they could’ve only play a couple more.  This was that evening, you could here it conversations throughout the crowd Priest had truly gain a new set of fans this evening and solidified their place in Louder Than Life history.


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