LOUDER THAN LIFE FESTIVAL DAY 2, by JAMES VILLA and RONNIE JACKSON.
Day two started where day one left off! I wasn't sure if the lineup would meet expectations but once again attendance some seemed higher on day two already this morning the drive in took just a bit longer and the parking sold out a bit sooner.
The New Black 7, Islander, and one of my personal favorite Monster Truck things started. To much fanfare.
Avatar was a band I had seen just a few weeks before in Dallas, TX. They were quite impressive in a small venue so I was curious to see their transition from a smaller stage to a bigger stage the band pretty much set the pace for the rest of bands that afternoon. The Swedish Metal act captured the audience interest quickly.
San Antonio natives Nothing More followed soon after, as lead vocalist Jonny Hawkins and company's nonstop pace had the crowd screaming at the top of their lungs on “Christ Copyright” and “Mr. MTV”. It’s really cool to see a band who’s rise has only just begun, have such a strong a following as Nothing More. The band has been on the road since early spring in support of their latest self titled release. The bands 22 minute set included what has now become their signature Bass Solo which incorporates Daniel Oliver’s bass on a rig he designed by Oliver himself. The rig attaches itself to Hawkins drum kit and allows Hawkins and Mark Vollelunga to join in during the solo. I really don’t expect them to play so early for too long judging by the crowds reaction. Did I mention Paul O’Brien? Paul’s drum work shouldn’t go unnoticed especially during “The Is The Time (Ballast)” and “Salem”. Seeing these guy in action never gets old, I expect to see a lot of them in the near future keep your eyes open. If you haven’t already seen.
HellYeah took the stage running on all cylinders, I’ve never seen a HellYeah crowd as into a HellYeah performance as I witnessed today, it was like they were headlining the show. Chad Gray addressed the crowd early but letting everyone know he wanted to see some action, before ripping into “HellYeah”, followed by “Sangre Por Sangre” Vinnie Paul stood up ever so briefly to look over his drum set and wave to the crowd. “War in Me” and “Moth” brought more than cheers looming in the distance I could see it, by the time I looked over all I could see was the young lady crowd surfing clinging on to her wheelchair having the time of her life. When the set ended Tom, Vinnie, Chad, Kyle, and Christian all gathered at the front of the stage a post for a photo with the audience a photo that has become a staple after every show.
As I walked out of the pit I looked over and noticed a sudden migration, did I miss something? Where was everyone going?
I glance over at my schedule and realized that Heidi Shepard and Carla Harley the dynamic duo that is Butcher Babies were about to hit the stage, I could hear the screams by now the crowd was considerable larger throughout the Champions Park as I reached my destination Shepard was whipping out the beginning chorus for “I Smell a Massacre” the crowd went wild, before I could my wits Shepard was already a few rows into the pit. What’s typically been a male dominated audience not include several hundred women. The girls didn’t seem to mind they were ready to introduce or reintroduce their brand of metal to anyone that was within reach. “Mr. Slowdeath” and “Magnolia Blvd” came too soon and just as it started it ended with a flurry of screams!
P.O.D. and Buckcherry worked the crowd respectively on the Monster North and South Stages. While Motionless in White and Chiodos closed out the Marshall Headphones Stage.
Motionless in White seemed a little out of place but surprisingly had the largest crowd of the aforementioned bands. Their blend of Metalcore / Goth was just what predominately teenage crowd needed.
Bring Me The Horizon’s Oliver Sykes motioned for a circle pit early in the set and got it. Their 35 minute set consisted mainly of tracks off of their 2013 release “Sempiternal” which by any means is risky but not for them and no one seemed to care they were just happy so see the band in action.
A Day to Remember tried their best to play catch up and squeezed 10 songs into their short set. The overall crowd reaction was positive.
As we neared the home stretch fatigue was setting in and that’s when we decided to take in some of the many side activities which, those included the bourbon tents and many food stands spread ever so nicely throughout Champions Park, this wasn’t festival food, it was truly gourmet and worth every dime. Even if the overall festival experience isn’t your thing, nothing beats just hanging out and getting a taste of everything this festival has to offer.
Volbeat provided main support for the Monster Main stage South on day two and boy were those guys ready to put on a show. "Hallelujah Goat" started their set followed by "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” this was probably my eighth opportunity to see Volbeat in the last couple of year and I can truly say that every time I see them I like the addition of Rob Caggiano more and more. He bring a different energy to the band everyone just seems more alive and rejuvenated. Not to take anything from Michael, Jon, or Anders but the band just seems like they genuinely have each others band, many bands say that but do they really mean it? Poulsen spoke of his daily conversations with Johnny Cash (dream state conversations) and with that went into “Sad Man’s Tongue”. The guys played a few more including “Heaven Nor Hell / A Warrior’s Call”, “The Hangman’s Body Count”, and closed their set with “Still Counting”. Ironically for the second day in a row someone other that the headliner had the crowd demanding an encore.
Papa Roach provided main support on the Monster Main stage North, their 13 song set probably had the most diversity of any band on day two “Between Angels and Insects”, “Infest”, and “Where Do the Angels Go”? got the crowd going. At times it seemed as though Papa Roach should have headlined this evening. As Jacoby shouted for the crowd to jump up and down and move from side the side, you could see the unison of hands far into the distance. The stage lighting was a bit dark at times but the message was clear they truly owned the stage on this particular night.
“Scars”, Still Swingin’”,”Getting Away with Murder” were just enough to appease the crowd it was apparent what the crowd was here to see and hear. As the shouts rang out for “Last Resort” the band had could do nothing but honor the crowds request and with that the opening lines rang out “Cut my life into pieces” and with that the crowd went into a frenzy which could hardly be contained.
As we rounded the home stretch of day two there were only two bands left and with that said the fans started the change “Five Finger”, “Death Punch” the crowd would shout. Jeremy made his way to his kit, Zoltan, Chris, and Jason took their respective spots as Ivan made his way on stay he brandish a black and red bat with the word “Fuck” spelled out in green tape. “Under and Over It”, “Burn it Down”, and “Hard to See” started off the 58 minute set. Moody took a few minutes to between songs to address the crowd and dedicated Bad Company to those proud men and women who serve our country. Their set closed out with “Far From Home” and “The Bleeding”.
Kid Rock closed out the evening with much the same way that Judas Priest had done so the night before. “Devil Without a Cause” Rock’s signature song was followed by “You Never Met a Motherf@#$@er Like Me / American Badass”. Rock combined several songs throughout the set to form one song. Rock’s energetic performance only helped to fuel the crowd’s excitement. The group of musicians that accompany Kid Rock on stage night after night deserve much of the credit for his success they are amazingly talented and do nothing to take away from Rock’s performance night after night. “Born Free” ended the set prior to the encore and with only a brief pause Rock returned with a two song encore that consisted of “All Summer Long” and Bawitdaba”. Kid Rock proved without a doubt that he deserved to closed out Louder Than Life.
In many ways it was hard to tell if Louder Than Life could be successful, with the overall diversity of bands and genres involved but it truly was well orchestrated and well thought out. With only a few minor hiccups the Festival showed promise and is expected to become an annual event.
BRING ME TO THE HORIZON:
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH:
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE: