The final day of Carolina Rebellion was upon us. Some people were completely wore down from the previous two days of non-stop metal, crowd surfing and moshing and others were sad that the weekend was coming to a close. Sunday’s lineup was headlined by Avenged Sevenfold, The Offspring, Volbeat, and Papa Roach. If this wasn’t already enough metal packed into one day we were also lucky enough to get a great group of undercard bands as well like Seether, Three Days Grace, Skillet, Coheed & Cambria, and Taking Back Sunday. Most of these second tier bands could headline a show on their own any night of the week. Fozzy of course was on Sunday’s lineup as well featuring WWE’s Chris Jericho. Then you have the amazing up and coming bands like Kyng who have already put their name on the map with their true trio power rock blend, Sylar who is one of the bands leading the nu-metal charge, Goodbye June, Fire From The Gods who is another nu-metal/hardcore kind of band that is picking up fans by the 100’s, Citizen Zero, Beartooth and Dutch metallars The Charm The Fury who have recently been compared to a female fronted version of Pantera. Sunday was truly one of the best lineups of the entire weekend. We didn’t get a chance to see everyone due to completing interviews and overlapping schedules. There was a few bands we missed that we really wanted to see, but we are hoping to catch most of these bands again in the near future.
The first band of the day for us was Nuclear Blast Records band The Charm The Fury. I have to say also in addition to seeing this band take the stage and totally shock everyone in the crowd meeting them afterwards was such an honor considering that each member of the band is such an approachable person. Guitarist Rolf even took the time to record a personal message to our Holland based writer Wessel who is a big fan of the band. They opened their set with “Weaponized” from their new album ‘The Sick, Dumb & Happy’. They were playing the gold stage which had some sound problems throughout the day, but none were noticeable through the bands set. Caroline Westendorp is one of the best female vocalists I have heard in a long time. Her harsh screams are ferocious, and her more melodic style vocals just adds to her depth. She can certainly dominate the stage with her presence in addition to her vocal abilities. Caroline throws kicks into the air, headbangs and is a non-stop ball of energy. Things were already heavy but they broke out “Down The Ropes” which has some of the best riffs on their new album and an intense amount of groove. Guitarists Rolf Perdok and Martijn Slegtenhorst not only add shredding riffs but some amazing backing vocals on this track as well. This was actually the band’s first U.S. tour. They were actually documenting their set for a vlog they are compiling of their tour. So fans lookout to their youtube channel you may just be starring in their vlog. Next up in their set was “Echoes” which kicked off with Carolina simply telling the crowd…”bounce those fucking heads”. And the crowd showed they could follow directions. This track is probably one of the songs that most gets them the comparison to Pantera, but it includes a melodic side that the aforementioned band didn’t have. This track got the crowd singing along as well. Their last song was “Songs of Obscenity” and the band asked for more movement and they certainly got it. A huge mosh pit opened up. First band of the day and everyone was already active and moving around. The Charm The Fury did exactly what they set out to do, they got people, singing, moving and head banging. But before it was all said and done they got all the fans to join into a Wall of Death. They set the bar high for anyone following up their show.
Beartooth came out on stage and immediately told the fans what they were going to do. Vocalist Caleb Shomo said “Holy shit, Carolina Rebellion, I know it’s early, but during the show you are going to jump, you are going to crowd surf, and you will fucking love it, and you will fucking sing”. Everything kicked off with the song “Aggressive” and the title of the song describes the song itself and the crowd. Their harsh screaming and melodic choruses are always a hit with festival fans and this day was no different. Hands were in the hair and at least half the crowd was singing along. So Caleb was already getting most of his request fulfilled. “Beaten In Lips” was up next and when it came to those amazing hooks in the songs chorus everyone was singing along. The whole band clad in their black attire was head banging while pounding out amazing beats and riffs. At times Caleb would hold out the mic and let the fans finish the end of the chorus and they did so word for word. He also got another wish fulfilled as the crowd surfers started making their way across the crowd. A feat that is always amazing Beartooth also conquered. He had the entire crowd squat down and as they were kicking off their next song everyone jumped up at the same time, and almost simultaneously a mosh pit kicked off and dust was flying everywhere. The band ended their set with “Hated” from their 2016 album ‘Aggressive’. The same was the band started their set is the same way they ended it, aggressive with tons of energy. One of the best sounding bands of the day, showing not only can they put out quality music but also while putting forth a high energy set and getting the crowd involved.
Fire From The Gods for me was one of the most anticipated bands I was wanting to see. With their unique blend of hardcore, numetal and even some reggae moments in there they are truly unique to any other band on the festival lineup. They started off their set with the song “Public Enemy” and followed that up with “Pretenders”. Vocalist AJ Channer is one of the most passionate people you will find today in regards to his music. You can’t not only hear it in his vocals as he sings the heartfelt lyrics but he also makes it a point to show his love to the fans. He took the time to speak to the crowd saying “I tell you Carolina, I say this shit every time we play because I mean it from the bottom of my heart. There is nothing in this world more beautiful than a place full of metal heads, there is love, there is peace out there, there’s community, there’s family, no where in the world can you get that, no where else, I’m proud to be a fucking metal head, and I’m proud to call you my brother and sister”. He went on to state their next song was about being yourself, and not wanting to be like anyone else and they kicked off “End Transmission” from their album ‘Narrative’. The song received immense applause once they finished and the band then went on to play their incredible single “The Voiceless” which is not only a great song but has compassion behind the lyrics as well. If you get a chance to see Fire From The Gods you will not regret it. The band will give you goosebumps simply by their performance. Regardless what you call their music, rap metal, nu metal, groove, rock the easiest way to describe it is amazing and heartfelt.
Three Days Grace has graced many festival stages, and the crowds never seem to grow tired of them due to the amazing performances they put on year after year. The band opened the track with “I Am Machine” from their 2015 album ‘Human’ and immediately fans started to sing along. “Here’s to being human, All the pain and suffering, There’s beauty in the bleeding, At least you feel something” the fans started singing along with vocalist Matt Walst. It was almost as if they wrote the lyrics themselves. The expression on the fans faces as they sang along to the songs was something to see. They played “Animal I’ve Become” and “The Good Life” before kicking into one of their biggest hits “Home”. The fans sang this track almost as loud as the speakers could project Matt’s voice. Crowd surfers rolled across the crowd and everyone was truly enjoying themselves. Three Days Grace went on to keep the crowd entertained from start to finish playing other hits like “I Hate Everything About You” which is like the all-time greatest song to play to the guy or girl you just broke up with. I’ve had the song left on my voicemail a few times myself. Everything was ended on a high note with the aggressive sing along anthem “Riot”. Three Days Grace played their hearts out and the fans still wanted more, and that’s what keeps them coming back is they are always welcomed and bid farewell with applause.
Taking Back Sunday is another band I was really looking forward to. The last time I seen the band they were touring in support of their debut album and touring with From Autumn To Ashes in 2003. It’s been well over 14 years since I last seen the band, and they have released 6 albums since then. One thing that hasn’t changed is vocalist Adam Lazzara iconic microphone antics. Forget a bunch of wireless mics. Adam twirls the mic around and often lassos it around his own throat. They opened their set with “What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?” and from the very first chord struck the band instantly loved every second of their set. Taking Back Sunday has been reffered to as emo in the past but I never really understood that classification and always thought of them more as a punk rock band with a little bit of an alternative edge. Their punk style riffs and Adam’s punchy vocal style still sounds just as good today as it did 14 years ago, and the bands hasn’t slowed down at all. Though they have aged some they still have ample amounts of energy. One of my favorite songs was up next “A Decade Under the Influence”. I first heard this song before the album dropped on that tour way back in 2003. Hearing it now and thinking about the live performance that many years ago truly brings back a ton of memories. That’s what music is all about, memories. Certain moments in your life seem to always have a soundtrack, regardless if it’s a dark time, a happy time or just a chill moment there is always music playing to those moments, and for a lot of people Taking Back Sunday perfectly fits some of those moments. “A Decade Under the Influence” went off without a hitch and those more spoken word moments in the song really pulled on the heart strings of most of the old school fans in the crowd. The band added “Liat” and “Tidal Wave” to their set list before ending on another high note with “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)”. The song of course comes from their 2002 debut album ‘Tell All Your Friends’. It’s one of the more straight punk songs the band has in their arsenal. Almost everyone in the entire crowd was singing along “And will you tell all your friends, you’ve got your gun to my head”. Just hearing Adam Lazzara and guitarist John Nolan singing back and forth on this track was complete perfection. One of the best bands of the day for sure.
Papa Roach and vocalist Jacoby Shaddix have an uncanny way of always getting even the dullest crowd pumping up and into every song they play. I always tell people that if you aren’t a fan of Papa Roach all you need to do is see them live and your mind will be forever changed. By this time in the bands career they have a slew of singles and hits they can unload on fans and keep their setlist always changing and still make everyone happy. On this particular Sunday evening they kicked things off with “To Be Loved” and then went right into “She Loves Me Not”. I personally have always been a fan of the band’s sophomore album ‘Infest’. However, the next song on their setlist would be a brand new one for the band. “Crooked Teeth” the title track from the band’s album released shortly after Rebellion on May 19, 2017. It’s a high energy song that still has the chorus strength they are well known for. The song does have something relatively new to the band though. Jacoby does have a nu-metal vocal approach but this song goes almost silent and he lets out a true rapping moment. The single was already released but it was still new to some fans who really took to the song. Jacoby of course doesn’t stay high up on the stage and he gets down into the crowd and gets face to face with the bands fans. Playing more hits like “Scars”, “Last Resort” the band then went to a cover song to pump up the crowd. Playing “Song 2” by Blur. It went over well and was an amazing cover that the band pulled off, and a song that myself truly love, and they certainly did it justice. Covered in sweat from their non-stop movement the band ended things with “Between Angels And Insects”, my only let down was that I really wanted to hear “Blood Brothers”, but there is always another chance and anytime Papa Roach is in town it’s a good time.
Next up was Coheed & Cambria. Who was playing at the same time as Falling In Reverse. By the looks of the crowd for Coheed I’d say more than ¾ of the fans were present and account for to hear Coheed & Cambria totally dominate the stage. We did hear that Falling In Reverse has some technical difficulties and vocalist Ronnie Radke smashed a guitar and screamed at the sound guy. So for what it’s worth those of us that came to see Coheed certainly made the right choice. With flashing lights behind them and Claudio Sanchez with his iconic double headed guitar the band expelled “Welcome Home” as their opening track. The riffs were like the sweetest nectar and everyone in the crowd was eating them up. Claudio’s unique voice sang out and when it came time for the chorus everyone was singing along with him. The band sells out shows everywhere they go and seeing them on a festival lineup is simply amazing. They are one of the few bands outside of the top tier bands like Metallica that can sell out back to back dates in the same city. The band shredded on through “Welcome Home” with Claudio even playing portions of the song with his guitar behind his head, then with his teeth and then with his long flowing locks of hair head banging in the wind. I believe everyone even some security guards were humming along to the song as it came to a close. Secondly the band played “The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut” followed by “Ten Speed”. Then they played yet another hit from ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness’ which is packed full of hit songs I may add. This time it was “The Suffering”. Again the crowd knew every word of the song. The song has one of those choruses that you just can’t help but sing along to. In addition to the rest of the band constantly being entertaining I must add that Josh Eppard is one of the most amusing drummers to watch live. His flailing style of drumming is something you can’t take your eyes off of. The band ended their set with “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” from the album with the same name. Formed in 1995 Coheed & Cambria have seen 2 decades of success, a feat not many bands can pull off. In addition to being amazing songwriters and musicians that band also last year pulled off a song based on quotes from Kentucky Senator and House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell which is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard. The band not only wins in regards to music but can also make us laugh as well. They by far put on the best show overall of the entire weekend.
The Offspring is a bit nostalgic for a large majority of the crowd. Some of us grew up with the bands older more serious work and then the younger crowd may be more familiar with the “Pretty Fly For A White Guy” era and what came after. Regardless which era you are a fan of The Offspring brought everything and more to the main stage are Carolina Rebellion. I will also add that I have been to various festival across the country, hair metal shows, Ozzfest, many shows at various dive bars and I’ve also seen Steel Panther live more than once and I’ve never seen as many bare breasted women flashing their goods at a show than I did during The Offspring’s performance. I’m not sure if it’s those nostalgic hits that make these ladies feel young again but it certainly turned the crowd into more of a “Girls Gone Wild” trailer than it did a concert. No complaints were heard thought I assure you. The Offspring came out and made “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” the first of 16 songs they would play on this particular night. It did take a song or two for the crowd to really get going. But by the time they played “(Can’t Get My) Head Around You” everyone was fully invested in the band performance. Crowd surfers normally are more common around 100 yards or less away from the stage but not tonight. People were flailing across the crowed from well beyond 300 yards back into the crowd, which makes for a long ride to the front. Dexter Holland sounded amazing. When they played “Come Out And Play” it really showed that he was able to pull off the songs he made famous back in the early 90’s. Everyone was singing along to almost every song, but the most memorable early on in the bands set was “Want You Bad” and “Gone Away”. One key thing about The Offspring is that they still retain the core of the groups founding members and the drummer is the only member of the band that has ever been replaced. Current drummer Pete Parada has been a member of the band since 2007. All the members are truly key components to the bands sound but I have to add that guitarist Noodles really adds to the entertainment aspect of the bands show and sometimes is quite comical to watch. Of course as the bands set starts to wind down you get “Why Don’t You Get A Job”, “Americana”, and “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”. The last two songs is what I and other longtime fans were truly waiting for as the band played my two favorite tracks back to back to end the night. First “The Kids Aren’t Alright” which is one of the bands heavier rocking tracks and then the all-time greatest Offspring song in my humble opinion “Self Esteem”. I have to admit that the band truly gave everyone something worthwhile. The Offspring was a band I never thought I’d be able to catch live and they lived up to any and all expectations I had for them. As the band put their guitars down for the night and the ladies put their breasts back into their bras the night was slowly winding down. Avenged Sevenfold would go on to close out the weekend for what would become one of the best Carolina Rebellions ever witnessed.
We got to see one of Soundgarden and Chris Cornell’s last live performances though we didn’t realize it at the time, and looking back on it everyone there that weekend will forever cherish not only that moment, but every moment we were able to create with this around us. Like Fire From The Gods vocalist AJ Channing said, we are all family, we are a community, we are metalheads, and until next year we will all live through these moments of metal.
If you missed this years Carolina Rebellion, you truly missed an amazing show. The festival season hasn’t ended yet and runs all the way through the fall. You still have a chance to see a slew of amazing bands on some of the festivals Danny Wimmer Presents has to offer. Chicago Open Air boasts likely the heaviest lineup of any festival this year with this bottom half of the bill and is headlined by Kiss and Ozzy (Featuring Zakk Wylde) pick up your tickets now to see them July 14th – 16th. Next up is Louisville, Kentucky’s Louder Than Life fest which features not only amazing music, but an epic beverage experience with craft beers and bourbon. This date is stacked with amazing headlining acts like Ozzy (Featuring Zakk Wylde), Prophets Of Rage, Rise Against, Incubus and Five Finger Death Punch. While it is still several months away we don’t know yet who we will see fronting FFDP, Will Ivan return? Will Tommy Vext (Westfield Massacre,Divine Heresy, Bad Wolves) still be filling in? Or will there be another vocalist handling the microphone. Be there to find out. Next up is the one day festival Rock Allegiance in Camden, New Jersey on October 7th. Headlined by Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson and the rest of the lineup is just as good. Amazing one day rock festival. The month of October just keeps getting better with Houston Open Air returning for their 2nd year after a storm last year pretty much cancelled the entire festival. This years lineup will play over two days on October 21st and 22nd. Headliners include Five Finger Death Punch, Stone Sour, Prophets Of Rage and Marilyn Manson. There is also a must see act on the festival as well which is Suicidal Tendancies, don’t miss this band. The year winds down with one of the last festivals of the season in California’s Aftershock Festival. California is always a destination for bands and this lineup proves they can get amazing talent there that other festivals often miss out on. Headlining Aftershock includes Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Ozzy Osbourne and one of the most talked about bands who everyone is stoked for Run The Jewels. You still have time to pickup tickets. Don’t let the rest of your summer be dull and boring, and the same goes for the fall. See you there!