After a whole year of waiting Carolina Rebellion 2018 has finally arrived. As the gates opened fans sprinted to stages all across the festival grounds in hopes to hang on to the rail at the stage their favorite band would be performing on. As we eagerly awaited tickets to go on sale, then for the lineup, and finally for the set times and keeping our fingers crossed our favorites bands don’t play at the same time. Another big thing most of us wait for is our first carton of Island Noodles of the festival season. We certainly wish we could cover every band that played this year but it just isn’t logistically possible with interviews, and other media related happenings. Friday was a day filled with great bands and if you wasn’t there you certainly missed an epic Carolina Rebellion. The day 1 lineup was pretty stacked with up and comers like Counterfeit and Dubé, then also those veteran acts like Sevendust and Stone Temple Pilots. Then you had some acts that are amazing we aren’t use to seeing in the festival circuit like Andrew W.K., and Power Trip. Then closing out the night you have Shinedown followed by the legends Alice In Chains. Friday wasn’t my favorite lineup of the festival but it certainly had a lot of talent hit the stages and some very impressive performances.
Dubé was added at the last minute and it may have been a band you found yourself unfamiliar with. The group comprised of three brothers from Canada have changed their style and sound drastically over the past few years going from a clean cut alternative image to the gritty push it to the limits punk band you saw on stage. They once opened for The Beach Boys, but with their current style of music and marijuana advocacy they may not fit so perfectly as a supporting act for The Beach Boys anymore. However, Dubé has an amazing sound that needs to be heard and the band also does great charity work. Guitarist Liam also brought a little something special to Carolina as well, performing one song on his homemade hockey stick guitar. Which consisted of strings and a single pickup on the old school hockey stick, does it get any more Canadian than that? To be completely honest it sounded pretty damn good too. Their song “Alien” which they performed will put you in the mind of Helmet, and if you are a fan of them and missed their set I certainly suggest you check them out, like now.
Avatar is a band that really needs no introduction to festival goers. For the past several years they have came upon U.S. shores and dominated the festival scene with their amazing imagery on stage and incredible performances. They have one of the best introductions to the stage you will ever see and it is always evolving. Kicking things off with their king upon his throne with guitar in hand and then quickly delving into the track “A Statue Of The King” from their new album ‘Avatar County’. They then picked up the pace substantially with the fan favorite heavy hitter “Let It Burn”. For this track of course the king himself guitarist Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby exited his throne to riff out a little more and head bang in sync with his bandmates. You will not see a show where the crowd doesn’t 100% get into Avatar’s performance. They have a way of getting the crowd into their performance without even asking, their stage presence is just that amazing.
I hope you were able to catch the British punk rockers Counterfeit, their set had loads of energy and aggression. This was actually the bands first ever American Festival appearance and they are also currently on their first North American tour with their tour mates Dubé. The band opened their set with “Family Suicide” and vocalist/guitarist Jamie Bower got the crowd amped up immediately with the bands intro and instant energy on stage. To be added to the festival a little late the band had a good sized crowd at the black stage and even had some fans quickly singing along to some of their catchy songs. The track “Come Get Some” inspired a pretty rowdy circle pit, and also inspired Jamie Bower to exit the stage and get down into the crowd and sing the song along with fans and even handing over the mic to some fans momentarily to have their time on the mic. The band wrapped up their performance with “Enough” and Bower jumping high off the bass drum and bidding the crowd farewell.
Sevendust are one of those veteran acts that never fails to impress on stage. The band opened their set with “Dirty” from their brand new record ‘All I See Is War’ that released on May 11th. This album is so impressive I expect the band to get another Grammy nomination and possibly win this time around. “Dirty” was the only new track we got from the new album which hadn’t released yet at the time of their performance. However, the band mixed it up throwing in songs from all throughout their discography like “Denial”, “Enemy” and “Shine” and then closing out their set with “Face To Face” from their 2003 album ‘Seasons’. I expect this to be a huge year for Sevendust as old fans and new fans get turned onto the new album, don’t be late to the party.
What is better than seeing a band perform on the day their album is released? That was the case for Parkway Drive as they performed Friday May 4th the day ‘Reverence’ was released. They even opened their set with “Wishing Wells”, a pure octane heavy as hell song that is bound to get your blood pumping. It was the first single released from the album and it really got their performance off to a killer start. It also wasn’t the only song they played from ‘Reverence’ either as the band also played “The Void” a few songs into their set. Winston’s vocals were on point and as fierce as ever. The band has move slightly away from their metalcore sound but the new material is brutal as hell and Winston’s vocals and all the instrumentation is just on point. Jeff Ling’s guitar work both on stage and on the album are phenomenal and it’s impressive just to witness him shred in person. We had a chance to catch up with Winston for a special interview after their performance so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon. Parkway Drive has announced a lot of tour dates going through the fall so make sure to get out and experience everything they have to offer on stage.
This was my 2nd time seeing Stone Temple Pilots, after seeing them previous in 2014 at the first year of the Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, Kentucky with Chester Bennington fronting the band. It’s incredibly hard for a band to move on with a different singer be it that they just split or because of a death. I feel that Jeff Gutt is likely the best candidate that could have ever filled the vocalist role with Stone Temple Pilots. No one will ever be Scott Weiland or Chester, but I believe Gutt once given the chance will please any STP fan out there. You will see he has certainly been influenced by Weiland by his vocal approach and movements on stage, but in their newer songs you can also see he has his own style as well. The band played two of the new tracks “Meadow” and “Roll Me Under” from their self-titled 2018 album. Of course they have to throw the classics in there to appease the fans as well. “Dead & Bloated”, “Vasoline”, “Sex Type Thing”, “Wicked Garden”, “Bang Bang Baby” , “Plush” and “Interstate Love Song” also made the setlist. Prior to “Plush” Dean DeLeo came over to the mic and said “So, we’re gonna need your help, and if you don’t know the words to this, that’s a darn shame, you’ve been living under a rock, help us sing this one.” Evidently no one in the crowd had been living under a rock because the entire crowd was quickly singing along. Gutt wasn’t afraid to get front and center with the crowd either as he jumped from the stage and got up close and personal with the fans. It’s one hell of a way to meet the new vocalist. Next year will make 30 years ago that the band was formed, and I don’t think any music fan has ever taken them for granted. Stone Temple Pilots are here to stay.
Stone Sour as always puts on an attention getting show. For this specific performance Corey Taylor gave us a little scare as he stumbled and hurt his leg during the 2nd song of their performance “Absolute Zero”. After the song he stated “Want me to let you’all in on a little secret, I feel like I tore something in my leg, but I didn’t tear anything in my throat, so i’m going to give you everything I got.” He went on to perform the set like nothing ever happened. I’m sure being in Slipknot he has dealt with numerous injuries over the years and just played through it. “30/30-150” is always one of my favorite songs to hear Stone Sour play live and they didn’t disappoint giving us some of their heavier stuff. During the track “Song #3” we also got to see a fan crowd surf to the front in a wheelchair which is always something inspiring to see. What I find amazing is how ‘Come What(ever) May’ was release 12 years ago and Corey can still belt out the songs from that album like “Through The Glass” and his voice hasn’t aged at all, and his voice remains timeless. During the bands final song “Fabuless” which is from their most recent album ‘Hydrograd’ the band brought some guests on stage. Those guests are what I often refer to as “wacky waving inflatable arm flaling tube man” and there were several of them. Leave it to Stone Sour to bring the most obscure thing ever on stage as they bid farewell to Carolina Rebellion.
By far Underoath stole the show on Friday at Carolina Rebellion. They had everything within their set that you would ever want to see in a bands performance, and they did all of this on one of the smaller stages at the festival. These guys are all veterans but they just released their first album in 8 years and it’s a masterpiece. The band opened their performance with “On My Teeth” which is from the bands new album ‘Erase Me’. The band quickly went back to some of their older material playing “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door” from their 2004 album ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’. As if the crowd wasn’t already pumped enough the crowd was singing along, jumping up and down non stop, crowd surfing and a herd of metal horns in the air from the moment the band took the stage until the very last note. It was getting latter in the day and as if most of the crowd had saved every ounce of their energy for Underoath’s performance. It was one of the most active crowds of the day.
Alice In Chains is one of the pioneering bands of the grunge movement. Layne been gone now for 16 years but there isn’t a day that goes by that we as fans don’t wish that he was still hear harmonizing with Jerry Cantrell. William DuVall is the closest thing we will ever have to Layne and the material the band has put out with him at the helm has been simply amazing. ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ (2009), and ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’ (2013) are amazing albums in their own right. Alice In Chains started their set off with one of the faster paced songs “Check My Brain” to really get the crowd motivated and on their feet. They cranked out a few more tunes pretty quickly with “Again”, “Them Bones” and “Dam That River” before giving the crowd the live debut of their new track “The One You Know”. The band had released a video for the song the day prior to the festival so everyone was hoping we would get the chance to hear it. Anytime you go to a show it’s always good to be able to hear something before anyone else in the world has, and the Carolina Rebellion got that extra special treat of being the first to witness “The One You Know” live on stage. The song showcases Jerry Cantrell leading the vocal arrangement a little more than usual. Each one of the older songs that Alice In Chains played it just takes you back to a different time in your life. I believe most everyone can attach a sentimental moment in their life to each song. “Hollow” was the only song they played from ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’, I was really hoping they would play the title track as it is one of my favorite DuVall era Alice In Chains songs. Of course the night wouldn’t end without the must hear songs like “Nutshell”, “Would?” and “Man In The Box”. There was moments during some of the songs where the crowd just fell silent in awe of the bands performance. If you guessed that they would end the night with “Rooster” you would be correct. What a send off! The headliners for the next couple days would have a hard time living up to the expectations Alice In Chains placed on being closing headliner.
Overall Friday was an amazing day for music, friends, food and booze. Crowd surfers and moshers alike got their fill of activity and the headbanging didn’t stop til until they forced us out. The stand out performance of the entire day in my opinion would have to be Underoath. The bands new material is some of the best music they have written as a band since they formed. Their sound has changed slightly and the direction they have gone is even more appealing to a wide range of fans. Dropping the whole “Christian band” label has also allowed them to be more honest in their lyrical content. They brought a ton of energy to the stage and they sounded flawless on stage. I know it’s difficult to ever choose anyone over Alice In Chains, but I have to give it to Underoath on this night, they not only blew me away but everyone who witnessed their domination of the stage. The biggest surprise of the day would probably be a tie between Counterfeit and Dubé. Counterfeit just has a ton of energy and Jamie Bower getting down into the crowd is a testament to how punk rock is suppose to be. Dubé just has a different style of music that we don’t get to hear very often. They are passionate about what they do and at such a young age these Canadians are already the most selfless band I have ever met. Up and coming bands like them make very little money and they are more concerned with raising money for disaster releif than putting it into their pockets and that wins them immense respect from me. If you are unaware the band raised $150,000 to help Haitian orphans after the 2010 earthquake. The 3 brothers lost their mother to cancer and found themselves connecting with orphans that had also lost a parent. It’s bands like this that deserve fan support. What was your favorite moments about Day 1 of Carolina Rebellion? Let us know! Saturday review, coming soon.