Sunday was the last and final day of Carolina Rebellion. I was able to get a full dose of Unlocking the Truth for breakfast. The band is comprised of 3 teenagers from Brooklyn, New York that was one of the youngest groups to ever play both Coachella and Van’s Warped Tour in 2014. They have been on most tv talk shows like The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon, The View, The Colbert Report and more. The band has been talked about and talked about. Let me go ahead though and tell you now that the hype is real. The band is everything you’ve heard and probably more. Guitarist/Singer Malcolm Brickhouse can shred on his axe like nobody’s business. He requested that the crowd start a mosh pit, and moments later there dust kicking up everywhere from a vicious pit. Unlocking the Truth shared with us their hit song “Monster”, by the time the song ended we were all singing along. The guys in this band are some great musicians, not just for their age but they are better than most musicians twice their age.
Next up was a band I wasn’t familiar with at all. Hands Like Houses is an Australian based band. They had my attention with their first song “I Am”. The five piece band is very energetic and is very skilled at head banging. They were able to capture the attention of the crowd early in the day and their upbeat songs really got everyone amped up for the remainder of the day. I can say that seeing them live has made me more interested in keeping up with their music. After hearing the song “Colourblind” once I couldn’t wait to hear it again.
One of the bands on today’s lineup that I’m more than familiar with is Royal Thunder. I have probably seen the band at least 7 times. Royal Thunder’s music really crosses a lot of boundaries and appeals to a variety of music fans. I will admit that I am not usually a fan of female fronted bands. It has to be something really special to garner my attention. Royal Thunder is my all-time favorite female fronted band. Also, lead singer Mlny Parsons is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Through the past few years seeing the band live she has come to refer to us as friends. Most bands have a few stand out tracks, but with Royal Thunder their whole catalog is amazing. My favorite track is “Forget You” from their album ‘Crooked Doors’.
Another Grammy Award nominee was next on my list of bands to see. August Burns Red was on one of the smaller stages at Carolina Rebellion. They should have been on a larger stage because the crowd to see them was just overflowing with people. When August Burns Red plays “Identity” live it isn’t something you just hear, it’s something you experience. The crowd and the band seemed to be in sync. It was like there was this connection between us in the crowd and the band, during their set we became one. Singer Jake Luhrs would dance around on stage twirling his microphone around and wrapping it around his hand. His aggression on stage is something you have to see to believe.
We go from some of the heaviest music of the day to Cypress Hill. If you grew up in the same era as I did you can’t help but be familiar with some of their songs. Out of all the rap from over the years Cypress Hill is one of few that I can actually listen to. It also helps matters that Singer B-Real was just announced as one of the new singers of the new Prophets of Rage project which features all the former members of Rage Against the Machine and B-Real and Chuck D from Public Enemy on vocals. They really tried to get the crowd into by playing them against each other. Since the crowd is divided by the gap in the center they would call out the right side and left side of the crowd. Then in another effort to pump the crowd up they played a little into of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. They were probably the last band I would expect to break that out. They did play their major hits like “Insane In the Brain” and “Rockstar.” I told myself prior to the show that there was no way they could play a set and not include those two songs. It really broke things up throughout the day having something different like Cypress Hill. The band even gave a shout out to one of the most metal hosts of all time Riki Rachtman, who hosted Headbanger’s Ball for years. Even though the festival is never billed as a “rock show” a lot of people thing having rap there is a bad thing. If you don’t like it go to another stage. I will always prefer rock or metal, but it was good to hear something different for a change.
Pennywise was up next. All these throwback bands playing the festival circuit really brings back some memories for people that grew up with their music. The band graced us with their presence on the main stage, and as many years as they have been playing music they earned it. The band of course played hits like “My Own Way” from their 1999 album ‘Straight Ahead, but what really made my day was when they played a cover song. They covered The Beastie Boys “Fight For Your Right” and it was fucking amazing. Guitarist Fletcher Dragge did have a holiday message to the crowd by saying “Happy Mother’s Day, but can you do me a favor and shut your fucking mouth I’m trying to listen to a little PENNYWISE.” That is exactly how punk rock is and should be. Pennywise are still as amazing as they was in the early and late 90’s.
Asking Alexandria is another band that was put at the same time as another band. Who was the other band playing the same time as Asking Alexandria you ask? BABYMETAL! All weekend long everyone was talking about Babymetal. They are one of those bands most people either love or hate. People were willing to check them out just to see what it was all about. Not me. I had seen Asking Alexandria before, but not with new singer Denis Stoff. It seems like I wasn’t the only person to pass on Babymetal because a ton of people was eagerly awaiting for Asking Alexandria to take the stage. The crowd began to chant and shit went crazy as soon as the first note was struck. Before I knew it there was a swarm of crowd surfers one right after another. I luckily got to hear one of my favorite songs “The Black.” I knew Denis from his previous band Make Me Famous, but I think that Asking Alexandria was the perfect role for him. His voice and style fits the band like a glove and just made the band all that much better. The band had one of the best sets start to finish of the entire weekend. If you are one of the people that went to see Babymetal instead you have no idea what you missed.
The last time I seen the Deftones it was 2003 on the Summer Sanatarium Tour with Mudvayne, Metallica, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park (It was 2003 don’t judge me). After their set I was a little disappointed so I was ready for them to redeem themselves at Carolina Rebellion. They came out blasting the hit song “Rocket Skates” from 2010’s Diamond Eyes. The song really showcases everything Deftones does. It’s fast, it’s melodic at times, there is screaming, it has everything you could ever want all jam packed into one. Another song they played from that album was “Prince” which they hadn’t performed live since 2011. I do also want to make note that Chino was repping NWA’s member Easy E’s face on his guitar. One thing the band brought to the show that we hadn’t seen all day was some destruction. Chino completely destroyed his microphone by slinging it on the ground from the cord over and over. I’ll admit I miss the days where bands totally just broke shit all to hell once their set was complete. I’m sure it gets expensive, but it’s cool as shit. They did totally redeem themselves from the previous time I seen them. A major thing in their favor was playing the all-time greatest hit “Change” as their closing song.
Bring Me The Horizon is one of those bands I wasn’t really into until I seen them live for the first time. Ollie Sykes is one of the best modern front men in the business. He keeps the crowd entertained and is able to showcase a variety of singing styles that keeps the music from sounded the same over and over. They opened their set with “Happy Song” and followed it up with the killer track “Go to Hell, for Heaven’s Sake”. It seemed like the majority of the crowd knew the words to every song. Crowd surfers and mosh pits were relentless. Ollie even took a moment to say he wanted not 1 but 2 mosh pits going at the same time. After playing “Can You Feel My Heart” Ollie asked of the crowd “If you’ve got a middle finger put them in the air” and immediately there was a sea of middle fingers as far as the eye could see. The band has quickly climbed their way up the ladder and established that they can and will be a headlining act at huge festivals across the world.
I try not to use the word “Legend” very often, so when I use it here you know they really deserve it. I was about to see a music legend for the first time. There was a curtain covering the entire stage and it suddenly dropped and sparks were shooting every direction. In the middle of all the sparks appeared the man himself…. ALICE COOPER. When you see this band it isn’t entirely all about the music. The theatrics within the show is a huge part of the experience. I’m sure most of you metal heads have seen GWAR or at least seen/heard about their shows. Alice Cooper is the originator of shock rock. Not only does he have an amazing stage show but he is surrounded by amazing musicians like Tommy Henriksen and Nita Strauss. It also helps that he has a large collection of hit songs that almost anyone of any age knows by heart. It’s hard not to be a fan of Alice Cooper. There was older fans, teens, and kids all singing along. While watching the set I look to my left and see ANTiSEEN lead singer and founder Jeff Clayton enjoying the show as well. It just shows that the band is beloved by everyone. The songs “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “I’m Eighteen”, and “Poison” were some of my favorites. The you also have the other members showcasing their talents with guitar solos and a drum solo. The large Frankenstein Alice makes it’s way onto the stage during the “Feed My Frankenstein” song, and then not long after it’s time for the ritual killing of Alice by beheading. He eventually found his head and made his way back out to sing “Schools Out” which is by far one of rock n rolls greatest songs.
Two headliners left and the weekend is over. The astro creep himself Rob Zombie always has one hell of a show and it’s almost impossible not to sound good with an amazing guitarist like John 5 shredding behind you. I have always loved some of the older stuff Rob has put out, especially everything White Zombie. His new song though has quickly made it to the top of my list of favorite Zombie songs. “Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a U.F.O.” is just explicitly catchy. We got a full dose of that song. Rob also took the time to describe the after effects of a Rob Zombie show by saying “You have a much better chance of getting laid after seeing me.” One thing they can’t skip is John 5’s guitar solo. Watching him shred is almost hypnotizing. We did get the routine hits “Thunder Kiss 65” and “More Human Than Human.” Another point Rob made to the crowd was to put their cell phones up and enjoy the show. Which is probably good advice considering Disturbed was up next and we don’t want David Draiman to scold any of us for having our cell phone out. Thanks for the advice Rob!
Recently back from their hiatus and taking the stage is Disturbed. They have always had a great looking stage set up especially since they have become one of the go to festival headliners in the past several years. A video montage played leading up to the moment the band took the stage with the smoke and fire to play one of their go to hits “Ten Thousands Fists.” Draiman always sounds great live, just as good as he does on the record. All the pyro during their set is just perfectly timed with his screams almost as if they were voice activated. The band played several songs before showcasing their new hit cover song “The Sound of Silence.” I really didn’t think they would play it because it would slow things down so much. It was about midway through the set and they played it. The crowd loved hearing it live as it had been played on the radio and on late night tv so much recently. I was a little more surpised with their song choices on their cover medley. It first began with a cover of Nine Inch Nail’s “Closer” and the band played about 2 minutes of the song before morphing into “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2. I thought they did a very good job with “Closer”. It then moved on to “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. There was no way of sneaking this song into the medley, once the first note of the song sounded off everyone knew it. The crowd sang along with Draiman until the song then changed again. This time to one of my favorite songs, “Killing In The Name” by Rage Against the Machine. This is the second time through the weekend I heard a Rage cover. Ironically the first band (Sick Puppies) I seen all weekend and the last band I see both played them. After this the winded things down a bit before exiting the stage and then coming back for a 2 song encore in which they ended their night with “Down With the Sickness” to pacify all the Disturbed fans wanting to hear the bands hit song from the year 2000.
The weekend was all together a complete success. The lineup was great (especially Saturday) and we were part of a record crowd at Carolina Rebellion, making it the largest ever Carolina Rebellion ever. We had non-stop music for three days, made some new friends and spend the entire weekend with like- minded rock and metal fans from around the country. We just can’t wait now until the next festival. See you at Chicago Open Air and Louder Than Life!
Sunday Best Performance : Bring Me The Horizon / Alice Cooper