The DIO RETURNS TOUR Makes Appearance In Minnesota [Review & Photo Gallery]

The Dio Returns Tour has been making its way across North America and Myth Live in Maplewood, Minnesota hosted the states first hologram centered rock show. The debate about holograms has been non-stop across various social media platforms, as Tupac, Frank Zappa and Roy Orbison holograms have joined Dio as touring acts. Continue reading

STRYPER Rocks The Congregation In Louisville, Kentucky [Review & Photo Gallery]

Stryper

I don’t need much of a reason to go see Stryper. They are one of my favorite bands of all time, but when I read that the “History Tour” is featuring nothing but greatest hits and covers I’m all over it. Now mind you the last three albums ‘No More Hell To Pay,’ ‘Fallen’ and ‘God Damn Evil’ are phenomenal albums and hold up to and sometimes surpass anything they’ve ever done, but when it boils right down to it I am a child of the 80’s. So when you’re talking Stryper greatest hits ‘Soldiers Under Command,’ ‘To Hell With The Devil’ and ‘In God We Trust’ is where I go. Those three albums are where a lot of tonight’s set list came from, but I getting ahead of myself. Continue reading

Slayer, Lamb Of God, Amon Amarth & Cannibal Corpse Ignite West Virginia [Review & Photo Gallery]

Slayer

“Once more into to breach, dear friends, once more”. One more time into the Slayer farewell tour, I’ve been lucky enough to cover this tour more than once for Metal Nexus and for that I am thankful! This time I’m in Huntington, West Virginia at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena where they know how to host a rock show!
For this leg of the farewell tour Slayer has Lamb of God (who’s been with them throughout) along with Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse opening the show. These four bands will get any metal head’s black heart pounding, head swinging and horns in the air! Somewhere on the ticket for this show should be a whiplash disclaimer, I’m guessing a lot of necks hurt after this onslaught of sonic violence. Continue reading

Sonic Temple Saturday Review & Photo Gallery

Gojira

A hot Columbus morning greeted the concert goers as they arrived at Mapfre Stadium for Day 2 of the Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival. The sun was beaming down and and there wasn’t much relief from the wind. There also wasn’t as many people lined up waiting to get in when the gates opened. Maybe it was the late first night that kept those numbers down.

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Chicago Open Air Day Sunday: Tool, Gojira, Fever 333, & More [Review and Photo Gallery]

Fever333

One of the benefits about less bands at Chicago Open Air this year was being able to sleep in before leaving on the second day. Since there were less bands this year, the event didn’t kick off until 2:30, instead of noon like past years. At the same time, it was strange heading in there for day two knowing that we had already arrived to the last day of the fest when it would’ve normally not even been the halfway mark of the festival yet. With that said though, we couldn’t wait to get out and catch seven fantastic sets from Alien Weaponry, The Black Dahlia Murder, Fever 333, In This Moment, Gojira, The Cult, and the legendary Tool. Continue reading

Chicago Open Air Saturday: SYSTEM OF A DOWN & More [Review and Photo Gallery]

System Of A Down

Last year in mid July I saw down at my house without much to do. It was sad knowing that the same weekend over the previous two years was spent catching several fantastic acts like Rammstein, Gojira, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and more at the Chicago Open Air festival. When the news came that the festival wouldn’t be happening in 2018, I was devastated. I had made several friends and memories both years at the festival and was really looking forward to it again. It was promised to return in 2019 but many people were unsure that it would actually happen. In September, it was announced that Chicago Open Air would be returning, but it was weirdly worded. It was said that it would now be titled “A Day In The Park” and would take place the same weekend as the new Danny Wimmer Presents festival, Sonic Temple. Many of us were unsure what this meant exactly, but we knew that the festival definitely was not going to be the same. Eventually the lineup was rolled out in January, and the “A Day In The Park” vision never really happened. Instead, the event was two days with only one stage. This was different compared to the previous years as it was three days with two stages. Despite being a small lineup, there were several killer acts on it to keep me happy like System of a DownToolThe ProdigyGojira, and ten more acts. Continue reading

Epicenter Festival Friday Review & Photo Gallery

Korn

The inaugural Epicenter Festival that was held in Rockingham, North Carolina earlier this month was, to most, a major success. Others will disagree, pointing out flaws in traffic congestion for the first two days and the Day 2 headliners, Tool and Judas Priest, among others being canceled due to severe weather. Which I agree was a little inconvenient, but when you understand anything can happen during a festival, especially a festival’s first year as well as a new venue, you take it as it comes. Although there were a few hiccups throughout the weekend (nothing major that would warrant the degree of dissatisfaction that a lot of individuals have expressed) the majority of the festival-goers got their money’s worth and really enjoyed yet another amazing weekend hosted by the Danny Wimmer Presents crew. Continue reading

AVATAR Turns Minneapolis Into Avatar Country [Review & Photo Gallery]

 

If it looks like a freak show, sounds like a freak show, and certainly smells like a freak show, you have entered Avatar Country. Avatar planted their flag in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota at the First Avenue Nightclub to the delight of Avatar’s many citizens that came to see the King. The band hailing is making a run through North America for the first time as a headliner. The bands popularity has been on a constant up rise through hard work and playing anywhere a stage can be found. Their live shows are one of the best things going in rock music and Sweden’s best-kept secret is slowly being unleashed onto the rest of the world. The band 68, Dance With The Dead, and Devin Townsend provided support. Having these four outfits on the same stage was truly unique as each offered completely different elements. Continue reading

SONIC TEMPLE Friday Review & Photo Gallery!

Ghost

Mapfre Stadium in Columbus Ohio has been home to Rock on the Range for the last 11 years. But after last year’s festival, Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP) split ways with their former partner AEG and were unable to keep the rights to the name Rock On The Range thus the festival being renamed: Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival. Could it create the same moments and memories that made Rock On The Range legendary for over 10 years?

I arrived at Mapfre Stadium about 2 hours before doors open. There was already a huge line of people waiting to get in and you could feel the excitement from everyone.

The Jacks

The Jacks were the first band on the schedule and they opened up the Echo Stage with a good easy going set. Their EP hasn’t been released yet so the crowd got to hear some upcoming songs off of it including “Walk Away” and “Looking For Love.” It’s going to be a long day of live music. They were the perfect band to start the day.

Shvpes

Shvpes was next up on the Echo Stage they were first band of the weekend featuring members that have famous fathers. Griffin Dickinson, the band’s lead singer, is the son of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. That alone brought out a decent crowd. They were a little faster tempo than I was expecting and that seemed to energize the crowd as we had our first mosh pit and crowd surfers of the weekend. Most of their set included songs off of their 2018 album ‘Greater Than’ including “Undertones” and “Afterlife.”

Badflower

Badflower had the honor of opening this year’s Main Stage and they didn’t disappoint. They didn’t play to a huge crowd, however, as most of them were still lined up trying to get in the gates. It was also probably the calmest the main stage crowd was all weekend. Most of their set included songs from their debut album including “x ANA x,” “Ghost,” and “Heroin,” in which lead singer Josh Katz stated was the #1 rock song in America in the upcoming chart. “I’m going to get in trouble for saying that” he stated before starting the song.

Wage War

For all the metalheads in attendance, we got our first metal band of the day over at the Echo Stage. Wage War come out to thunderous cheers and multiple devil horn salutes in the air. The crowd instantly broke out into 3 circle pits and the band was loving the energy from the crowd. Their set included their new single “Low” and songs from their other 2 albums including “Alive” and “Stitch.”

Avatar

Next up on the Main Stage is the band that may have put on the best performance of the day on that stage. The Swedish rockers, Avatar, came out with high energy and had members of the band sitting on a throne above the drum set as they performed “A Statue of the King.” The crowd was going crazy as they performed their hits “Hail the Apocalypse” and “Smells Like a Freakshow.” To add to the insanity of the performance, a guy in a chicken suit was crowd surfing nonstop. An Avatar stage show is really cool to witness and is a must see if you can catch them on the festival circuit.

Zeal & Ardor

The Echo Stage was now the place to be to see the most unique band of the weekend. Zeal & Ardor, a relatively new band that mixes black metal with southern blues and gospel, absolutely destroyed the 2nd stage and put on what I think was the best performance of the entire weekend. The crowd was completely enthralled with the band as they sang along to all of the evil lyrics to songs such as “Blood In The River,” “Devil is Fine,” and “Don’t You Dare.” It was nonstop awesomeness for their 30 minute set and the only time the singer spoke to the crowd was to say “We don’t talk a lot. I hope that’s ok.” When you kick as much ass as they do, it absolutely is.

Beartooth

Imagine getting to play the Main Stage of a festival in front of your hometown fans. That’s exactly what Beartooth got to do. And the crowd was loving it as much as they did. Lead singer Caleb Shomo kept urging the crowd; “More crowdsurfing. More mosh pits.” The crowd responded with an onslaught of people getting tossed toward the stage as the band played songs such as “Disease” and “In Between.”

Parkway Drive

The heaviest band to play the Main Stage so far was up next. Parkway Drive had the crowd raging during the hottest part of the day with the sun beaming down on the stadium floor. That didn’t seem to bother the crowd as they seemed to enjoy the set that consisted mostly of songs from the bands most recent album ‘Reverence.’

Tom Morello

I left Parkway Drive’s performance early to head over to the Wave Stage to see Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello play a solo set. This was one of the most interesting sets of the weekend. Morello started out by playing in the crowd during the first song. During the 2nd song, he went on stage and played with a DJ and a video board that displayed various political messages including anti-police messages such as “Be white or get shot.” During all of this, I kept saying to myself “did I really miss Black Label Society for this?” But as soon as I said that, we got what may be the best highlight of the weekend. To honor the 2 year anniversary of Chris Cornell’s death, Morello brought out System of a Down’s Serj Tankian to play a cover of Audioslave’s “Like a Stone.” The performance was incredibly emotional. The performance ended with Morello bringing people up from the crowd on the stage to sing songs from the Rage Against the Machine catalog.

Halestorm

Now it was time for the first of the Main Stage headliners. Halestorm started their set with a drum solo. At first I thought that was odd but it gave the crowd a chance to get over from the side stages and get settled in. Their set contained all of their hits and a selection of songs from their new album ‘Vicious.’ A couple of set highlights included Lzzy bringing up a girl from the crowd and giving her a custom Epiphone Explorer. Very cool moment. Halestorm also dedicated their hit song “Get Off” to their 10 year anniversary of playing Rock On The Range over on the Jager Stage when no one knew who they were.

Meshuggah

The headliner for the Echo Stage was none other than extreme metal band Meshuggah. This was my first time seeing the Swedish metallers and I was expecting big things. I had kept hearing that a Meshuggah pit was a religious experience. But I didn’t experience that. The band was good and they played a wide range of songs from their catalog but I didn’t feel they gave the crowd much energy and they stood in spot on stage for most of the set. Others in the crowd seemed to be having a blast as I smelled the most marijuana that I did all weekend. Maybe that’s what I needed to really enjoy the set.

Ghost

The sun was setting. The cool breeze has started blowing through. It was time for the ritual to begin. Ghost provokes a very decisive reaction from fans: you either love them or you hate them. I fall under the former and I loved their set. All of the best songs from their albums were played including “Absolution,” “Cirice,” “Dance Macabre,” and “Square Hammer.” For the first time ever at this festival (and probably only time), a full on saxophone solo broke out during their instrumental tune “Miasma.” Heavy metal doesn’t have to be heavy to be great. Ghost is the perfect example of that.

As soon as Ghost left the stage, the rains began to pour down. The rains didn’t last long and had stopped by the time System Of A Down hit the stage. It has been 16 years since I’ve seen them live and since they don’t play many shows, I was beyond excited to see them again. As soon as they started playing, I could tell something was out of sync. After 3 songs, Daron Malakian announced to the crowd that they had to reboot the sound system. He led the crowd in a “fuck the system” chant that ended up being a theme of the set. After a 10 minute delay, the band came back out and continued the set. System Of A Down is known for not being that great of a live band and for me personally that was the case here as well. Even after the audio fix, the band just didn’t seem in sync. I’m not sure if it is the fact that they don’t get along very well or the fact that it had been 8 months since they played together, but the performance just wasn’t that great. The crowd still had a great time and we got to hear 27 songs including an even mix from all of their albums. But it was a disappointing end to a great day of live music.

 

Emergent, Cold Kingdom, Arson City, & Eaon Ignite Minnesota [Review & Photo Gallery]

 

To kick off the Memorial Day weekend, Route 47 Pub & Grub in Fridley, Minnesota welcomed rock fans to a fantastic night of music. Emergent, Cold Kingdom, Arson City, and Eaon played to a full house and it was clear fans were ready to rock from the opening notes. Continue reading