It seems like the weekend had flown by when my alarm went off Sunday morning. With the majority of the festival weekend behind us it was kind of sad knowing this would be the last day of Rebellion until 2019, because you know at this point we have to go regardless of the lineup, it’s just great being surrounded by like minded metal heads. We all have our favorite days of the festival based on the lineup for the day. Sunday just happened to be the day I was most excited about. Personally for me I was stoked to see Mutoid Man, Greta Van Fleet, Baroness, The Fever 333, Queens Of The Stone Age, Billy Idol, and Thrice. There is a little bit of everything in Sunday’s lineup. You have nostalgic acts from totally different generations. Like Billy Idol who started his career in the mid to late 70’s, then you have Incubus who was legends in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Then you have Greta Van Fleet who are playing music that sounds like it’s straight from the 70’s but the majority of the members of the band aren’t even drinking age yet. The Fever 333 is also a new band who has been taking stages hostage and demanding attention. Baroness are a band that has flew under the radar for a lot of people but have been a keeping prog and sludge alive since their formation in 2003. Sunday was a day to show praise for all that is hard rock and heavy metal.
While Mutoid Man may be a new band to you, or only a few years old the members of the bands are veterans of the metal industry and have played to massive crowds all over the world. They certainly aren’t noobs when it comes to rocking out on stage and inspiring the crowd to kick up some dust in the mosh pit. The band opened their set with “Melt Your Mind” followed by “Bone Chain” and the band didn’t want to leave anyone out that may not be familiar with the band so they threw in a few covers for good measure. First the played King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” which went over really well. They then played something a little more familiar to a wide variety of fans performing a mesh of Led Zeppelin’s “Reptilian Soul” and “Communication Breakdown” which really worked and the crowd seemed to love every second of it. After pulling off those amazing covers they then went back to their own catalog and played “Bridge Burner” from their 2015 album ‘Bleeder’ which I must add is a phenomenal record. After some illustrious covers and equally great original songs how does Mutoid Man finish off their performance? By covering Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” and with the band dressed in their tuxedo shirts they certainly impressed any teacher in the crowd. Mutoid Man deserves a much longer set as they were by far one of the best bands that played early in the day.
You could say Thrice is a throwback or nostalgic band because they formed in 1999, but the truth is their 2016 and most recent album ‘To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere’ has produced 2 incredible hits that have made them even more relevant in today’s music. Thrice opened their set with “Of Dust And Nations” and followed it up with likely the song fans wanted to hear most “Black Honey”. Sometimes a song sounds so perfect on the album and its hard to imagine the band being able to pull of the same quality live. However, Thrice did just that, not only re-creating the song on stage but seeing the passion within their stage presence as they played the song was mesmerizing and the crowd showed their appreciation and was attentive every second of the song. The melodies throughout the song along with the lyrics are just so damn catchy you find yourself listening to it all day. The song had only been released a short time and Seether was already performing a cover of it live on stage. Usually bands go back decades ago and find a song to cover but this track is so compelling other bands began to start covering it. This of course isn’t the only hit on their most recent record either and the 2nd biggest single from the album they would play next. “Hurricane” isn’t one of those fast paced rocking songs, but fans knew how to get down to this song swaying back and forth with their fists in the air and singing along to the chorus. You could see people belting out the lyrics so loudly their voice was straining. Thrice played a total of 8 songs, but these two tracks are the ones that truly inspired the crowd the most and the memory of them lasted far beyond the bands set. Thrice would crank things up a notch with one of their heavier songs in 2005’s “The Earth Will Shake”. It was an incredible farewell to such an amazing set that had the crowd floating on air and full of aggression left to be unleashed.
Greta Van Fleet has been one of the hottest bands of the past year. The band has had two singles land at #1 on Billboard’s rock chart and they have been selling out basically every headlining show they have played since last October. To date, their debut EP ‘Black Smoke Rising’ has moved 70,000 units (including 47,000 in traditional album sales) in the U.S., while their most recent EP ‘From the Fires’ has earned 104,000 units (74,000 in album sales). Both sets feature their most recent single “Safari Song”. The band has been likened to the sound of Led Zeppelin over and over again, but it’s not only the old school metal heads that love this band they also have a younger fan base too and have swayed some listeners from other genres to give rock a chance. They not only bring a studio sound to the stage but the band is also very fashion conscious with some of their retro stylings. Greta Van Fleet opened their set with “Highway Song” which has been most fans introduction to the band. As soon as the vocals in the song started Josh’s vocals just soared throughout the entire Carolina Rebellion festival grounds. Guitarist took his now classic stance on guitar and rocked back and forth while completely dominating riff after riff. It’s just jaw dropping to see such a youthful band jam on stage so flawlessly. The crowd immediately started clapping along to the music and the smile on Josh’s face never left. These guys love what they are doing and it shows with the quality of their show. Greta Van Fleet played a total of 6 songs, including their major hits “Black Smoke Rising”, “Flower Power” and closing out their set with “Safari Song”. Greta Van Fleet is easily one of the must see bands that are relatively new. They have already climbed up the ladder from playing very early in the day at festivals to just a few slots down from the headliners. I fully expect this band to be getting headlining positions on some big tours and festivals in the next few years.
Even before the first chord was struck you got a chance to see what you were in for with Code Orange. Bassist Joe Goldman jumps down from the stage with bass in hand and runs straight up to the rail at stage right and pumps the crowd up, then not ignoring the other side of the crowd runs to the stage left side and does the same. As he is climbing back up on stage guitarist has jumped down onto the speakers and is pacing back and forth. Code Orange is likely the most energetic band I have ever seen, every member is constantly moving around on stage, spinning in circles, doing roundhouse kicks with their instrument still in tow or simple just running around headbanging. They opened the set with “My World” a song that has incredible breakdowns and shows off the killer shredding ability of Reba Meyers. It’s always cool to see the vocal duties spread out among 3 members and the music still maintaining its cohesive integrity. The only moment of respite for the band is between songs and then they are back to break neck speeds and full on adrenaline yet again with the second song of the set “Real”. It seems like the 8 tracks the band played on stage flew by with their fast paced, kill em all style of music and equally slaughtering stage presence. If you are looking to see music in its purest form and performed with intense passion this is a band you won’t ever want to miss, and I can guarantee you this; if they are ever performing at a festival I’m attending I will not miss their set.
Clutch are the ultimate professionals. Masters of their craft and never fail to put on an amazing show. Neil Fallon leads the band like a well respected reverend with his deep shouting tones and always demanding your attention. We hang on his every word. There is one thing that Clutch always surprises you with and that is the setlist. Clutch has a long and storied discography which includes 11 albums with another album slated to release this year, so the options for a setlist are almost limitless. On this faithful Sunday the band played 9 songs and chose to open with “X-Ray Visions” which was most certainly an instant classic but is from 2015 album ‘Psychic Warfare’. That songs serves as a perfect opening song as a portion of the lyrics are “And on the drums, Gemini. On bass guitar, presenting, Pieces. On lead guitar, we have Aries. And on the microphone, Scorpio, go,” It’s their way of introducing the band, even though any Clutch fan already knows the band who has had the same founding members since the bands creation back in 1991. One song I always want the band to play is “Burning Beard” and occasionally it does make it into the set but on this day it didn’t. I wasn’t disappointed though because the variety in their set is what really makes the band even better to see live. Most bands play the same setlist throughout their tour and its almost the same show over and over, this doesn’t happen with Clutch. They make every date special and unique. The stand out track for me on this day would have to be “Electric Worry”. Almost every Clutch fan was singing along to the lyrics and we also get to see vocalist Neil Fallon break out a guitar and shred along with lead axe man Tim Sult. Right after this song the band finished their set off with another killer song in “The Mob Goes Wild”which is the hit track from the bands album ‘Blast Tyrant’. It just encases everything the band does well, a killer drum beat, a fast paced stoner like riff, groovy bass lines and of course Neil’s vocals conducting the whole song with his stern prowess. I mean who doesn’t love a song that has lyrics like “Everybody move to Canada and smoke lots of pot”, I hope everyone lit up during this song.
Coming into this weekend The Fever 333 was probably one of the most talked about bands on the festival lineup. After playing Welcome To Rockville word had spread that lead vocalist Jason Butler was a mad man on stage, climbing things and just put forth an unheard of kind of energy on stage. He had also been banned from a venue in Washington D.C. just a few days prior for climbing up a balcony. His death defying acts didn’t begin with this newly formed band either. Last year I seen him perform with his former band Let.Live at Chicago Open Air and he climbed the trusses on the side of the stage to the main top of the Black Craft Cult stage at Toyota Park. He was at least 100 feet above to stage and singing his lungs out. However, The Fever 333 on Sunday was booked on the smaller gold stage which wasn’t climbable. He didn’t let that stop his energy or adrenaline though. He moved about the stage like a man possessed pouring water all over himself and sliding on the ground, tangling himself up with his mic cord and jumping off the stage and getting on the rail singing right with the fans. One of the most unique things about the bands performance though is their intro. Jason enters the stage with a bag over his head and a white sheet held up behind him as a sample plays in the background talking about gun violence. The Fever 333 isn’t just a band, and they aren’t just activists. The Fever 333 is a movement which inspires people to open their eyes and create change and they do this through their message and with their music. Their debut release hadn’t been out long but it seemed like more than half the crowd knew the words to the songs. What was amazing to see was how Jason was able to move about the stage while still maintaining his vocals to a quality standard. We also can’t say enough good things about the rest of this trio. Guitarist Stevis Harrison spins in circles on stage and showcases art through his riffs and at one point jumped from the stage and ran through the crowd and moshpit while still hammering down on his guitar anchoring riff after riff. Drummer Aric Improta keeps the time but still finds ways to be active behind the kit. Between songs or prior to breakdowns you will see him jump up and stand on his seat calling out to the crowd, and simultaneously jumping down and hammering out a beat as he lands in his seat. I can’t say enough good things about this band. The only bad thing was their set wasn’t long enough. The band will be performing on some fall festivals like Louder Than Life and Rock Allegiance and they have already climbed their way up the roster in comparison to where they was during Rebellion, so they will have an extended set at those festivals. If you can get out and see them headlining a date or these two festivals i highly recommend it. You will not be let down.
One great thing about festivals is they always bring a band that you may not seek out and go see on their own headlining tour, but you will definitely make time to see them at a festival. Billy Idol was that band for me. I may not have went to see him on tour, but you can bet your sweet ass I was front and center ready to hear “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell”. For someone who has been rocking out since the mid 70’s Billy Idol hasn’t slowed down a bit. He comes out on stage with just as much bravado as he had when his videos were all the rage on Mtv, you know when they still played music. Paired with the iconic guitarist Steve Stevens they put on an incredible show. Billy held his fist in the air as he opened with the track “Shock To The System” and followed it up immediately with one of my all time favorites “Dancing With Myself”. As soon as the drum beat and the guitar riff started the fans started cheering as they knew exactly what song was just kicking off. Billy’s voice on this track was so delicate and he still has that bravado he has been expelling for decades. Of course not to be out done Steve Stevens makes his way from one side of the stage to the other playing his guitar behind his head. It’s the show off thing to do, but when you are an accomplished guitar player like Steve that blazed the trail in the 80’s its the thing to do. We didn’t just get to see Billy on stage, Steve was a huge part of the show and just added to the greatness we got in this set. Fans were crowd surfing by of all ages from 15 to 50. Of course when Billy Idol is playing Carolina Rebellion he has to play “Rebel Yell”, and he also even mentioned Rebellion was the perfect place to play it. “Rebel Yell” was the final song of his 9 song set, but he came back out for an encore and finished things out with “White Wedding”. Prior to kicking off the song he stated “I’d just like to say wherever your from, wherever you come from whoever you are you have in some way influenced my life and I want to thank you, I want to thank you for making my life so fucking great thank you.” Then he turns to Steve and says “Steve show them what a hit song sounds like will ya” and Steve then teases a bit with the opening riff of “White Wedding” and then finally gives in and kick the song off. Billy gives the crowd the chance to sing along to the song relying on them mostly to sing parts of the chorus. Such an incredible set and probably the most crowd participation we seen all day.
If you grew up in the late 90’s you can surely remember when the Incubus song “Pardon Me” was all that anyone was singing. To some of us they are a very nostalgic band that takes us back to the Mtv TRL (Total Request Live) days. They kicked things off with “Privilege” which showcases the bands funky side and really got everyone grooving along to their sound. In the middle of the song they added this Middle Eastern like instrumentation that made the song very different from its original format and it was pretty amazing. Getting something special that the band really hasn’t recorded before is always a plus. A few songs later we got another amazing track with the bands fast paced “Megalomaniac” which the crowd loved and it inspired a sea of crowd surfers. Brandon Boyd is the voice of a generation and he sounds just as good today as he ever did, his voice seems almost timeless. You know a bands set is fun when peoples random shoes go flying through the air, which is exactly what happened during this song. A few songs later as the sun started to set we got three fire tracks in a row which consisted of “Nice To Know You”, “Pardon Me”, and “Stellar”. I was really surprised the band didn’t close the show with “Pardon Me” but like most people I didn’t really care as long as I got to hear the song live. Incubus also played what is probably their most well known song “Wish You Were Here” and near the end of the song they also worked in a snippet of Pink Floyd’s song that happens to bear the same title “Wish You Were Here” so hearing the two songs paired together was really unique. One thing that is great about seeing Incubus live is how they add little special touches into their set to make it unique and special. And the uniqueness of their set wasn’t over yet. As the band had already played the majority of their hit songs it left some of us puzzled as to what their closing song would be, and never in a million years would I have guessed what it would be. They chose to cover “Pony” by Ginuwine. If the crowd wasn’t already in a dancing mood they sure was after this song, its impossible to listen to “Pony” and not at least get your groove on a little.
This wasn’t my first time seeing Baroness, but it was my first time seeing them with this lineup. I knew from the first chord it was going to be special. Baroness doesn’t have pyro, flames throwers, confetti, or anything crazy like that, but the effort they put forth on stage along with their masterfully written songs is plenty enough to make them one of the best performances of the entire weekend. This time slot was also a difficult choice as Baroness and Red Fang both played at the exact same time. While I chose Baroness I’m sure Red Fang was just as amazing. Baroness opened their set with “Kerosene” and the majority of the crowd was being wallflowers and not really moving around much. However, when the band got 4 songs into their set and played “Shock Me” it was like a stick of dynamite had been ignited. Immediately the crowd found some energy and started going berserk. Which I can’t blame them, “Shock Me” is an amazing song, and with new guitarist Gina Gleason adding her amazing guitar work and lending her voice to the chorus it sounded fucking amazing. She replaced former guitarist Pete Adams who was an integral part of the band, but she had been a pleasant surprise and fit in really well and added a special element to the band. This was my first time seeing her perform with the band and she blew me away. As that winds down toward the end founding member guitarist and vocalist John Baizley and Gina get face to face and masterfully shred their guitars. Baizley is one of the most impressive artists in metal, not only as a musician but also creating all the bands album art and the majority of their tshirt designs. His talents are limitless. The band went on to play “Chlorine & Win” and “The Gnashing”, two more fan favorites. As they begin to play “The Gnashing” Baizley shows respect for a young fan maybe around 5-6 years old with a colorful mohawk that had crowd surfed to the front saying “This dude is owning it right now, this little kid, he is killing it”. “The Gnashing” begins with some very chill and melodic riffs, and the fans are mesmerized by the ambiance and remain almost silent as the song slowly kicks into a higher gear. This is a song that really shows the bands punk influence. The band closed their set with what is by far my favorite Baroness song. “Take My Bones Away” which is from the album “Yellow & Green” album. The song boasts incredible rapid pace guitar riffs and drumming and a melodic sing along chorus. It’s one of those songs that makes you want to drive fast. With a couple more bands left to go before the night would come to a close “Take My Bones Away” was like an energy drink for the crowd, getting them pumped up full of adrenaline before bidding them farewell and sending fans off to another stage. Baroness has put on some amazing shows but this was by far the best performance I have ever seen from the band and probably the best performance of the day if not for the entire weekend.
I can’t tell you how long I have waited to see Queens Of The Stone Age. I’ve been a fan of Josh Homme since his time in Kyuss and when Queens Of The Stone Age I knew it was going to be special. When a band kicks this off with lyrics like ” Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol….C-c-c-c-c-cocaine” it is sure to get the part started. That song of course is “Feel Good Hit of the Summer”. After kicking into the song Josh took pause to mention that the sun was going down and talking about how he seen the crowd earlier and how crazy they was. Then surprisingly he started singing Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”. Like most of us he probably had the song stuck in his head from Billy’s performance just a few hours prior. One thing that really stood out in Queens Of The Stone Age set was the lights, constant flashing in several colors the amount of lights are rivaled only by Tool and Pink Floyd. “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire” was the second track of the night and then the band smoothly went into “No One Knows”. The bass line in this song is just something that sticks with you, however on this night it was the incredible drum solo in this song by Jon Theodore that helped make the song even more memorable. It went on and on it seemed and it just got better as the minutes passed by. He is one hell of a drummer and you may have heard him previously in The Mars Volta. As his drum solo ended Homme applauded him and finished out the final verse of “No One Knows”. A few songs later the band included “The Evil Has Landed” in their set which I’ve always thought sounded like a rockabilly tune instrumentally. It’s from their recent 2017 album ‘Villains’. My favorite track of the night would have to be “Little Sister”. The shredding in this song is just phenomenal to hear and even more thrilling to see live. It’s a song that is easy to sing along to as well, I think the only people not singing along were busy moshing in the couple mosh pits that formed early on in their set. The 13th and final song of the night was “A Song For The Dead” which was a good choice because by this time the majority of us felt dead after going all out for the entirety of the weekend. The fast paced chug of the song kicked off right after Homme gave a wave to the crowd. The lights were just incredible on this final song as they would light Homme up as he got to a certain little riff on the song. It was almost as if the light was raining down on him. As the instrumental portion of the song came up he wrapped his arm around one of the lights and shredded away and that one additional degree of difficulty never held him back at all. Queens Of The Stone Age lived up to all the hype I had put on them, its a band I had wanted to see for a long time and they didn’t let me down at all, a tremendous performance.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not super familiar with Muse and their discography. Leading up to the show after the initial lineup was revealed I know a lot of people were upset with Muse as the Sunday night closer. I don’t love them nor hate them and was willing to give the band a shot to win me over. The first thing that stood out about their performance was the lcd screens behind them and the amount of lights and lasers used within their production. Everything was really vibrant and colorful and with the sun long gone hiding behind the mountains it stood out in the darkness. The band opened their set with “Psycho”, and when that first riff and drum beat kicked in I was impressed. It was somewhat of a tease as the song mellowed out once the vocals kicked in but it still held a damn good groove. I thing Queens Of The Stone Age and Muse have a similar style. The opening track got the crowd clapping along as the riffs rang out and the band got into the groove. A song later the band played “Hysteria” which included a little AC/DC “Back In Black” tribute riff that seemed to really impress fans. Next up was one of the few songs that I was familiar with which was “Thought Contagion”. I think this was the standout track by the band, its easy to sing along to but Matt Bellamy’s falsetto style is an acquired taste. I think it works on certain songs like “Thought Contagion” and the way in which its used sparingly really helps the song stand out with its electronic kind of feel. The band also pulled their track “The Handler” out for the first time on this tour. It’s from their 2015 album ‘Drones’. Anytime a song is rarely played and you get a chance to hear it live makes the moment even better. So knowing we were the first audience to hear the track on this tour added to the sentimental value of their performance. The band played 12 tracks ending with “Stockholm Syndrome” which incorporated some Rage Against The Machine riffs. Bellamy has said that RATM’s Tom Morello is one of his biggest guitar influences, so that of course was a nod to the legendary guitarist. The band then took a brief break and came back out for an encore playing three additional tracks including “Take A Bow”, “Uprising”, and ending the night with “Knights of Cydonia.” Both musically and performance wise I believe Muse put on a phenomenal set. They may not have been my favorite performance of the night but I am certainly pleased with the show they put on.
It’s really hard to pick a favorite for this day as it stacked with bands I absolutely love. I would have to say that by far my favorite was Baroness. I’ve seen the band a couple times but this performance was the most energetic and had the most crowd participation I had ever seen. There was just something mesmerizing about what they did on stage. I can’t say enough about Queens Of The Stone Age either. You don’t get a ton of opportunities to see this band, especially in a festival format so it was certainly a pleasure that I won’t soon forget. The best new band of course has to go to The Fever 333. They are a fearless band that has a message and purpose to their music. Regardless your stance you have to respect what the band is doing and how much thought goes into their music and lyrical content and then you always leave with your jaw on the floor because you never really know what they are going to do on stage. Totally unpredictable band and that’s what rock n roll and metal is all about. Clutch, Thrice, Incubus all put on amazing shows as they always do. Billy Idol showed us that no matter when the a bands music was released we can all get down to some old school rock n roll and he still knows how to get a crowd pumped up. He played a killer set filled with hits. And Muse? I know a lot of people were disappointed with them as a Sunday night headliner (I see you Degenerates). I don’t love nor hate Muse. I think musically they didn’t fit all that well but I can more than appreciate a wide variety of bands so everyone gets what they want, you can’t satisfy everyone. On the other hand though I think their stage show was pretty sweet and they deserved a spot on the lineup. Until next year… start making your predictions now Rebellion 2019 will be here before we know it.