FESTIVAL REVIEW: CHICAGO OPEN AIR 2016 – Day 2 (Saturday)
The first two bands to take the second stage were City of the Weak (from Minneapolis, Minnesota) fronted by the ever-so charismatic Stef Hushka, and Silver Snakes from Los Angeles. These boys have truly mastered incorporating the nineties industrial element of doom metal into the hardcore sounds of the past. Meanwhile, Saint Asonia of Toronto were laying down some noontime thunder with such hits as “King of Nothing”, “I Hate Everything About You” (a Three Days Grace cover), and closing with “Let Me Live My Life”, electrifying an already-wired crowd into a frenzy. A hard act to follow after, Johnny Hawkins and crew of Nothing More had no problem commanding both crowd and stage. Hailing from the lone star state of Texas, they mesmerized the crowd with favorites such as “Christ Copyright”, “Ripping Me Apart”, and closed their set with “Salem”.
Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo (the founding member since 2012) brought his band’s stomping hardcore sounds to the second stage with “Dead and Body Bag” creating one of the largest mosh pits of the afternoon. A solid melodic metalcore band out of Troy, Ohio by the well-known name of Miss May I took the stage next. Members Levi Benton (vocals), BJ Stead (guitar), Justin Aufdemkampe (rhythm guitar), Ryan Neff (bass), and Jerob Boyd (drums), performed their new song “Deathless”, among others, to an eagerly awaiting crowd. British extreme metal band Carcass, founded in 1985 in Liverpool, England, brought hard, screeching riffs with “Captive Bolt Pistol” from their 2013 release of ‘Surgical Steel’, and closed with “Heartwork”. Going back fifteen years and constantly exceeding crowd/fan expectations, founding member of Pop Evil, Leigh Kakatu brought the stage alive. Opening with “Deal with the Devil”, they proved that their chemistry and showmanship are second to none when side-to-side with the big boy headliners.
San Francisco-based Deafheaven took over the second stage shortly after 5:00 pm, and hammered away with “Brought to the Water”, “Luna”, and “Comeback”. Now for the European sensation out of Bayonne, France: Gojira, who closed Saturday evening’s second stage with Joe Duplantier, Mario Duplantier, Christian Andeu, and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass performing both “Stranded” and “Silvera” from their June 2016 release of ‘Magma’, as well as their encore of “Explosia”. Following up on the main stage was Alter Bridge –the 2004 dynamic fusion of former Creed members Mark Tremonti and Scott Phillips with Myles Kennedy and bassist Brian Marshall. The bonding between Tremonti and Kennedy was more than evident in their collaboration of “Ghost of Days Gone By”, “Blackbird”, and “Rise Today” in their stellar seven song set-list.
Breaking Benjamin brought their own genre of rock with such hits as “The Diary of Jane”, “Breath”, and “Until the End” from their 2006 album ‘Phobia’, as well as their covers of “The Imperial March”/”Schism”/”Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Last, but certainly not least, come the last two acts of the evening: Korn and Chicago’s very own Disturbed. Korn’s Jonathan Davis hit the stage with explosive energy, ripping into “Right Now”, “Here to Stay”, and their new single hit “Rotting in Vain” from the ‘Serenity of Suffering’ album. James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch were over the top with their free-flowing riffs, while Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu’s bass reverberated throughout the whole park. Ray Luzier’s drum kit never stopped shaking and moving with his on-point beats. They slowly built up an ever-thumping crescendo with “Coming Undone”, “Did My Time”, “Got the Life”, and closed with “Freak on a Leash”. Founded in 1993 in Bakersfield, California these maestros of metal, including Zac Baird on keyboards, set new precedence in alternative rock/metal amongst the giants of the industry.
After a thirty minute break, Chicago’s David Draiman and Disturbed lit up the night with elaborate pyrotechnics, opening with “Ten Thousand Fists” and “Stupify”, bringing tens of thousands of horns/fists high into the air and heads swaying to each beat of John Moyer’s bass and Mike Wengren on the skins. Nine songs into their 14 songs, the crowd was hushed as the band covered Simon and Garfunkel’s cover “Sound of Silence”. Another cover song performed prior to closing with “Indestructible” was Genesis’ “Land of Confusion”, which Draiman handled exquisitely.There was one more expected song not yet played, and hence their encore of “Down with the Sickness”. The on-surge of moshing crowd surfers took full advantage of this classic and the crowd went wild.
Looking back at my initial opinion that I couldn’t fathom that Day Two would meet or exceed the performances of the prior day, I can say it was hastily made. Kudos Chicago…you’re making a believer out of me, as the second day proved.