FESTIVAL REVIEW: ROCK ON THE RANGE 2018 Live at Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, OH – Day 2 (Saturday)
Well we are gonna start off by calling day two of Rock on the Range in Columbus Ohio “Rain Day” as the night before all the news stations kept saying was huge storms starting at noon the same time they were letting people in to start the party all over again. But lucky for us we all showed up at the venue at 11am, some people still parting from the night before in the parking lot and at the campground next door. The sun was shining and the amps were warming up, but the rain came in heavy and delayed the start and cancelled Orange County’s own Them Evils, and man I was crushed as I love these hard-hitting dirty rock and rollers. They put it all out there when they are on stage. Rock and Roll is on a resurgent’s and its bands like Them Evils that are bringing it back. With the delay came a line up time change. So, starting off the day on the Bud Light Stage was Grandson, Jordan Benjamin mixes up the bluesy rock guitar with trap beats and lyrics about a hard life and hardships along his path. Was very impressed with this up and comer.
First up on the main Monster Energy stage was New Years Day these haunted rockers blasted out a 6-song set and through in a little Pantera as well with their cover of “Fucking Hostile” great way to warm up the main stage crowd. Speaking of getting hot, songstress Ash Costello just ripped it up on stage. Her incredible stage presents and strong vocals left their fans wanting more.
As My Ticket Home tore up the Zippo Stage, I wanted to check out this band called Wilson that I have never heard but live in the same area as. These guys are from Detroit City and have been around for 8 years. This 5-piece rock band with some crazy dude in a neon green ski mask and a couple other hang arounds were belting out awesome heavy rock, with some horns thrown in it was a wild show. The stage show and the outfits don’t match the hard-hitting riff driving metal they were playing it was like a beach party heavy metal fest in Ohio. Great set ill definitely be checking them out a bit closer when I get back to Detroit. After trying to figure out what I watched and what I heard, I rolled over to the Zippo Stage to check out Southern Rappers Jelly Roll and Struggle Jennings as I had time before I hit the main stage for Asking Alexandria. The Nephew of Waylon Jennings, Struggle Jennings is an outlaw on the mic and in life with the bars behind him he and Jelly Roll are wreaking havoc on stage. With a full band accompanying them these kats brought the Nashville soul down to Columbus in style with their freewheeling country rap they had everyone with their hands up!!
Time was up and I had to make my way down to the main stage as Asking Alexandria was about to plug in. This English rock band has been around the block but this was my first time seeing them live and I was interested to see how lead singer Danny Worsnop sounds as his voice has changed so drastically over the years, less growl and more country style singing. It’s something to see as it looks like a country singer is fronting a metal act. But all in all, the pulled out their hit songs everyone sang along and hard a merry time, just not sure of the direction there headed in. Hate to say it but I feel they need a new lead singer who is more of the old school Asking Alexandria then what this is now. It doesn’t feel natural to me.
With time to burn I ran over to check out Miss May I, these Metalcore masters always crush it. I love how heavy they can be and then pull out these beautiful harmonies. it’s like heaven and hell all wrapped up into one melodic Metalcore feel. The double bass was fast and furious as the power cords ripped across the fret boards effortlessly. Lead Singer Levi Benton baptized the crowd with pure fury from start to finish. With the fury came the clouds and as I said at the start they called this “Rain Day” for a reason. As it started to sprinkle and the clouds started to form Black Veil Brides were getting ready to gear up and go on!!! Right on time they were ready to go, seemed like they wanted to make sure they got their set in before the rain hit hard. As each song played on the rain just kept coming down harder. With BVB already had the crown in a frenzy as they are awesome at getting the crowed involved throughout their show. Andy Biersack has the swagger of David Bowie and the attitude and mannerisms of Freddy Mercury himself. Always a great time at a BVB show.
Once the show was over, so was the festival as the directors of Rock on the Range came out and asked everyone in the festival to leave the park till weather was safer as we were all in a stadium with metal seats not the safest. So, a parking lot party went on as we all took cover in the backstage areas waiting to be told when the show would go back on. And we waited, and waited for about 3 hours and then it was time. The storms had past the sun was back out and the roll was getting put back into the rock. Unfortunately, some bands need to get shifted around or cut completely to make up for the lost hours and arrangements were made with the city to extend the noise curfew to 1 am. The party raged on, but what they had to do was play multiple bands at the same time on each stage and Bullet for My Valentine was completely cut, as they had other obligations to attend.
As the show, must go so did I. As the crowds came rushing back into the venue to get the closest to the stages, I was on my way to check out Emmure’s set on the Bud Light stage. With Emmure and From Ashes to New now playing at the same time I had to start making choices on who I could see when. Ashes were going to be playing in my home town in a few days so Emmure it was. These metalcore geniuses have been around the block for a while now and know how to get the crowd right back to where they were before the storms came rolling in. Natural Born Killers was a high point in their set when pure mayhem was on full display from the crowd as bodies were flying everywhere. Up next was Three Days Grace on the main stage. These Canadian boys came stocked with a laundry list of hit songs, great vibes and their sound was on point. I haven’t seen them since they replaced their original singer and songwriter Adam Gontier in 2013 with their Bass Player Brad Walst’s brother Matt Walst. Matt formally of My Darkest Days. He has obviously been a natural fit, very engaging with the crowd, and his voice was dead on. I love when these Canadians come over and rock the US. Oh, Canada! Who doesn’t like a killer party eh?
Well, Andrew W.K. was putting on a rager over on the other side of the park. He’s about to release his brand-new album his first in over a decade. Backed by a six-piece band of incredible musicians. He literally had a best of Andrew W.K. on Display. The crowd was lit. His energy infectious. It was like he was warming up the crowd for the headliners Stone Sour and Avenged Sevenfold. Also because of the rain delay they had to fit in Tech N9ne into the day as well so he got the final slot on the Zippo Encore stage right after “Stone Sour” started and before Avenged Sevenfold began.
Tech N9ne came out blazin’ with his signature masks, and his trigger fire lyrics. You don’t live this long in the hip-hop scene without always moving and shaking with the times and this man has made money on all fronts in movies, soundtracks and with his albums. Starting in 1992 he’s dropping beats like he’s 18 still. Killer set all around and a great crowd for the largest Rock Fest in USA they were loving the hip hop that night. As the side stages shut down and everyone moves over to the main stage area Stone Sour is pouring gasoline on the crowd and lighting that place on fire with their fire starter “Whiplash Pants” running through a 10-song set the boys went balls to the wall on their set playing everything you want to hear, one after the other. The place was singing every song note for note. The pyro, the explosions, shit Corey Taylor even brought out a confetti canon and shot it out a few times in the crowd.
It was a perfect way to end a crappy day of rain. Finishing off the star-studded day was Avenged Sevenfold Walking out Back in Black, and got the crowd rowdy from the get go. They went right into “The Stage” and ended their 10-song shaker with “Confessions” as they walked of stage to a mass of cheering fans. Night two was in the books for 2018.