FESTIVAL REVIEW: ROCK ON THE RANGE 2018 Live at Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, OH – Day 3 (Sunday)
Sunny skies and rock and roll is what we have on tap for the final day of Danny Wimmers spectacularly massive 3-day journey everyone has been on. With Headliners Tool, STP and Godsmack ready to pull the pin on this place. All the people in the campgrounds backing up and cleaning their sites up, as the piles of cars are pouring in and filling up the parking lots fast. Some have been here through the night in their cars, trucks or campers. I met people as far away as Brazil, Russia and parts of Europe. It was a very positive experience I believe for all. Danny Wimmer Presents and their staff are top notch festival planners. From how organized the whole site and staff were, to how fast they had a plan in place for the rain. They were always on top of everything, and their line ups are always stacked!!
To start day three off I was truly excited because a band I’m a huge fan of that brings the Rock back to the Roll, Them Evils. These guys got moved around from not playing on the Saturday because of rain to starting the day off on the Monster Energy Main Stage. And they were going to take this opportunity and run with it. Backing up bands like Zakk Sabbath, Steel Panther and Red Sun Rising, this Orange County trio are lighting up the scene and the charts with their hit songs “Got me Rockin”, “She’s Got Nothin’” and “Have one on me” off their new EP. For an opening band on day 3 I wasn’t expecting a full house but it was a great crowd that came out for them. Stadium seats were filling up by the minute, the floor all the way to the front of house was packed on both sides. Blasting out a six-song set, they kicked you in the teeth from the first notes and kept it up for the whole set. Throwing in a cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” they had the fans eating out of their hands.
Unfortunately, with the rain issues Saturday they moved other bands around as well so we had all three stages playing at the same time, so I missed sets by rockers Stitched Up Heart and Pray for Sleep. That’s one of the casualties of a festival sometimes. Moving over to the Bud Light stage are the always electric Joyous Wolf these cats outta California have it all, a very solid rhythm section, a lead guitar player that is a mix of Hendrix’s, Clapton and Page. Blake Allard’s leads are so smooth, methodical, and precise. Lead singer Nick Reese, is part Iggy Pop, Jim Morrison and a whole lot of wild. His moves are like something I haven’t seen before. The energy he exudes is amazing and at the same time his soulful singing is on point. He has a very dark raspy tenor of a voice and super engaging with the audience. He jumped off the stage and I swear almost broke straight into the splits. Electric slides and noise dives he was all over the place. A believe these guys are one of the next big rock bands to come up the ranks. Can’t wait to see what they do with a full-length album due out soon.
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown have an incredible sound and style, being on John Varvatos’s Record label must help a bit in the fashion department. As for the rock and roll well that is all Tyler and his Shakedown. This Texas native brings the blues to the crossroads with rock and signs his soul away. Putting out their second full length album at the end of 2017 these boys have been travelling steady opening for mega acts like Guns and Roses, AC/DC, BB King and Aerosmith. That’s a beautiful list of acts to be attached to. These guys are all class onstage, seasoned, and always putting on a good ol rock show. There aren’t enough good front men like Tyler, he’s got that swagger.
After their set I needed to run off and interview a few bands and when I returned we were back with Red Sun Rising these guys were kind of playing a home town show as they are from Akron Ohio not too far off. As that was the case they had a huge crowd watching them rip up the main stage. These guys are on tour as we speak if there in your home town I suggest you check them out. Michigan’s own We Came as Romans were in full assault mode on the Bud light stag inciting circle pits, crowd surfing and overall pandemonium. I Prevail singer Eric played a recorder as they walked onstage, before launching it into the crowd and blasting into “Rise” off their album Lifelines.
Shortly following, Code Orange from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania stirred up an all-out revolt, this five-piece hardcore punk outfit punched and kicked through an eight-song set that started off with “My World” and ended with “Forever” before leaving the stage and the crowed unsettled and wanting more. Moving over to the main stage again we jumped into the first song from “The Used”, “Take it Away”. These guys looked like they were having the most fun out of all the bands on the stage that day. Lead singer Bert McCracken is like walking on clouds it’s nice to see him looking good and feeling great. Rocking through their catalog of hit songs they played them all in their 9-song set including “A Box Full of Sharp Objects” with an intro to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and a outro to it as well. Well done set all around.
Having another dilemma of two acts playing at the same time I took a chance and ran over to see Yelawolf’s Set over seeing Baroness, and man did I make a great choice. Yela and his group of Slumamericans hit the stage with a full band, no DJ for this set. Armed with banjos, fiddles, pianos and drums they brought their southern style up to Ohio and let loose. Right out the gate Yela threw his mic stand out in the crowd and kept pouring Bud Lights on the crowd throughout the set. Alabama made a statement in Columbus on Sunday.
Moving on from the country hip hop we moved to a classic 90s super group in Stone Temple Pilots these guys have been around and have had some terrible lows along the way but with new singer Jeff Mutt at their side, they have been riding a wonderful high lately and on Sunday everyone was waiting to catch a glimpse of them with their new front man. With the new album rising the billboard charts they gave us a taste of the new stuff which I love so far and mixed it with a health batch of classic STP. Jeff has a great set of lungs on him, and commands the stage well. I was truly impressed with their complete 11 song set with two new songs in “Meadows” and “Roll Me Under” and finishing out the set with “Sex Type Thing”.
As the night grew closer to a close the last up on the side stages was Babymetal. I don’t think I’m a fan as watching their performance I was a little thrown off. It a mix of Heavy melodies and riffs but with these very spirited girls in these almost Viking like attire, with complete choreography. Not my style but the crowd was huge and engaged. It was a sight to see for sure. Finishing off the night we had Godsmack up on deck and Tool to bring us home, not a bad way to finish off a 3-day banger.
Godsmack is always impressive as I feel like every time they come out they want to outdo the last show they put on. Sully and the boys came at us all hard. Lots of people thought their performance was the best of the entire 3 days, with explosives and booms going off and sully flying around the stage they played from their extensive catalogue with older hits like “Go Away”, “Voodoo” but also hit us with their newest release “Bulletproof” of their latest album “When Legends Rise” and they sure did on Sunday evening.
To close the whole weekend off we had Maynard and Co on stage as Tool was about to bring chaos to Columbus. Unfortunately for the photographers and fans alike getting a look at Maynard was incredibly hard as he’s outfitted in his standard military gear set back in the stage almost in the dark as they are all separated on stage by miles it seems. As it might take them forever to release their anticipated new album, it didn’t take them long to get the crowd in a frenzy. Dedicating their set to fallen rocker Chris Cornell they hammered out a set that consisted of classics like “The Grudge”, “Eniema”, “Sober”, “Forty-six & 2” and after “Opiate” Maynard went on about the bands fear of Bananas and then begged the band members to finish their parts for the new album due out sometime before the year 2030 we hope. Finishing off the night and their set they did a super long extended version of “Stinkfist” to the crowd’s delight.
2018’s Rock on the Range was in the books. Again, such an amazing job by everyone on Danny Wimmer Presents staff a world class event. Can’t wit for what 2019 has in store for us all.