FESTIVAL REVIEW: INKCARCERATION FESTIVAL 2019 Live at Ohio State Reformatory – Day 1 (Friday)
The INKCARCERATION FESTIVAL (formerly Ink-in-the-Clink), is a three-day music festival like no other. The Ohio State Reformatory (1896-1990), stands as a unique backdrop to this one of a kind festival and was also home to the 1994 film ‘Shawshank Redemption’, which is celebrating its 25th year anniversary. A handful of bands, including Godsmack, have also shot music videos here. With over 70 tattoo artists set up on the upper floor of the Reformatory, it was obvious that these outstanding ink artists had their hands full, as each booth displayed a placard notifying fans that each day was completely booked, so It would be a good idea for next year’s attendees to call/book well in advance prior to the 2020 festival.
The reformatory also offered a self-guided tour of the actual prison cells, corridors and private rooms used by the warden and Chaplin. Other points of interest were the electric chair, and the ‘tunnel’ movie prop, encased in clear plexiglass. To top everything off there was a vast array of delicious food vendors and a spacious open-sided tent, for fans to get out of the sun and enjoy their meals. Now onto the music! INKCARCERATION offered a lineup to rival any other festival out there with headliners Shinedown, Godsmack, and Five Finger Death Punch.
Day One began, as the gates opened and fans made their way inside. With the main stage set up on the expansive front yard, and the side stage as well as the food court on the pavement, we knew right away that these three days were undoubtedly going to be scorchers, as the weather forecast predicted temperatures in the mid-90’s and no rain in sight! Thankfully there were misting stations as well as water refilling stations on-site to combat the heat and keep everyone as cool as possible.
Broken Hands opened up day one on the main stage. Out of the UK, their set included their latest single “Wrong Track” from their upcoming release entitled ‘Split In Two’, dropping August 9th. Following on their heels were The Everyday Losers, out of Southern Indiana, and promoting their latest release ‘Mono No Aware’. A short, yet energetic set was followed by the hard-hitting Awake At Last hailing from Dover, Delaware. They wowed the crowd with a set of dark pop/hard rock and post-hardcore from their debut album ‘The Change’ (06/21/19). Funeral Portrait, out of Atlanta, Georgia, were up next on the side stage. Recently releasing their newest single “Holy Water”, it is expected that new material should be forthcoming within the next year or so. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus took a brief break from the Don’t Hide The Light tour to headline the second stage for day one, delighting their diehard fans with songs from their latest album ‘The Awakening’, as well as from the debut album ‘Don’t You Fake It’. The stages were set up well, with easy access to move back and forth between the two, and with the second stage closed for the day, it was time to focus on the main stage for the remainder of the night.
Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho brought his fans to near hysteria with a short but intense set. Opening up with “Judas”, the crowd was in sync with every word and note played, and this continued throughout the performance. Playing several hits off of the recent release ‘Judas’ , Fozzy also graced us with my favorite “Do You Wanna Start A War” before closing with “Sandpaper”. After his show Chris Jericho, dressed in an orange INKCARCERATION 2019 tee-shirt (with sleeves ripped off), stopped by to do a few radio interviews as well as graciously have pictures taken with those of us present. A truly remarkable and humble man! Fronted by the powerful John Cooper on bass/vocals,Skillet came up next. Right from the first drumbeat laid down by the ever-so-talented Jen Ledger, Skillet wasted no time electrifying the near-capacity crowd. Opening with “Feel Invincible” and hammering us with their remaining 10 song set. While Korey Cooper began shredding her strings on “Sick Of It”, John traded in his 5-string axe for a pair of flamethrowers (steam) on each arm and would time it perfectly with the blue and red stage lighting, making the experience all the more spectacular. Closing their set with both “Monster” and “The Resistance”, Jen Ledger could be seen twirling her sticks, unlike any drummer I’ve witnessed. Outstanding performance! Check for upcoming tour dates, as you do not want to miss out!
Taking Back Sunday, out of Long Island, NY nailed their set, enticing the fans with their opener “Liar (Takes One to Know One)”, and following with “You Can’t Look Back”. As the sun finally left the sky, they finished up a condensed, yet satisfying set with “Make Damn Sure”. The crowd started to get restless at this point, waiting in eager anticipation for the headliner of day one to hit the stage. As the minutes ticked past their start time, one could almost cut the thick anticipation that hovered above the heads of dedicated fans with a knife. Then the explosion combined with heat-intense pyros that could be felt for a solid 50 feet or more, as Zach Myers led the boys of Shinedown into a fierce intro with “Devil”. Hot on the heels of their latest album release ‘Attention Attention!’, featuring chart-climbing hits “Get Up” and “Monsters”, these veterans hailing from three different states (Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina), all but obliterated all in attendance with their 15 song set. With a spectacular display of pyro, explosive bangs and a killer light show, Shinedown played many songs from their new album, but also went back in time with hits like “45”, and also performed their version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”. Soaked with sweat and visibly drained, Smith, Kerch, Myers & Bass continue to out-perform themselves as they wrapped up the night with “Sound of Madness” and “Brilliant”.
A truly remarkable and not soon to be forgotten show! To top everything off there was a vast array of delicious food vendors and a spacious open-sided tent, for fans to get out of the sun and enjoy their meals. This in itself was a great day, stay tuned for days two and three!!