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JUNKMAN Recaps the 2013 Rock On The Range Festival

By Junkman, On-Air Personality
Friday, June 21, 2013 @ 6:31 PM


"I'm a wasted Rock Ranger, I live a life of danger"- GREAT WHITE 1980 something..

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No, not really anymore, But for three days or so every May, I head out to "America's Heartland" to enjoy some of the best live rock acts there are, and photograph and report the results of it. Crew Stadium, in Columbus, Ohio, is the setting for "Rock On The Range", what has become America's premier rock festival. Now in its 7th year, ( I have attended all but one...) it has been expanded from one to three days, featuring over 50 of the top acts in rock on 3 stages.

Rock on the Range is the brainchild of Right Arm Entertainment, and sponsored by Monster Energy Drink, Jagermeister, and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with a stage named after each. This year it attracted well over 100,000 people from all over the nation and beyond. Tickets, affordably priced, sold quickly, and steady, and the tons of vendors secured their spots way in advance. Media from around the globe convened, and were treated to expanded access to the artists, via pre-arranged interviews in an expanded media area. Yeah, it has become the place to be for me and many others. "America's Wacken" is the way it was described to me by a fellow journalist.

Here's what I witnessed. Some bits and pieces of all the bands I saw. Keep in mind, there were over 50 bands, and some sets overlapped others, as there were three stages. I tried to catch as much as I could, if I missed anything, please try and understand. Navigating the passages to three stages, with a sold out crowd, requires tenacity, knowing one's way around, and bypassing some VERY drunk people who can tend to take up a lot of space to get around, due to either inebriation, massive girth, or a combination of both.

I sadly missed sets by HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD, LOVE AND DEATH and a few others, as the show started before I landed. I did, however get there in time to catch a great set by my old friends BUCKCHERRY, who really are the perfect band for this event. Great show as always (they have appeared at ROTR 2 other times) filled with hits, and favorites, and a surprise or two. Opening up with "Lit Up" was a surprise, it's normally their encore song. The band tore through a ten song set that had the crowd rockin' the Range throughout. I've said it before many times, front man Josh Todd is the best in the business. He is constantly in motion, never hits a bad note and always gives the crowd what they want. The fact that they included "Porno Star" from their second release Time Bomb, was another surprise, but well received. To no surprise was the crowd's reaction to their hit "Crazy Bitch" which closed the set. Lots of crowd surfing and plenty of room for audience sing- along's on the chorus.

SET LIST:

  • "Lit Up"
  • "Rescue Me"
  • "All Night Long"
  • "Greed"
  • "Everything"
  • "Sorry"
  • "Porno Star"
  • "Gluttony"
  • "Dead"
  • "Crazy Bitch"
Next up on the Monster-Sponsored main stage was none other than CHEAP TRICK, celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band. When I first heard that they would be playing to the mostly 20 something majority of the ROTR crowd, I wondered why. All it took was putting the band on the stage and letting them do what they have always done - deliver! It was one of the highlights for me, watching this band rock a VERY young crowd with a killer (although very brief at 9 songs) show. Singer Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielson, and bassist Tom Peterson are all in their 60's, but you would never guess. Channeling the energy from Rick Nielson's son Daxx (who's been the bands drummer the last few years in place of Bun E Carlos) they dusted off a set full of old songs and made them sound fresh. As always, all eyes were on Rick Nielson as he made full use of the Monster sized stage, throwing tons of pics at the audience and changing guitars every song. They even brought out BUCKCHERRY members Keith Nelson and Stevie D for a rousing version of "Surrender", before closing the set with "Auf Wiedersehen", which no doubt, had plenty of young "Rangers", as the ROTR crowd is known, downloading CHEAP TRICK songs onto their Iphones and Droids.

SETLIST:

  • "Clock Strikes Ten"
  • "California Man"
  • "Hello There"
  • "Lookout"
  • "Dream Police"
  • "I Want You To Want Me"
  • "Sick Man Of Europe" (from 2009's "The Latest")
  • "Surrender"
  • "Auf Wiedersehen"
I then made my way outside of Crew Stadium to the Jagermeister Stage and caught a half hour set by IN FLAMES. Hailing from Sweden, these gentlemen gave the mosh pit enthusiasts a reason to celebrate and tear it up. Opening with the title track to 2011's Sounds Of A Playground Fading, they showed that they were the heaviest band to play on Friday. Again, a very brief set, but a treat, no doubt, for me and many others. This is the beauty of a festival such as ROTR, diversity, like having IN FLAMES follow CHEAP TRICK. Giving a taste of lots of blends of rock for a very diverse crowd. For IN FLAMES, it would be their last show for the next year or so, as they will be writing material for their next release.

SETLIST:

  • "Sounds Of A Playground Fading"
  • "Where the Ships Dwell"
  • "Ropes"
  • "Fear Is The Weakness"
  • "The Mirrors Truth"
  • "Deliver Us"
  • "Take This Life"
Again, back to the main stage for the nights headliner- KORN! Playing only their second show since the reunion with original guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, the band was as tight as I've ever seen them. Drummer Ray Luzier seems to have really re-energized this band since he joined the group a few years ago, and he kept the pace, as well as the beat, at a pounding rate. Opening with "Blind" as they usually do, leading into "Ball Tongue" which was interesting. Singer Jonathon Davis kept the on-stage banter to a minimum, as there was a curfew of 11 PM or so at Crew Stadium. he just did what he and the other members of KORN, Guitarist Munky, and bassist Fieldy, do best. They literally POUNDED the crowd into submission for the evening. "Dead Bodies Everywhere" was a metaphor for what truly was an outstanding set, leaving the "Rangers" beaten and bloodied in the mosh pits, and I noticed more than one being carried out of Crew Stadium as we made our way out to rest up for day two of the festival.

SETLIST:

  • "Blind"
  • "Ball Tongue"/"It takes Two"/"Lodi Dodi"
  • "Twist"
  • "Chi"
  • "Falling Away From Me"
  • "Dead Bodies Everywhere"
  • "Did My Time"
  • "Shoots and Ladders/Somebody Someone"
  • "Here To Stay"
  • "Lies"
Encores:
  • "Get Up"
  • "Got The Life"
  • "Freak On A Leash"
Saturday, Day 2 at Rock On The Range arrived, and I got my road and rock weary ass to Crew Stadium about noon, missing out on POP EVIL's set on the Monster Stage. I also missed ALL THAT REMAINS on the Monster Stage as well, the reason being, there were two acts on the Jagermeister stage that I didn't want to miss. I think the only thing I would have to bitch about ROTR, was that there were so many bands that were playing at the same time, It was hard to see them all. I guess too much of a good thing can't be all bad, especially when it comes to live rock.

The first of which was GEMINI SYNDROME. This band, in my opinion, has what it takes to be one of the new players in the hard rock world. Great songs, great look , and they put on an outstanding, aggressive performance. One of my favorite sets of the day! Check out their video for "Pleasure and pain" on www.geminisyndrome.com. Again, mark my words, you will be seeing this band a lot in the near future, and hearing them when their full-length CD comes out.

Next up on the Jagermeister stage was HEAVEN'S BASEMENT. This band first caught my attention when I played their first single "Fire Fire" on my show on KNAC.COM. rave reviews from friends who had seen them perform at the "Golden Gods" after party in Hollywood recently, had made this band a must-see for me. They did not disappoint. Their brand of "gritty, old school rock blended with today's aggressive style" was the perfect wake up to the local "Rangers" and myself, who were still shaking off the effects of the day before. They really tore it up, and made a big fan out of me. Log on to www.heavensbasement.com to see and hear more about them...And you will!

Off to the Monster stage I went, to see one of my favorite live acts, HALESTORM. Playing Rock on the Range for the fourth time, and first since winning a Grammy, this band has reached star status amongst the faithful. Blasting off with "Freak Like Me" and giving the crowd everything they had, and everything they asked for- all the hits, crowd sing- along's, even drummer Arejay Hale jumping into said crowd to "surf", this band just continues to kick ass. Frontwoman Lzzy Hale is a rock Superstar, and, sporting her signature Gibson Explorer and black hot pants, certainly looked the part, but her incredible voice, which at times, becomes a primal scream, is really what takes this band to another level. Fittingly enough, she acknowledged the anniversary of the passing of another vocal legend, Ronnie James Dio, about mid-way through their set with a nice cover of "Straight Through The Heart". Again, a great set from a great band, and the day was only beginning...

SETLIST

  • "Freak Like Me"
  • "Love Bites (So Do I)"
  • "It's Not You"
  • "Rock Show"
  • "Straight Through The Heart" (DIO cover)
  • "Mz. Hyde"
  • "I Get Off"
  • "Here's To Us"
  • "I Miss The Misery"
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE followed HALESTORM on the main stage, and did what they always do-deliver a very loud, precise set, featuring old and new tunes, including the title track from Temper Temper , their latest release. By now, the "crowd surfers" were out in full force. I even noticed surfers dressed as characters, like Spiderman, and "Where's Waldo" drifting time and time again over the sold out crowd. The tempo of BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE's arsenal of songs is particularly condusive to moshing and crowd surfing, I must say...

SETLIST

  • "Breaking Point"
  • "Your Betrayal"
  • "Walking the Demon"
  • "Riot"
  • "4 Words ( To Choke Upon)"
  • "Temper Temper"
  • "Tears Don't Fall"
  • "Scream Aim Fire"
To the Jagermeister stage, I then trudged, to see a set from a band that I absolutely adore, THE SWORD. They did not disappoint. Blasting out their heavy brand of bluesey, distorted brand of early BLACK SABBATH styled "stoner metal", (as many have labeled them...) these guys from Austin, Texas put everything into the music. And I mean that, they literally don't have much of a stage show, it's all about the tunes! I took that to heart, as I shot some photo's and just kind of stood there, grooving on the groove that they laid on us.

Back to the Main Monster stage I went, bypassing lots of "Wasted Rock Rangers", many of whom were becoming overwhelmed by the heat, humidity, and of course by the overindulgence. New this year to Rock On The Range was the "Old Milwaukee" sponsored Comedy Tent which featured a variety of comedians performing their routines throughout the weekend, such as That Metal Show co-host Jim Florentine. I stopped in once or twice to see what was happening, and it looked to me like mostly people trying to beat the heat. Besides, there was comedy everywhere. Lots of girls dressed up for Saturday night, literally baking in the Saturday day heat, their makeup smeared and looking like Alice Cooper after he gets off stage. The fat guy, passed out in a pool of his own vomit, his friends frantically trying to revive him and move him at the same time, to no avail. The Menonite girl, complete with traditional bonnet, having a blast in the middle of a mosh pit. The faces on the crowd surfing "rangers" as they arrive in the pit and are shoved back into the sold out crowd by a huge security guy. And don't get me started on the legions of people with really BAD tattoos...Again, it's a beautiful place to laugh, smile and observe, as well as enjoy the music and fun.

PAPA ROACH were next on the main stage, and they have appeared at ROTR many times. Singer Jacoby Shaddix IS the show, a non-stop ball of energy he is, constantly in motion. He had some down time earlier this past year after vocal surgery, but has come back full steam ahead! Opening with "Burn" and enticing the crowd to sing along throughout the set, especially with "Getting Away With Murder", and the set closing "Last Resort", Shaddix and company let the crowd know that they are all about having a good time, as Shaddix frequently jumped into the crowd and even made his way into the stands, which again, were filled to capacity. I always enjoy seeing this band live, I hope you will too. They are touring this summer.

SETLIST

  • "Burn"
  • "To Be Loved"
  • "Getting Away With Murder"
  • "Silence Is The Enemy"
  • "Forever"
  • "Between Angels And Insects"
  • "Where Did The Angels Go?"
  • "Still Swingin'"
  • "Scars"
  • "Lifeline"
  • "Last Resort"
I then made probably my only bad decision of the weekend. Instead of going back to the Jagermeister Stage to see CLUTCH, who I love, or heading to the PBR stage to see ASKING ALEXANDRIA, I elected to stay at the main stage and check out THREE DAYS GRACE. It just never went anywhere. After replacing singer Adam Gontier with former MY DARKEST DAYS vocalist ( and bassist Brad Walst's brother) Matt Walst, the band seems to have lost their direction. The songs were there, but the energy and stage show just were not, in my opinion. Hopefully it is temporary, and the band gets back to their original course, which has been quite successful. There were a few highlights of the set, like "Pain", and in interesting cover of LIMP BIZKIT's "Break Stuff" which energized the crowd a bit, and "Riot" which closed the set.

SETLIST

  • "Chalk Outline"
  • "Just Like You"
  • "Pain"
  • "The High Road"
  • "Home"
  • "The Good Life"
  • "I Hate Everything About You"
  • "Break Stuff" (LIMP BIZKIT cover)
  • "Never Too Late"
  • "Animal I Have Become"
  • "Riot"
By far the best and most well recieved set of the day was turned in by STONE SOUR. Finally making it to the Main stage, after having to cancel their appearance in 2011 due to drummer Roy Mayorga's recovery from a stroke, they more than made up for it to an eager and adoring crowd of rocked Rangers. "It took us two fucking years, but goddamnit, STONE SOUR is at Rock On The Range". And with that simple statement, not to mention the killer output about to be launched, singer Cory Taylor has become "the man" as far as most of the crowd was concerned. From first notes of the opening song "Gone Sovereign", from last year's House Of Gold And Bones part 1 release, he had the entire Crew Stadium in his hands, glued to his every move and motion. Exclaiming "We are NOT going to disappoint you tonight", they did not even come close to that as the band, blew us away, with a killer set that really combined all the elements of what a great rock show can be.

A hazy smoke surrounded the band throughout, making it difficult at times to photograph, but I guess that is all I can say to the negative. It did however, add to the mystique of their stage show, as the band members silently, with the exception of Taylor, went about the business of rocking the Range. Guitarists Jim Root and Josh Rand spent their time supplying the licks, drummer Mayorga and new bassist Johnny Chow providing a crushing bottom end throughout. A crowd sing-along to "Bother" brought out a huge and well deserved smile to Taylor's face, and they saluted their heroes BLACK SABBATH with a very heavy rendition of the Sabbath classic "Children of the Grave".

The mosh pits, crowd surfers, new fans, old fans, and even some of the security guards all got in to it, and by the set ending "30/30-150", the entire sold out Crew Stadium was a mass of moshing movement. This is what the crowd came to experience. This was what an all day rock show should be. The energy was at an apex. The grin on Cory Taylor's face, as the crowd launched into a loud ovation said it all. He and his band mates had truly conquered their audience, many of whom flocked to the F.Y.E tent afterwards, to load up on merchandise. As I stood stage-side, and watched the band enthusiastically walk back to their dressing room, the crowd still roaring, smiles everywhere, you really got the feeling of seeing something that will be talked about for some time to come.

SETLIST

  • "Gone Sovereign"
  • "Absolute Zero"
  • "Mission Statement"
  • "Made Of Scars"
  • "Do Me A Favour"
  • "Say You'll Haunt Me"
  • "Bother"
  • "Through Glass"
  • "Children Of The Grave" (BLACK SABBATH cover)
  • "Get Inside"
  • "30/30-150"
In a way I felt sorry for SMASHING PUMPKINS. Not really, as they were headling America's premier rock festival, in front of a sold out crowd. But, to follow STONE SOUR, after what they did onstage, before them, must have been tough. Not only that, but the band has been away for awhile, with only singer Billy Corgan representing the mid-90's alterna-hit makers these days, therefore making it that much harder to win over an audience of today's ADD young concert goers. Although I have never really been much of a fan of this band, there are those that worship them. And for them there were highlights.

They played lots of their hits, like "Cherub Rock" and "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and, keeping up with the other bands, chose an interesting cover song mid-set, David Bowie's "Space Oddity". All the while a pretty spacey video showed over the bands heads. A very strange moment happened when Corgan told the crowd surfers to be careful, that he himself, was injured doing it once. About halfway through the set my own ADD kicked in, as did my desire to call it a day, and I headed to downtown Columbus for an invitation-only party at a local brewery, attended by some of the bands, and many members of the media. Free drinks at a micro-brewery? Hell to the yes! And I exited Crew Stadium, satisfied with a great day of rock, with another to go.

SETLIST

  • "Quasar"
  • "Cherub Rock"
  • "Bullet With Butterfly "
  • "The Celestials"
  • "Space Oddity" (David Bowie cover)
  • "X.Y.U."
  • "Disarm"
  • "Tonight Reprise"
  • "Tonight, Tonight"
  • "Ava Adore"
  • "Zero"
  • "United States"
Encore:
  • "Today"
As Sunday morning came, I again, shook of the effects of the night before, although, a bit harder to do with the amount of beer I ingested at the party ( great place, by the way-Barley's Brewing Company, downtown Columbus, Ohio-www.barleysbrewing.com/downtown) and made my way to Crew Stadium for Day 3 of Rock On The Range. As I mentioned before, there were 3 stages at Rock On The Range, the Monster Energy Drink sponsored Main stage, located inside Crew stadium, The Jagermeister sponsored stage, located just outside the stadium, closest to the main stage, and the Pabst Blue Ribbon sponsored Stage located in a remote parking lot on the other side of the stadium, nearer the main entrance.

It occurred to me that on Saturday, day two of the festival, I had neglected to make it to the PBR stage at all. I therefore, missed sets from YOUNG GUNS, OTHERWISE, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, BLACK VEIL BRIDES, ASKING ALEXANDRIA, and A DAY TO REMEMBER. Between all the bands that I saw on the other stages, it just kind of worked out that way. Today, as it would turn out, would be the opposite, I wouldn't make it to the Jagermeister stage at all. Just too many bands to see. That's actually a good thing, but, first off, my apologies to the bands I missed on the Jagermeister stage on day 3 - the Fox Rocks contest winner band - ERROR 504, O'BROTHER (who I actually saw for 1 song...), BEWARE OF DARKNESS, THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH, MIDDLE CLASS RUT, and DEUCE. All these bands deserve props, but I will leave them to those that saw them.

As I arrived about halfway through SICK PUPPIES set on the main stage, I decided to grab yet another Monster Energy Rehab ( my lifesaver throughout the festival, Thanks to all those at Monster!) and grab a bite to eat from one of the many vendors throughout the festival site. They had everyone from a bunch of clothing company's, the US Army, LOTS of beer vendors, even a White Castle burger booth, which was tempting, but I, thankfully did not indulge in . Armed with my trusty camera, I headed to the Monster stage to catch a killer, but all too brief set from SEVENDUST. ALWAYS a treat, and a sure-fire wake up . Opening with their latest single, the brutal "Decay" from their latest release, Black Out The Sun, singer LaJon Witherspoon and company put a serious "can O' Whoop-ass" on the weary Rangers with their six song set, and just like that, they were done.

SETLIST

  • "Decay"
  • "Praise"
  • "Till Death"
  • "Pieces"
  • "Splinter"
  • "Face To Face"
I finally ventured out to the PBR stage in time to see a cool set by RED, who have really upped their game since I last saw them. Great staging, with lots of pyrotechnics, and the manic energy of singer Michael Barnes made this a very entertaining set, although I had to bail out after three songs, (which is the standard limit for photographers in the pit) to make my way back to the Monster stage.

SETLIST

  • "Feed The Machine"
  • "Perfect Life"
  • "Let Go"
  • "Death Of Me"
  • "Die For You"
  • "Release The Panic"
  • "Breathe Into Me"
As I mentioned before, there was a comedy tent set up for the first time at ROTR, but the real laughs for me and many others came during a set by the "Kings Of The Sunset Strip" , hair band parody rockers STEEL PANTHER. Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx, and Stix Zadinia, showed the mid-western crowd what we in Los Angeles have enjoyed for years, every Monday night, a tongue-in-cheek set and stage show that is always over the top . Sporting a ton of pancake makeup, their finest spandex, and lots of hairspray and lipstick, the band slayed the crowd with a 7 song set of original tunes like "Asian Hooker", "Community Property", and "Death To All But Metal". It was great to see the looks on people's faces that had never experienced a SP show, and priceless as it was, it went off well.

SETLIST

  • "Eyes Of A Panther"
  • "Tomorrow Night"
  • "Asian Hooker"
  • "Just Like Tiger Woods"
  • "Community Property"
  • "17 Girls I A Row"
  • "Death To All But Metal"
Back to the PBR stage I dashed, for a look at GHOST, looking creepy in their "Goth Meets the Pope" look before deciding to head back to the Monster stage and catch the beginning few songs from SKILLET, who are another band that has come a long way since I first saw them. After a false start to the opening chords of "Whispers in The Dark", featuring a masked violinist and cellist, decked out in all white garb, the band rocked the Rangers with their own brand of electronic metal. Singer John Cooper and his wife, guitarist/ keyboardist Korey, are still the main focus of the band, and they do put on quite an entertaining show. Again, years of touring have made this band really "up their game" in terms of their show. Always fun to see.

SETLIST

  • "Whispers In The Dark"
  • "Hero"
  • "Sick Of It All"
  • "Awake And Alive"
  • "Rise"
  • "Circus For A Psycho"
  • "Monster"
  • "Rebirthing"
Again, I dashed to the PBR stage to catch another of my favorite live acts, IN THIS MOMENT. Apparently, so did everyone else. By the time I got there, after the first song, "Rise With Me", the crowd got so crazy, that they scared the shit out of the security, and they kicked all the photographers out of the pit. Bodies were flying everywhere, it looked like salmon spawning season, and on a paved parking lot. The safest spot for me, and not a bad sightline was the Monster Energy Drink Portable lounge, which had a bar serving Monster drinks. Not a bad place to view the carnage.

Again, ITM, kicked ass. Singer Maria Brink is another that has really "upped her game" (yeah, that term again, I know....) through touring and lots of hard work. All eyes were on her. Dressed in white, with lots of blood red accents, she screamed her way through the 7 song set, highlighting 3 songs from their latest release Blood, including the title track, which closed the set. Again, bodies were everywhere, smiling and bleeding, happy and sunburned, the aftermath of a great set by a great band.

SETLIST

  • "Rise With Me"
  • "Adrenalize"
  • "Blazin'"
  • "Whore"
  • "Burn"
  • "Beast Within"
  • "Blood"
To the Monster Stage I maneuverd, through the ever growing, sun drenched crowd, to catch a great set from the Danish band VOLBEAT. I had seen them a few weeks before, so I knew what to expect. As always a driving, galloping mix of rockabilly and straight on metal. Singer Michael Poulsen and company (featuring former ANTHRAX guitarist Rob Caggiano) gave a solid set of both old and new VOLBEAT. Highlights were, for me anyway, the songs they spotlighted off their latest release, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, like "Lola Montez", "Dead but Rising" and "The Hangman's Body Count", which I have been playing heavily on my show on KNAC.COM. I'm all about the new tunes, ya know...

SETLIST

  • "A Warrior's Call"
  • "Guitar Gangsters"
  • "Hallelujah Goat"
  • "Sad Man's Tongue"
  • "Dead But Rising"
  • "The Mirror and The Ripper"
  • "Lola Montez"
  • "16 Dollars"
  • "Fallen"
  • "The Hangman's Body Count"
  • "Still Counting"
  • "Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booza"
Quickly I made my way, to the PBR stage. When I say quickly, may I apologize now, to any and all "Rangers" I may have run over in my quest to get to see DEVICE, the new band fronted by DISTURBED singer David Draiman. An anxious crowd awaited and were not disappointed, as Draiman is a pro at pumping up a crowd, that I'm sure was quite weary at this point. I know I was...

Although it was a short six song set, the band - Draiman, guitarist Virus, and drummer Will Hunt, was impressive. Once they put out more material, it will be quite a show. Highlights were the first single "You Think You Know", and some cool covers, including the Ozzy Osbourne classic "Close My Eyes Forever", which featured a duet with Maria Brink (Lzzy Hale from HALESTORM appears on the CD) that brought out a huge roar from the sweaty, curious crowd ,when it was introduced, as well as a set-ending version of "Wish" from NINEINCH NAILS.

SETLIST

  • "Penance"
  • "You Think You Know"
  • "Haze"
  • "Close My Eyes Forever" (Ozzy Osbourne/Lita Ford cover featuring Maria Brink)
  • "Vilify"
  • "Wish" (NINE INCH NAILS Cover) Made it back to the Monster Stage stage to catch a few songs from BUSH. Singer/guitarist Gavin Rossdale is the show, period. The ladies love Gavin, and there were plenty of breasts bared above the crowd for his approval. Trouble is, he rarely looks at the crowd, most of his focus is on the neck of his guitar, or staring into space. The band played everything that you would want to hear, culminating with "Comedown" their first and biggest hit, and I left for another brutal set on the PBR stage.

    SETLIST

    • "Machinehead"
    • "Testosterone"
    • "The Sound Of Winter"
    • "Everything Zen"
    • "Loneliness Is A Killer"
    • "Come Together" (BEATLES cover)
    • "Little Things"
    • "Glycerine"
    • "Come Down"
    The brutal set I was referring to was none other than LAMB OF GOD. Closing out the PBR stage for ROTR 2013, they were the band that many in the crowd had been awaiting the most. Due to the attention brought on by the recent trail of singer Randy Blythe in the Czech Republic the death of a fan that repeatedly jumped onstage, there was an emphasis on safety. Before the show even started, Mistress Julia from Fuse Network, and Rita Haney (the late Dimebag Darrell's girlfriend, who was everywhere that weekend...), came onstage and asked the crowd to be safe, and watch out for others.

    Well that lasted about a second, or so, because as soon as LOG hit the stage, it became a huge mosh pit. Opening with "Desolation" and "Ghost Walking", Blythe told the crowd to get rowdy and have a good time, but refrain from fighting, and from what I saw, they did all the above. Drummer Chris Adler is a machine. Blythe is one of my favorite front men, shifting his emotions from severe angst to sheer joy by the minute, clearly loving what he does. The completely baked crowd, moshing around on the blacktop, tore it up throughout, and by the time LAMB OF GOD wrapped up their set, with "Black Label" from their second CD, the place, again, looked like a war zone. And for a band like LAMB OF GOD and their fans, nothing could make them happier!

    SETLIST

    • "Desolation"
    • "Ghost Walking"
    • "Walk With Me In Hell"
    • "Set To Fail"
    • "Now You've Got Something To Die For"
    • "Laid To Rest"
    • "Redneck"
    • "Black Label"
    A mass exodus happened after LAMB OF GOD's set. Many of the hardcore metal fans called it a day. The side stages, that had rocked with the hardest of the hard for the last few days, were done. In the spirit of upcoming Metal acts, these are the stages that you cut your teeth on, the breeding ground of metal, so to speak. Some of these bands will go on to bigger and better stages, and careers, some will not. Ohio is and always will be a "Blue Collar" area. Many bands have built their audiences right there, in middle America. I looked around, and took in the sights of the PBR stage area, and saw so many beaten, bloodied, but happy metal fans on their way out of the stadium, satisfied and relieved of tension, some still mustering up the energy to scream, yell, or show off the bruises, that had occurred in the pit. It is one of those truly great moments that keeps people like me, smiling, and glad to be able to be a part of it.

    There were still two more bands to see inside Crew Stadium, on The Monster Stage.2 of the biggest bands to come out of the so called "Grunge Era" of the early 90's in Seattle. ALICE IN CHAINS, and the newly reformed SOUNDGARDEN, represented yet another genre of rock the organizers of Rock On The Range had, so brilliantly, added to the mix. Something for every fan of heavy rock. It really is the most well organized of American rock festivals.

    ALICE IN SHAINS is fronted by singer William DuVall. They HAVE been fronted by Willim for awhile now. Their original singer Layne Staley died years ago, of a drug overdose. Many people just plain refuse to accept that, and I overheard many in the crowd say thing to the affect that they will never take this band seriously without Staley. Fuck that! DuVall is a force to be reckoned with, and has re-energized this band. He is a great front man as well, and his vocals blended with guitarist Jerry Cantrell seamlessly.

    Opening the set with a great 1-2 punch with "Them Bones" and "Dam That River", AIC put on a great set, spotlighting their career with all the hits, and, adding two songs, "Hollow", and "Stone" from their latest release, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. Bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney provide a solid and pounding rhythm section, Inez in constant motion throughout. Unfortunately, I did not make the cut to photograph them, as only a select few were authorized to do so, via the bands management. Whatever, I grooved from the side of the stage, and watched as the band slayed the still rocking , early evening crowd. Another DuVall favorite of mine, "Your Decision" and my favorite AIC rocker "Again", were included in the set, and were well received by myself and the 'rest of the rangers'. Be sure to check them out on the upcoming "Uproar Festival" tour. Even though I was not able to photograph them, I did find a Youtube video of their entire set, filmed by a fan. Enjoy-http://youtu.be/rettTpy1Lak

    SETLIST

    • "Them Bones"
    • "Damn That River"
    • "Again"
    • "Check My Brain"
    • "Your Decision"
    • "Hollow"
    • "We Die Young"
    • "Down In A Hole"
    • "Nutshell"
    • "Stone"
    • "No Excuses"
    • "Would?"
    • "Man In The Box"
    • "Rooster"
    Clearly one of my favorite sets of the day. I am an ALICE IN CHAINS fan. It was hard to believe, but the next band, would be the final band to play Rock On The range 2013. And a great way to wrap it up with a band that, apparently, had not played in Columbus in over 20 years. SOUNDGARDEN, who recently re-united for the first time in 13 years, hit the stage, shrouded in a green tinted, smokey haze. Singer Chris Cornell seemed kind of uneasy as he flailed about the stage, invoking, sometimes, the song "Jesus Christ which was the third song of the set, his arms outstretched, his head down.

    I had never seen them live before, and was intrigued by what seemed to me initially, their lack of connection to the audience. Plagued by a muddy sound mix, it was eventually worked out and the band loosened up onstage. "Been Away Too Long", from the bands 2012 comeback release King Animal seemed to be a metaphor, as many of the local 'Rangers" had departed, to parts unknown ("Superunknown" perhaps?..). Nonetheless, It was a thrill to see this band, finally, and there were some great moments in the set. Lots of sing-along's, like "Fell On Black Days", "Spoonman", and of course "Black Hole Sun". Cornell's voice has not aged at all. the band looks like it will be around awhile, and they love reaching into their back catalogue of songs, evident by the set closing choice of 1988's "Incessant Mace".

    As the band left the stage, and the crowd shuffled out of Crew Stadium, I looked at all the beat up, sunburned, but happy faces, and the mess that they had made. My feet hurt, I stunk, I had a mild sunburn, and slight dehydration, but I couldn't be happier. This is really my happy place, my Disneyland. Outdoor rock festivals have always given me the feeling of freedom of expression, and a chance to share it, along with thousands of others. Some people hate crowded places like this, but I can't get enough of it. From the first outdoor show I attended in 1976, summer is all about going to an outdoor rock show and letting loose.

    My thanks to Gary Spivak, and the Folks at Right Arm Entertainment, for again, putting on an awesome festival. The lineup was the best one yet. My fellow journalists and I had a "rectangular table discussion" afterwards at a local bar to think about who would appear at next year's Rock On The Range. Lots of ideas, and that's fun to do. Keep doing what you are doing, it is loved by all. It is, the most organized and well thought out festival that I have attended, that's a fact.

    My thanks as well, to the publicists, bands, techs, fellow photographers and journalists from around the nation, bartenders, the AWESOME security people (*salutes Jim*), the people of Columbus, and especially my fellow "Rangers", I will see you all at a show this summer, and at next year's Rock On The Range 2014. "Ranger For Life"- Horns Up!

    Check out additional photos from the show below!

    NEXT


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