Winter Riot tour hits Kokomo with Taproot and 12 Stones
by Reggie Edwards
Taproot’s Winter Riot Tour, which features direct support from 12 Stones, Digital Summer, 3 Pill Morning and Prospect Hill, hit Kokomo, Ind. on a night when a tragic elementary school shooting in Connecticut had the nation in shock. It was up to the bands to take peoples’ minds off a tragedy that was felt everywhere.
Leading off the night was Prospect Hill, a band who not a lot of people knew. They were a great pick for an opening band, though. They engaged the crowd, got them moving, got them excited, and by the time they were done, fans had started flocking to the stage in excitement.
One of my favorite parts of their set was the snippet from the movie Alpha Dog (scene where Ben Foster’s character is screaming at Johnny Truelove over the phone that he will find him and kill him) they played as a transition between two songs- I was in heaven.
Next up was 3 Pill Morning- a band I didn’t know what to think of when they took the stage with half the band in suits. They still put on one hell of a show, with frontman Jeff’s stage presence reminding me of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington.
Not to mention they sold “pills” at their merch table- epic.
Up next was Digital Summer, who couldn’t have had a better slot. These guys have been around for a few years now so they aren’t really at the opener slot but aren’t big enough yet for a headliner slot.
They rocked the crowd, had ‘em moving around and really into the set. The highlight was when they brought 12-year-old Austin Rios onstage.
Rios has been posting Digital Summer drum covers on YouTube and has really been a bit of a sensation so they brought him up to jam and he gave Digital Summer drummer Ben Anderson a run for his money.
I think the only thing that could have made their set better would to have a song with dual drummers, but the stage wasn’t big enough for that and the only band that can pull it off may be Godsmack.
Nonetheless, they got the crowd ready for 12 Stones, who were up next.
12 Stones took the stage as the second-to-last band and did what they do best and have done best for over a decade now- melting faces and putting on a fun show while doing it.
Starting off with “Bulletproof” off their latest release, Beneath the Scars, they played a combination of new songs with old favorites and became one with the crowd.
Just like each of the three bands before them, they took a moment of silence for the victims of that afternoon’s elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn. in the middle of their set.
Toward the end of the set 12 Stones were joined by the front men from 3 Pill Morning and Prospect Hill for the final song, “Broken,” which got the crowd ready for headliner Taproot.
Taproot’s one of those bands who’ve been around for awhile and have a huge catalog so the setlist was destined to be great.
As the sound of “Gangnam Syle” blared over the PA, the guys from Prospect Hill as well as merch guys and crew guys broke out dancing and Taproot took the stage. Then the hard rock sound we’ve all grown to love from Taproot exploded and the party had begun.
Frontman Stephen Richards’ energy was irreplaceable and his facial expressions were priceless. Taproot really knows how to engage a crowd- regardless of the size- which on this night was surprisingly small.
However, I really have to hand it to Taproot. These guys have played Ozzfest, Rock on the Range, all the festivals, they’ve been around since 1997 and they are some of the most humble guys you’ll see. They don’t care how small the crowd is- they got up there, played, rocked it, and made it the experience of a lifetime for everyone there.
Their set included their new songs like “No Surrender” and “The Everlasting” as well as some of the old fan favorites like “Fractured,” “Mine” and, of course, “Poem,” which ended the night and involved Richards giving fans a chance to sing along by giving one of them the microphone for the final chorus.
The show overall was outstanding and didn’t have one bad set on the night. All five bands were stellar and rocked the crowd. You couldn’t have asked for a better show.
We had a chance to sit down with Taproot drummer Nick Fredell before the show. We had a chance to talk about the tour, guitar picks, the band’s latest album The Episodes, the single “No Surrender” and much more. The interview can heard in its entirety below: