Rock on the Range day two goes out with a bang
by Reggie Edwards
With day one in the books and day two on the horizon, Rock on the Range 2012 was already a huge success and, in my mind, had already surpassed 2011 on the epic scale.
I was able to see more bands on day two for some reason. Maybe I just scheduled myself better.
I started off the day at the Jager Stage for Ghosts of August. I didn’t know much of anything about these guys except they just got signed in January and they have a new album and single out. For a band who are pretty new to the national scene they definitely have a following and there’s no doubt they can move a crowd.
Next up for me was Black Stone Cherry on the Monster Main Stage. I saw them a few years ago at a small festival in Indianapolis opening for Puddle of Mudd and Candlebox and they stole the show that night so I had some high hopes for them- especially now that they’ve released the follow up to Folklore and Superstition- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
They were just as good if not better this time around, just as energetic as last time but they had more good music and have really grown as a band.
Batting next on the day was Redlight King. Fronted by Kaz, they do an impressive mix of rock and, well, rap, I guess you could say.
They released their latest album last year but they have quite the following already, as the FYE Stage was packed with people jamming and rocking out to the music. Hell, I loved it! I can’t wait to see them again. I’m now a huge fan.
A lot of people wanted to see “Old Man,” which they did, but my personal favorite of theirs is “Bullet in My Hand,” which is an amazing song and it gave me chills, literally chills, when I saw it performed live.
If you haven’t heard that song, you’re missing out. Go Youtube it, now.
I stayed at the FYE Stage after Redlight King to catch Trivium, who had some big buzz around the stadium that day and they were one of the heaviest bands on the bill besides Mastodon.
I don’t think I saw a crowd at that stage as big all weekend as the one for Trivium’s set. They all but destroyed the stage.
They kicked it off with “In Waves,” and it was all but finished. As they progressed through their set, the circle pits progressed in size and extremity. This was probably the most extreme set of the day and I’m glad I was part of it.
Next up for me was 12 Stones on the Jager Stage. That’s right, 12 Stones are BACK! And they sound just as good as they did a few years ago. Their new album released a few days after ROTR wrapped up and they played a few songs from the record, including their latest single, “Infected,” and the crowd at it up.
The day could have ended here and I would have been satisfied. The party was just starting, though, because after Attack Attack wrapped up on the FYE Stage, it was time for Anthrax. That’s right, people, you heard it, Anthrax!
They had by far the biggest buzz of the day and of the weekend. Everyone I talked to was amped for Anthrax. I mean, come on, this was the first time Joey Belladonna has been with the band in over 20 years, on Worship Music (an awesome record by the way).
They didn’t disappoint, either. Belladonna moved around the stage like it was 1988 again and the band as a whole sounded immaculate. The crowd loved it, something that was evident by the large number of crowd surfers mixed with topless girls. Anthrax is back and there’s no doubt about it. I truly hope they stay around for awhile because this is something you don’t wanna miss if you have a chance to catch it- one of the greatest bands of all time reunited on stage. We were all lucky to have experienced Anthrax.
The only thing I regret is that I wasn’t able to catch Lacuna Coil’s set because they were on at the same time was Anthrax. Oh well, next time!
As if Anthrax wasn’t enough, playing on the Monster Main Stage right after Anthrax was another part of The Big Four- Megadeth.
The legendary thrash metal rockers tore it up! Dave Mustaine’s voice sounds just as good as it did back in the day- deep, growly and hauntingly powerful.
What I liked was the fog machines on each side of the stage and the LED backscreen which displayed different designs for the band’s name and also played videos to match their songs.
Mustaine took time to tell the crowd that when he used to tour with his “former band,” he used to go through the phone books of some of the cities he would tour in. One time when he did that in Columbus, Ohio, he found that he had some family there that he didn’t know he had. “So thank you, family!,” he declared.
After almost 30 years or so, Megadeth still have it. They sounded great, Mustaine showed they value their fans after all these years and I can’t think of a better way to lead into Marilyn Manson’s set than two out of four bands of The Big Four.
Now, let me go into a little background if I may. I became a huge Manson fan about six years ago. Yeah, yeah, I know I was late- so sue me.
When I started to really love his music, I was living in Iowa. Well, it just so happens that Marilyn Manson refused to go back to Iowa after a bunch of idiot protestors tipped over his tour bus in Cedar Rapids. This was the same Cedar Rapids stop that is featured on Manson’s The Last Tour on Earth cut of “I Don’t Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me).
Finally, after six years, I had the chance to see Manson for the first time. Not only that, but I was able to cover his performance. A dream come true? I think so.
However, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. He appeared to be so messed up on drugs (or something) that you couldn’t understand anything he said except for the few un-slurred words that left his mouth here and there.
He seemed frazzled, confused and kept throwing the microphone to the ground after each song.
I will give him this, his microphone is pretty sweet- it’s a dagger. He didn’t sound good until the last few songs- “Antichrist Superstar” and “The Beautiful People.” Imagine that, Marilyn Manson’s two best songs of the night included “Antichrist Superstar.”
I won’t lie, being a long-time fan it was really awesome to finally see the Antichrist podium and backdrops in person in the Rock on the Range setting.
All-in-all, though, it wasn’t enough to make up for the poor performance. I never thought I would be more anxious for him to get done performing.
The headliner of the night, though, made up for anything. Rob Zombie was next.
Last time he was at Rock on the Range, he played before Limp Bizkit, who was the headliner of the night. After Zombie’s set, people started to head for the exits, similar to the way they did during Incubus on night one this year.
Well this year was different; Zombie was the headliner and he put out a statement a few days before ROTR kicked off, saying that not only did he have something special up his sleeve for ROTR but he would also debut the trailer for his new movie, “The Lords of Salem.”
He said his “something special” would only be at ROTR because it’s “just too expensive to do every night.”
The stage was filled with a bunch of larger-than-life LED screens backing him on stage, showing old horror movie clips and other odd video clips. Atop the side screens, flames ignited making the atmosphere an undeniable house of horrors.
He kicked it off with “Jesus Frankenstein” then went right into “Superbeast” and the party had officially started.
Throughout the night, Zombie interacted with the crowd, making hilarious comments, joking with them and it was obvious he was just as pumped to perform as we were to see him.
As promised, he showed the trailer for the new movie and it looks amazing. It looks pretty twisted and creepy but then again, it’s Rob Zombie and if it wasn’t twisted it wouldn’t be Zombie.
He played for almost an hour-and-a-half or so and it seemed like 20 minutes. The time flew by so quickly it was sad. When it became clear that Zombie was almost done, I started to wonder what this “something special” was that he had in store.
BANG! Then it happened- fireworks, baby!
That’s right, Zombie brought a fireworks show with him. As he wrapped up his encore of “Dragula,” fire ignited all over the stage and fireworks started to go off like crazy.
“Just for you, mother***ing Rock on the Range!,” he declared from the stage.
And just like that Rock on the Range 2012 was in the books and, in my book, was a complete success. I don’t know how they’re going to top this next year but I can’t wait to find out.
To hear our exclusive interviews with the ROTR 2012 bands, click the links below:
Joey Belladonna of Anthrax
Eve to Adam
Ghosts of August
Andrea Ferro of Lacuna Coil
Paolo Gregoletto of Trivium