Breaking

2017 – ROCK ON THE RANGE

The indistinct chattering of rockers mixed in the air with a dash of metal music rushing out of tailgating trucks, accompanied by the wafty wonders of grease, sweat, and beer at the Mapfre Stadium for Day one of Rock On The Range 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. The atmosphere pulsed with excitement the closer one got to the stadium gates. Going through the lines, the sound of Cover Your Tracks killing on stage reminds fans of exactly why they are at ROTR: full-metal and rock mayhem, all weekend long. Meandering between the Monster, Zippo, and Bud Light Stages, crowds of people seem in a “music daze,” unsure of which band they’d like to see next.
Beartooth rocked out with songs from their new album: Aggressive. They were warming up – nay, heating up – the crowd for the day. After Beartooth, I Prevail completely own the Zippo stage. About this time of the day, everyone was rowdier, which fueled the party monster. I Prevail added fire to it when they played their new single, “Come and Get It.” This was high time for the ladies in the unicorn costumes to surf the crowd.
Beartooth rocked out with songs from their new album: Aggressive. They were warming up – nay, heating up – the crowd for the day. After Beartooth, I Prevail completely own the Zippo stage. About this time of the day, everyone was rowdier, which fueled the party monster. I Prevail added fire to it when they played their new single, “Come and Get It.” This was high time for the ladies in the unicorn costumes to surf the crowd.
Being completely pumped for the day, we headed over to the Bud Light stage to watch Red Fang. The band started to play, but five minutes into the gig, the drummer signed to the others to stop playing. There was a nasty storm coming, and the Mapfre Stadium announced for everyone to evacuate. The Rangers (Rock on the Range regulars) heard this and headed toward shelter as calmly as possible, since the weather warning was announced before it started to even sprinkle. There were two choices– wait in a car and listen to The Blitz or wait in the closest shelter. Our team chose shelter, which was a concrete mini-venue with a built-in stage outside the stadium. Many Rangers took cover here, too. Some made the best of it and brought in a table for beerpong, other games, and made it a mini party! Around seven, ROTR announced on The Blitz that they would open the gates back up.

Nita Strauss

At the gates, there was a chill in the air from the weather change and all around, crowds pulsed with the desire to re-enter and get back to the damn thing. As quickly as possible, thousands of Rangers flooded back into the venue. On the Main Stage, the guitarist for Alice Cooper, Nita Strauss, was introduced after an acknowledgement of how loyal and metal the rangers are and that they’re not easily fazed. Nita Strauss honored those loyal Rangers as she ripped the National Anthem on her sick guitar!
Motionless In White played on the Zippo stage and reminded the crowd exactly of why they were invited to the show – those guys are so incredibly talented, and the crowd ate up every note. Norma Jean hit the Bud Light stage, while Bush brought back the love of rock and roll into the air to the Main Stage. Their show was a definite highlight on the day it grabbed the listeners by the gut, leaving all butterflies behind. They soulfully played a brief mash-up of Soundgarden songs, lighting up the stage. It did not feel like a planned tribute, but a spiritual movement, as though I could feel Mr. Cornell’s presence.
 
After an eight-year hiatus, the original lineup of Live took the stage, and for this writer, it was a very welcome return. While the music penetrated my ears, my heart pounded, my eyes fixated on the stage thanks to the presence of the original members of a band who have represented a reflection of reality for fans for over twenty years. If you want to feel something, feel them.
 

 

Saturday

 
Day two, Saturday, started off on a rough note. Upon arriving at Mapfre Stadium, we were told the shows were being delayed once again due to the weather. We really hoped the worst of it was going to be over and that it would be time to rock shortly. Many left the stadium to grab something to eat to, no doubt, cure the Rock on the Range hangover.

After what seemed like an incredibly long delay, the storm passed over. Fire From The Gods showed up and showed out for the fans who itched to get that good ol’ Rock on the Range feeling back – pure energy and passion flew smacked everyone in the face as it poured from the stage. One Less Reason gave it their all, and it was clear to everyone that another day of promising music shenanigans was afoot.

Skillet, as they seem to be known for, took their show to a whole new level. They were sweating buckets, not due to the weather, but due to how much energy they put on stage.

 

On the Main Stage, Papa Roach annihilated everyone. A key respectable attribute to this band is that they know how to modernize their sound while staying true to themselves and their signature sound. Everyone loved their set, and it is undoubtedly clear that Papa Roach is back, and dare we say, better than ever. The Offspring came on after them, and while the stage was getting set-up, we noticed the artwork for the band’s backdrop. There was always great art in contrast of their music and when it comes to the music, they never miss a fucking beat.
 
In Flames played on the Bud Light stage. They knew how to get the crowd metaled up properly and when to attack to create proper mosh pit energy. The energy that manifested was that of a happy Metalhead, where there is joy in metal life instead of hate and anger. They purely present only metal happiness. We got a peek at Nita Strauss in the crowd enjoying them, too. Next up were our good friends in Alter Bridge. Their music is the most stimulating in this day and age, and their stage show is second to none in terms of energy and love for the crowd. Their album, The Last Hero, is a testament to this, as was their stage set for Rock on the Range. It consisted of soulful hard rock with an underlying a dynamic funk rhythm, supplied with singing guitar solos and experimental vocals. The crowd was rapt with attention on them throughout, and their set could have gone longer without complaint from anyone.
 
Coheed and Cambria cultivated a big ol’ crowd of Rangers. Not only do they have a classic rock-metal vibe and sound, but their message and show was roundedly spiritual. They even used clips to strengthen the emotion each song suggested. Their music seduced my ears, chills flowed through them and shimmied down my spine as I realized that this was not just metal, but soulfully painful beauty.
 
The time had come for the last show of the evening: Korn! Korn is one of the kings of NuMetal. The lifestyle of rock-to-metal was laid out in full force at the display of support and affection from the Korn fans. It’s like I always say, I love the energy of the audience as much as I do the bands, and Korn fans are ridiculously passionate about their band. I recommend seeing Korn at an outside venue– floor seats enhance that energy exchange.
 
 

 

Sunday

A feeling of relief washed over the crowd as we realized that the rain was away for the day! Hooray! For the well-functioning Rangers, a sense of congratulations was in the air as we realized we’d made it to Sunday – the final day of Rock on the Range. We made it a point to catch Motherfeather live! They made sure the crowd connected with them whether they liked it or not. They never stopped! With energy that rivaled that of bands who’ve been around three times as long as they have, Motherfeather put on an incredible show. We can promise it will not be the last time we see one of their rocking cocking shows.

 

Mother Feather!

Check out our quick conversation with Ann and Lizzie of Mother Feather at Rock on the Range 2017!
Dinosaur Pile Up found a few new fans as they dominated the Zippo Stage, our team included! Have you ever gone to a music festival and saw a band you never heard of before, then they made your top list of bands? This was that band for this writer. On stage, the lead singer told us that this was their first time playing across the pond. Why anywhere else than Rock on the Range, where the “music conquers all and leaves nothing left unsaid” lifestyle thrives? Their sound brings back the “I don’t give a fuck, punk” vibration in a new package. Their show was one we were glad to not miss.
What I dig about modern Rock on the Range is the big screens on both Main and Zippo stage. These showcased clips of the bands performing as well as bands on other stages during downtime at these two stages. In this process of informality, a girl said, “Should we live in the moment and enjoy this band live or get fucked in the future?” Personally, I chose not to get fucked and set up to watch Biffy Clyro, since I dig watching new bands for my playlist. Boy, did I make the right choice. This is one of the most unique bands I have ever seen live. They are also very committed to the music and performance. I almost don’t want to explain their performance because I feel like I’d be spoiling your reaction to the show. You absolutely must check these guys out!
 
Zakk Sabbath is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest guitarists known to the rock scene. He put on a great show for the Rangers to crowd surf to, no doubt. I know there are music sensitives out there who don’t agree of Zakk playing Black Sabbath songs, but hey, why get involved in shared custody of their babies? I say, spread that music seed all over the world, Zakk!

The Pretty Reckless took our breath away. They took blues to rock town and conceives of their name. Each member gave everything they had to each and every song to give it life, make it breathe with no bullshit involved. The cherry on top, for me, was the lyrics fueling the blues aspect that I know many women listen to and want to scream like a monster as Taylor Momsen spilled her guts out on stage. They are one of the most bluesy rockers out there with a shiny new record to reflect it. Their performance was a fantastic one to catch on the day.

Back at the Zippo Stage, Dillinger Escape Plan showed us all exactly who we were dealing with – these guys are the epitome of raw dog. They are incredibly talented and truly understand and reflect what rock and roll is made of. They played like they were tearing apart a dive bar! Their sound varies for each song. They are one of those bands who gave a great experience live, and that experience also transcends to their albums. This band is alive.

The time had come to go to Willy Wonka Land to watch Primus slap da bass and hit the beat. This band’s sound is its very own without apologies, and their live show left many completely wiped out in the crowd. The crowd was prepared to have their minds played with and blown as Primus jammed with irregular sounds and irregular performance. A word of advice to those who haven’t experienced them live: make sure you don’t run into anyone when you run from the stage, screaming when Mr. Crinkle comes out to play.

About an hour before Metallica came on to finish the night, there was another weather warning and before that, there was talk that people were going to riot if Metallica was canceled. That resulted in a cop helicopter flying over the venue while others governed it to monitor if those balls hung true. The band’s gig was only delayed while we were getting hit hard by flooding rain! There were no riots because they went on around nine with a bang ass show with pyro and smoke, baby! It was Metallica hitting on all cylinders, leaving nothing behind. Every time they take the stage, it’s like the first – those guys haven’t found one reason to slow down in their more than three and a half decades in the industry. Metallica is one of those bands who unite both young and old; fans of every shade and stripe of life found themselves enthralled at the energy on the stage as Rock on the Range ended with one of the strongest performances from one of the most legendary bands to ever grace their festival stages.

If you like rowdy shows with pure energy and love, maybe a little rain, and some assured shenanigans and mayhem, Rock on the Range is the place for you. And we’ll see you all out there next year!

Connect with Rock On The Range(click icons):

UA-35365553-1