Photographs and Review by Christa Rae Settle.
In it’s second year presented by Live Nation and VH1, Mixtape Festival brought together top music icons of the pop and rock genres for one musically packed two day festival at Hershey Stadium in Hershey, PA. The sun was out, making it a hot day, but it was the perfect weather to open up the festival. The seats were set, the lemonade was fresh and chilled, and starting at 4:55pm the stadium was filled with live music for the next six hours. The lineup of the night was filled with very successful rock bands and a couple of pop artists/bands – Train, OneRepublic, The Script, Gavin DeGraw, Hanson and Serena Ryder.
One very unique aspect to the festival was the stage – it was a carousel stage which rotated. In the middle was a divider, separating the stage into two parts. It appeared to just be a black backdrop behind the bands, but what it was hiding was the next band’s stage. Once a band’s set ended, the carousel stage rotated to reveal the next act’s stage already set. This allowed for very short intermissions in between each act.
At approximately 10:00pm, the stadium turned into a train station with loud locomotive sounds being blasted through the subwoofers and speakers as the headlining act of the night, Train, arrived on stage. Opening with their 2003 hit “Calling All Angels”, lead vocalist Patrick Monahan was all smiles as he greeted the packed stadium that was singing along to all the lyrics. Alongside Patrick is Scott Underwood on drums and Jimmy Stafford on guitar, which makes up the band’s core trio.
A few songs into Train’s set, Patrick decided to leave the stage and run all around the stadium to serenade almost every audience member to “Marry Me” which drove girls, women and even men of all ages crazy, leading them to run around and try to follow him while screaming. Then the band transitioned to “Save Me, San Francisco” and Patrick returned to the stage. During their performance of “Meet Virginia”, a hit from 1998, Patrick said to the crowd “…but I’d rather be in Pennsylvania.” Mixtape Festival was a significant stop on Train’s current tour since Erie, Pennsylvania was Patrick’s hometown.
Train is a band that really brings the audience into their performances, literally. There had been a contest earlier that day for contestants to dress up as Mermaids and join the band on stage for “Mermaid”, one of the songs off their latest album California 37 released in 2012. They also gave many fun souvenirs to audience members, like beach balls and t-shirts signed by Patrick on stage right before tossing them into the first few rows. He also tossed a guitar pick or two.
For “Bruises” Patrick had the beautiful country music singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe sing the duet with him. At the end of the night, Train invited Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Danny O’Donoghue of The Script, Gavin DeGraw, Taylor Hanson of Hanson, and Ashley Monroe to join him in closing out the festival’s first night. Together, these artists sang a song titled “The Weight”. This was a great way to close the night out, showing us how close some of these artists are and bringing the fans of all the bands together for the last few minutes of the first day of Mixtape Festival.
An hour and ten minutes before Train headlined the night, OneRepublic took the stage in complete darkness to the song “Light It Up” on their third album Native released this past March. The lights remained dimmed and only lit up when lead vocalist Ryan Tedder sang the lyrics “I can light it up for you.” Then, Brent Kutzle put down his bass guitar, stepped up to the front of the stage with a cello and a chair, sat down, and started playing the well known beginning instrumental of OneRepublic’s 2009 hit “Secrets”. The lights still remained dim and shifting between shades of blue, red and magenta until the chorus kicked in. Since their first debut studio album Dreaming Out Loud in 2007, OneRepublic has skyrocketed to success. Their set contained songs from all three of their studio albums like “Apologize”, “All The Right Moves”, “Stop and Stare”, as well as a cover of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” for fun, which got almost everyone out of their seats and dancing.
Even though Ryan was fighting off a cold which caused him to have a sore throat, he still belted out his music for the audience, only mentioning it once. He drank tea on stage and jokingly blamed Gavin DeGraw for getting him sick. A little later into the set, Ryan tossed his tea bag from his cup into the crowd. OneRepublic also threw beach balls into the crowd that displayed their band name and lit up inside. Many fans grabbed them up and held on tight to them to take home this special souvenir of the show.
The Script, an Irish-based rock band who have recently experienced international success, were the third to last band of the night. The band members melted the crowd with their Irish accents as they spoke between songs to their fans. They joked that they were up for adoption since they have such a love for America and asked the crowd who wanted to adopt them. Everyone screamed at that moment. Who wouldn’t want to adopt a chart topping sexy Irish rock band? The Script is a trio consisting of lead vocalist Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan on the guitar and Glen Power on drums. The band does display their Irish heritage on stage though, as Danny decorates his microphone with the flag of Ireland. Danny wanted to make sure that every person in Hershey Stadium got to be up close to him. During one of their first songs of their set, Danny jumped into the middle of the front floor sections and singing right to his fans, as well as holding his microphone out to people to sing into.
Later on in their set, Danny visited all of the stadium side seating who are farther away from the stage. He went into each section and stood in the aisle and sang with crowds of people surrounding him, pointing their cell phones and cameras at him to get their best Instagram shot of the weekend. The Script’s setlist included songs from their three studio albums “Breakeven”, “We Cry”, “For the First Time”, and ended their set with recent hit “Hall of Fame”.
During the peak of the golden hour sunset at approximately 7:05pm, Gavin DeGraw performed his hit songs, new and old, from his recently released single “Best I Ever Had” to “Chariot” from his 2003 debut album. Of course, he performed “I Don’t Want to Be” which was Gavin’s 2003 single that raised him to the top of the charts and to his current success. Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic joined Gavin DeGraw to sing “Not Over You” which is a song they co-wrote together.
Gavin, who was also sick, didn’t let that stop him from giving his all in his performance. He was one of the most energetic performers of the night. He danced along to the music as he sat on his piano bench and played his heart out of the piano, an instrument that he has been playing since the age of 8. When he wasn’t playing the piano, he was up running around the stage interacting with his bandmates as well as the crowd. He even came out into the first section of seats as he sang one of his songs.
The infamous Hanson paved the way for the all boy pop rock bands to follow that night. Brothers Taylor, Zac and Isaac Hanson have been performing since their explosion in 1997 with their first studio album Middle of Nowhere which had their most successful and well known hit “MMMBop”. Fans young and old danced and sang along to Hanson’s hits from the 1990’s and early 2000’s as well as their recently released album Anthem.
Hanson has a very hardcore fan base that has no age limit. Their newest songs appeal to their fans that were listening to them since the 90’s as well as younger fans who have recently discovered the band.
It became apparent that this night was mainly a combination of two current tours – one being OneRepublic’s headlining tour with Serena Ryder and the other being Train’s headlining tour with The Script and Gavin DeGraw. Hanson is currently on their “Anthem” World Tour.
Photographs and Review by Christa Rae Settle.
Once upon a stormy night at Merriweather Post Pavilion, FUN. and very special guests Tegan and Sara gave many fans reason to come out in the rain and dance like they weren’t getting soaked in a thunderstorm. During Tegan and Sara’s last song, the sky above turned dark as lightning was striking around the area. The crowd was skeptical if it was going to actually pour, but right before FUN. took the stage, it did. That did not discourage most of the attendees on the lawn from having… fun.
Dressed in tuxedos, FUN. started their set with an “Some Nights – Intro”, then quickly ripped off their tuxedos to reveal their outfits for the remainder of the set and carried on to their next song, “One Foot”.
FUN.’s stage layout as well as the huge amphitheater stage of Merriweather allowed for the band members to run around and dance all over — which really added to the energy of their show. Lead singer Nate Ruess uses the ramps on stage to interact with the rest of his band as well as the crowd. FUN. performed many songs from their latest album, Some Nights, as well as their debut studio album, Aim and Ignite. Lyrics of every song were chanted and sung by the majority of the attendees, creating high energy throughout the entire venue.
- Some Nights (Intro)
- One Foot
- Walking the Dog
- All Alone
- Why Am I the One
- At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be)
- All The Pretty Girls
- It Gets Better
- Carry On
- The Gambler
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want (The Rolling Stones cover)
- We Are Young
- Take Your Time (Coming Home)
Encore: 15. Some Nights 16. Stars
Tegan and Sara opened the night with their danceable yet emotional indie rock songs. With their music being more on the slower side in comparison to FUN., the crowd enjoyed listening to their songs while relaxing throughout the venue.
Tegan and Sara’s beautiful stage personas lit up the venue more than the lights on stage. These twin sisters trade off instruments — both playing guitar and keyboards while singing. Lots of attendees were unsure of how to tell the two twins apart. Not only are their creatively different tattoos on their arms a way to tell them apart, but Tegan has her labret pierced, whereas Sara currently has no facial piercings.Their set contained a good mix of songs from some of their earlier albums to their latest album released in 2012 titled Heartthrob.
Tegan and Sara setlist:
- Drove Me Wild
- Goodbye, Goodbye
- I’m Not Your Hero
- Back In Your Head
- The Con
- Good Go
- I Couldn’t Be Your Friend
- I Was A Fool
- Now I’m All Messed Up
- Living Room
- Shock to Your System
- How Come You Don’t Want Me
Tegan and Sara thanked FUN. immensely for asking them to join them on their “Most Nights” summer tour and said “There is no one more deserving of such success than FUN.”
To this date, FUN. has won two Grammy Awards, two Teen Choice Awards, and one Billboard Music Award. Their singles “We Are Young”, “Some Nights” and “Carry On” have all reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Digital song charts like iTunes and Spotify. These singles have also claimed the number one spot on lists in the United Kingdom. FUN.’s music video for “Carry On” is currently up for a Video Music Award.
The tour which self titles itself as the “Best Day Ever” this year certainly proves that it is worthy of that title. With a mix of musical genres from heavy rock to ska, Vans Warped Tour attracts attendees of all ages. Bands like The Used, August Burns Red, and Reel Big Fish are a few bands that tend to appeal to the older crowd whereas bands like The Summer Set, Forever The Sickest Kids and Blessthefall tends to appeal to the younger attendees.
Every year Vans Warped Tour provides a safe ground for teens and young adults where they can feel free to express themselves and meet and bond with fellow fans of their favorite bands. Warped Tour promotes a healthy and positive atmosphere and is sponsored by anti-bullying and suicide prevention organizations like To Write Love On Her Arms and HeartSupport (which was founded by Jake Luhrs, the lead singer of August Burns Red).
This year, the tour had a service for the pre-teens and teens in which with the purchase of their ticket, they receive one free ticket for a parent to accompany them. There is also a “Reverse Daycare” service at Warped Tour for the teens to drop their parent escorts off at which provides them with an air-conditioned tent and cool beverages so they can beat the heat and loud music.
On Wednesday July 10th, Warped Tour made its stop in Columbia, MD at Merriweather
Post Pavilion, number 4 on Rolling Stone‘s top 10 Best Amphitheaters in America. The tour sets up a number of different stages, this year totaling to nine stages this year. The two main stages, Kia Soul Stage and Kia Forte Stage were stationed together, splitting the big amphitheater stage of Merriweather in half to host them. There were never two bands playing at the same time, but once a band left one stage, the next band took to the other stage. At first it may seem a bit strange, but this did allow for endless music in the amphitheater and kept that area crowded. Although the amphitheater area was crowded, so were the remainder of the stages located throughout the grounds. Even though the morning started out with a slight drizzle and cloudy skies, fortunately it cleared up and the sun was shining for the remainder of the day.
On Friday July 12th, we made the trek up to Camden, NJ to cover our second Warped Tour of the year.If you have ever been to Warped Tour before you know to expect anything and be prepared for everything. It started out as a nice warm day that turned into storms around 4pm. Fortunately, they decided to host the main stage bands inside again on this date as for the rest of the bands, they brought out tarps for their equipment and kept playing for whoever would come out to watch the show.
Within the past three years, this was probably our favorite Warped Tour that we have covered. Every band was even more exciting than the last. Letlive’s lead singer Jason Butler was doing cannonballs from the speaker onto the floor. His energy was contagious; not a single person in the crowd was standing still. The Used also was a big surprise for Kaitlin this year. She was so excited to see them on the bill last year, but when they came on, they just didn’t deliver. Lead vocalist, Bert wasn’t very interesting to watch, he pretty much just stood in the middle of the stage bouncing around. This year when they came out, they were so colorful, bringing color powder packets out, throwing them on themselves and everyone in the crowd. They were so much more involved this year, they quickly became our favorite shoot of the day. Story of the Year was also a huge surprise, they came out and immediately one guy jumped in the crowd, the other was on the speakers – it was just a lot of fun. They were clearly all about appeasing their fans and in doing so put on a killer set.
Every year Vans Warped Tour is one of the largest traveling circuses, making stops all over the US and Canada at 40+ venues, assembling and breaking down nine stages and countless venders daily. There is no tour out there like this and it is truly remarkable what these bands and stage hands do every year. If you haven’t ever been to Warped tour, we HIGHLY recommend it! See you next year Warped!
The Summer Set
Reel Big Fish
Forever The Sickest Kids
Black Veil Brides
Never Shout Never
Motion City Soundtrack
August Burns Red
Memphis May Fire
Story of the Year
Photo courtesy of Glee Facebook page
Post by Christa Rae Settle
Terribly tragic news struck the music and entertainment world late Saturday night when Vancouver police announced the passing of 31 year old Cory Monteith, well known for his role as “Finn Hudson” on Fox’s TV show Glee.
Cory was found in his hotel room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada by hotel employees checking on him after he had missed his check out time. He was last seen alive returning to his room alone at 2:15 am Saturday, July 13th. As of today, the British Columbia Coroner’s Office released in an initial autopsy report that Cory died from “a mixed drug toxicity that involved heroin, primarily, and also alcohol.” Cory had been open about his drug abuse. In an interview with Parade magazine in 2011, he had stated that he had severely struggled with drugs from the age of 13 to 19 until he finally decided to try rehab, but once released he went back to his old habits. Cory went back to rehab in April of this year for the second time but unfortunately he relapsed. “It should be noted that at this point there is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith’s death was anything other than a most-tragic accident,” stated Cory’s publicist.
It’s sad to see a young talent struggle with drugs and fall while his career was just getting started. Cory had just finished filming a feature film, “McCanick”, an edgy indie drama in which he played a drug addict. For this role, he tapped into his dark past with drugs and really connected to his role in the film on a deep level. “McCanick” is Cory’s last film, which was to be the start of his post-Glee career. Cory had won the Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actor: Comedy for his role in Glee back in 2011 as well as winning an Actor Award with the rest of the Glee cast for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series a year prior in 2010. He was also nominated for two other Teen Choice Awards for Choice TV: Breakout Star Male for Glee in 2009 and Choice Summer Movie Star: Male for Monte Carlo in 2011.
Reactions from fellow Glee costars, celebrity friends and acquaintances, and fans flooded social media like Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Jane Lynch’s birthday is July 14th and unfortunately had to be the day she heard of the news of Cory’s passing. She had stated it was a heartbreaking 53rd birthday. Matthew Morrison was said to have dedicated his cabaret act that night in Cory’s honor. Understandably, Lea Michele (Cory’s girlfriend and actress of “Rachel Berry” on Glee) is asking for privacy as she grieves and is with Cory’s family supporting each other and making appropriate arrangements with them.
The question burning for many “Gleeks” (slang word for fans of Glee) is how will the Fox hit TV show proceed with Cory Monteith’s absence, but of course, it is too soon to tell. Filming for the show’s fifth season is scheduled to begin mid-August. Needless to say, the Glee cover of “Don’t Stop Believin'” will have so much more meaning from now on.
Cory Monteith is a young talent who left the world too soon. He describes himself in his Twitter profile as “tall, awkward, Canadian, actor, drummer, person.” May he always be remembered as he described himself, as well as for his work and his humor. We must always remember, he was a person, just like anyone else. His death was tragic and sudden but his loved ones deserve the time to mourn and grieve. Let’s hope that fans and press respectfully report and cope with this loss as well.
Rest In Peace Cory Monteith. May everyone remember you positively as the talented singer and actor that you are. You are gone too soon, but you left your mark in the entertainment world. May Cory’s loved ones and fans find peace in this tragic time.
Review and Photographs by Christa Rae Settle
As soon as the stage crew dropped the cloth that had been covering the giant LED sign of the “M” logo on stage right before The Maine’s set, the crowd roared as they anxiously awaited for the band to appear. The crowd was full of a mix of ages, but the main demographic was teenage girls dressed to perfection and the ones over 18 had lyrics to some of The Maine’s (and a few with This Century’s lyrics) tattooed on their bodies.
Once The Maine took the stage, it was easy to tell why this band has many fans. Along with their meaningful and catchy lyrics, the band performs at a 110% energy level. The members of The Maine bounce around and interact with each other on stage as well as interact with the crowd.
The Maine advertised that they were touring with their friends A Rocket to the Moon, This Century and Brighten. It was clear that these bands were close after noticing that the bands shared members. Brighten’s lead vocalist Justin Richards is also A Rocket to the Moon’s backup vocalist and guitarist. This Century’s keyboardist also acted as The Maine’s keyboardist. And the guitarist of This Century was also the back up guitarist for Brighten.
The Maine performed their most popular hits, as well as new songs from the “Forever Halloween” album that just released on June 4th, 2013.
The Maine setlist:
- Love and Drugs
- Inside of You
- We All Roll
- Into Your Arms
- Right Girl
- Some Days
- Kennedy Curse
- These Four Words
- Whoever She Is
- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (cover)
- Count Me In
- Like We Did
- We’ll All Be…
A Rocket to the Moon
Seeing A Rocket to the Moon touring with The Maine is really special considering the fact The Maine helped Nick Santino (lead singer and rhythm guitarist of A Rocket to the Moon) form his band back in 2008.
“Dakota”, “Like We Used To”, and “Baby Blue Eyes” are just a few of the songs that A Rocket to the Moon performed. There is a slight noticeable difference between the songs when performed than the recorded songs, their performance seems to be a little more of a twangy rock than alternative. The band also sneaked into their set a couple of brief covers of top 40 hits like “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line and “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus.
This Century proved to be the second most active band on stage this night. The band performs with lots of energy and the lead singer Joel Kanitz interacts with the crowd a lot, he constantly points to girls in the crowd and sings directly to them. At the end of their set, he jumped into the crowd, holding his microphone into the crowd for them to sing into.
Brighten opened the night with their mellow rock songs, proving to be the calmest band at the show. This indie pop band serenaded the crowd with their emotional and undeniably well written love songs, causing many of the couples at the show to sway with the music as they held each other and kissed.
In its sophomore year Orion Music and More relocated venues from Bader field in Atlantic City NJ to Belle Island in Detroit MI, while I am still unsure of the reason for the change in location, the weekend’s festivities carried out almost flawlessly. The biggest concern I had about the venue change was the challenge of having the concert on an island and restricting all non affiliated traffic to and from the venue. This means thousands of fans and workers being transported to and from the mainland of detroit via school bus. Getting to the island wasn’t the hard part, I figured fans would be coming more or less in waves throughout theday, it was the end of the night I was worried about. The first night after the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s set the exit gates were absolutely atrocious, all of the lines were backed up and everything seemed to be at a stand still. It took us roughly a half an hour just to get to a bus, but once we got on it was pretty clear sailing. The second night following Metallica’s set went so much smoother, there were no lines what so ever, security kept everyone moving and the night ended without a hitch. I definitely think they found things that needed to be fixed and rectified the problem to the best of their ability. I am looking forward to a bigger, louder Orion in 2014!
After covering Orion last year, I had somewhat an idea of what to expect, big muscle cars, horror movie enthusiasts and a very diverse lineup. This year was no exception. Once again there was a section of the festival grounds reserved for muscle car enthusiasts, Kirt’s Crypt featuring Kirt’smassive collection of horror movie memorabilia and even a designated area where you can meet a couple of your favorite actors from various horror movies. This year there was also a vans skate ramp where in-between sets professional skaters would preform on the half pipe. The thing I love about Orion is there is so much to do, and so much to check out even before the music starts and everything down to the line up of bands was hand selected by the members of Metallica. This is a very unique festival and there is definitely something for everyone here.
Introduced by Rob Trujilo, the first band to start the day was a young band, The Orwells. There is no question these guys are incredibly talented, but their showmanship is somewhat lacking. The most exciting thing about their set was their bassist, Grant Brinner, he was hovering around the top of the stage playing to the crowd the entire set. The rest of the band just seemed to blend into the background for me. With a little more time and experience these guys could be really good.
Coming on stage to an introduction from both Rob Trujilo and James Hetfield, local act Battlecross was easily one of the biggest surprise bands of the day. When these guys came out they jumped right into their set and immediate won the crowd over. They were constantly in everyones face and all over the stage, they were relentless. They had a good balance of thrash and metal core that could appease the diverse crowd. The next day people were still talking about their set, Battlefield showed up to make a name and they did just that.
I had no idea what to expect from these guys heading into the photo pit. Jimmy Smith came onstage playing a very melodic style riff on the guitar segueing into their set. They weren’t very enthusiastic, it looked like they were just going through the motions. The people who did gather for their set really got into it but it was definitely a change of scene for me.
Throughout the day everyone was telling me this is a band I should check out, so I figured I would. When they first came out, they weren’t very exciting they just stood around and when I was just about to give up on them, lead vocalist, Emily Armstrong ripped off her jacket and most literally started rocking out. From there their set got progressively better, while I couldn’t really get into their sound, they were definitely entertaining.
The Dropkick Murphys were everything I had expected them to be, big jolly dudes running around on stage with a man wearing a kilt and playing a bagpipe. These guys were incredibly entertaining and their energy was infectious, everyone in the crowd looked like they were having so much fun with the rest of the band. Very excited to have knocked this band off my bucket list.
This was by far hands down my favorite band of the day, and the biggest surprise of the day. The guys calling themselves “Dehaan” were actually Metallica, playing on the smallest stage at the show. I was lucky enough to be tipped off by someone in the press tent about the surprise, not everyone was as fortunate. There were people running from every direction once they heard metallica on stage. The only people at the set before the show had started were Metallica fan club members from all over the globe. One of the biggest tip offs was the back drop with the band name Dehaan crossed off with “Metal up your ass” replacing it. This was the original name of their second debut album, “Kill ’em all” and thats just what they played, Kill ’em all in its entirety. Killer set, it was a huge surprise and a lot of fun, glad to see these guys in a more intimate setting and I’m sure everyone else felt the same!
Rise Against is a band I have always loved seeing live, they come out to every set with so much energy its hard not to get into their set. This time was no different. They came out chanting Rise! Rise! and got the whole crowed to join in before they jumped into their set. Lead vocalist, Tim Mcllrath has such a unique and powerful voice, he is hard to pass up. Guitarist Zach Blair is another guy who is hard to miss. He is constantly in the air jumping off the risers, speakers, what ever he can mange really. Rise Against is one of those bands I always try to see when they come through town.
I was very excited to hear these guys were on the bill, especially after last year having Suicidal Tendencies tear up the stage at Orion, it was good to see Muir back for another year and side by side with Rob Trujillo. These guys were a lot of fun to watch, it is a super group who doesn’t take themselves too seriously, on stage they were joined by a bunch of people dressed up as trippy clowns. Their set was a nice break from the show, not to mention a lot of fun to shoot!
Red Hot Chili Peppers
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to make the hike to Detroit to cover Orion this year, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is a band I had trouble getting into until recently, as musicians they are incredibly talented and over the years they have had a huge influence in roc N roll, mixing funk, blues and rock N roll into one. Anthony Kiedis still sounds phenomenal and puts on quite the show, running all over the stage, and song by song stripping down until he was left with just his pants. But my favorite part of the show was the bassist Flea. He looked like he was just so in tune with the music and loving every second. Nothing translates better than when a musician genuinely loves what they do. It was the perfect end to wrap of the first day of Orion.
The second day was a little more subdued, hitting all of the areas that we didn’t explore the previous day, car show awards and not to mention Metallica headlining in the evening.
All Shall Perish
To get day two started, All Shall Perish opened the Budweiser main stage these guys were a good choice as an opener, they were very enthusiastic and a lot a fun to watch but unfortunately they weren’t just all there for me. Their singer was stuck up at the top of the stage screaming throughout the entire set, while I am not totally opposed to the metal – core, thrash, screaming style, they just weren’t up to par with some of the other acts on the bill. After my three songs in the photo pit I wandered off.
The Dillinger Escape Plan
I havent heard too much about these guys or their set but coming immediately Rob Trujillo came out to announce them and set up a chair for their guitarist, Ben Weinman who had recently broken an arm and was forced to sit on the stage and watch. Fortunately he entertained himself by reading the latest edition of revolver magazine that featured the band and rating each song. These guys had the most energetic set at Orion, hands down. Lead vocalist, Greg Puciato waited all of about 3 minuets to jump off one of the speakers directly into the crowd. They were a lot of fun and a band I cannot wait to see again.
This was the set I was most excited for and most nervous to shoot. Last year when they headlined Orion, they played “Ride the lighting” in its entirety on Saturday and “The Black Album” on Sunday, this year they surprised everyone and came out to play, “Kill ’em All” the previous day. I was curious as to what direction they would take with their set list this year. They did a greatest hits type mash up featuring, One, Harvester of Sorrow and Battery. James Hetfield has such a commanding presence on stage, its hard not to take notice. Hetfield had mic stands set up on every corner of the stage he really got everyone one amped up and involved in their set. It is such a production, whether you love them or hate them, you can appreciate their showmanship. Kirk Hammett also does a great job of getting in your face and just shredding on his guitar. Complete with pyro, a laser show and fireworks Metallica is hands down one of my favorite performances I have ever seen. Killer weekend, and we are already stoked to see what is in store for next year!
Red Hot Chili Peppers
All Shall Perish
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Review and Photographs by Christa Rae Settle
Weird Al has been providing us with hilarious parodies of hits of chart topping artists for 33 years. On June 5th Weird Al performed for a dedicated crowd of fans varying from young kids to the young at heart who have known of him since his first appearance.
On his Alpocalypse tour, he started the night with “Polka Face” and continued on by performing classics like “Bad”, “Fat”, “White and Nerdy”, and “Amish Paradise” as well as new ones like “Party in the C.I.A.” and “Perform This Way.” In between each song, Weird Al and his band left the stage for costume changes to match every song. During the costume changes, videos played for the audience like his fake celebrity interviews and short clips from popular TV shows in which Weird Al had been mentioned or had appeared on. Along with costume changes, his performances were backed by projections of his music videos as well as storm troopers and effects like bubbles.
Weird Al does not let his age slow him down on stage. For being 53, Weird Al still has so much passion, energy and hilarity to give at his shows. His band is one of the most talented bands you could ever find as well, having to perform every genre of music ranging from rap to classic rock.
Weird Al is definitely a must see act that is great for all ages! Make sure to see him on tour next time he is in your town!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Carolina Rebellion it is a two day rock festival featuring some of the heavy hitters of rock N’ roll in Charlotte, North Carolina. In my opinion, this is one of the best rock festivals in the US. The newly expanded two day festival was sadly cut short on the second day due to inclimate weather, Nonpoint, Volbeat, Rise Against, Bush and Soundgarden’s sets were canceled. But considering the circumstances it was a great turnout and we are looking forward to a bigger, better, louder weekend next year.
For me the first band of the day was Asking Alexandria I am not really a fan of their music, but I love photographing them. These guys are constantly moving around the stage and getting the crowd involved in their sets. Ben Bruce and Cameron Liddell were constantlyrunning all over the stage and stopping to play side by side. They do a great job of amping up the crowd and getting them involved in their set. The biggest fall back for me, was their lead singer Danny Worsnop. He didn’t have nearly the energy everyone else in the band had. He has also been slipping vocally. He is definitely not as strong as we had seen him in the past. It’s a good thing his band was there to carry him through the set.
I have a love/hate relationship with Halestorm. While I think they are a phenomenal live band, their music is nothing exciting. Lzzy and Arejay Hale are hands down two of the biggest spectacles in rock. Lizzy has a voice that gives me chills every time I see them live. She is incredibly talented and studio tracks just do her justice. As for Arejay, he stands alone. Most drummers tend to fall to the back burner being put behind a large inanimate object in a chair while the rest of the band stands in front of them and acts as “the face” of the band. Arejay breaks the monotony. He always seems to be dressed up in a marching banduniform, sometimes a face mask, he over exaggerates every move, sometimes braking out huge drumsticks. My problem with them is their music itself is pretty generic, I feel like they have so much potential but I want something new, I want them to step outside the cookie cutter radio friendly band and do more. I think they are worth every penny to see live but I’m just waiting for them to take it to the next level.
Aranda is a band that I literally know nothing about, everyone was telling me they were a lot of fun to photograph and I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity… and I’m glad I didn’t. These guys came out running. Their bassist, B. Webb was one of my favorite parts of their set. He was constantly in your face, throwing his bass around his back, he was a great contributed to the band’s upbeat set.
Bullet for my Valentine
I have seen Bullet For My Valentine once before about, two summers ago, and I really liked them. They were fun and sounded great, but this time, they blew me away. Every member of the band was fun to watch and contributed so much to their stage presence. Guitarist Michael Paget was always found at the top of the stage raging out on his guitar, making faces at people in the crowd, and of corse doing his signature bull horns on the forehead move. These guys hands down put on one of the best sets all weekend, the crowd was super excited, they sounded great and had an all-around great performance.
Papa Roach is one of my favorite bands to see live. They are very consistent and always full of energy. Jacoby Shaddix is one of the best frontmen out there, running around the stage, and sometimes right off the stage and on to what ever he can find and into the crowd. This show was no exception. Shaddix hit every corner of the stage before jumping into a sea of people and crowd surfing back to the stage. After just seeing them a week prior to Carolina, they still managed to keep their set interesting.
Device is a band I haven’t taken the time to listen to just yet, I have somewhat expected to hear Disturbed all over again. While to some extent that was the case, these guys have a little more industrial sound but it is hard to get past Draiman’s distinct vocals. It definitely hinders his attempts at breaking away from his old band. On stage, Draiman is no different. I don’t see Device being a huge success until they can do something completely different or redefine who they are as musicians.
The Deftones are one of the bands I was really looking forward to, though I wasn’t sure what the morale of the band would be like since the passing of their bassist Chi Cheng. I’m not sure that I like them in a large festival setting, they didn’t blow me away like they did when I saw they earlier this year in Baltimore. Unfortunately, they just weren’t very exciting. Lead vocalist, Chino Moreno was the only one really moving around the stage, he did his best to come to the front and engage the crowd. I don’t think they are a bad band by any means, but I just prefer them in a more intimate venue.
One of the bands I was most excited for was Limp Bizket, this was my first time seeing them, and I really had no idea what to expect from them. As soon as they hit the stage, the energy in the crowd was off the chart. Everyone sang along word for word with fists in the air as Fred Durst came out screaming “Rollin.” These guys were on point all night, they sounded great and put on a hell of a show. I was definitely impressed with how well they preformed considering they had disappeared for so many years.
All That Remains
Because of the rain delay and cancelations, All that Remains was the first band of the day. They came on stage with middle fingers in the air yelling “fuck the rain!” (This, of course, was after Nonpoint’s set had been canceled and an hour delay has been instituted by the festival) This definitely set the tone for the rest of the day while it poured relentlessly. Unfortunately, All that Remain’s set was rushed while the bands tried to play catch up, but they made the best of it. They came out, they had fun with the crowd and got everyone excited for the rest of the day.
I absolutely love Pop Evil, they put everything they have into their show and the rain was not going to stop them. I think one of my favorite things about these guys is their live set, they leave everything they have on stage. Lead, Leigh Kakaty, relentlessly runs all over the stage onto the speakers, in the crowd and uses his mic stand as a prop, throwing it in the air every chance he gets. Josh Marunde is another drummer to look out for. He is another one who will stand up and scream along word for word. He looks like he is having so much fun doing what he does and I love that he makes himself seen. This is an all around hard working, great group of guys, and I photograph them every opportunity I get.
Steel Panther was another new band for me. The only thing I’d heard about these guys prior to their set was that they were a LOT of fun. When they came out, I feel like we stepped back in time. These guys are super glam rock, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. I would almost identify them more as comedians than musicians, in-between songs they have this whole commentary where they poke fun at each other, re-apply lip gloss and talk about asian hookers. While Im not a fan of their music (very Weird Al Yankovic meets Motley Crue) they are so much fun to watch and enjoy them for what they are.
I always thought Hollywood Undead was just good ‘let’s get drunk and party music’… until Deuce left, then I could actually take them seriously as a band. They definitely have a fun element to their sound, but I was glad to hear their sound mature as they released their second and third albums. This was my first time actually watching them and I really like them, more than I had expected to. They were a little chaotic on stage bobbing and weaving between one another but it really works well with their sound. All around I think they finally found what works for them, and they put on a hell of a set.
Even though I had just seen Sevendust a couple weeks prior, I was really looking forward to their set in Carolina. I was a little nervous with the cancelation of Volbeat and the worsening conditions that their set would be canceled as well. But once again, Sevendust came out proclaiming that the rain wasn’t going to stop them from playing for the dedicated fans who had stood in the ran all day. Despite the conditions, these guy put on a phenomenal set, and had one of the largest crowds of the day. Lajon Witherspoon has a commanding presence on stage, I’m glad to see these guys back in support of their album “Black out the Sun.”
Escape the Fate
Escape the Fate was our second to last band of the day. Going into the photo pit, it looked and sounded like they were having a ton of technical issues from the ongoing wind and rain. Once they were able to take the stage they went in head first and barreled through their set. I also saw these guys less than a week before carolina in Baltimore in direct support for Papa Roach. I am not familiar with much of their music, but on stage they are in your face running around the whole time their live show has definitely won me over.
Buckcherry ended up being the last band of the weekend going on just after Escape the Fate started their set. I have never been a huge fan of these guys, but I had heard that lead singer Josh Todd had been fighting off a cold on top of coming out to preform in the wind and rain. I definitely have a new found respect for these guys to still put on a kick ass show with the odds being stacked against them. After Rise against, Bush and Soundgarden were forced to cancel, members of buckcherry tweeted various comments about the cancelation, including my favorite from Stevie Dacanay.. “10,000 swingin’ dicks ready to party… And Bush doesn’t want to get wet. #Carolina Rebellion #GwenKeepsHisNutsInAJar.” While I don’t completely agree with the petty comments, it wasn’t fair for the fans who waited in the rain all day just to have the headliner’s sets get canceled with absolutely no announcement or heads up that it was a possibility. I think Carolina Rebellion handled the post cancelation whip lash to the best of their ability, but hopefully next year they will be ready for whatever the weather has in store for the weekend.
Bullet for my Valentine
All that Remains
Escape the Fate
Every time The Dirty Heads make their way through Baltimore, I try to make sure I’m there. Since their Debut in 2008 with “Any Port in a Storm” these guys have been touring relentlessly all across the US. Dirty J and Duddy B put on quite the show, coming out to “Dance all night” and ending the evening with “Check the Level.” The energy at this sold out show was unmatched, everyone there was getting into the music, this was by far their best show to date.
This is a band that a lot of people go see because of “that one song” of course I am referring to, “I believe in a thing called love.” But this band is so much more than that band that did that song. They put on one of the better live shows I have seen this year. Lead Justin Hawkins is infamous for his on stage persona. A couple of his favorite moves include handstands on the drum kit and high jumps off the drum stage.
While Justin is definitely a spectacle, the rest of the guys aren’t going to be left in the dirt. Dan Hawkins and Ed Graham are constantly moving, switching stages and getting in your face. These guys are definitely worth checking out.