Day two of Rock On the Range 2017 started off with more weather delays courtesy of a second storm cell looming over Ohio. Festival organizers were sending notes out via the Rock On The Range social feeds telling fans to either hold off coming to the venue or to stay in their cars as the doors to MAPFRE Stadium were going to be held until the weather passed.
The weather pushed all bands back two and a half hours, Fire From The Gods and One Less Reason both starting up at 2 pm on the Zippo Stage and the Bud Light Stage respectively, rather than their allotted 11:30 original start times. Once again, all scheduled press times, autograph sessions and interviews went sideways as organizers rallied around the delay.
With a few press interviews scheduled, and an inability to be in two places at the same time – I had to pass on One Less Reason, Sylar, Turnstile, Attila, Whitechapel, The Story So Far and In Flames today.
Of everything I managed to see, nothing was weak. This was my first time seeing Fire From The Gods, Starset, Skillet and Ded – each of these bands having something unique to showcase. Fire From The Gods delivered an energetic set of original music derivative of early Bad Brains as their lanky lead sing singer AJ Channer bounced about the Zippo Stage. Local Columbus Ohio natives Starset delivered a veritable cornucopia of sound and visuals. Starset features a drummer enclosed in a plastic rectangle that featured transitioning opaqueness, guitarists dressed up as spacemen, a two-piece string section, and vocalist Dustin Bates snarling his vocals into dual microphones and hopping about a stage blasting dry ice. Their set was visually arresting, filled with energy and sounded amazing.
Skillet was one of the most fun bands on the entire festival bill – delivering a competent live performance bursting with energy. I could have photographed NOTHING this day except Korey Cooper and Seth Morrison bouncing about the stage and gone home ecstatic – I loved everything about them. John Cooper is a wicked front man, and Jen Ledger is a killer drummer. Skillet rocked! Ded, with no commercially released album and only two songs out, took the Zippo stage late afternoon and delivered a high-energy set of material from their upcoming album Mis.an.thrope. The four band members performed with creepy contact lenses that made their eyes appear completely white, with a sound that is derivative of Slipknot and Korn.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes delivered a festival highlight at 3pm on the Bud Light Stage. In 30 minutes, Carter wound up singing upside down on top of the crowd, inciting a significant circle pit around the Bud Light Stage soundboard, soliciting a girls-only crowd surfing moment, while performing some of the finer songs from his utterly amazing recent release Modern Ruin. Carter used to front UK punk band Gallows. He’s a frisky wee redhead literally bursting with energy and musical bravura. This was hands down one of the greatest performances of the day.
The meat and potatoes today came from bands like Alter Bridge, Kyng, Seether, Papa Roach, Taking Back Sunday, The Offspring, Coheed & Cambria and the mighty Korn. Myles Kennedy and his compatriots in Alter Bridge delivered a sterling set of rock and roll early on in the afternoon. Kyng were more of the same – with an utterly stunning rendition of Temple of the Dog’s ‘Hunger Strike’ performed midway through their bone-crunching performance. Jacoby Shaddix and his brothers in Papa Roach brought out the Olentangy Orange High School marching band to accompany them during their performance of “Born for Greatness” – this after a roudy rendition of Blur’s “Song #2” – Shaddix bouncing about the stage like a man half his age.
Taking Back Sunday, perhaps the most un-metal band this day at Rock On The Range, managed to demonstrate exactly why they are such a reputable rock band mere minutes into their set as the band delivered some of their very best material as Adam Lazzara bounced around the stage swinging his microphone about with wild abandon. The Offspring, quite simply, never disappoint. I felt like there were more people singing along to their songs than any other band that performed this day. Their set was excellent, bursting with hits. Coheed & Cambria, a band I have seen no less than nine times blew my mind this evening, closing the Zippo Stage with a set that is the best I’ve ever seen from them. Their sound and energy was simply flawless tonight – bathed in a wash of bright colourful lights, the band worked their way through some amazing tracks from their catalog of albums as a steady flow of fans road atop the audience to the security guards awaiting their arrival at the edge of the front guard-rail.
Korn completely delivered the goods tonight. Jonathan Davis, Brian Welch, James Shaffer, Reginald Arvizu and the unstoppable Ray Luzier bashed their way through an assortment of their finest material, including a clever medley of some of their songs performed in a mash-up style. Their performance was cut short by a few songs to make way for more rain – another aggressive lightning storm rolled in and soaked Columbus once again at around 11:15 pm.
Line-up Day Two:
Fire From The Gods
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Taking Back Sunday
Coheed & Cambria