The second and final day of Fort Rock arrived and the energy was remarkable. It was the day that everyone had been waiting for, and we were just hours away from seeing the one and only Ozzy Osbourne perform. Toothgrinder kicked things off on the Yellow stage, and Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown opened the Black stage shortly thereafter.
Once Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown ended their set, it was time for a performance unlike any other I’d seen before. I had no idea what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised when Avatar took the stage. The theatrics of their stage setup and persona of the members was incredible. Each of them executed their personalities so well on stage, and they all came together to create something unique. Lead vocalist Johannes Eckerström expressed that his outfit was made more for the winter season, and that the crowd must applaud him for wearing it in such hot weather – and the crowd listened. They roared in excitement and applause, making it obvious that Avatar was playing a bit too early on in the day.
Red Sun Rising ambushed the Black stage at 2 p.m. sharp, performing a riveting set full of energy. The band pushed through a line of catchy, addictive tunes that kept the crowd moving. Their harmonies were striking, paired with intricate riffs that the band grooved to, which influenced the audience. Red Sun Rising held the attention of the crowd by playing a variety of tracks from their records.
Check out PureGrainAudio’s official “Fort Rock 2018” Spotify playlist.
Things were just warming up when Pop Evil took the stage, opening up with “Deal With the Devil” and “Ex Machina.” The group threw horns up, and so did the hundreds in the audience. The sea of people moved to the beat of each song, reciting each track with the quintet. Drummer Hayley Cramer’s hair flew recklessly with each beat, adding a spark to the weekend, which was a breath of fresh air. The festival was lacking women in music, so I loved seeing Cramer absolutely crush it during Pop Evil’s set.
SiriusXM Octane’s Jose Mangin was hosting Fort Rock all weekend-long, hyping up the crowd and introducing the acts on the Black stage. Mangin was especially excited for Sevendust, as he has been working with them for years. Before they took the stage, he gassed them up and expressed to the crowd that they were about to experience something incredible. When the band took the stage, Mangin popped up in the photo pit and sang along to every word. The band was full of energy and did not miss a beat. They played fan-favorites, and lead vocalist Lajon Witherspoon expressed his thanks to the audience for showing up and singing along with them.
Hollywood Undead brought their rap-rock fusion in full force and did not disappoint. Although they were dressed in their trademark masks for the first two songs, their raw emotion was still evident throughout their performance. The California-based group designed the stage with palm trees and sparklers, bringing their home to South Florida, making for a creative setup. The crowd erupted for Hollywood Undead, and just like 5FDP the previous night, the band pointed out a young boy and chatted to him from stage. The band bantered and told jokes in between songs, and put together an excellent setlist for a festival performance.
One of the most anticipated sets of the day was Stone Temple Pilots. From fans to the media, everyone was on their toes awaiting the band to walk out on stage. Opening with “Wicked Garden,” STP kicked things off on a high note. Their new vocalist, Jeff Gutt, held power throughout the set and poured his soul into a seamless performance. The band curated a nostalgic set of hits and new tracks, giving everyone a dose of oldies and goodies. Everyone exclaimed that their set was “awesome,” and “unreal,” and that if they left the festival after STP, they’d be satisfied.
Stone Sour brought a powerful performance with fireworks, confetti, and a ton of water. Corey Taylor didn’t stay in one spot for longer than 15 seconds, and belted out each song with all his might. Halfway through the 2nd song, he emerged from side stage with confetti cannons, setting them off into the crowd for a colorful burst of energy. He constantly sprayed the crowd with water and pointed to fans as they sang along, connecting with everyone he could. Toward the end of the set, Taylor hopped to the barricade and greeted as many fans as he could. Might I add that Corey’s Britney Spears shirt was a plus?
Breaking Benjamin was the final band to perform before the legendary Ozzy Osbourne. They closed out the Yellow stage playing fan favorites such as “I Will Not Bow,” and “The Diary of Jane.” Their moody setup consisted of warm lighting, coinciding with Benjamin Burnley’s haunting, crisp vocals. Their set was another perfect balance of old and new, and was a great performance leading up to Ozzy. They kept the crowd energized, attentive, and ready to rock. Once their set ended, the crowd applauded as they chanted for Ozzy, who sent the crowd wild when he graced the stage. My first year of Fort Rock was absolutely incredible, and I cannot wait to see what surprises are in store for the festival next year.