Amid a Las Vegas-like setting, complete with slot machines, card tables, and sin, two of heavy metal’s finest bands rocked the house. Judas Priest with Steel Panther? Yes. Judas Priest delivered the goods. Guitarist Richie Faulkner, who replaced longtime member K.K. Downing a few years ago, proved his mettle with a stunning display of musicianship. It’s certain that many in the audience who had never seen Faulkner play, were amazed. Complementing the style of veteran guitarist Glen Tipton, Faulkner has given the Priest new vitality, adding his own flair and nuances to the older hits while blowing minds on the Redeemer of Souls songs. Singer Rob Halford sounded exceptional, belting out songs from a set list spanning the band’s long and successful career.

It was muddy as hell at that first day of Riot Fest ’14. Walking between stages was like walking on black ice, but way messier if you actually fell. I made it to the Rock Stage safely and mostly clean (RIP shoes) in time to catch Glassjaw’s set. First time I’ve seen these guys in nearly a decade and they definitely rocked my face off. It was totally worth walking through ankle deep mud to see them, and damnit! I’d do it again in a heartbeat; those tunes and Daryl’s dance moves had me falling in love.

If there are any doubts whether the new singer of Flyleaf, Kristen May, had what it took to keep Flyleaf alive, seeing them live will erase them. Kristen’s voice is so magnetic, pun intended. Flyleaf played a 10-song set, ranging from classic hits such as “I’m So Sick” and “Fully Alive,” to brand new singles including the heavy hitter “Set Me On Fire.” Later in the show, Kristen joined the middle of the crowd, interacting and high-fiving fans from the entire room. Flyleaf played at Slim’s in San Francisco, CA on November 1st.