Carolina Rebellion Festival 2013

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Monday, May 13, 2013

After finishing up the last postings for last weekends Welcome to Rockville festival in Jacksonville, Florida I had no time to rest and relax before I was off to Charlotte, North Carolina to cover the third installment of Carolina Rebellion. While most of the festivals I’ve covered over the years have tended to blur together through band repetition, but this years installment – more specifically day two – definitely had some added drama thanks to freak rain storms, band cancellations and insults via Twitter. Read on to learn more.

 

Sick Puppies:

Sick Puppies has always been a solid band to see live. I’ve always loved their energy on stage. Hailing from Australia, I’ve really missed seeing them live. Vocalist Shimon Moore felt a little reserved at the beginning of their set but got over that very quick. He did a better job than most front man of getting the crowd involved, especially considering how early they played. Songs like “You’re Going Down” certainly didn’t hurt either!

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Survive
2. Cancer
3. Riptide
4. Odd One
5. Maybe
6. All My Life [Foo Fighters cover]
7. War
8. You’re Going Down

 

In This Moment:

In This Moment is musically and aesthetically appealing, but vocalist Maria Brink’s lack of energy on stage is detrimental to their live shows. I don’t need every band to light themselves on fire, do back flips or some other crazy stunt but I expect SOME effort. Maria literally just grabs either side of her microphone stand and holds onto it for the first few songs. The only effort she conveys is flipping her hair from the left side to the right and vice-versa. It’s especially sad considering the amount of effort her band mates put into each performance. It also doesn’t help that her voice is gone by the second song. An otherwise solid performance ruined by a boring vocalist.

Vocals: 3
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 8

Set list:

1. Adrenalize
2. Blazin’
3. Whore
4. Burn
5. Beast Within
6. Blood

 

Asking Alexandria:

Vocalist Danny Worsnop’s vocals have been hit-or-miss lately, but this was easily one of his better shows. While not great, it was definitely a vast improvement. Where his voice faltered his band mates picked up the slack with their energy. Guitarists Cameron Liddell and Ben Bruce were especially energetic, constantly running from side to side and yelling at the crowd to pump them up. The crowd also went especially crazy when the band started into “Not the American Average”. While not the best set of the weekend, they certainly weren’t anywhere near the worst either.

Vocals: 7.5
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 8

Set list:

1. Welcome
2. Closure
3. Breathless
4. Not the American Average
5. The Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel)
6. Someone, Somewhere
7. To the Stage
8. The Death of Me
9. Run Free

 

Halestorm:

Lzzy Hale is easily one of my favorite singers in the business right now. Her voice and on-stage charisma are so infectious. Her younger brother Arejay (the bands drummer) makes Halestorm even more fun to watch. For more photos of them (besides what’s below) check out my review and photos of their set at last weekends WELCOME TO ROCKVILLE festival in Jacksonville, Florida.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Freak Like Me
2. Love Bites (So Do I)
3. It’s Not You
4. Rock Show
5. Mz Hyde
6. I Get Off
7. Here’s to Us
8. I Miss the Misery

 

Bullet for my Valentine:

Continuing on their fantastic performance at last weekends Welcome to Rockville, Bullet for my Valentine put on yet another amazing performance here. While their new CD isn’t their best, the songs translate well to a live environment – especially “Riot”. Matt Tuck has definitely improved his energy on stage and I think that’s done a lot for their live sets. I wish they’d played “4 Words (to Choke Upon)” in their first three songs so I could’ve heard it from the photo pit, but a very small complaint during an otherwise awesome set.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 10
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Breaking Point
2. Your Betrayal
3. Waking the Demon
4. Riot
5. 4 Words (To Choke Upon)
6. Temper Temper
7. Tears Don’t Fall
8. The Last Fight
9. Scream Aim Fire

 

Papa Roach:

Papa Roach is one of the few bands that I can depend on to kick ass every single time I see them. As I close in on the 20th time I’ve seen them, it’s amazing that the only real complaint I ever have of them is just their set list. Vocalist Jacoby Shaddix is easily one of the top five in his field. Not only does he have a great voice (and still sounds surprisingly good considering he had vocal surgery last year) but he’s easily one of the most energetic front men out there.

What I love even more than their energy is seeing how much fun they’re still having playing music together. Papa Roach has been a band for roughly twenty years now and still going strong…it’s great to see that still happening for bands.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Burn
2. …to be Loved
3. Silence is the Enemy
4. Getting Away with Murder
5. Between Angels and Insects
6. Still Swingin’
7. Where Did the Angels go?
8. Forever
9. Scars
10. Lifeline
11. Last Resort

 

Three Days Grace:

As I said in my Welcome to Rockville review, fill-in vocalist Matt Walst gives his all but the odds were severely stacked against him. After the sudden departure of vocalist Adam Gontier at the beginning of the year, Three Days Grace turned to Walst for vocal duties for all of their upcoming dates. Sadly, despite how admirably Walst does his duties, the uniqueness of Gontier’s voice can’t be replicated and that makes old songs sound way too weird live.

One positive of Walst’s performance here versus Welcome to Rockville was a huge improvement in energy.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 8

Set list:

1. Chalk Outline
2. Just Like You
3. Pain
4. The High Road
5. Home
6. The Good Life
7. I Hate Everything About You
8. Never Too Late
9. Animal I Have Become
10. Riot

 

Deftones:

I remember that the last time I saw Deftones was way back in 2010 at Rock on the Range and I’d forgotten how awful they are live. I’d heard stories from a few of my friends – who are huge Deftones fans – that vocalist Chino Moreno had greatly improved his vocal performances but what I received at this show gave no credo to that. While it was an improvement from what I remember, it wasn’t much of one. Moreno was not only missing notes, but entire sentences of lyrics. I’m willing to chalk some of it up to the recent and tragic passing of bassist Chi Cheng, but hopefully one day I will be able to see a good show by them.

Vocals: 6
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 7

Set list:

1. Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
2. My Own Summer (Shove It)
3. Diamond Eyes
4. Rocket Skates
5. Rosemary
6. Tempest
7. Swerve City
8. Change (in the House of Flies)
9. Passanger
10. Root
11. Engine No. 9
12. 7 Words

 

Limp Bizkit:

Much like Welcome to Rockville, I mostly did Carolina Rebellion for the opportunity to cover Limp Bizkit. While, yes, I don’t love the band quite as much as I did in high school, the nostalgia factor alone is worth seeing them. After taking some time to refuel and gain some better perspective the band has come out shooting. While they’re on a very successful club tour where the band plays tons of old songs that don’t get played at shows any more, festivals are, sadly, reserved almost exclusively for “the hits”. So this set wasn’t really any different from the previous weekend, but the energy was even more deafening. Unlike the previous weekend, it truly seemed like a huge chunk of the crowd was actually there for Bizkit. Throughout the day (and the weekend for that matter) I saw tons of people wearing Limp Bizkit apparel and throughout their set the crowd was going absolutely nuts. It was a great sight to see.

The band was solid all night, too. Fred was solid (aside from getting a few words wrong early on), Wes was his normal eccentric self and Otto and Rivers were on point all night. It’s great to see one of my favorite bands still rocking as hard as they are.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 10

Set list:

1. Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)
2. The Truth
3. Hot Dog
4. My Generation
5. Livin’ It Up
6. My Way
7. Re-Arranged
8. Killing in the Name [Rage Against the Machine cover]
9. Thieves [Ministry cover]
10. Nookie
11. Behind Blue Eyes [The Who cover]
12. Break Stuff

 

[Day 2]

 

Day 2 was so vastly different from day 1. Nothing ran smoothly on day two. And when I say “nothing”, I truly mean nothing. As my friends and I prepared to head from our hotels to the venue, it started to rain. No, pour. As we walked up to the press tent, thinking we missed photographing Nonpoint, the grounds were eerily quiet. Since there was no lightening or thunder (at least that we’d seen/heard), we weren’t sure what was going on. Later it was learned that the stages were not properly set up to combat the elements and as the rain started the festival roadies did not cover up the early bands equipment. This forced Nonpoint to cancel their set and was going to make the day a lot more complicated. After this it was just general rumblings that certain bands were threatening not to play. It was horribly hectic for the next few hours. The festival crew was diligently working on trying to not only dry of the bands equipment, but the stages as well.

All That Remains and Pop Evil were up next but rather than relying on set band order, they decided to just have whoever finished setting up first play which made things even more frustrating and difficult for fans and media alike. A few hours later we learned that Volbeat had officially canceled which, while unfortunate, actually helped get the schedule back on track. Though that wouldn’t last for long.

After Buckcherry started to wrap up their set, we’d started to head over to get a good spot in the photo pit for Rise Against (the only band I really cared about Sunday, aside from Steel Panther and Sevendust) only to see a completely empty stage. The only thing we saw on stage were festivals workers with leaf blowers trying to blow dry the stage…while it was still raining, a pretty futile effort unfortunately. After almost an hour of standing around we headed back to the press tent to try and get out of the rain and mud. We’d been told prior to leaving the pit that despite having their stuff on stage already Bush wasn’t able to play until after Rise Against. When we got back to the media tent we’d heard Bush had officially dropped out. This basically spelled the end of the day. Despite Rise Against trying to play, it just wasn’t in the cards. Mother Nature wouldn’t allow it. Now we’d finally hear the word that they were canceling the remainder of the festival. Fearing any sort of riot (we’d heard the crowd had gotten rowdy at the other stage when roadies started stripping Bush’s stuff off the other stage), we all decided to leave as soon as we heard they were going to make the announcement. While it was a controversial ending to an otherwise fun weekend, I was pretty satisfied with the response Carolina Rebellions organizers posted after the fact:

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Sure, some of the other bands could’ve cancelled or spent their menial amount of stage time griping about it all, but they chose to rock the dedicated fans that stayed instead and I think that’s freaking awesome. While I will never fault a band for canceling over concerns for the safety of not only themselves but their crews and equipment, some did not agree with me:

Despite not being able to cover their set, here’s a great interview with American Fangs!

All That Remains:

After the constant back of forth of who would play when, we finally saw our first band of the day. As the rain started back up after a minor delay, All That Remains came out decked out in hoodies (a drastic change from Saturday) and proclaimed the rain wouldn’t stop them from playing. While some bands might have been bitter about having to perform in the rain, All That Remains seemed to love it. But then again, they have a sunnier disposition than most bands do to begin with. I love that about them. Despite having to quickly plow through their set, it was great to see bands having so much fun out there in spite of the elements.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Some of the People, All of the Time
2. Stand Up
3. The Last Time
4. Forever in Your Hands
5. Asking Too Much
6. Hold On
7. Two Weeks

 

Pop Evil:

Much like All That Remains, my favorite aspect of Pop Evil’s set was how much they embraced the elements. I’ve always loved Pop Evil live but this was easily my favorite time. They weren’t any better or worse than they normally are, but perhaps the added effect of the elements made their set that much more memorable than normal? Either way, damn is it fun to see Pop Evil in a rain storm.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 9.5
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Hero
2. Deal with the Devil
3. Boss’ Daughter
4. Last Man Standing
5. Trenches

 

Steel Panther:

This was my second time seeing Steel Panther (the other time being the previous weekend) and man are they fun. A throwback 80s hair band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, I mean, what more can you ask for? I was afraid that due to time constraints they’d have to cut a lot of their between song banter that made their previous show, but thankfully they didn’t. Some of the crowd was not as receptive to their brand of humor, but I loved it.

Vocalist Michael Starr has a fantastic voice and, despite what guitarist Satchel has to say he’s not a “fat David Lee Roth, but rather a skinny Vince Neil”. It’s comments like that that make their sets so amusing. It also doesn’t hurt that their music’s ridiculously catchy.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 10

Set list:

1. Eye of the Panther
2. Tomorrow Night
3. Asian Hooker
4. Just Like Tiger Woods
5. Community Property
6. Death to all but Metal

 

Sevendust:

One of the few bands on the line up that different from Welcome to Rockville was Sevendust. After 3 Doors Down was forced to drop off the bill, Sevendust was contacted to take their spot and they did a fantastic job at doing so. While it rained harder during Buckcherry, Sevendust not only had to combat heavy rain, but heavy winds as well. They were basically forced to play in a hurricane but they definitely didn’t let that stop them.

I love Sevendust and this show made me love them even more. Everyone in the band was giving it their all despite being as soaked as the crowd was. Every one in the crowd appreciated them going on despite the risk to themselves and they were rewarded with one of the biggest crowds of the weekend…even if the overall attendance Sunday seemed like 20% of the entirety of Saturday. Unbelievable set by Sevendust.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list (partial):

1. Decay
2. Pieces
3. Till Death
4. Face to Face

 

Buckcherry:

As indicated above, members of Buckcherry ended up being some of the most outspoken people on the subject of bands cancelling their show. Regardless of what their, mine or your opinions are on the bands canceling, it didn’t stop the band from playing. They also happened to be the last main stage band to play before the remainder of the festival was eventually canceled completely. While I’ve never been a big fan of Buckcherry, I loved how much energy they put out despite the rain being harder than it was during Sevendust. They put themselves at great personal risk to go on stage and that took some huge balls. Regardless of what I think of their music, I will definitely give them props for that.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 8.5

Set list (partial):

1. Rescue Me
2. All Night Long
3. Lit Up
4. Gluttony
5. Porno Star
6. Sorry
7. Crazy Bitch

 

Photos (Bands Listed in Alphabetical Order):

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