Rock on the Range 2008

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Sunday, May 25, 2008

As we made it to the venue, we paid our $15 for a parking pass, parked and merrily strolled up to the seemingly long line to get into Columbus Crew Stadium for the start of Rock on the Range 2008. We didn’t really know what to expect, especially with a group of 20 drunken Canadians in front of us. After a short wait we were given our wristbands for our field tickets and escorted into the venue. Once inside we noticed the sound checks going on outside the venue itself, and a large Tractor Trailer containing an entire Playstation 3 set up. Inside were roughly 10-15 plasma TVs set up displaying the newest games inside the PS3 universe. Most notable was the Rock Band tournament commencing, where 1-4 friends could get to try out their luck for some fabulous prizes (needless to say, my friends and I had no such luck). After we tried our luck in the Playstation tent we walked towards the second stage for the official start of the party.

Editor’s Note: All bands are scored based on a scale of 1-10.

The band that opened up ROTR were called Drive A. A bunch of “youngins” they were. Ranging in age from 15-19, they were the youngest guys there (excluding Black Tide who are all around the same age). The crowd wasn’t too into them, nor were they a band that stand out compared to the likes of Disturbed and STP, but for their age they handled their own very well and had a fair amount of energy. I could see them breaking into the mainstream in a few years.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 4
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 6

Continuing on the ODPS Second Stage was the band Ashes Divide featuring Billy Howerdel of the more established group A Perfect Circle, performing vocals and guitar. He didn’t do much in the way of crowd interaction, but he didn’t really need to. The crowd was very into them. They gave a top-notch performance, for a rapidly-growing ROTR crowd.

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

As we checked the schedule we slowly fought our way through the thousands of people making their way into the herd of Crew Stadium for the start of the main stage band Finger Eleven. With two guitarists bouncing up and down and across the stage from side to side, I figured this was going to be a very lively band, but I was proven wrong. The bassist and singer almost never moved. But with that aside, the singer’s voice was very pleasant and they played some of their biggest hits including “Paralyzer” in which they included medleys of “Take Me Out, All My Love and Another Brick in the Wall”.

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

Again we made our way back to the second stage for Airbourne, who were probably the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the day (if not the entire weekend). These boys from the UK are the AC/DC incarnates of a younger generation. As the singer came onto the stage, taking a huge swig of his bottle of Jack Daniels, the crowd erupted. Starting off with the song “Stand Up for Rock ‘n Roll” (adding on an extra 30-seconds or so of repetitive play), they kicked it up a notch, as did the crowd. Everyone was pumping his or her fists, moving and mesmerized. This continued for their entire set, with a few screams for encores when their set was complete, including yours truly).

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

Shinedown came up next on the Main Stage. Their singer came out with a creepy grin on his face, and way too much eye shadow. Great showmanship and energy, the crowd was very into them. Starting off with their new song “Devour”, the show went up and up from there.

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

We head back to the second stage for RED, only to find a bald-headed, bushy-bearded frontman, staring down the crowd. Leading a very energy-charged set, and ending with their smash-hit “Let Go”, RED was a huge crowd pleaser. The only real complaint of the set was garbled vocals.

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

Ah, Killswitch Engage, the next band on the main stage, what are the best words to describe this band? Hell if I know, but what I do know is this band brings the thunder, as well as the jokes. As the drummer sits down at his kit, singer Howard Jones comes out with a huge grin on his face, much to the pleasure of their adoring fans. Following Howard however is the always-amusing Adam Dutkiewicz on the guitars. Coming out with both middle fingers in the air and a blow-up doll strapped to his back, he is a sight to behold. Written on the doll are many varying phrases from “This belongs to Howard’s mom” to “Killswitch Engage rules” and “fuck emo kids”. Whatever your take on these metal boys, they came to party, and party they did. Opening with “Fixation on the Darkness”, and playing a number of their hits like “My Last Serenade” and “My Curse”, Killswitch were one of the top bands on day 1 with one of the crowd’s best overall responses.

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

10 Years was next, a very unique sounding band, able to fuse both hard rock riffs with catchy melodies. This is not something that is easy to come by in today’s industry. Their singer used to have mid-back length dreadlocks, but recently cut them off to go the route of a more clean-cut front man. With a new CD that came out less then a week before ROTR, we were in for a real treat. They played several new songs, such as their most recent single “Beautiful”, and past hits like “Wasteland”, and the crowds were constantly singing along.

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

Serj Tankian, political enthusiast (or un-enthusiast-depending on your perspective), and more known for being front man of the politically driven band System of a Down, hit the main stage at Rock on the Range with his solo, self-titled project. I suppose it was the fact that everyone associates Serj with System that made his solo project a bit of a dunce, but the select few who did take interest in Serj’s set were pleasantly surprised. He still had the same energy and tenacity that have made S.O.A.D. a household name. Unfortunately most of the crowd didn’t see it that way.

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

Theory of a Deadman hit the second stage next. I’m not really sure what to think of them. They weren’t bad per-ce, but nothing about them stood out or “wow”-ed me. They did play a few catchy songs including their newest single “So Happy”, however. They had a fairly good crowd response, much beyond the comprehension of this reviewer. Not to mention they sang a song about how much their lives sucked (“Hate my Life”), and the very next song sang about how awesome their lives were (“Got it Made”). Whatever the case, they put on an above-average show, but I wouldn’t go rushing out to buy their CD.

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

Filter closed the second stage, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. To my knowledge they hadn’t made anything overly mainstream in a few years, but I was pleasantly surprised. Great vocalist, a lot of energy, and the crowd was very into them. Lots of fist pumping and singing along, especially when they played their smash hit “Hey Man Nice Shot” to close their set.

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

Staind, music was superb but Aaron Lewis is one of the dullest front men of all time. Though his band mates ran around the stage, screaming along, playing up the crowd, he never moved from his mic stand the entire show. Though they played several crowd pleasers he brought down the entire momentum of the show.

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

Disturbed, one of the biggest bands at this festival. With a new CD coming out June 2, this was a perfect place for them to try out some new material. “Perfect Insanity” and “Inside the Fire”, both on the upcoming album, were played much to the appeasement of the crowd. With the biggest pits of the day, most crowd surfers and the largest crowd (aside from STP), Disturbed were a smash hit. And they ended with, predictably, “Down with the Sickness”, which really set the place off. A great band, with many good years ahead of them.

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

Stone Temple Pilots-all I can say is great performance. The band looked and sounded great for their first time together in almost 8 years. After coming on almost 30 minutes late (most likely just to build up anticipation) the fog machines started up, the house lights went off and all that could be heard was everyone in attendance chanting, “STP! STP! STP!” at the top of their lungs. The Deleo brothers then walked out much to the pleasure of the crowd. After the music started a snappily dressed Weiland pranced on stage, took a bow and started into “Big Empty”. On that note, the vibe stayed consistant for the entire night, with some of STP’s biggest hits spanning their career. They are back, and better than ever.

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

Day 2:

After a short miscalculation of where the tickets were, we returned to Crew Stadium for the start of Day 2 of ROTR ’08. Unfortunately due to the ticket problems (and another trip to the PS3 Tent) we missed the first band Saving Abel, and only got there half way through Rev. (Revelation) Theory.

Rev. Theory (from what I’ve heard from their fans they’ve shortened their name to simply Rev. Theory) was a clear crowd pleaser. Great stage presence, crisp vocals and a fairly unique sound compared to the onslaught of metal bands and mainstream rockers. Not a very big band now (even this reporter didn’t know anything by them) but I expect big things from this band in the coming years.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 8.5

After Rev. Theory finished I went with the crowd to the main stage for the start of one of the most anticipated bands of the festival, Five Finger Death Punch, only to find out that they would be starting after Black Tide (next band on the second stage and who are scheduled for after FFDP). I did some digging and found out that Flyleaf had pulled out because Lacey (singer) had strep throat and couldn’t sing. Being a Flyleaf fan I was a little disappointed, and I imagined a good portion of the crowd was as well. Sure enough, when the announcement went out, many people were quite disappointed. But the show must go on, right? And go on it did.

Moving back to the second stage for the start of Black Tide, I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially after Drive A the day before. Could a band full of boys, not even old enough to buy their own porn, handle the weight of playing a festival? We would find out soon enough. As the random songs playing to keep the crowd at bay cease, their drummer comes out and the entire crowd starts cheering. After the initial cheering dies down, out come the rest of his band mates. Their singer is only 15, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Being a metal fan I gave them an extra hard critique. But even I had trouble putting anything down about these young metal lads. Strong vocals, superb guitar plays and showmanship. Opening with their smash hit “Shockwave” it was non stop moshing and crowd surfing for their entire set. I expect when they get old enough to shave, these boys will make a very unique mark on the metal community; this reporter is calling it now. Another interesting thing about this band was their choice of a cover song in Metallica’s “Hit the Lights”. Not the norm for a cover song, but they pulled it off, and well.

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

Now it was finally time for the highly anticipated “all-star” band Five Finger Death Punch. Featuring members of acclaimed bands such as Motograter and UFO, this band was definitely a music spectacle not to miss. Once you get past the obvious corny name, FFDP are a quality metal band with a lot to offer. Of the main stage bands they had the second highest amount of mosh pits and crowd surfers (second only to Papa Roach). The crowd was into them much more then I had previously expected. It’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised. Opening with “Ashes”, their bassist walked on the stage, long flowing beard, almost resembling a Viking, flicking off the crowd. Following were the 2 guitarists who both bowed and their singer, who proceeded to stare down the crowd for a few minutes. After this apparent male-dominance tactic was complete, they started rocking the crowd, and the fun continued from their, all the way to the climax of their smash hit “The Bleeding”, to close out their set.

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

Bobaflex was next on the second stage. They were a complete Hinder rip-off only without the fame or money to go along with it. Their first song even sounded exactly like (and I kid you not) “Get Stoned”. Having a firm hatred for Hinder, it was hard to get over my evident bias towards Bobaflex on a personal level. To the loyal Bobaflex fans reading this review-my apologies, I just couldn’t get into it.

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

Alter Bridge was next on the main stage. For those of you don’t know them, they are Creed without Scott Stapp on vocals. Their new singer has taken them in a much more mature direction, thankfully. Though I was a fan of Creed (Yes, yes let the insults come), Alter Bridge is a much better fit for the band mates then Creed. They seemed happier on stage, their music is better and the crowd ate them up.

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

Next up on the second stage were hard rock power act Drowning Pool. Drowning Pool first made it onto the metal scene back in 2000 with their smash hit “Bodies” (which they used to close out their set-obviously). It appeared they were destined for metal stardom until their singer Dave Williams passed away on his tour bus at a stop of OZZfest, from an apparent heart condition. Going through 2 new singers on their latest two albums, it appeared that Drowning Pool would fizzle out like all the other has-been bands of this time, but they persevered. Though their second album was a flop, as was the singer, their most recent album sold fairly well and welcomed the singer of the band Soil. One thing that Drowning Pool are known for throughout the rock community is their caring and compassion for the soldiers of the United States Military. Playing countless U.S.O. shows, and sending roughly 8,000 free CDs to troops over seas, are what make them a unique band today. Most bands are too quick to condemn soldiers just because of the government that commands them, but Drowning Pool are not like that, and it showed. And thanks to them the “This is for the Soldiers” theme carried on for other bands such as Disturbed, Sevendust, Filter and 3 Doors Down. Starting off their set with fan favorites “Sinner” and “Step Up” and finished off with “Bodies”, the entire crowd was either crowd surfing or singing along.

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

Next up on main stage were rock-radio sensations Seether. It was cool hearing the songs but they don’t bring any level of excitement, aggression, or any different sound to the table live, which made their set fall below my expectations. Playing such fan favorites as “Fine Again”, “Rise Above It” and “Remedy”, the crowd clearly showed a peeked interest.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 9

To close out the second stage for the final day of Rock on the Range 2008 were the hard rock band Sevendust. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It’s not often that bands have a black front man, and not to base my judgment solely off of race (because I love God Forbid), I just wasn’t sure how they would compare to bands of much more acclaimed status as Papa Roach or even Drowning Pool, but they proved me wrong, and I’m very thankful for that. Vocalist Lajon Witherspoon had a certain energy and tenacity that most bands never have, and it made for one hell of a show. They played such fan favorites as “Ugly” and “Leech”.

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

Ah, the band that I have been waiting for for the past two days, Papa Roach. This being my seventh time seeing the rock powerhouse band, I knew a bit of what to expect in singer Jacoby Shaddix, bassist Tobin Esperance and guitarist Jerry Horten. But what I was unclear of was how the band would sound losing long time drummer Dave Buckner. To fill the voice they tapped the ex-Unwritten Law drummer (Tony Palermo). They meshed perfectly. As their new drummer sat behind the kit, and Jerry and Tobin entered the stage, followed by always-enthused frontman Jacoby smiling from ear to ear, I knew today was going to be a special day. I was, once again, proven right. Starting off with a brand new song titled “Change or Die” (originally known as “Courageous”) which showed that their promise of returning to their Infest [debut cd] roots was in fact being kept. After playing their new song they played a few famous singles including “…to be loved”, “Getting Away with Murder” and “Dead Cell”. After a few classics, they rip into another new song called “Hanging On”. Not quite as hard as “Change or Die”, but still a great song, more along the lines of their “Paramour Sessions” CD. They had the best crowd response, crowd surfing, and moshing of the entire weekend. And when they ended with their world-renowned song “Last Resort”. It echoed throughout the venue and every single person in attendance sang along. It was the highlight of the weekend. At the end of their set Jacoby talked about how they had headlined the main stage in ’07, played main stage and within the next two years would be headlining the main stage, a promise I hope they keep. My only complaint was that they didn’t play anything from their LoveHateTragedy cd.

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

3 Doors Down was a good addition to the main stage, but not necessarily in the spot they were placed. A great band in and of themselves, but they were a bit of a momentum drainer after Papa Roach and before Kid Rock. Their sound was good and their singer was very energetic but the rest of the band was fairly lackadaisical. They played a lot of their hits and some new songs from their album just released this past Tuesday (May 20). I suppose their placement was to give people a little “down” time before Kid Rock ended the festival (at least I hope that was the reason).

Vocals: 10
Crowd Response: 8.5
Overall Sound: 10
Band Activity: 8.5
Overall rating: 9.5

Kid Rock closed out the festival, and in a big way. My friends and I were only going to stay for a song or two and beat the traffic, but when Kid hit the stage we were in for an amazing surprise. He had great stage presence, charisma and presence and a bunch of surprises up his sleeve. Midway through hits set with the Twisted Brown Trucker Band (his back up band), he brought out his first surprise; Peter Wolf a huge singer from NY. Following that and their 2 cover songs, he brought out the Rev from infamous rap group Run DMC. They covered 3 DMC songs including: “It’s Tricky”, “Walk This Way” [Aerosmith Version] and “Rock Box”. This was surely a sight to behold. Following a great performance filled with pyrotechnics and amazing cover songs, he finished with his well-known song “Bawitdaba” of which everyone sung along. A great band, a great show.

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

All around this was possibly the best concert I’ve ever been to. The bands all sounded fantastic, and the crowds meshed better than most concerts. They have announced that Rock on the Range will return in 2009, and this reporter hopes he has the opportunity to cover it again. My only complaints (which were no fault of the Festival organizers themselves) were the ungodly high prices for food/water ($4 for water/soda, $8 for beer, $7 for a 6 inch sub or $30 for an entire pizza) and the fact it was the coldest summer festival I’ve been too, by the end of Sunday I honestly didn’t think I’d see my balls again. But I digress from my point, anyone who can make it to next years Rock on the Range, I’d highly recommend going. For any specific questions about this festival, feel free to write me, my email is located on the staff page.

Cosmos Gaming would like to thank everyone at Mitch Schneider Organization for letting us cover Rock on the Range.

Here are the set lists that each band played, listed to the best of my ability. This is as accurate as possible, but may be missing some artists or perhaps some songs. Please note that the bands are not in the exact order that they performed.

Day One:

 

Serj Tankian
Empty Walls
Feed Us
Lie Lie Lie
Saving Us
Leave Me Alone
Sky is Over
Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
Beethovens Cock
Unthinking Majority

 

Filter
Welcome to the Fold
Soldiers of Misfortune
Take
Jurassitol
Take A Picture
Trip Like I Do
Hey Man Nice Shot

 

Staind
Open Your Eyes
Crawl
So Far Away
Never There
Falling
Turn the Page(Bob Seger cover with just Aaron Lewis on acoustic)
For You
Outside
Right Here
Its Been Awhile
Mudshovel

 

Theory of a Deadman
Invisible Man
Nothing Could Come Between Us
Bad Girlfriend
Hate My Life
Got It Made
No Surprise
So Happy

 

Disturbed
Prayer
Liberate
Perfect Insanity
Just Stop
10,000 Fists
Stupify
Land of Confusion
The Game
Inside the Fire
Stricken
Down with the Sickness

 

Shinedown
Devour
Heroes
Save Me
The Sound of Madness
Dare You
45
Burning Bright
Fly From the Inside

 

10 Years
Russian Roulette
11am (Daydreamer)
All Your Lies
Drug of Choice
Actions & Motives
Beautiful
Wasteland

 

Airbourne
Stand Up
Hellfire
Fat City
Girls In Black
Cheap Wine
2 Much 2 Young
Runnin Wild

 

Finger Eleven
Good Times
Falling On
One Thing
Talking To The Walls
Paralyzer (Take Me Out/All My Love/Another Brick in the Wall medley)

 

Killswitch Engage
A Bid Farewell
Fixation On The Darkness
Arms Of Sorrow
Rose Of Sharyn
Life To Lifeless
My Curse
My Last Serenade
The End Of Heartache
Holy Diver

 

Stone Temple Pilots
Big Empty
Wicked Garden
Vaseline
Big Bang Baby
Lady Picture Show
Lounge Fly
Crackerman
Sour Girl
Creep
Plush
Interstate Love Song
Down
All in the Suit that you Wear
Sex Type Thing
Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart
Dead and Bloated
Wet my bed (outro)

 

Day 2:

 

Black Tide
Shockwave
Show Me the Way
Hit the Lights
Warriors of Time
Light From Above

 

Five Finger Death Punch
Set List
Ashes
Salvation
The Way of the Fist
White Knuckles
The Bleeding
Meet the Monster

 

Drowning Pool
Sinner
Step Up
Tear Away
Soldiers
Enemy
Bodies

 

Seether
Needles
Broken
Fine Again
Gasoline
Rise Above This
Fake It
Remedy

 

Bobaflex
Better than Me
That ole speed
Savior
Born Again
Need a Drink
Bright Red Violent Sex
Home
Goodbye

 

Papa Roach
Change or Die (new song)
…to be loved
Getting Away with Murder
Time is Running Out
Forever
Dead Cell
Scars
Hanging on (new song)
Between Angels and Insects
Last Resort

We were unable to get pictures of Saving Abel and Kid Rock.

Photos (Bands Listed in Alphabetical Order):

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