Rock on the Range 2009

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cosmos Gaming’s own Chip Tamplin once again had the opportunity to attend the two day Rock on the Range. Check below for his impressions and photographs from the festival!

Note: This is not the complete Rock on the Range lineup as Chip was not able to catch every single group.

DAY 1

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 2009. After last year we had a basic idea of what to expect, but would it change drastically from last year with the addition of more bands and another stage? We wouldn’t get our answer till we go inside. After we tried our luck in the Playstation tent again we walked towards the second stage for the official start of the party. With the crowds growing, we knew the place “where rock lives” was about to go nuts.

The Leo Project:

TLP was a good band to start the festival. Lots of energy and momentum to get the party started. Crowd seemed relatively into them considering how “early” the show started. One of the more standout bands of the lesser known’s.

Vocals: 8

Crowd Response: 8

Overall Sound: 8

Band Activity: 9

Overall Rating: 8.5

X Factor 1:

X Factor 1 are a local band who were given the opportunity to play in the legendary rock festival due to the overwhelming recommendations the organizing committee received from the Rock on the Range Party Page. To show their gratitude they invited several of the Party Page members on stage before their set to thank them and to introduce the band. Once they hit the stage they played to one of the largest crowds of the Jagermeister stage for not only Saturday, but Sunday as well. It was great to see the band annihilating the stage after last year only being able to pass out CDs in the parking lot.

Vocals: 9.5

Crowd Response: 10

Overall Sound: 9

Band Activity: 9.5

Overall Rating: 9.5

Crooked X:

Like Drive A the year before (and a repeat this year), Crooked X is made up of a group of teenagers, but all are rock stars in training. Having already established themselves by having a smash hit single included in the popular video game Rock Band and direct support to Kiss, Crooked X were a perfect fit for the second stage of Rock on the Range. Playing some of their bigger songs including “Nightmare” and a good cover of Pink Floyds “Another Brick in the Wall”, Crooked X were a great force on the second stage.

Vocals: 9

Crowd Response: 8.5

Overall Sound: 9

Band Activity: 10

Overall Rating: 9

Duff McKagan’s Loaded:

Consisting of the infamous Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses fame was playing Rock on the Range for the second time, the first being the inaugural year with his other band, Velvet Revolver. Though formed back in 1999, they had somehow evaded the public’s eye, reemerging recently with their radio smash hit “flatline”. Though the stigma behind Duff, the band came up a bit short and didn’t hit the crowd quite as much as they’d planned.

Vocals: 9

Crowd Response: 8

Overall Sound: 8.5

Band Activity: 8

Overall Rating: 8

Static-X:

Static-X was the final band on the Jagermeister Stage. Drawing a huge crowd, both die hard and new fans alike, Static-X put on a show to rival any band at Rock on the Range. Wayne Static, guitarist and charismatic front man started antagonizing the crowd with the likes of “I’m with Stupid”, bringing out old gems like “Dirthouse”, “Black and White” and newer songs like “Stingwray” and “Lunatic” (unfortunately the latter was without the all-star collaboration of Dave Mustaine). With their strong set almost completed, they had to finish the crowd off with their first-ever single “Push It”, sending the crowd into frenzies. With the return of original guitarist, Koichi Fukuda, their sound was fuller, faster and stronger then it’s been in years giving one of the most energetic sets of the festival.

Vocals: 9.5

Crowd Response: 10

Overall Sound: 9.5

Band Activity: 10

Overall Rating: 10

All That Remains:

Coming off the success of their most recent album, Overcome, All That Remains was riding high. Being direct support to Atreyu is a daunting task, but All That Remains is up to the challenge. Fronting the band is Philip Labonte (formerly of Perpetual Doom and Shadows Fall fame) who came out screaming and enticed the crowd to get pumped up. Joining him on stage are drummer Jason Costa, bassist Jeanne Sagan and guitarists Mike Martin and Oli Herbert. With great lighting, phenomenal sound and lots of crowd-pleasing songs, All That Remains was a clear favorite for the day.

Vocals: 9.5

Crowd Response: 10

Overall Sound: 10

Band Activity: 9.5

Overall Rating: 10

Atreyu:

Headlining the second stage for the first day of Rock on the Range are metalcore titans Atreyu. As singer Alex Varkatzas and company enters the stage they immediately start into “Bleeding Mascara”. Continuing their set with smash hits like “Right Side of the Bed”, “Ex’s and Oh’s”, “Becoming the Bull” and ending with their signature closer, “Lipgloss and Black”. Atreyu was a phenomenal live performance, drawing the biggest crowd of the smaller stages over the course of the weekend. I was hoping for a glimpse into their new album (slated for a late summer release), but unfortunately we never received it.

Vocals: 10

Crowd Response: 10

Overall Sound: 10

Band Activity: 10

Overall Rating: 10

DAY 2

Royal Bliss:

At first I was tempted to say this band did not deserve to be on the stage at Rock on the Range. They started a bit slow, perhaps boring, but once they’d really started playing I started to believe and ended up being quite impressed. Playing to a heavily hung-over is no easy task but Royal Bliss certainly did their best, and ending with their song “I Was Drunk”, was certainly a good way to do it.

Vocals: 9

Crowd Response: 8

Overall Sound: 8

Band Activity: 7.5

Overall Rating: 8

Drive A:

Returning to Rock on the Range for the second straight years are rock youngsters, Drive A. With a year of touring under their belts, I figured they’d be more of a stand out, but that was not the case. Though they still had a lot of energy, their set still fell a bit short of my expectations and they didn’t seem to win over the crowd very well. Their first full-length CD, Loss of Desire, was released the following Tuesday (May 19, 2009). Having given it a listen the songs have grown on me, and should Drive A return again next year, and more people hear their music, I have a feeling they’ll go over much better.

Vocals: 8

Crowd Response: 5

Overall Sound: 9

Band Activity: 9

Overall Rating: 8

Burn Halo:

Fronting this band is former Eighteen Visions singer, James Hart. An eccentric man, with a love for rock and roll, Hart has started bringing this band into the mainstream with songs like “Dirty Little Girl”. Leading the fight on the Jagermeister stage, Hart and co. proved to be a formidable band to reckon with.

Vocals: 9

Crowd Response: 7

Overall Sound: 9

Band Activity: 9

Overall Rating: 9

Framing Hanley:

Best known for their surprisingly good cover of Lil’ Wayne’s song “Lollipop”, Framing Hanley were one of the most anticipated bands on the smaller stages. Eccentric members and screaming go hand in hand together, giving a great performance and allowing for lots of crowd interaction was a recipe for a good set. At times vocals were a bit hard to understand, but overall a very impressive set.

Vocals: 9

Crowd Response: 10

Overall Sound: 9

Band Activity: 9

Overall Rating: 9

Adelitas Way:

A solid rock band performance, lots of energy but not quite as exciting as I was expecting. With a guitarist resembling a young Slash, and a drummer with a Tyrannosaurus Rex toy glued to his drum kit it was certainly a sight to behold. Playing their [currently] only available single “Invincible” which is the theme song for WWE, people enjoyed them, and they are worth a listen when their first full length CD is released later this year.

Vocals: 9

Crowd Response: 8

Overall Sound: 9

Band Activity: 9

Overall Rating: 9

Charm City Devils:

A local band, hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Charm City Devils are signed to Nikki Sixx’s (of Motley Crue and Sixx:Am fame) record label. A grungy rock band, made up of older gents, but the age has only improved their ability to rock the masses. Though their appeal wasn’t felt quite as much as I would’ve thought, but still good by my standards.

Vocals: 9

Crowd Response: 8

Overall Sound: 9

Band Activity: 9

Overall Rating: 9

Pop Evil:

Having their singles as the theme for college football and lacrosse, to being on tour with such bands as Saliva, Chevelle, and upcoming tours with Jackyl and Judas Priest. I was not expecting as big of a crowd for them as what showed up, but the area was packed. Drawing an enormous crowd, singer Leigh Kakaty had to get out and mingle with the crowd. Walking up and down the barrier area singing and shaking hands and making the crowd join in. Phenomenal show and I’m sure they won over a lot of fans.

Vocals: 10

Crowd Response: 10

Overall Sound: 10

Band Activity: 9.5

Overall Rating: 10

Clutch:

A bit out of place for Rock on the Range in my opinion, but still a phenomenal band and a great way to end the Jagermeister stage for the year. With a style of bluesy-rock unique to them I was a bit skeptical of how well they’d go over with the more mainstream rock and metal crowd of Rock on the Range, but they drew by far the biggest crowd of the stage for the weekend. It was so packed that it was impossible to leave until their set was over. With an energy and charisma all their own, Clutch performed one of the best stand-out performances of the weekend.

Vocals: 9

Crowd Response: 10

Overall Sound: 9.5

Band Activity: 9.5

Overall Rating: 9.5

Billy Talent:

Billy Talent isn’t a name that has been spoken too often recently, but that will definitely change after their performance at Rock on the Range. Hailing from our neighbor to the North, Canada, Billy Talent are best known for their song “Try Honesty” and “This Suffering”. With an overly eccentric front man Billy Talent had a much stronger US fan base then I had anticipated and proved skeptics wrong that they shouldn’t headline Rock on the Range: Canada. Only complaint was that singer Benjamin Kowalewicz has quite a whiney voice, which takes a little to get used to, and may not be possible for some people to get used to. Otherwise, a strong performance.

Vocals: 10

Crowd Response: 9

Overall Sound: 10

Band Activity: 9.5

Overall Rating: 10

The Used:

The Used were the final band of the second stage of the festival. One of the few good things to come out of Utah, The Used are a force to be reckoned with. Drawing probably one of the most diverse crowds ranging from metal heads to the small minority of emo kids, The Used were a great ending to the second stage. Playing favorites spanning their entire discography, ranging from “The Taste of Ink”, “Take it Away”, “The Bird and the Worm” and a brand new song off their new CD, Artwork, entitled “Blood on my Hands”. Giving off a powerful and emotional performance, The Used were an excellent end to the weekend of coverage.

Vocals: 10

Crowd Response: 10

Overall Sound: 10

Band Activity: 10

Overall Rating: 10

In closing, Rock on the Range was another fun experience. Though it paled in comparison to last year’s. The addition of the third stage caused fans to have to pick and choose bands unlike last year where fans were able to catch every single band of the weekend. If they’re going to add more bands they need to go the OZZfest route and start earlier (who would mind starting to rock out at 10 am?) or add the stages in closer proximity so the bands can switch faster and cause less frustration to the fans. Otherwise it was a fun show. Lots of great bands converging on one place for one hell of a weekend of rock and roll. It has already been announced that Rock on the Range will be held again next year on May 15-16, 2010.

Photos (Bands Listed in Alphabetical Order):

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