Rock on the Range 2012

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chip Tamplin once again headed out to Ohio for Rock on the Range. Check below for his impression from both days as well as photos from the performances.

Day 1:

Adelitas Way:

As I said in my review of Carolina Rebellion, I’m amazed at how far Adelitas Way has come from their short and forgettable set at Rock on the Range 2009. Not only has their stage presence improved substantially but the band’s sound has become a lot tighter. Rick DeJesus is a phenomenal front man and the rest of the band follows his lead from start to finish of their set. The little band I remember from 2009 has definitely grown up in a big way.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 8.5
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. The Collapse
2. Hurt
3. Cage the Beast
4. Criticize
5. Sick
6. Invincible

New Medicine:

After seeing their set at Uproar Fest 2010 I’ve loved this band. They’re not really doing anything differently than other bands in the genre, but there’s just something about this little band from Minnesota that I just can’t get enough of. While they’ve been touring off the same CD for over two years now, the songs still seem fresh to me despite seeing them at least five times in that span.

If you get the opportunity to see this band I highly recommend it.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 8.5
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. Resolve to Fight
2. Little Sister
3. Laid
4. Rich Kids
5. Race You to the Bottom

Falling in Reverse:

Falling in Reverse’s set was a shamble from the start. As was the case for all the bands on the second stage, they were plagued with horrible sound issues for the duration of their set. Unfortunately for them though, theirs were by far the worst. The issues were so bad that they lost fifteen minutes of their set and were only able to play four songs.

With that said, they were still by far my favorite band on Saturday’s line up. Vocalist Ronnie Radke was the original vocalist for the band Escape the Fate and you could still tell his animosity for the band after being kicked out of the band in 2008. Between songs he stated, “I have two bands playing this weekend; this one and one tomorrow that was stolen from me”, or something to that effect.

Despite the shortened set list, they definitely put on the best set of the day and I can’t wait to catch a full set of theirs at this summers Warped Tour.

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

Setlist:

1. I’m Not A Vampire
2. Tragic Magic
3. Raised by Wolves
4. The Drug in Me is You

Theory of a Deadman:

I don’t know why, but I just can’t get into Theory of a Deadman. They’re a solid rock band, but I just don’t like them. They did play the only song I really know or like, “Hate My Life” but even that couldn’t save their set for me.

I will say that it was great to shoot their guitarist – Dave Brenner – was all over the place and great to photograph. The rest of the band was pretty stationary and didn’t help their set be any more exciting. They did sound great though and their intro of “Blame Canada” [From South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut] was definitely my favorite part of their set.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 8.5
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

[Blame Canada intro]
1. Gentleman
2. So Happy
3. Bitch Came Back
4. Lowlife
5. Hurricane
6. The Truth is… (I Lied About Everything)
7. Cocaine [J.J. Cale cover]
8. Hate My Life
9. Bad Girlfriend

P.O.D:

Last year P.O.D. headlined the 3rd stage and played by far the worst set of the three times I’ve seen them. Their set at Rock Allegiance was a huge step up from that and their set on the second stage this year was leagues better than that.

From the moment their set started the guys from California brought it harder than any band on the side stages that day. A minor sound problem aside that forced them to start “Boom” over, their set was definitely one of the best at this year’s festival.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 8.5
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist (partial):

1. Boom
2. Set it Off
3. Southtown
4. Youth of the Nation
5. Alive

Cypress Hill:

Until today the only time I’d seen Cypress Hill was way back in 2007 when they opened for Rage Against the Machine during that year’s installment of Rock the Bells. They were great then and they were great today. Quickly plowing through a stacked twelve song set list, Cypress Hill definitely proved that rap has a place in future installments of Rock on the Range.

Vocalists B-Real and Sen Dog have great chemistry and both sounded solid live even though at times you couldn’t even hear them over the crowd singing along. I’d love to see them return in the future.

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

Setlist:

1. Get ‘Em Up
2. Hand on the Pump
3. When the Shit Goes Down
4. How I Could Just Kill a Man
5. Latin Thugs
6. Insane in the Brain
7. Roll it Up, Light it Up, Smoke it Up
8. I Want to Get High
9. Hits From the Bong
10. Dr. Greenthumb
11. Drum solo
12. Rock Superstar

Five Finger Death Punch:

Five Finger Death Punch was definitely one of the better live bands on this year’s installment. Like Adelitas Way and P.O.D, FFDP have worked their way up the ranks from an early opener to one of the day’s final bands. As is the case with most FFDP songs, they sound way better live than on CD. All of my favorite songs that they play live just don’t appeal to me when I listen to them on CD.

As vocalist Ivan Moody stated early on in their set, security presence was doubled during their set list because their set was by far the rowdiest of the weekend. It definitely made the pit more cramped for photographers, but the band made it worthy of our time. They’re definitely one of the best bands to photograph.

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

Setlist:

1. Under and Over It
2. Salvation
3. American Capitalist
4. Hard to See
5. Bad Company [Bad Company cover]
6. White Knuckles
7. Drum solo
8. Never Enough
9. Burn it Down
10. Remember Everything
11. The Bleeding

Incubus:

Much like A Perfect Circle last year, Incubus is a headline-caliber band that picked the wrong festival to headline. Don’t get me wrong, I love Incubus and was happy to see them but they were out of place here and the majority of fans didn’t seem to appreciate them the way they should.

To be fair, Incubus didn’t do much to try and fit in with the crowd they were playing for. The addition of “Circles” was definitely a nice touch, but having songs from their newest album – which is substantially slower and more melodic than their previous releases – didn’t do much to suck in those leaving in droves after Shinedown finished.

Boyd’s vocals were a little tough to hear for the first few songs but definitely improved as the set went on. Minor sound problems aside, Incubus was awesome and if you stayed long enough to enjoy their set, you definitely got your money’s worth.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9.5
Overall Sound: 10
Band Activity: 7
Overall Rating: 9.5

Setlist:

1. Privilege
2. Megalomaniac
3. Adolescents
4. Pardon Me
5. Anna Molly
6. Are You In?
7. Circles
8. In the Company of Wolves
9. Drive
10. Consequence
11. Nice to Know You
12. Switchblade
13. Wise You Were Here
14. Sick Sad Little World

Day 2:

Black Stone Cherry:

Unlike the majority of the bands on the bill, I’d never covered a Black Stone Cherry show before. I’d seen them, just never covered them so I was pretty happy to have some new blood to shoot.

I’m not a big fan of them, but they put on a much better show than I was expecting. Chris Robertson is a great front man and guitarist Ben Wells was great to photograph and made their set exciting. The crowd seemed to like them a lot too despite a pretty simplistic show.

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

Setlist:

1. Maybe Someday
2. Blind Man
3. In My Blood
4. Like I Roll
5. White Trash Millionaire
6. Rehab [Amy Winehouse cover]
7. Blame it On the Boom-Boom
8. Lonely Train

Eve to Adam:

Not really a fan of these guys. They were alright, nothing negative to say really. Boring, but they sounded good. The only stand out was their cover of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”. Otherwise, enh.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 7
Overall Rating: 7.5

Escape the Fate:

Escape the Fate, in my opinion, haven’t been good since they kicked Ronnie Radke out of the band. He was their sound and what made them unique in a sea of similar bands. Replacement vocalist Craig Mabbitt is pretty solid, but their music has suffered a lot.

I’ve seen ETF many times over the years (sadly never with Ronnie) and this was far and away the worst I’ve seen them. Perhaps some of Ronnie’s voodoo from day 1 transferred over, but they were just awful. You could barely hear Craig and the rest of the band and when you actually could it wasn’t very good. I’ve seen them enough to know this was a fluke but it was unfortunate nonetheless.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 10
Band Activity: 7
Overall Rating: 9.5

Setlist:

1. 10 Miles Wide
2. Issues
3. The Flood
4. Day of Wreckoning
5. Gorgeous Nightmare
6. This War is Ours (The Guillotine II)
7. The Aftermath (G3)

Soil:

Soil finally saw the return of Ryan McCombs to the line up. After an extended absence where he was the frontman for Drowning Pool, he finally returned to his rightful place as vocalist for Soil. You can tell the difference it made with him back. Their energy was incredible and they sounded on point.

Even though they were shoved onto the miniscule third stage, the fans were going absolutely nuts their entire set. It was great to see.

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

Setlist (partial):

1. Inside
2. Halo

The Darkness:

I did not expect The Darkness to be as good as they were. It took me a few songs to get over their interesting look – much like 70s porn stars – but once I really started listening to their music it was very enjoyable. Much like most of the people in the crowd I’d really only heard “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” and was a little shocked by their placement on the bill, but they definitely earned it. They had more energy than 95% of the bands on the bill and sounded great while doing it. Vocalist Justin Hawkins apologized for his “crappy voice” and blamed it on a cold he’d been suffering from, but I personally thought he was solid.

Between jumping off risers and doing headstands on the drum kit, he managed to run through a great selection of songs and The Darkness was definitely one of the surprise acts of ROTR 2012.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 8.5
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 8

Setlist:

1. Black Schuck
2. Growing on Me
3. Get Your Hands Off My Woman
4. Love is Only a Feeling
5. Givin’ Up
6. Love on the Rocks with No Ice
7. I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Attack Attack!:

You definitely have to be in the right mood to enjoy Attack Attack! and their style of music is definitely an interesting addition to the ever-changing landscape of ROTR bands. Much like Asking Alexandria last year, their blend of metalcore definitely attracts a certain kind of fan. In the grand scheme of the bands there I wasn’t expecting either of them to do well, but clearly they’ve crossed fan bases or a lot of their fans came just for them.

Sadly, this was by far the worst I’d seen them too. Energy wise they were great, but sadly the technical difficulties plagued yet another band and they were the victim. You could barely early vocalist Caleb Shomo and the guitars were almost non existent. Sad, but they persevered.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 8.5
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 8.5

Volbeat:

I enjoy Volbeat’s music a lot, but they’re really boring live. Bassist Anders Kjolholm is by far the most active of the group but even that’s not saying much. For most fans I’m sure a band sounding good is their main priority, but when you’ve seen as many bands as I’ve seen, I want a little energy from the band. They don’t have to be doing flips or lighting themselves on fire, but a little energy goes along way, especially when you want to be remembered.

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

Setlist:

1. A Warrior’s Call
2. Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
3. Another Day, Another Way
4. Sad Man’s Tongue
5. Hallelujah Goat
6. The Mirror and the Ripper
7. I Only Want to Be With You
8. Pool of Booze, Booze, Booze
9. Still Counting

12 Stones:

12 Stones were a great surprise. I’d never seen them before so it was definitely nice to see someone new in a sea of repeats, but they were great live too. Vocalist and guitarist Paul McCoy had a mini camera strapped to his guitar filming himself and the crowd while they played.

They played through a good mix of songs that definitely got the crowd going. I wasn’t expecting them to be as well received as they were; definitely a nice surprise.

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

Setlist:

1. Infected
2. Anthem for the Underdog
3. Bulletproof
4. Adrenaline
5. Soulfire
6. Broken

Down:

One of the only true conflicts of bands I had was 12 Stones vs. Down and Down’s photo policy nullified the conflict. Most bands you’re given the first three songs of their set to shoot, but Down gave permission for photographers to shoot their full set which meant I was able to see both. A big thank you to Down for being awesome.

Having never seen Pantera, I’m glad I got to hear Philip Anselmo live. He’s a phenomenal front man and a genuinely nice guy. Between each song he stopped and took a minute to thank all the fans who came out to their set. It was nice to see someone so gracious. It was also amazing to see how much fun all the members were having. That seems to be a rarity in this business, especially for a band that has been around for as long as Down has been.

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

Setlist:

1. Hail the Leaf
2. Lysergik Funeral Procession
3. Rehab
4. Lifer
5. Stone the Crow
6. Bury Me in Smoke

Anthrax:

Anthrax was far and away the band I was most excited for this weekend. I’ve been an Anthrax fan for many years now, but only recently have I garnered this sort of obsession with them. After seeing them for the first time with Megadeth and Slayer over a year ago, I just needed to see them again and I finally got to.

Anthrax played the exact set list they’re apparently playing on this summers Mayhem Festival tour; a great variety of their songs from new to old. You can’t start a set much better than they do with “Caught in a Mosh”, that will definitely get a crowd going early and it definitely succeeded.

All the members of Anthrax are incredibly energetic from Scott Ian to Joey Belladonna to Frank Bello. Their energy fuels the crowd and easily made them the best band of the weekend and makes me even more excited for Mayhem.

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

Setlist:

1. Caught in a Mosh
2. Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
3. Antisocial [Trust cover]
4. Indians
5. The Devil You Know
6. Got the Time [Joe Jackson cover]
7. Madhouse
8. I Am the Law

Megadeth:

I really can’t stand Dave Mustaine. I know I’ve said it before and I’ll undoubtedly say it in the future, but his vocals ruin the band. Musically they’re one of the best metal bands ever, but his horrendous vocals make them almost unlistenable.

Still, from a strictly musical perspective I love hearing Megadeth live. Watching Mustaine and Chris Broderick play is a real treat. I just wish my day of coverage had ended with Anthrax instead of Megadeth. Oh well. Maybe I’ll learn to tolerate Mustaine in the future? I know, not likely.

Vocals: 5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. Never Dead
2. Head Crusher
3. Hangar 18
4. Trust
5. She-Wolf
6. Sweating Bullets
7. Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
8. Public Enemy No. 1
9. Symphony of Destruction
10. Peace Sells
11. Holy Wars…the Punishment Due

Day 1 Photos (Bands Listed in Alphabetical Order):

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