Festival Review: Rock on the Range 2016 Day 2

Festival Review:  Rock on the Range 2016 Day 2

Rock on the Range 2016 started out with a bang on Friday (coverage here). Saturday stacked up to be just as good – bands like Parkway Drive, Lamb of God, Five Finger Death Punch, and Rob Zombie made the lineup feel a bit more metal-focused than the first day, at least on paper. That being said, the day was still chocked full of variety, with bands like Lacey Sturm, Aranda, Pop Evil, and Clutch to cleanse the pallet. We headed to Mapfre Stadium from our hotel, stopping at Kroger (as we do every single ROTR day) for a made-to-order breakfast and the ever-crucial Monster Rehab. I grabbed a poncho on the way out of the store on a whim, juuuust in case it decided to rain on Saturday. Best decision ever: As painful as it was to wear something with an Ohio State logo on it, it was totally worth it. (Sorry folks, but The Music Pill is in Indianapolis, in the heart of Hoosier country).

It rained pretty much all day on Saturday, but try as she might, Mother Nature couldn’t put a damper on Rock on the Range. Saturday’s crowd was every bit as rowdy and engaged as the crowd from the day before, in spite of the cold and rainy weather. As the day progressed, it turned into a sloppy mess, but that didn’t stop it from being a fantastic day of music.

Speaking of music – lets get to it! Following a similar format as the Day 1 (Friday) blog, I’ll discuss the shows that were rock solid first, and then move on to a few that were slightly disappointing. Finally, I’ll explore the shows that really blew my mind in a bit more detail, and try to describe what made them so great.

Day 2. Let’s do this!

Festival Review: Rock on the Range 2016 Day 1

Festival Review:  Rock on the Range 2016 Day 1

Simply put, this is one of my favorite weekends of the year. For eight straight years, a contingent from The Music Pill has been traveling from all over the Midwest to meet in Columbus, OH the weekend before memorial day for North America’s biggest rock and metal festival. The weekend features nearly 60 bands on three stages over three days, and boasts a complete sell out audience of 120,000 for the weekend. It’s become the pinnacle of the concert season for me, and provided the setting for some of the most unique, memorable, and amazing shows of my long concert history.

Rock on the Range 2016 was no different – the festival celebrated it’s 10th anniversary this year, and did so in style by putting together their most unique and star-studded lineup yet. Staying true to it’s identity, the ROTR festival featured bands from countless sub-genres, resulting in a weekend that everyone could love. The three day festival boasted headliners of Disturbed, Rob Zombie, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Music Pill was there to capture it all.

As I’ve done the past couple years, I’ll do three separate posts – one for each day of Rock on the Range 2016. My hope is that by reading this, you either get to relive the madness that you experienced a few weeks ago, or you weren’t there, and you get so bummed that it finally convinces you to give ROTR 2017 a shot. If I’ve done that, I consider this coverage a major success.

So lets get rolling! Below is a detailed analysis of which shows were rock solid, which were slightly disappointing, and which ones blew my mind.

Happy Reading!

Concert Review: Mumford & Sons

Concert Review:  Mumford & Sons

I’ll admit that Mumford & Sons isn’t the typical band that I review. Clearly we gravitate towards the harder stuff on this site, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate great music of all kinds, and I think Mumford & Sons clearly fits that mold. The band is full of talented musicians who really love what they do, and their quick ascent to worldwide fame indicates that they struck a chord with a much broader fan base than anyone expected. I’ve heard so many good things about their live shows, and decided a long time ago that I needed to go see for myself if they were as captivating as I’ve been told. I finally got that opportunity when Indianapolis was given the last spot on the recent Arrow Through the Heartland Tour. The show got pushed back a day due to the Pacers schedule, but went off without a hitch on a Sunday evening, and it was undoubtedly a sight to be seen.

Chicago Open Air 2016: Lineup Analysis

Chicago Open Air 2016: Lineup Analysis

It’s festival season!! Over the past several years, festivals have gotten more and more popular in the US. This year, that landscape got a significant boost by the announcement of the first Chicago Open Air Festival. This three-day event, held just north of downtown Chicago, will take place July 15-17th, and has an absolute monster lineup.

Announced in February, the festival has strong headliners anchor the weekend, as well as a contingent of great bands that are headliner quality but slotted as support. It also offers fans some rare opportunities to see bands that they don’t often have a chance to see. The lineup is so good, it merits a deep analysis, and that’s what we’ve provided below. While we can’t discuss them all, the post below breaks down bands at every tier (Headliners, Top-Tier Bands, Middle Tier bands, and Bands that Have Something to Prove). In addition, we finish the post with some lesser known bands that are absolute can’t-miss shows. Hope you enjoy!

Concert Review: Dropkick Murphys

Concert Review:  Dropkick Murphys

College taught me many things, but none more important than the fact that any St. Patty’s day party worth sneezing at ends the night with the song “Kiss Me, I’m S***faced” by Dropkick Murphys. It’s one of the most ridiculously fun Irish songs around, and it became a staple among my college friends. In fact, one of those friends (Bryan) insists on wearing an obnoxious green shirt with that song title featured prominently across the front whenever he gets the chance. As much as I hate that stupid shirt, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Dropkick Murphys, partially because of fond memories of those college years. For years I’d been looking for the chance to see them live, and for some reason it had never worked out.

Fast forward nearly fifteen years – Dropkick Murphys schedules a 20th anniversary show at one of my favorite venues in Cincinnati (Bogarts). There was just no way that I could turn this show down, even though it was on a Sunday night.

Concert Review: Glassjaw

Concert Review:  Glassjaw

Recently, a group of us headed up to Chicago to catch out Coheed and Cambria and Glassjaw at The Aragon Ballroom. A previous post covered the fantastic Coheed and Cambria show, as well as detailed what makes The Aragon Ballroom such a cool venue. (Check out that post here). Typically, we would have included some notes on the opener in that post, however, Glassjaw was really interesting, and so we felt it merited it’s own post. Here’s some notes!

As the resident post-hardcore fan of The Music Pill, Glassjaw is a long time favorite of mine. Over the years they’ve been through a variety of line up changes, but have always remained pretty true to their original sound. The latest incarnation includes bassist Travis Sykes and drummer Chad Hasty, both previously from Glass Cloud. It has been many years since I’ve seen Glassjaw, and this show was the first time for the current lineup, so I was cautiously optimistic. Glassjaw started their show with a medley of the first two songs off their album Worship and Tribute (Their best overall album in my opinion), “Tip your Bartender,” and “Mu Empire.” These two were a great combination of songs that feature lots of energy as well as catchy choruses. Guitarist Justin Beck has always had a very cool guitar tone, and it really cut through at the Aragon. Surprisingly, Daryl’s vocals were a bit more tame then usual, but sounded really good in the mix. As usual, his unique blend of scream/growls/clean singing was on point. New comers Travis and Chad, really seemed to fit the band’s latest sound and image, and I was impressed how tight they all sounded.

Concert Review: Coheed and Cambria

Concert Review:  Coheed and Cambria

Coheed has been around for a couple decades now, and it didn’t take them long to climb up my list of favorite bands. In a music landscape where monotony is so common, bands like Coheed stand out because they create something so unique. Coheed’s creative engine, Claudio Sanchez, exudes artistic ability in nearly every way: he has great songwriting, boasts a one-of-a-kind singing voice, and even has created a complex comic series called The Armory Wars that their albums narrate. In addition, their live show is really something to be seen. They are currently on a trek with Glassjaw to support their latest album, which created a perfect opportunity to catch a great band, see Glassjaw for the first time, and scope out a new venue. So my gang hit the road for the monotonous drive up I-65 towards Chicago.

2015 Album Awards!

2015 Album Awards!

I don’t really fancy myself as an album reviewer (guys over at sites like Sputnik do just fine at that). However, I have a real passion for sharing music, and love the thought of putting something in front of people out there that might not have heard it yet. Because of that, and because the albums I love fuel my concert decisions, I wanted to share some of my favorite albums from 2015. Last year featured releases by countless big names in the industry – names like Trivium, Sevendust, Three Days Grace, Halestorm, Shinedown, Marilyn Manson, Five Finger Death Punch, Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine, and on and on. However, many of these releases landed somewhere on the scale between mediocre and very good. None of them, however, really stood out as impressionable.

However, 2015 was definitely not void of spectacular albums. As I looked back at my catalog and reviewed countless other “top albums of 2015” lists to make sure I didn’t miss any albums, I had a more difficult time than usual whittling down to the top 5 albums. In fact, I couldn’t, and so what you’re left with below is 5 really great runners up, and one album of the year.

Hope you enjoy!

Rock on the Range 2016: Lineup Announcement

Rock on the Range 2016: Lineup Announcement

Rock on the Range released it’s lineup on Monday, and after two days of letting it marinate, I had to get some thoughts down on what is sure to be a fantastic, record-setting weekend in Columbus. Rock on the Range is North America’s biggest rock festival, and they are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. For the eighth straight year, The Music Pill will be gathering our crew and heading from Indianapolis to Columbus to participate in the chaos.

Here is a breakdown of the lineup, including my opinion on the headliners, a breakdown of many of the middle-of-the-pack bands, a few bands that have something to prove, and some can’t miss bands that you may never have heard of. Hope you enjoy!

Concert Review: Amaranthe

Concert Review:  Amaranthe

Amaranthe, Butcher Babies, and Lullwater
November 5th, 2015
The Palace Theater – Stafford Springs, CT

As a fan of heavy music, I always look for unique and creative bands that separate themselves from the masses. I’m always looking for that band that stretches my understanding of music and genres and makes me think. Enter Amaranthe: a Swedish metal band that blends power metal, death metal, electronica, and pop-style vocals to create sound that makes you want to mosh and sing at the same time. They have great musicians, and feature three vocalists, using male/female co-lead singers to pair with a third vocalist who focuses only on screams. As I started digging into this band, I found myself becoming a really big fan. For the past several years, I’ve been trying to catch an Amaranthe show, and they just hadn’t played a show in the Midwest that worked with my schedule. However, I would finally get my chance to the see the mighty Amaranthe when their tour schedule and a work trip of mine crossed paths in a small town in Connecticut.