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The esteemed Louder Than Life music festival rocks Louisville
Champions Park : Louisville, Kentucky : October 3-4, 2015
|Out Of The Blue
Publications Association, LLC
Louder Than Life 2015 welcomely rattled the bodies of an estimated 25,000 each day on the foundation of Champions
Park's wide 222 acres. Although this was only the second year of the growing Louisville rock festival, it successfully
ran like it was in its tenth year--considering the team and production experience behind the Danny Wimmer Presents'
event (Rock On The Range, Aftershock, Carolina Rebellion).
Both sides of the fenced festival grounds were outlined with products representing a form of entertainment in
themselves: food trucks serving an array of filling gourmet pallatte pleasers (Chicago dogs, nachos, pork, sushi,
seafood rolls, burgers, pizza, ice cream scoops, fresh donuts), tents offering a variety of alcohol tying in the Kentucky
Bourbon Trail culture (bourbon, whiskey, specialty liquor mixes) and vendors with sponsor tents selling brand products
as well as independent artists selling handmade accessories.
The fest's central path was generally bare, aside from a growling and mooing flame-throwing steel crafted bull that
warmed fans Saturday night who gathered around it in a circle like a bonfire campout and the well-received WWE
wrestling spinoff NXT live match event tent. The festival's corner pocket featured a large tent for VIP ticket purchasers
with lounge areas, bars serving drinks, screens showing live band performances, an outside picnic bench area and of
course, gourmet food.
Both sides of the park were end capped with two side by side stages, angled to avoid repeat noise complaints from
2014, with a barricaded open center section dividing them--this year a fourth stage was added: Monster Main Stage's
North and South at one end and Monster Main Stage East with the Jagermeister side stage at the other end. The wet
and muddy, slippery walk (many of the eternal bog of stench sinking quick sand spots were eventually covered with
wood chips for safe passage) from one end to the next averaged five to 10 or more minutes, but the distance was ideal
allowing stage performances to avoid oversaturating each other's time and sound.
With temperatures barely hovering in the mid-50s, a cool breeze and brief light rain showers Saturday, the turnout was
more dismal than the 360 degree weather shift on Sunday with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s.
Saturday Performance Notes
Romantic Rebel from Chicago fronted by female vocalist KT Paige opened the festival on the Jager Stage after a
weather delayed entrance time, bringing an energetic old school hard rock performance with stylings comparable to
the likes of Doro.
Carla and Heidi of Butcher Babies decked in revealing leather worked the crowd and the stage with hair spinning
head bangs, frequent metal horn hand signals, and smiling Gene Simmons'-like tongue protrusions. Carla Harvey was
celebrating her 39th birthday that weekend.
Representing their new album Silence In The Snow with album cover carcass statues on stage,Trivium devoured the
crowd with three new songs as well as favorites "Strife" and "In Waves."
Despite the rain downpour during Saint Asonia's set, a massive crowd remained for the supergroup. Adam Gontier
(ex-Three Days Grace), Mike Mushok (Staind), Corey Lowery (Stereomud, Stuck Mojo, Eye Empire), Rich Beddoe
(ex-Finger Eleven) performed tracks from their self-titled debut including "Better Place" and "Fairy Tale." Gontier
mentioned they are not a cover band, but occasionally perform songs from their previous projects. Three Days Grace's
"I Hate Everything About You" was performed with special guest Jonny Hetherington of Art Of Dying and the band
performed "Mudshovel" (Staind).
Atreyu are back with vengeance, fresh as ever. The performance was constantly lively; vocalist Alex Varkatzas
couldn't keep away from the screaming fans, often jumping off stage to run and greet the crowd with an old school
setlist that included "Becoming Bull" and "Right Side Of The Bed." Little attention was given to their recent metal
release Long Live. The band also covered Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name."
Lajon Witherspoon remains a strong live vocal force in hard rock with a thankful attitude, often pausing to express the
band's gratitude toward the fans that sang along to each song, including two tracks from Sevendust's just released
10th studio album Kill The Flaw. A live performance of "Denial" never ceases to be flawless. Witherspoon was also
celebrating his 43rd birthday.
Bring Me The Horizon are in their prime with the release of the love or hate experimentally straying from their normal
music path of That's The Spirit. Fans of all ages enjoyed the UK band's performance. Returning to Louder Than Life
for another year, the band led by Oli Sykes performed many new tracks ("Thrown," "Drown," "Happy Song") as well as
"Sleepwalking" and "Can You Feel My Heart."
Mark Tremonti is a rock festival favorite who knows how to carry a crowd. The current Alter Bridge (who are planning
to record in January 2016 followed by a Fall tour) and former Creed lead guitarist is hard hitting and has released two
solo albums including the recent Cauterize. When he stepped away from the mic, Tremonti got lost in solos, making
love to his new PRS, complete with aggressive shredding faces and smiles while whispering: "oh, yeah!"
Rob Zombie closed the day with a bit of glam, funk and on-the-verge-of-industrial metal. The spooky horror show
never disappoints and with frequent touring all the band members have become household names to rock fans. Rob
Zombie manages to always perform White Zombie crowd favorites "Thunder Kiss '65" and "More Human Than Human."
Ohio was a forerunner state with performances by Starset (Columbus) who have been suporting Breaking Benjamin's
tour is releasing a book to reveal more about The Starset Society this winter, Beartooth (Columbus) who are gearing
up for a tour with Slipknot and Suicidal Tendencies this fall and Bring Me The Horizion this winter, Red Sun Rising
(Akron) who are touring in support of Polyester Zeal and will be on the road with Godsmack in November.
Other hard hitting Saturday performances:
Godsmack, Seether, Chevelle, Hollywood Undead, Issues
Sunday Performance Notes
Despite Nothing More recently parting ways with their former drummer, replaced by Ben Anderson, they are moving
along without defect. The band continues to elevate the rock scene with a fresh sound as hard hitting road dogs who
are spreading the solid performance and their notable trademark center piece breakdown anywhere and everywhere
they can. Lead vocalist Jonny Hawkins paused after "Mr. MTV" with a giant smile, a metal horn signal and a loud
"YEAH!" while pointing and looking at the crowd toward a crowdsurfing fan in a wheelchair making her way to the front.
Changing vocalists has been an unfortunate circumstance for Hinder, but the band worked the crowd and remain a
tight unit. It's difficult to match the original, but "Get Stoned" and "Lips Of An Angel" pleased fans.
Vocalist Tony Harnell is meant for Skid Row. Harnell can hit the notes and still carry his own tune while possessing a
crowd loving personality. The power rock band sounded remarkable and original members Scott Hill (guitars), Rachel
Bolan (gass), "The Snake" Sabo (guitar) do indeed still have it, performing with a stage presence like it was yesterday.
"18 and Life" was executed with precision.
Collective Soul got on stage and performed like nobody's business. Ed Roland's clean, soft, grungy vocals seem
unmatchable as he pulled the mic around and moved like the music possessed him. Mentioning a short set time,
Roland said, "let's do a sing along" before catering to "The World I Know." The band closed with "Shine" and "Where
The River Flows." Releasing their latest See What You Started By Continuing earlier this month, they performed
"Exposed" and "Contagious."
3 Doors Down opened with a piano solo and vocalist Brad Arnold singing an intimate version of "Here Without You"
before the rest of the band walked on stage to perform the heavier "Duck and Run." The crowd wasn't disappointed as
hits including "It's Not My Time," "Loser" and "Kryptonite" were played.
We Came As Romans fired up the Jager stage with the jumping energetic dual vocals of Kyle Pavone (clean) and
Dave Stephens (unclean vocals). The melodic post-hardcore band pleased fans with new tracks from their latest
self-titled release and Tracing Back The Roots.
Solid as ever, legendary southern roots rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd brought the guitar solos and whiskey drinking
party to the anticipating crowd. "Simple Man," "That Smell," "Sweet Home Alabama," and "Saturday Night Special"
were performed as well as encore "Freebird."
Shinedown delayed their set about twenty minutes, vocalist Brent Smith later explained they did it because fans were
still across at Lynyrd Skynyrd and nobody starts a set performing music over "Freebird," as "it would be disrespectful."
The band's fanbase is indisputably hardcore and they loved every second of Shinedown's performance, including:
new songs off Threat To Survival, Smith and Zach Myers' acoustic sing along version of "Simple Man" (a Skynyrd
Shinedown live collab would have been ideal, but didn't happen) and intense closing track "Sound Of Madness."
ZZ Top walked on stage still rocking, albeit slowly, performing "Got Me Under Pressure." With fifteen albums and a
Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction, the Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill bearded duo with Frank on drums have been
releasing and performing since the 70's, still inspiring performers with their drive and motivation. Seeing the
Gibbons-Hill stepping forward unison walk with guitar and bass is unforgettable.
Other hard hitting Sunday performances:
Breaking Benjamin, 10 Years, We Are Harlot, Kentucky Headhunters, Flaw, Black Stone Cherry, The Color Morale
Louder Than Life in its second year had yet another well-rounded solid rock lineup for different generations with both
newcomers and legends. General themes were based around Louisville and Kentucky culture with tastebud fullfilling
eats, thirstquinching drinks, a side of live wrestling and much more.
Hat's off to the performers and to Louder Than Life for another successful, organized weekend and here's to LTL 2016.
Black Stone Cherry
3 Doors Down
We Came As Romans