May 16, 2017 Carolina Rebellion Day 2 Delivers Diversity Concord, NC 5-6-17
Despite the cold, on Saturday, May 6th, all the excited Rebels returned for Day 2 of the 2017 Carolina Rebellion on Rock City Campground at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This time, more festival goers seemed to have joined the ranks as the crowds piled up outside the gates awaiting another day of exciting Rock and Metal with a few potential surprises along the way. With a large and diverse lineup of 22 artists planned, Day 2 of Carolina Rebellion 2017 kicked off 11 AM that morning with the smell of dirt, cigarettes, and early marijuana consumption drifting through the air.
Starting off the day at 11:30 on the Black Stage was Phoenix, AZ Metal band Ded and their intense onslaught of sound. The Arizona rockers opened up the stage with a heavy and powerful performance that, despite the competition on two other stages, drew a decent sized crowd. The young band recently released two music videos this year for their songs “FMFY” and “Anti-Everything.” Scheduled to release their new album, Mis.an.thrope, on July 14th, their sound was a dense, pounding, bass paired with gritty and raw vocals and screams that got the early morning crowd headbanging right away.
Over on the Rebellion Stage, Aeges was opening things up for an intimate cluster of onlookers. Most recently releasing their latest album Another Wasteland last July via Another Century Records, the Los Angeles rockers picked and rolled their way through a seemingly effortless set. Styling their name ÆGES, the talented band’s sound was fed through the mix with a balance of reserved feedback and finely tuned string work. Playing songs off Another Wasteland, their cool and hip freefall into their melodies made it easy to transition with them despite not being familiar with their music.
Next up was the eclectic and electrifying stylings of San Antonio Alternative Rock band known as Nothing More. This dynamic quartet is led by the magnanimous and passionate Jonny Hawkins, whose vocals exhibit incredible range from song to song. The guys made sure to please existing fans with favorites from their previous self-titled album, including “Christ Copyright,” “Jenny,” and “This Is The Time (Ballast).” They did, however, make sure to let everyone know that they have been working on new music and played a new song which was a little heavier and darker than their previous work. During this new song, a mosh pit stirred and a group dressed as the Power Rangers crowd-surfed to the front of the stage. Closing on “Salem” from 2009’s The Few Not Fleeting, Nothing More said that they will be releasing new music as early as next month and the full-length album will drop sometime in September.
All That Remains
Then, around 1 PM, All That Remains took to the Carolina Stage armed with new material from their latest album, Madness. The band was introduced by Sirius XM Octane host Jose Mangin and proceeded to power through a set of old and new All That Remains material, including “The Last Time, “ “Two Weeks,” “What If I Was Nothing,” and “Madness.” There was a considerable crowd taking it all in and banging away alongside the band. The hammering bass of Aaron Patrick and singing strings of Guitarist Oli Herbert lit up the set along with the dirty and visceral vocals of Frontman Phil Labonte. Labonte reconvened with All That Remains to release Madness in March after spending the Fall stepping in as vocals for Five Finger Death Punch after Frontman Ivan Moody took some much needed time off. Those interested in catching All That Remains on tour, they will continue to tour in support of their eighth studio album through August.
Meanwhile, at 1:30 PM, it was Badflower’s turn to wreak some havoc on the Gold Stage. With a sound that seems to vary from Classic Rock roots and Doom/Stoner Rock as well as Metal underpinnings, these young Angelenos deliver a new kind of funk and fury all in one. On this day, they had the relentless energy and diversity to attract a respectable throng to their side. This is a band with soul and a fever, burning up and setting fire to the expected. Releasing their EP Temper back on November 4, 2016, they were named an Apple Music Artist of the Week and continue to rise in the ranks. That said, this is one band fans can only hope to see as well as hear more from as time goes on because these guys have so much more to do and say.
In This Moment
Thereafter, Carolina Rebellion veterans In This Moment brought the drama to the Rebellion Stage at 2:00 PM. Led by the ever lovely and mysterious Maria Brink, In This Moment has developed a reputation for elaborate stage effects and costumes, and today at Rebellion was no exception. Bouncing their way through their catalog of songs like “Blood,” “Black Widow,” and “Sick Like Me,” Maria and company – Guitarist Randy Weitzel, Bassist Travis Johnson, and Guitarist Chris Howorth – wasted no time getting the crowd off their feet, as fans could be seen jumping and crowd-surfing right away. The band even played their newest single “Oh Lord” off their upcoming album Ritual for the Rebellion crowd. Closing out their set with “Whore,” Maria spoke to the crowd about the meaning and origin of the song, and how it was “about overcoming what people expect you to be.” She went on to say, “If today I can inspire turning hate into love, then I will be your whore!” Powerful words, In This Moment continue to tour through the summer.
When it comes to Soul and Funk, Rival Sons delivered it in spades on the Carolina Stage before a huge crowd of jazzed spectators. Their resonating and shifting guitar tones drew onlookers in while the vocals of Jay Buchanan shook one to the core. His moving and expressive vocals reverberated through the air like electricity, catching the ears and attention of all those fortunate enough to hear him. Playing songs such as “Electric Man,” “Torture,” as well as “Open My Eyes,” these guy produce a quality classic Rock-n-Roll sound that has an old soul and a timelessness that keeps it relevant and interesting to younger audiences as well.
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes
Keeping with the Classic Rock sound, in April, UK Rock band Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes landed in the USA for the first time ever. Since then, the band had been making their first US trek of tour dates with Dinosaur Pile-Up. At Carolina Rebellion, Frontman Frank Carter made sure to tell the Rebels what one of his favorite parts about being in The States was, claiming, “I’ve eaten my weight in ribs since I got here (in America)!” The band was all energy and frenzy, whipping as much crowd engagement as had been seen on the Gold Stage so far that day. Carter is wild on stage, a genuine showman who works every angle and is not afraid to fully commit to his performance. It was not all badass Rock n’ Roll though, Carter did take a minute to dedicate the song “Lullaby” to his daughter, Mercy Rose, joking, “I’m a parent now….I get more sleep on tour.” Well worth checking out, the band’s album Modern Ruin is out now.
Machine Gun Kelly
Once the clock struck 5:10 PM, a massive crowd could be found swarming around the Black Stage in anticipation of Cleveland native son, Rapper Machine Gun Kelly. Often referred to simply as MGK, he proceeded to bring one of the most hyped performances of the day. Backed by his band, the Cleveland rapper led the crowd of awestruck Rebels through some of his biggest hits, including “Wild Boy,” “Alpha Omega,” “At My Best,” and “Bad Things.” On “Bad Things,” he used a backtrack that provided the vocals of Camila Cabello who loaned her voice to the song which MGK announced had gone double platinum the day before (May 5). The rapper even took a minute to throw a shout out to Blink-182 by playing a short cover of their hit single “All The Small Things.” For “Let You Go,” Kelly played his guitar and led the crowd in singing along to the then-newly released single. Never one to leave things to chill for too long, MGK kicked things back up to close on his love song to his hometown, “Till I Die.”
Then, around 5:40 PM, Chevelle took their technical precision and impact to the crowd gathered at the Rebellion Stage. This band of brothers (and brother-in-law) has made a name for themselves as skilled and reliable musicians. Although not exceptionally mobile onstage, their music always makes a big splash and fans have no problem being the source of the movement for Chevelle. Deftly swimming their way through a course of some of their biggest hits, the guys left no sonic stone unturned for fans of the old and new Chevelle. Riffing and thundering their way through, the band played such hits as ”The Red,” “Face to the Floor,” “The Clincher,” and “Forfeit.” No matter where you happened upon Chevelle in their career, one thing remains clear, their dedication and sonic mastery are unparalleled.
Moving right along, at 6:30 PM, Tesla took to the Carolina Stage to show fans of all ages that they are 30 years young and counting. Vocalist Jeff Keith told the crowd that Tesla had 30 years of Rock-n-Roll under their belt and no immediate plans of stopping. The band was founded in Sacremento, California in 1981 and have been making melodic Rock songs for the ages ever since, songs like “Love Song,” “Hang Tough,” and “Modern Day Cowboy.” Between their dancing string work and classical feel, Tesla created an ambiance that was captivating and intriguing to watch. From certain angles, the sides of the backstage area could be seen and other bands and crew members were watching, eyes fixed on the Rock veterans. That is the kind of band every band should hope to be, a band that other artists stop to watch.
Then, all the little Pop Punk hearts exploded with joy at the sight of Sum 41 around 7:20 PM. Fronted by the gingery and peppery Deryck Whibley, Sum 41 burst onto the Black Stage with “The Hell Song,” much to the joy of their immense crowd. By the time the band got into “Motivation,” they had released red and white balls into the crowd which were being tossed about from one end of the sea of people to the other. Right from the onset, there was an onslaught of crowd-surfers bounding across the heads of the masses in the hopes of getting closer, even for a moment, to the California rockers. The guys even surprised everyone by performing a quick snippet cover of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” before ultimately ending their set with their own hits, “In Too Deep” and “Fatlip.”
Helping bring Day 2 to a close on the Rebellion Stage, Korn delved deeply into their history to bring fans an assortment of classics that continue to hit big with fans across the spectrum. Kicking off their set with “Right Now,” Frontman Jonathan Davis and company wasted no time stirring up the mosh pits and bringing out the crazy in the Rebels. Despite concerns around their recently canceled tour dates and the temporary standing in of Tye Trujillo, missing Bassist Fieldy made it for the band’s Rebellion performance. Davis was clad in his standard black t-shirt and kilt, bobbing and dancing his way across the stage, feeling the music and seeming to feed off the intense energy of the crowd.
On this night, their set list included such classics as “Here To Stay,” “Rotting In Vain,” “Make Me Bad,” “Coming Undone,” and “Ya’ll Want A Single.” They also performed their famed cover of Cameo’s “Word Up” which led to a crowd-wide sing-a-long, the bagpipe-infused “Shoots and Ladder,” and a snippet of a cover of Metallica’s “One” before getting into “Blind.” Closing out the Rebellion Stage, Korn wrapped up their night with “Freak On A Leash” and the Rebels moshed and rejoiced.
Finally, it was time for the quintessential work of UK classic rockers Def Leppard. One thing that was apparent from the beginning is that all the men seem to have held up well. Guitarist Phil Collen has a distinguished “bad boy” look to him that, even at almost 60 years old, gives him a “devil-may-care” demeanor. With his fast fingers hailing from Belfast, Guitarist and Backing Vocalist Vivian Campbell looked healthy and ready for action in front of the Rebellion crowd. The Irish guitarist spoke in 2016 about his battle with cancer and there had been some whispered concerns about his well-being when it was decided the band would be playing festivals this year. Despite these concerns, Campbell’s skills have not faded as the guitarist trucks on living the Rock-n-Roll dream.
Ready to show why they are one of the best live Rock shows on earth, the band jolted their way through a laundry list of songs including “Dangerous,” “Love Bites,” “Man Enough,” “Bringin On The Heartbreak,” “Hysteria,” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” Vocalist Joe Elliott showcased his robust stage presence and charm, engaging not only his band mates but the crowd as well. The guys rounded out the night with an encore performance of “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph,” ending the evening with a fun-spirited, party feel and leaving fans buzzing and ready for the next day’s events.
Carolina Rebellion Day 2 captivated the eyes and ears of thousands of excited Rebels and showcased the talents of a diverse group of artists. It is only at festivals that bands can share fans and concertgoers can have the outlet to engage and inquire directly about so many different artists. This is the spirit of Carolina Rebellion, despite the name, it is not about rebelling or going against one another, but about the ability to cross-pollinate interests and share a unanimous love of music, however different from your norm. What will Day 3 have in store? Only one way to find out….wait and see.
Photos by: Andrew Fiero Photography