June 1, 2015 Carolina Rebellion Day One: Diverse & Dynamic 5-2-15
Since 2011, the Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion festival has been bringing some of the biggest names in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to the Carolinas, to the delight and excitement of thousands. This year Rebellion came bearing more Metal monsters and Rock heavyweights, in a collection that many referred to as diverse and epic. With the addition of amenities like a ferris wheel, new food vendors, a walking tour of the Jack Daniels distillery process, and the Crazy Dave’s Music Experience where attendees could play with professional level instruments and equipment, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion sought to keep festival goers entertained in more interesting ways this year. Another change up in the Carolina Rebellion proceedings this year was the performance times and distance between stages (which was greater than years prior) where many overlapped early in the day, causing many fans to have to choose between performances rather than the opportunity to see a little of everyone. With that said, day one kicked off Saturday May 2nd within the Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.
Kicking things off on the Jägermeister stage was Lola Black from Denver, Colorado led by their raven-haired namesake, Ms. Lola Black herself. Prior to making their way onto Carolina Rebellion, the band had already been making waves in the industry by appearing on such great tours as Rockstar Energy Uproar tour and Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in years past. The band is currently out in support of their latest release, 2014’s Till Death Do Us Part.
On the ReverbNation stage, battle of the band winners NeverWake opened things up with their melodic Hard Rock sound. Claiming split origination between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Steubenville, Ohio, NeverWake won the ReverbNation battle of the bands contest for the honor of being part of Carolina Rebellion’s commencement. Attendees seemed to receive them well and their sound was tight. Their 2013 album, Sleepwalker, features a great sense of who these guys are, and comes recommended for those looking for something new to add to their underground collection.
Islander, from Greenville, South Carolina, followed up NeverWake on the Reverb stage with massive energy and fire. After signing with Victory Records in 2013, Islander has been trekking the country in support of their debut album Violence and Destruction. The guys made major waves last year during their run on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival where they made the acquaintance of bands like Korn, Body Count, and fellow Carolinians and labelmates Wretched. The band recently wrapped up the third leg of the “We Are Not Machines” tour with Nothing More and To Whom It May. They are hitting the road all Summer and working on new music for their next album.
Sons of Texas
Up next was Sons of Texas, one of the newest bands to join the Razor & Tie roster. The band signed on with the label earlier this year and released their debut album Baptized in the Rio Grande on March 3rd. Drawing some parallels to other Southern Rock and Metal bands like Drowning Pool and Down, Sons of Texas have been working hard to live up to the expectations of the Lone Star State. Their Rebellion stage set sparked some excitement and movement from the crowd. There is likely great things coming up for these guys in the next year.
We Are Harlot
We Are Harlot opened the Rebellion stage to the thrill of Danny Worsnop fans in attendance. The Rock band is the latest venture of former Asking Alexandria frontman Danny Worsnop, along with former Revolution Renaissance drummer Bruno Agra, former Sebastian Bach guitarist Jeff George, and Silvertide bassist Brian Weaver. Releasing their self-titled debut album in March via Roadrunner Records, We Are Harlot is a departure from Worsnop’s work with Asking Alexandria in that this band has more of a stripped down, vintage Rock-n-Roll sound. Having garnered quite a following during his time with Asking Alexandria, the Carolina Rebellion crowd that gathered for We Are Harlot was rife with Worsnop supporters. They have recently been scheduled to plays dates over the Summer with Seether and 3 Doors Down.
Florida natives Nonpoint brought an action-packed set to the Carolina stage. Fronted by the vocal ferocity of Elias Soriano, Nonpoint has been banging heads and breaking necks since the mid ’90s. Having released their eighth studio album, The Return, last September, the band has been out in support of the new record. At Carolina Rebellion, the guys had the crowd off their feet as Soriano gave strict instructions from the stage for the crowd to jump along with the band during songs like “Hands Off.” They are scheduled to hit the road with 10 Years and The Family Ruin over the Summer and bring the pain to cities across America before heading overseas with Fozzy.
Stars in Stereo
Stars in Stereo, from Los Angeles, California, came equipped with the freakishly, fluorescently, follicled frontwoman Bec Hollcraft leading the charge. Hollcraft; alongside guitarist Jordan McGraw, bassist Ryan “Frogs” McCormack, and drummer Drew Langan, tackled the Reverb stage in the afternoon, bringing a cool sound to the quickly heating afternoon. Started in 2011, Stars in Stereo has released two albums in a relatively short period; their 2013 self-titled and 2014’s Leave Your Mark. Spending ample time on the road, the band has been building a strong name with their lively stage performances. Not one to put on a conventional show, Hollcraft has no problem injecting a healthy dose of provocativeness into her delivery, and her unabashedness can be seen clearly in the uncensored video for their title track, “Leave Your Mark.” While there are no new tour dates scheduled for the band, chances are they will be back on the road in no time.
Across the grounds, on the Jägermeister stage, Beartooth was stirring up their subset of the Carolina Rebellion crowd with unfettered rawness. These guys got their start in 2012 when vocalist Caleb Shomo left Attack Attack!, and sought to start a new adventure all his own. Since then, the band has gained traction in the Metalcore scene through their unrelenting tunes and Shomo’s powerful vocals. Their debut full-length album Disgusting was released June 10, 2014 and has been spreading throughout the Metalcore scene. They are scheduled to perform at several, already sold out, Australian dates with We Came As Romans in June.
Of Mice & Men
Of Mice & Men, from Orange County, California, formed in 2009 and have gained a massive following over the years with their blend of the melodic and classic Metalcore principles. Frontman Austin Carlile leads this troupe, which consists of guitarists Alan Ashby and Philip Manansala, bassist and backing vocalist Aaron Pauley, and drummer Valentino Arteaga. Their last album, Restoring Force, topped many “best of” lists in the scene at the end of 2014, and they continue to tour in support of it. Now, Of Mice & Men have another leg of their “Full Circle” tour headed to the West Coast featuring Volumes and Crown The Empire, so get out there and see why they are becoming one of the top Rock bands in the nation.
Scott Weiland and The Wildabouts
Scott Weiland is best known for his time spent as the frontman for Stone Temple Pilots, and now post-Stone Temple Pilots, he has emerged with his own project, The Wildabouts. Recently sustaining the tragic loss of their guitarist Jeremy Brown, the band marches on with their album Blaster, which is receiving rave reviews. Weiland still recounts his time in Stone Temple Pilots, playing songs from that era in his career and parading about the stage in a similar fashion, but on this day, something was amiss about his performance and sound. While The Wildabouts are not Stone Temple Pilots, nor should they try to be, their Rock-n-Roll roots are firmly planted in their own soul and grit roots. Weiland will need to relinquish his Stone Temple Pilots-era flairs in order for this new project to really take flight. The potential is there as exemplified by the fact that Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx chose Weiland and The Wildabouts’ Blaster as a “Sixx Sense pick,” now they just need to fully translate that potential to the stage.
Fronted by wildman Jesse James Dupree, Jackyl has always prided themselves on bringing something new to their performances, and usually it is a chainsaw. At Carolina Rebellion, lovers of the Southern Rock quartet got a chance to take it all in. Originating from Kennesaw, Georgia, Jackyl have established a reputation in the South for body-rocking tunes and a damn good time. The only thing these guys like more than an audience seems to be an interactive one. Fans would be hard-pressed to go to a Jackyl show and not leave feeling like a regular at their favorite bar. Good times, Rock-n-Roll, and miscellaneous shenanigans are the definition of a Jackly show, and Carolina Rebellion was no exception.
Periphery is always entertaining because these Washington, DC Progressive Metal experimentalist always take things to the next level. Having just released their double album Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega, this eclectic sextet have been touring relentlessly in support of the new material. Their stage show is a five ring circus of activity fronted by the highly emotive Spencer Sotelo. In fact, Sotelo’s face tells the story of every song, whether it is playful of painful, it is written across his face, and that is half the fun. Catch them at Heavy Montreal on Friday August 7th to see how exciting this band really is.
Hollywood Undead packed more than their usual party anthems when they came to Carolina Rebellion this year; they brought surprises. The high-energy sextet just released their fourth studio album, Day Of The Dead, earlier this year and have been hitting the road and festivals hard in support of it. About four songs into their set, vocalist JDog called his girlfriend Vanessa James on stage for a very public proposal. As James entered the stage and JDog began to get on one knee, the crowd erupted in cheers which only got louder when James said yes. Engagement firmly secured, the rest of the band joined them onstage to celebrate for a minute before resuming their set. Electrifying and fun, Hollywood Undead kept everyone cheering until the end. The band now turn their attention to Europe for dates through August.
Chicago, Illinois Alt-Rockers Chevelle picked things up in the afternoon to a massive crowd. Literally a family affair, Chevelle is made up of brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler along with their brother-in-law Dean Bernardini, delivering signature Rock sounds that excite and encourage. The band released their last album, La Gargola (Spanish for “The Gargoyle”), in April of 2014 and have been pounding the pavement in its support ever since. They still have several tour dates coming up, including more festivals and headlining dates.
Legendary Classic Rockers Cheap Trick graced Rebellion with a performance that included several classics from their repertoire. These guys have been shredding and ripping since the 1970s. Having had their likeness and music appear on a variety of shows and television shows, including multi-Emmy award winning cartoon The Simpsons, Cheap Trick have a legacy of classic Rock staples that are timeless and ever-present. With hits like “Surrender,” “I Want You To Want Me” and “Dream Police” in their repertoire, chances are Rock lovers of all ages have heard a Cheap Trick song…and loved it. Do not miss a chance to see one of the most underrated bands in Rock history.
Motionless in White
On the Jägermeister stage, Motionless in White delivered a power-packed set that had the crowd sailing to the stage in the form of numerous crowd surfers clamoring to the forefront. Led by Chris “Motionless” Cerulli, Motionless In White is Devin “Ghost” Sola (bass), Ricky “Horror” Olson (rhythm guitar), Josh Balz (synth/keyboard), Ryan Sitkowski (lead guitar), and Vinny Mauro (drums). Motionless in White released their third studio album, Reincarnate, in September 2014, and it rippled throughout the land of “Creatures” (name given to their fanbase). Characterized by their heavy Goth-themed stage make-up and theatrical appearance, Motionless in White are a band unlike many that remain in the traditional Metalcore scene.
California rockers Papa Roach released their eighth studio album, F.E.A.R (Face Everything And Rise), in January, and like many of their previous albums, it came loaded with infectious hits and even some guest vocals. At Carolina Rebellion, their stage show was every bit as energetic and infectious as their records. Frontman Jacoby Shaddix knows how to work a stage, and with his partners in crime: Tobin Esperance (bass), Jerry Horton (guitar), and Tony Palermo (drums), these Cali boys can rouse a crowd. The band will remain on the road for a fan-selected tour with Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, and From Ashes To New over the Summer.
The high-jumping power of Rise Against was in full effect at Rebellion as they leapt and bounced across the Carolina stage. The high-flying Chicago Punk Rockers entertained a crowd of thousands with a mix of old material and new ones from their 2014 release, The Black Market. Rise Against has a history of being very politically involved, with its members primarily being vegetarian and active members of PETA. The band was even voted “Best Animal-Friendly Band” by the organization in 2009. Kicking off in July, they will be part of one of the most anticipated tours of the Summer along with Killswitch Engage and LetLive, so pick up tickets now before dates sell out.
Legendary guitarist and one-time Van Halen frontman, Sammy Hagar came in full-tilt to Carolina Rebellion with his band The Circle, which also featured son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, Jason Bonham, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, and ex-Waboritas guitarist Vic Johnson. Playing a variety of songs including Zeppelin and Van Halen covers, Sammy Hagar and The Circle delivered a star-studded performance that was unlike anything seen that day. Like Cheap Trick, Hagar, Bonham, and Anthony all have Classic Rock roots, and it was those chops that sailed them easily through their set.
Marilyn Manson closed out the Carolina stage at Carolina Rebellion with a mixed set. Having recently released his ninth studio album, The Pale Emperor, earlier this year, Manson had an arsenal of songs from which to choose. Performing tracks like “Disposable Teens,” “Tourniquet,” “The Dope Show,” “Rock Is Dead,” and “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” Manson and his band were covering all the fan’s favorites. Swinging his microphone cord around him and knocking over tripods, Manson temporarily exited the stage, only to return a few moments later and rock through the remainder of the set. One thing is for certain, the Carolina Rebellion crowd definitely got a new perspective as Manson still maintains the showmanship he has been known for amongst beloved supporters. Now Marilyn Manson will be teaming up with Smashing Pumpkins for a Summer long tour that have many salivating to see.
Nu-Metal pioneers, Korn closed out Day One of Carolina Rebellion to the thrill and delight of fans across the festival. Formed in 1989, Korn has worked arduously to blaze their own trail in the industry since their inception. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1993 and is credited with being the benchmark of the Nu-Metal genre, and the starting point of change in the Metal music scene. Living up to their promise that for the twentieth anniversary of the album they would play it in its entirety, Korn took the Carolina Rebellion crowd on a journey back in time.
Kicking off with the self-titled album’s opening track “Blind,” the band had everyone roaring as they moved into “Ball Tongue” with Of Mice & Men’s Carille joining Jonathan Davis on vocals. Bringing on more exciting classics like “Clown,” “Divine,” “Faget,” “Shoots and Ladders,” and “Lies,” it was a treat for fans who grew up spinning the album daily for years. Completing the set with rarely heard “Daddy,” they returned for an encore that included post-debut hits like “Falling Away From Me” and “Freak On A Leash.” Thankful for the epic set, everyone applauded Korn for taking them on a round-trip through their history, as well into their present.
So, the day closed on Day One of Carolina Rebellion with festival-goers anxious to see what awaited them the next day. Some excited, some tired, and many satisfied, the Rebels made their way back to their homes, hotels, and campsites to crash for the evening and dream of Rock-N-Roll glory and the greatness that was yet to come. Day Two of Carolina Rebellion looked to be just as exhaustive and entrenching as the first, if not more so for some, with the likes of Exodus, In This Moment, Slash, and Slipknot set to bring a whole new party to the plate and fans eagerly awaited to eat it all up.