Avenged Sevenfold, A Perfect Circle Rock on the Range — Live Review
Rock on the Range 2011 is in the history books. The fest, held annually at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, celebrated its five year anniversary over the May 20-22 weekend.
“Armageddon isn’t so bad!” screamed Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows in the middle of the band’s headlining set. After all, the Rapture was predicted to occur on May 21, so Shadows surmised that everyone at the fest was going to hell. After all, a group of rockers surely wouldn’t be chosen to ascend to heaven, right? The Rock on the Range crowd partied — and moshed — as though this show was their last.
In addition to Avenged Sevenfold, Steel Panther and A Perfect Circle also headlined the event, which draws tens of thousands of fans from all over the country. To celebrate its five years anniverasry, the fest expanded to add a pre-party on Friday, May 20. That’s where bands like Red Line Chemistry, Lez Zeppelin and Danko Jones and Steel Panther came in — to get the crowd pumped and primed for the main event.
Steel Panther’s set drew both laughter and confusion from the crowd. The band, made up of excellent musicians, is a parody of the entire ’80s rock scene. The band ripped through songs like ‘Death to All But Metal’ and ‘Asian Hooker’ all the while mixing in comedy and stage banter.
For most, the festival action really started Saturday, with some 20 bands including Asking Alexandria, Hinder, My Darkest Days, Black Veil Brides, Escape the Fate, Danzig and Alter Bridge. For most, the biggest surprise of the day came when Asking Alexandria brought out Sebastian Bach for their cover of the Skid Row classic ‘Youth Gone Wild.’ At the end of the tune, Asking Alexandria singer Danny Worsnop said to Bach, “My parents used to have sex to your songs.”
By the time Saturday evening rolled around, some 35,000 music fans were ready for the sun to go down for a little respite from the heat and for Avenged Sevenfold’s set. The band played their most famous songs including ‘Almost Easy,’ ‘Bat Country,’ and ‘Critical Acclaim.’ A7X are touring behind the ‘Nightmare’ album, so the title track and ‘God Hates Us’ also made the set. The band closed with ‘Unholy Confessions.’ For the entire hour-long performance featured fireworks, Avenged’s famous guitar solos, and new touring drummer Arin Ilejay. Singer M. Shadows mentioned that Rock on the Range 2009 was the last show the band played with original drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, and thanked Columbus for the continued support. This was met with much applause and screams of joy.
For Pop Evil, the performance was a way to blow off a little steam. Singer Leigh Kakaty ripped up the band’s old record contract and excitedly announced that their new album would finally be available at the end of June.
When Welsh rockers Bullet For My Valentine took to the main stage, a storm was brewing and the sky turned black. Performing amongst this very metal background, the band played a tight set of songs like ‘Waking the Demon,’ ‘Scream Aim Fire,’ and ‘Tears Don’t Fall.’ The general consensus amongst many in the crowd was that Bullet For My Valentine put forth the most purely-metal performance of the weekend.
For A Perfect Circle’s headlining slot on Sunday, the stage looked completely different from the previous night’s Avenged set. Whereas Avenged Sevenfold used pyrotechnics, the members of A Perfect Circle went a more subdued route, choosing to perform on a basically all-black stage. The setting seemed to surprise some audience members, but didn’t stop the crowd from rocking out to songs like ‘Judith’ and ‘The Noose.’
Rock on the Range was presented by AEG Live/Right Arm Entertainment.
Watch the video for ‘Dear God’ by Avenged Sevenfold