Two side stage bands blew the main stage acts away at this weekend's Rock on the Range festival: Airbourne and Black Tide. I had high expectations for both bands, and each delivered.
Airbourne were great! I didn't own their debut album Runnin' Wild before this weekend, but after the show I made it a point to pick up the disc. The band played most songs off Runnin Wild and the crowd seemed to eat them up. Lead singer Joel O'Keeffe screams like a madman and makes funny faces when he performs, but it all adds to the show. Airbourne deserved a main stage slot.
Black Tide are one my current favorite bands. I recently told you that their debut Light From Above rules - and they rock live, too! Unfortunately, a bunch of morons had to ruin my experience by taking the mosh pit back way too far. At one point, the security detail encircled the pit to create a human barrier. I'll never understand why people would rather beat the shit out of one another instead of listening to music, but whatever. At any rate, Black Tide played quite a few songs off Light From Above as well as a Metallica cover from Kill 'Em All.
Black Tide are so cute - and so young. It was kind of funny watching a group of literal kids rock the faces off of people more than double their age!
Rock on the Range had something pretty cool for all the side stage bangs: an F.Y.E. tent. During the shows, F.Y.E. employees would walk through the crowd selling CDs by the band currently performing. Each CD purchase came with an autograph wrist band. I didn't participate, but I think this is a great way for up and coming acts to get some exposure and one - on - one time with new fans.
More about Rock on the Range:
1 - I've never seen concessions more expensive in my life. At one point I was wishing I was at freaking Disney World just to save a couple bucks. Yes, beer was $8 a bottle! A "margarita" was $10! You can imagine how much nachos cost. Parking was $15 each day too - makes me wish I owned a giant parking lot!
2 - The crowds were too violent. Seriously, DO NOT throw objects at shows. This is dangerous for both patrons and performers. Can you imagine being on stage, performing for 20 thousand people and having a beer bottle fly at your head? This isn't cute, it isn't funny and it sure as hell isn't Metal. The only thing it is? Ignorant.
3 - The main stage sound was lousy. The second stage bands were much better than the main stage acts. Most of that has to do with talent, but a lot of it was also because the main stage sound was very weak. I only noticed four suspended speakers at the sound board. When sitting in the bleachers, the sound was muffled and when standing on the field everything was distorted.
With the sound issues and high prices, I still love festivals. I firmly believe festivals are the best way to enjoy great rock music and big doses. Just remember: don't throw bottles! Rock on!