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Rock on the Range Day 1 Review

Rock on the Range Day 1 – Columbus Crew Stadium – May 16

Despite the fact that it is now mid-May, Rock on the Range 2009 is easily the coldest festival I’ve ever attended. By the time Slipknot reached the stage Saturday night, the crowd was either burning up in the pit – or huddled together in a freezing mass in the stands. Since the pit for Slipknot was like no other I’ve ever seen, you can shove me into the “freezing” category.

The festival started much earlier and much warmer with bands like Black Stone Cherry, Saliva and Duff McKagan’s Loaded. Black Stone Cherry played way too early. The crowd was already huge well before 2pm and yet BSC played a set worthy of at least early evening. Since the set was very short, the band stuck to their most “known” songs which means tunes off their self-titled album but they did work in a few from Folklore and Superstition.

So who knew Saliva worship Motley Crue? I mean, Dave Novotny (bass) looks exactly like Nikki Sixx about 20 years ago. No lie. I guess when Nikki and James Michael helped Saliva write some songs awhile back, the look stuck. The band opened with “Click, Click Boom” which sort of surprised me and then proceeded to sing a lot of songs which sounded exactly like... “Click, Click Boom.”

No one was more excited than me to see Duff McKagan’s Loaded. See, I’ve never seen Duff live so I was curious. Most others at ROTR were too because the side stage crowd for him was quite large. There was no moshing or surfing or punching. People were seriously just sort of staring up at him, observing. At the very least, I knew the words and could sing along to most songs – even if everyone else looked confused. Heather and I enjoyed Duff, Eric took pit photos and Christian was one of the intent observers. I must admit, it was fun watching the guitar tech at the back of the stage. He was totally wearing the Seinfeld “puffy” (pirate?) shirt and an eye patch. He removed the eye patch later so I guess it was part of his Metal look. Dunno.

Some of you have specially emailed me about Flyleaf, but I didn’t watch them – Eric did. He reports the band sounded great, Lacey Mosley looked good in her prom gown and the entire band was nearly impossible to photograph because they were so energetic. Apparently Lacey was jumping around so much, her mic pack kept coming undone. Such wardrobe malfunctions will occur whilst wearing a prom gown to a Metal show.

So it turns out that of my group of four, I’m the only one that likes Alice in Chains. We all watched Korn’s entire set but I swear I don’t have much to say about them. Jonathan Davis played his bagpipes and people cheered and moshed. The sound was crap for Chevelle and Korn and it was really hard to understand what anyone was saying – period. As a result, every one of Korn’s songs sounded the same to me. Anyway, back to Alice in Chains. So, I know every word to every AIC song. As many of you know, I consider AIC Metal and not grunge, but today isn’t the time or place for that argument. I will say I was curious to check out William DuVall’s vocals. He isn’t Layne Staley, but who is? DuVall does bear a striking resemblance to Lenny Kravitz and Heather kept hoping for “American Woman.” Instead of that we got “Man in the Box,” “Would?” and “Angry Chair.” Old Seattle friend Duff McKagan even hopped on stage to jam with the band at the end of their set. Grunge? Nah. Just rock.

So, 14,566 hours of waiting in the rain and freezing cold and it was time for my beloved Slipknot. I made a gutsy move and decided to stay with my friends and watch bands all day instead of hanging the media tent waiting for the ‘knot. I mean, I really love those guys and I want to talk to them but I love my friends more and there was no guarantee the ‘knot would show. Remember how I said the sound sucked? Man, it wasn’t great for Slipknot either. The more screamo songs were really hard to discern – even the guy behind me who was having a seizure over the band couldn’t make out half the songs. Even so, we were treated to some new and old alike, including “Sulfur,” “Psychosocial,” “Dead Memories” and “People = Shit.” So Eric was down in the pit, taking photos and it was so violent security made all the photogs leave for their safety. Feet and shoes everywhere! I’m just not Metal enough for the Slipknot pit. I took refuge in the stands and called it a day for that one – great band though and Corey Taylor totally loved the crowd and was definitely enjoying walking through the massive pit to sing amongst the thousands of fans. I’d say if it had been 10 degrees warmer, those fans would have torched the stadium and called it a day. Alas, it was cold and even Corey commented on the “crazy weather.” Slipknot were energetic as always, members jumping all over shit and spinning around on their drums. I love it.


Reader Comments (8)

Thanks for the review, I was following the twitter posts throughout the weekend. I can't get over how cold it was, that's just crazy! Hell, I went outside this morning and it was in the 60s. WTF? Mid-May. Unheard of down here in the South. Anyway, I've always been curious about Saliva. I liked them a while back but after your review I don't foresee myself going out of the way to see them live (i've noticed a lot of their songs souding alike and have lost interest). AIC is the best band of the entire early 90s era (IMO), METAL not grunge (Good Call Ally on that)! I think I saw them in 1992 with Ozzy on the Headbangers Ball Tour (ok, my mind is fuzzy on some of the shows I've seen). KORN=CRAP! I've always hated them and from the first time I saw them when they opened for Ozzy in 1995, 96(?), they were disrespectful on stage and I never understood the phenom over 'em. I think Slipknot would be highly entertaining to watch as well. Pics were great. Can't wait to see the review and pics from day Two. Ally: Rest up this weekend. Two weeks till M3 and I'm coming to town!
May 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
good review. reminds me alot of my review for last year's Rock on the Range
May 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwill
They seriously need to move this rockfest to June. I went two years ago and it was too damn cold!!!
May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCK
See my review in the 'photo' thread.
May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRetrospect Records
Seeing as your weather is usually a day ahead of ours here in NortheastPA, (and it's going down to 31 freaking degrees here tonight), your definitely a trooper Ally. As stated previously by CK, they ought to consider moving this festival back about 4 weeks or so, as the weather here in these areas is WAAYYY to unpredictable this time of year.Oh yeah,great job on rthe review also!!
May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGary
I would like to see them move the festival to another city. It hasnt even sold out the last 2 years and then u have Rockfest in KC that draws 50,000 fans a year with a lineup that doesnt even touch rotr as far as value and talent. And its warmer! Move it more midwest.
May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWill
We went both days, cold temp. wasnt the problem as much as the north wind and being wet from the hour long rain 6 hrs. earlier in the afternoon. Still great festival for the U.S. rather than Europe
May 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPenguins in 09
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