Epicenter Recap: Day 2 & 3:
Written by Ash Cullen on May 14, 2019
Saturday: kicked off the day with an out of this world set performed by the New Zealand heavy rockers Alien Weaponry, who are currently signed to Napalm Records. This trio set the stage for the second day of the inaugural Epicenter Festival with their native Maori-infused music. This is definitely one of the most beautiful things I love about rock music- it doesn’t matter the language, the energy and emotion can still be relayed to anybody with an open mind. At one point the pit stopped moshing and started to perform a Haka, which I will admit was so beautiful to see so many people embrace another culture in such an emotionally-raw and respectful manner. Next up was Atlanta-natives Tetrarch who have been hustling so hard over the past couple years and is finally paying off for them this year as they are on a few of the huge festivals, including this year’s Epicenter. Tetrarch is a nu-metal band that features the very first African-American female metal/hard rock lead guitarist to be featured in any major publications and/or press. They absolutely threw down with the crowd becoming fully-engaged in their contagious energy. They played many songs off of their debut full-length album FREAK while also teasing us to some amazing new music coming very soon, so stay tuned for that once it drops. British rockers SHVPES was the first band to perform on one of the main stages on Saturday. These Birmingham boys know how to have a great time on stage as they performed many of their big hits like “Undertones” and “Afterlife” that had the crowd bumping, moshing, and singing along as their vocalist Griffin kept the energy high for the entire set. Be sure to catch these guys at Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival as this is their last US tour date before they head back to Europe to perform at many of their spring and summer festivals. The next set we caught most certainly had us “Shook” as the Queens boys Sylar put on an epic performance of high energy and an infusion of nu metal that hasn’t been seen in years. Their third studio album “Seasons” is currently available through Hopeless Records. Be sure to check these guys out as they are currently on tour with Cane HIll, Varials, and Bloodline. The next band we caught at Epicenter opened up the main Monster Energy Stage with a bunch of their hits since absolutely blowing up the scene last year. Of course I’m talking about Badflower, who had their debut album “OK, I’m Sick” released back in late February, and who since reached a top-10 US chart spot. Their set was memorable as they played all of their hits, including their chart-topping single “Ghost,” that had the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs. They made sure to let everybody know that they would be coming back soon, with every intention of headlining. We shall see if that is the case, but if their recent success is any indication of that being true, we will definitely see that much sooner than later. Taking the stage at the second main stage right after Badflower was the super-group The Damned Things. For those of you out there who have no idea who these guys are, don’t worry- you’re not alone. After forming over ten years ago, putting out one album, then not putting any new music out until now can most certainly give amnesia to some. The Damned Things features Jordan Buckley from Every Time I Die, Scott Ian from Anthrax, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy, and Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio. Be sure to catch their recently released album, “High Crimes,” now from Nuclear Blast Records. Scranton, PA’s own Motionless in White took to the main stage next as the crowd started to really thicken as we had made it to the later afternoon hours at this point. Everybody was on their toes as they waited impatiently for the heavy rockers to take to the stage and show off their amazing showmanship. MIW did not let down one bit as they played some of their classics as well as their chart-topping hit “Voices,” along with their two newest singles “Brand New Numb,” and “Disguise” off their upcoming album “Disguise” which is slated to drop June 7th through Roadrunner Records. The following act to hit one of the smaller stages was in no way a small act as we saw Howard Jones, formerly of Killswitch Engage, lead his new band Light The Torch on stage to an abruptly cut short set due to the impending storm that would eventually cut the night short. But before the evacuation was announced Light the Torch pounded out more than half of their set, including a quite ironic performance of “Calm Before the Storm.” Howard was not happy to have had to announce the code red, which called for the evacuation of everybody out of the festival grounds and to seek shelter, yelling out, “Don’t blame the black guy!”. At this point everybody had started to begrudge only head towards the exit gates, down one single, narrow road towards the fields of campers, tents, and automobiles. By the time we had reached our vehicle the rain had just started to come down slowly- at first. Within thirty minutes the rain started to become heavy, the grey clouds became even darker, and the high winds started to whip. The rain started to come down sideways and lightning could be seen in the distance. About an hour or so passed and it seemed that many of the festival-goers had started to migrate towards the alcohol and food trucks outside of the festival grounds to stock back up before heading back towards the hopefully re-opened gates. Some speculation had started to arise of whether they would re-open in an hour, two hours, or even at all. At roughly 8PM the announcement of the cancellation had begun to spread like wildfire as everybody headed back into their cars to leave the festival grounds. This within itself was a living hell. Traffic was stuck at a standstill for a couple hours as there was only one road open for traffic to enter and exit. People started to get out of their vehicles and ensue having their parties as they waited for the traffic to eventually start crawling. Roughly three hours later we were able to leave the festival where so many were hoping to see Judas Priest and Tool perform later that evening. There are potential lawsuits being looked into by many festival goers as many were turned away day one due to the horrible traffic issues, and with day two’s headliners not performing. We shall see what transpires from these possible lawsuits in future.
Day three arrived with hope for a great day with little chance of rain, and a great chance for music. Everybody was set for ‘While She Sleeps,’ the first to kick off the Octane Stage for Sunday. The pits were outrageous and the amount of people crowd surfing was ridiculous. With Bring Me the Horizon on the bill we were hoping to hear Oli come out and sing, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Regardless, While She Sleeps set the tone for a great Sunday. Following that we were able to catch The Glorious Sons who have a number of hits that had the crowd singing along the whole time- most noticeably “Sawed-Off Shotgun.” Next we were able to catch Yungblud, who most certainly had one of the more unique sets of the weekend as he came out dressed in women’s lingerie. Yungblud was literally all over the stage with his high energy, and by the time his second song had ended you could see blood streaming down his leg. Come his third song he had taken and thrown his guitar to the ground, then later proceeded to kiss his own guitarist. Needless to say this guy is a bit out there, but we love him regardless. Following that we were able to catch the ska punk California band The Interrupters. So many young fans were in attendance to see the Interrupters, which we feel is a great sight to see for the future of music; most especially for young women. The crowd was singing and dancing along to all of their songs, including “She Got Arrested,” and their latest single “Gave You Everything” off their latest album “Fight The Good Fight” which is out now. Next up was Killswitch Engage which was full of high energy, heavy mosh pits, and tons of crowd surfing, including a crowd-surfing Santa getting an early Christmas gift from Adam in the form of pizza. KSE played many of their tops hits, including “The End of Heartache,” “My Last Serenade,” “Always,” and their cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver.” Live was scheduled to perform on one of the main stages the same time KSE was, but they were late getting to Epicenter. Luckily they showed up with enough time to spare for them to only perform three songs for the gracious crowd. They were able to play “All Over You,” “I Alone,” and the crowd favorite “Lightning Crashes” before they gave the stage over to one of the most anticipated acts of the day- Bring Me the Horizon. The UK band was ready to set the stage ablaze as they brought flamethrowers to a rock show. With the sun setting in the background, the setting couldn’t have been any more perfect for such a high-impact performance. BMTH’s set inlcuded dancing zombie-apocalyptic girls, cheerleaders for “Happy Song,” some intense pyrotechnics for “The House of Wolves,” and raw emotion for “Can You Feel My Heart.” BMTH even brought their comedy as they called out the pathetic pits for being “soft” in comparison to their new music being considered “soft.” It was honestly quite comical. 311 took to the stage next with their down to earth vibes and stoner-rock fueled grooves. The crowd was swaying and dancing along to all of their hits like “Beautiful Disaster,” “Amber,” “Feels So Good,” and their set-ending “Down.” At this point everybody had made their way to main stage for the last act of the night- The Foo Fighters. All of the last few main stage sets had been cut a little short so that the Foo Fighters could have a longer set in case any rain did decide to impede later in the evening. The Foo absolutely delivered with a memorable show that included so many crowd favorites, amazing drum, guitar solos, covers of hits like “Under Pressure,” “Breakdown,” and “Stay With Me” before they ended with their always memorable performance of “Everlong”. These guys have been rocking for over 25 years and it was phenomenal to see them still going strong and having fun doing it.
The pits and amount of people crowd surfing for WSS, The glorious sons have number of hits, crowd singing along the entire time, yungblood was in women’s lingerie, all over the stage, never stood still, two songs in was bleeding from all the energy he had, kissed his own guitarists, a bit out there, threw his guitar on the ground third song in- seriously wild, BMTH quite impressive set- pyro, zombie dancing girls, flame-throwing guns, played many of their hits (new and old), called out the fans for being soft due to its, LIVE was late, got to play 3 songs which were very popular and everybody was singing along, due to traffic. Sets started getting cut a little short just in case of rain so the foo could get a full set in,