Day 1: Louisville’s Preeminent Louder Than Life Festival Lives Up To The Name
Welcome folks! To those of you that had the opportunity to share the hallowed grounds of Louder Than Life, read on to relive the infamy! To those of you that weren’t able to come, then read on vicariously!
Day 1 of this monster festival started off hot and heavy with Wilson opening up this magical weekend. The diehards that got there early witnessed an energetic show that set the tone of the weekend off perfectly. As the day progressed, the crowd filled in to catch the Finnish band Santa Cruz bringing it hard, New Year’s Day with a magically solid set, and Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals, which rather than playing an original set, ripped through some classic Pantera tunes, dedicating their performance to the late and great brothers, Dimebag and Vinnie Paul.
The crowd interacted back and forth the entire set of Motionless in White, with Chris Motionless dancing and rocking out with the ESL interpreter during their set of fan favorites. Columbus, Ohio’s Beartooth brought a set of heavy hitting music, showing off why they’ve become a staple of rock in the midwest and country in general. Gwar pulled in a huge crowd, covering them in blood, and making sure that folks felt like they needed to go to church after delivering a spectacle that only the scumlords of the universe can bring to the table.
In my own humble opinion, Staind stole the night for me. It was their first show in years, and 20 years since they’d originally hit the scene, and Aaron Lewis sounded even better than he’d sounded before. The entire crowd sang along to the songs that had helped craft a soundtrack to the years before, and very few were left wanting.
Closing the night were the incomparable Slipknot. Coming hot off of their new album, they brought their brand of sonic savagery to the masses, burning away every last bit of energy the crowd had left to give.
Day 2: Turning Up The Heat
Now, one would think that given the time of year, that it would be a beautiful time of year to have a festival. Not too hot, not too cold, maybe even some cool breeze. As it turns out, Louisville had different plans, and unleashed upon us an even hotter day, but that wasn’t going to dissuade the rock and roll faithful on the second day of Louder Than Life.
In true rock fashion, we started our day off with the lucid murderfolk music of Amigo The Devil. While you wouldn’t necessarily expect to hear banjo and acoustic guitar for the beginning of a day of loud music, it set the tone with tales of murder, love, and intrigue. Following after was an amazing set from one of the fastest growing bands in America, Dirty Honey. Hot off of their chart topping “When I’m Gone”, they had the crowd forgetting about the oppressive heat bearing down on them.
Coming up afterwards, there were solid showings from up and coming bands like Parlor Mob, Junkbunny, and more. Bringing in the old-school punk and rock vibe were stalwarts such as the punk godfathers Anti-Flag, and legendary Suicidal Tendancies. The crowd sang in unison to Badflower, and danced in the sun to classic songs like Big Empty and Interstate Love Song. The boys from Boston, Dropkick Murphys, brought the crowd up, and got the beers flowing, closing up with “Shipping Up To Boston”, one of my very favorite drunken singalongs.
Halestorm took the stage next, further proving why they will always be worthy of the stage, and why their star just keeps rising. With the piss, vinegar, and swagger of the greats like Debbie Harry and Joan Jett, Lzzy Hale kept the sea of fans captivated and attentive. But just like that, the tone changed with one of the godfathers of rap, Ice Cube himself. Opening up with “Natural Born Killers”, the crowd gave back energy that he himself was amazed by. Crowd surfers hit the front in waves, and the attendees shook the earth.
Godsmack took the stage, highlighting the multi-talented Sully Erna, playing through years of crowd pleasers, and entrancing audiences with the drum duel with Shannon Larkin. As they left the stage, a helicoptor came into view, circling the venue, and landing in the production area. As it turns out, the legendary Guns N’ Roses wanted to make sure the sea of people had an entrance they’d never forget. The elation of legions of fans that longed to hear the screams of Axl Rose being backed by the virtuoso skill of the Top Hat-laden Slash was nothing short of euphoric. Over a period of 3 hours, they brought to bear music that brought the crowd back to their youth, and made many relive why they love rock and metal in the first place.
Day 3: It’s Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away
Today, we’ve got a little later of a start. Unfortunately? It’s only gotten hotter. But on the bright side? The day is about to get so loud that it’ll be impossible to think about the heat.
And who better than to get things started than by the Australian stalwarts, Sick Puppies. After getting the blood boiling, I managed to get over to see one of my favorite bands, Fire From The Gods. Coming hot off of the album “American Sun”, they brought the much needed message of unity and changing the world as only they could, with a beat and fury that got the crowd ready to rage through the rest of the day. Starting almost as soon as they ended was a brutal set from Ded, who seemingly perform with more and more purpose every time that they hit the stage.
Up next was a nostalgic change of pace for those of my age range in the band Sum 41. The familiar pop-punk tones filled the air, only to be succeeded by the darker tones of Demon Hunter, Ho99o9, and Three Days Grace. The cloud of dust gathered up by all of the movement and foot traffic almost seemed fitting for the ominous spectacle that is In This Moment. Every step, every look, and every sultry rasp from Maria Brink held the crowd at her fingertips, leaving the crowd wanting more.
Afterwards, the masses gathered for Deadland Ritual, being spearheaded by one of the gods of metal, Geezer Butler. All of this preceeding the last big push of the weekend. We were in the final stretch, with Breaking Benjamin starting the drive. The crowdsurfers filled the field of view, journeying onwards towards the stage. Manson took the next leg, with all of the dark swagger and bravado that only he can muster.
To end the night, Rob Zombie took the festival up to 11, and dazzled the raucous crowds, even playing songs like “Electric Head Pt. 2” that weren’t heard during his headlining tour with Manson in the previous months. And finally to bring a resounding cap to Louder Than Life were the eminent Disturbed. Playing their hits from the entirety of their catalog, their cover of “The Sound Of Silence” brought the entire crowd swaying and singing along, providing the perfect end to the night.
And thus ended our weekend journey, and the impatient wait until our next year in Louisville. That being said, we’ll see you then.