Summertime means concerts, and concert festivals especially; and as the season winds down, Rockstar pulled out all the stops to produce a fantastic festival, that was in Kansas City on Friday, September 5th. As is the case with most festivals, multiple bands were split across two stages; a nice addition here, was that no bands played on the main, festival, stage, until the last one performed on the smaller one, which did save on some walking around.
Sons of Revelry, a band from the Great White North, were the first to take to the Ernie Ball stage, nearly 30 minutes later than scheduled (thankfully, the only noticeable delay of the day); but it’s not really a rock show if it doesn’t start on time, is it? This was Sons of Revelry’s first major tour, having won the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands last year, they had the honor of going on Rockstar Uproar tour in 2014. Though they look more like a blue grass band than a rock band, make no mistake, these guys definitely rock; though their style is a little bit lighter than most of their peers on the bill, the early arrivals for the festival certainly didn’t seem to mind.
After a quick strike, Within Reason took the stage, clearly happy to be there, taking a picture of the crowd with their phones before launching into their set. I wasn’t familiar with Within Reason before the festival, but I walked away a fan. They brought a lot of energy to the small stage, and used all of it that they could in their performance. Sometimes, everything clicks into place with a performance; the sound, the energy, the lyrics…I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I hear it, this is what happened with Within Reason for me; if you haven’t heard these guys yet, go and check them out.
Escape the Fate was up next, and wasted no time in showing what they had. They opened their set with You’re Insane, a track from their new album. The song perfectly described the crowd later into their set, when the skies opened up, and rain poured down, prompting lead singer, Craig Mabbitt, to rename everyone in the audience, not seeking shelter, Lieutenant Dan, crying out “You call this a storm?!” It certainly was, but not enough to put a damper on things, as they rolled on through, not even caring to seek shelter under the canopy of the stage.
The tickets have “All shows, rain or shine” printed on them, and Buckcherry wasn’t about to let a little water slow them down. Though things had subsided a little by then, water was definitely coming down. I overheard a number of people expressing their surprise that Buckcherry wasn’t performing on the main stage, which did seem a little odd (though most of the bands in the festival could easily, and often do, headline their own concerts); but, egos didn’t get in the way, and Buckcherry delivered a solid performance (which I caught the remainder of, sheltered from the storm that was relapsing). Being the last band on the stage, Buckcherry performed a set longer than the others, do a very appreciable crowd, that only grew in the storm.
The skies had cleared in time f or Pop Evil to kick things off on the main stage at 6:00. It was around this time, that I noticed my camera had not fared too well during the rain, and things appeared blurred when looking through the view finder; thankfully, the images were coming out fine, so I pressed onward. Pop Evil set the tone for the remainder of the festival; while the Ernie Ball stage had a mixture of light(er) and hard rock, the main stage was definitely heavier, and the crowd had only grown in numbers.
Christian Rock group, Skillet rounded things out next, with complete with an electric cello and violin, much to the surprise of the crowd (I overheard some comments that they thought they would use a synthesizer for the effects). Others, too, were surprised with the energy and spectacle the band brought, complete with elevated platforms and CO2 canisters. Of course, special effects are only a small part of the rock show, and good music is still needed to carry it through; Skillet did not disappoint. Having heard their music in passing, I wasn’t going in expecting much, but was completely blown away with what was delivered; if this is what Skillet can do when they’re on a festival, one can only begin to imagine what they can do on a solo tour.
Some bands use lighting to great effect, providing a bright, illuminated stage; others like to keep things subdued. Seether seemed to use a mix of everything, with heavy reds, magentas and strobes. The grungy look on the stage really did work well with the sound they produced.
After Seether cleared the stage, a huge white cloth was draped over the proscenium of the stage, in preparation for Godsmack. A video was projected onto the makeshift screen, while AC/DC’s For those about to Rock thundered through the amphitheater. When the curtain dropped, the audience was electrified, wasting no time in launching into Generation Day. Sully remarked to the crowd how great it was being back on the road, and apologized for their absence, adding “But we’re back, with a new album” and introduced 1000hp, from their new album, also prominently featured on their backdrop. Their performance also featured fire which, unfortunately, came as we were being escorted out of the photo pit. But, Godsmack played long into the night, to a now heavily packed amphitheater.
Sons of Revelry
Escape the Fate