With achy muscles, hoarse voices and noses filled due to the fall dirt and dust in the air, we went back for more on Day 2 of Louder Than Life in sunny Louisville, Ky. at Champions Park.
Atlanta band Biters had to cancel their set, for unknown reasons, so Black Map was the first to hit the stage. Meanwhile, grungy, bluesy Joyous Wolf on the Monster Stage competed with ’68 on the Zorn Stage at the other end of Champions Park for early day viewers.
If you think rock and roll is dead then you haven’t seen Greta Van Fleet and when you do make sure you pick your jaw up off the floor. Although there were sound troubles at the beginning of the first song, once it kicked in fans were stunned. Greta Van Fleet sound like all of your favorite classic rock bands wrapped into one but at the same time they have a sound that’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard…and they’re mostly teenagers. Frontman Josh Kiska’s voice echoed Led Zeppelin, early Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, The Doors and so much more. Greta Van Fleet has created a sound of their own that is both very familiar and completely mind blowing.
The block of talented bands on the Loudmouth Stage continued with percussion-happy Nothing More. Their melody, intensity and innovative stage presence with hand built instrumental contraptions makes them one of the most exciting acts to see live.
Taylor Momsen and The Pretty Reckless were up next on the Loudmouth Stage while over on the Zorn Stage fellow singer Cristina Scabbia and her crew unleashed their amped up set. The Italian metalers of Lacuna Coil performed an older favorite that true fans will know “Heaven’s a Lie.” Scabbia urged the crowd to feel empowered and without being too political she stated, “In a world full of lies, we’re going to raise ‘Our Truth.’” They ended their vigorous set with “House of Shame.”
The young trio of Radkey and Ocean Grove performed on the Zorn Stage earlier in the day and In This Moment headlined the same stage later in the evening. Fans packed in to see Maria Brink, the band, her backup dancers and the costume changes. Seeing In This Moment live is a theatrical spectacle filled with lots of screams and she began the set with “Blood.” Brink seductively tore our hearts out during “River of Fire” and the cone headpiece was proudly worn (as it should be) during “Whore.”
Some of our favorite trucks during the weekend Blackbeard Espresso which kept many of us going throughout the weekend with flavorful coffees, cucumber lemonades, raspberry iced teas and chai lattes. Mike’s Prime Rib lived up to its name as the monster prime rib sandwich could keep any concert goer full for the entire day along with their addictive fries.
All filled up, back to the Loudmouth Stage we went. Kentucky fans love Corey “Mother f—ing” Taylor and he loves them right back. Corey Taylor can command a crowd of thousands through his charisma and personal banter onstage. Whether he spews out harder Stone Sour tracks like “30/30-150” or the softer songs that become a sing-a-long like “Through the Glass” fans respond with the utmost passion.
Incubus headlined the Loudmouth Stage and the melodies of Brandon Boyd’s voice and nostalgic tunes “Stellar,” “Pardon Me” and “Anna Molly” powered their set. Another gem of the evening was their performance of “Wish You Were Here” which included a snippet of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” There’s nothing like listening to thousands of fans singing “Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there!” which they did during “Drive.” The atmospheric and magnetic sounds of Incubus were evident especially in other notable favorites “Stellar,” “Megalomaniac” and “Warning.”
Over on the Monster Stage, Beartooth performed and chaos ensued early on. The pandemonium continued with Falling In Reverse and madman Ronnie Radke who worked the stage swiftly from right to left. Thrice and Rise Against took the Monster Stage later in the evening with strong, motivating and very sweaty performances.
Prophets of Rage headlined the Monster Stage for the most politically charged and one of the most intense sets of the evening. With fists raised the group of artists included three members from Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk, two members of Public Enemy — Chuck D and DJ Lord — and B-Real of Cypress Hill.
Their set began with their cover of “Prophets of Rage” by Public Enemy. Chuck D and B-Real would take turns on Rage Against the Machine songs “Testify” and “Guerrilla Radio” which got Kentucky fans rowdy. Throughout the entire weekend many bands played it safe and didn’t bring up politics. If anything this festival was an escape from politics.
Prophets of Rage was a reminder that there is no real escape and that we have to face it head on no matter how tough the subject or how uncomfortable it may be. Challenging institutions and the people within them is ok to do. When “Bulls on Parade” and “Killing in the Name” hit, it was no longer about a red state or a blue state. Prophets of Rage bridged the gap with their music and it was a reminder of musicians that tore walls down in history.
When the dust settled at Champions Park, we were given some very memorable performances and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for year five at next year’s Louder Than Life Festival.