FESTIVAL REVIEW: ROCK ON THE RANGE 2016 – Day 1 (Friday)
The United States’ biggest rock music festival returned for its 10th anniversary to the city of Columbus.
From waiting in the line for gates to open, you could feel the vibe of rockers and metalheads reuniting once again. The fans entered the Mapfre Stadium, and with very little wait, the music began. The early afternoon began with Cane Hill and Monster Truck, who are two bands to keep an eye on for sure, as they are getting bigger by the second. Following the first set of the day, Avatar took over as thousands of early-bird fans got everything they waited for. As with any Avatar performance, the energy was absolutely crazy. Following the performance, you could start to tell that if a band like Avatar was this early, then you could only imagine what the rest of the day would be full of. The main stage kicked off with the return of Sick Puppies with new vocalist Bryan Scott. Not only was it a special day for the band to have the honors of opening the main stage, but it was also the CD release date for their new album ‘Fury’.
Fans did much more than just watching bands, as Rock on the Range had plenty of activities for them to do – from checking out merch to going from tent to tent for free goodies. The main stage opened back up with the powerhouse that is Sevendust, who brought everything they had. Age has not been slowing them down at all, and has in fact given them all the experience of playing in festivals like Woodstock ‘99. The pit opened for Sevendust, and it was obvious that the fans loved the old and new music. The crowd then split up between seeing hometown boys Miss May I and seeing metalcore legends Trivium. All the way from the UK, Bullet for My Valentine continued the onslaught of heavy music on the main stage. Memphis May Fire faced up against Asking Alexandria, whose popularity has been growing at a crazy rate these past years. Although many felt that those two bands should not have been playing at the same time, both crowds received an amazing show.
The roars got stronger as legendary bassist Nikki Sixx walked out on the stage, and though the sound of Sixx A.M. may be different from what we’ve all heard Sixx play for years, the fans definitely were into the music, judging by their singing along to their recent single “Stars”. Another local was up next as Machine Gun Kelly drove most of the younger crowd to his set, but that did not stop the true metalheads working their way to see the Butcher Babies close out the third stage. Another band who has been killing it since day one and grabbing the hearts of many was A Day to Remember. They opened with a huge bang as confetti and streamers flew out from the stage. The energy the band brought was unbelievable, and seeing how fans reacted by crowd-surfing on top of one another had to make the band feel amazing.
The storm clouds began to roll in right before the beginning of Megadeth’s set, but no downpour was going to stop 20,000+ metalheads from seeing a band they grew up listening to. The band came out with a mix of new songs and classichits. Rock on the Range could not have picked a better band to close out the side stage for Day 1 of an amazing three days. The rain kept on pouring, but that did not stop anyone from leaving the show early. Shinedown was up, and being main support of Disturbed, they knew they had to give it their all; and that is exactly what they did. Lead Singer Brent Smith was jumping around like how many have seen him before, entering the crowd multiple times. Disturbed sure did have some big shoes to fill after that performance, and once again, the rain still did not make people head towards the gates. The band came out to “10,000 Fists”, but times that by two was the reality as everyone in the stands had their fist in the air. The weather got colder, but what better way to get warm then by entering the mosh pits and getting your energy going? Fans were into their set the whole time, but many waited for the one song they all knew: “Down With the Sickness”. Whether you are a fan or not, you cannot help but sing the intro to the song, and once it kicked in, the stadium exploded. Day 1 of Rock on the Range was then in the books, and now had two more to go.