Amnesia Rockfest 2014 – Day Two
On Day Two of Amnesia Rockfest we found out what 200,000 people really look like. As the festival sold out mid-afternoon the grounds were being torn apart by the wake of the crowd. By the second day much of the fantastical element had rub off, the garbage was piling up, the food sucked and the smell of shit hung around in the air.
The bands however, saved our weary souls and rejuvenated the people with their rock ‘n’ roll music. Day one was a tough act to follow but the bands were primed and ready to perform.
Tight and tantalizing, The Used played their music to ecstatic ears as Rockfest goers excitedly chanted along and packed themselves close to the main stage. Front man Bert McCracken was looking worn and his vocals had a few minor issues but overall he delivered a manic set befitting of the band and their music.
Obey The Brave
Obey The Brave showed Rockfest day two what heavy sounds and feels like. The Montreal based band had their entire audience bouncing and head banging along to their tunes. The sound was not perfect (seemed to be a theme with the Budweiser stage) but for a set like theirs, the low notes are all that really counts.
Old-school California punkers Lagwagon did not fail to crack the masses up with their jokes, and the music was good too. “Anybody here like coffee? I used to drink coffee, now I take speed it’s better. Anybody here like cigarettes? I still smoke cigarettes,” singer Joey Cape jested as he introduced their song “Coffee and Cigarettes”. Lagwagon also announced that they were living up to their name and taking their sweet time to record and release a new album, which will be out, sometime…
All That Remains
All That Remains destroyed the Jagermeister stage in the best way possible. The band was perfectly on point with their instruments and voices. Vocalist Phil Labonte got the fans riled up as he jumped onto the speakers side stage without missing a breathe as Oli Herbert let his hair and fingers dance in a whirlwind of metal magic.
Liferuiner brought an element of intimacy that was missing from Rockfest. Midway into their set vocalist Jonny OC jumped across the barrier and joined fans in the pit with his microphone. A common occurrence at a Liferuiner shows, but totally unexpected at a festival of this stature. Despite technical difficulties with the bass gear the band pushed on and delivered a well-thought-out and well-received set. They played a mixture of their iconic breakdown-ridden songs from the mid 2000’s as well as a large portion of their new material, which boasts a more mature sound. OC actively speaks out about humanitarian issues at one point saying “If you’re homophobic, racist or sexist you have no place here,” while surrounded by cheering kids in the pit. All genres of music need more leading examples of acceptance like this. Guitarists Mike Short and Graham Finnigan kept the crowd bouncing, Burton Lavery tiptoed through his technical difficulties and continued to provide the bass line while Terrance Pettitt crashed their sound into the heads of listeners.
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts was a beautifully placed band in the midst of a long festival. As day two started two wind down Jett and her band pumped life back into the hearts of festivalgoers with her classic songs and alluring stage presence.
I only have one question for Billy Talent: does guitarist Ian D’Sa have to do his hair like that every day? The band absolutely killed their performance, playing on the main stage before Alice In Chains. Benjamin Kowalewicz’s vocals were pitch perfect and darted pointedly through the festival air. The band seemed truly grateful to be playing and enjoying themselves at the festival, Kowalewicz praised the festival, “the great thing about this festival is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a punk, hardcore or metal fan, we are all here because we love rock ‘n’ roll!” Could not have said it better myself.
Alice in Chains
The performance by Alice in Chains was absolutely mesmerizing. The band proved to a huge group of all ages fans why and how they have earned their eminence. Jerry Cantrell shredded the guitar as good or better than any of the guitarists to play in the two days before him while William DuVall bounced around and engaged the crowd. Words cannot do the Alice in Chains set justice, so I am going to stop trying.
Motley Crue was garbage. What a terrible way to end the amazing, music-filled weekend with beer-bellied aging rock stars in makeup. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the 80s style showmanship and the sexy backup dancers were not lost on me. They definitely made a statement as the only band to pull up backstage in a fleet of black Mercedes. The instrumentals were phenomenal as Mick Mars combined his wicked guitar riffs with his ominous face paint. Tommy Lee was as good as to be expected, but performances from Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil hindered the performance to no end. As Neil tried his very hardest to strum a couple chords on the acoustic guitar in one or two songs I could not help but think, “seriously, has nobody taken the time to teach this guy how to play open guitar chords in the past 20 years?” In January 2014, Motley Crue announced they would be retiring after one more farewell tour and I think they should have done that a long time ago.
Written by Griffin Elliot
Photographs by Andrej Ivanov