Rock on the Range has become one of the premier festivals in music in its short existence and Columbus, Ohio definitely knows how to throw a party. It spanned two days, 40 bands and a total of 24 hours of music. This year’s event ran from May 19 and 20 and thousands of rockers showed up to rock out and hopefully get to meet their favorite band. It was hosted by Jose Mangin from Sirius XM/Headbangers Ball and also saw an appearance from radio personality Lou Brutus.
It only took a few hours in the blistering sun before many were questioning why they didn’t bring some sunscreen with them. The high temps combined with an abundance of cold beer provoked a lot of nudity from both males and females all day long. The side stages were sponsored by FYE and Jagermeister and they kicked off the festivities each day at 11:30.
On Saturday, the smaller Jagermeister stage saw stellar performances from Las Vegas’ own Otherwise on their first trip to Rock on the Range. In This Moment unveiled brand new music from their forthcoming album Blood to their Iron Army who was out in full force that day. The FYE stage saw great performances from New Medicine as well as P.O.D. and lots of people getting insane in the membrane with Cypress Hill.
The main stage on Saturday saw Lzzy Hales and her boys, better known as Halestorm, deliver rocking set that focused heavily on songs from their new album The Strange Case Of. Lzzy definitely knows how to command a crowd and had the huge crowd in her control. Five Finger Death Punch had the biggest sea of crowd surfers again this year and that didn’t surprise anyone at all. Ivan even pulled some young kids up on stage to rock out with the band. Ivan also has to be one of the best frontmen around these days. He really got the crowd all fired up!
Brent Smith and Shinedown were next to last on the main stage and delivered a set that was all killer and no filler. Their radio hits were all there, “Second Chance”, “45”, “If You Only Knew” and “Bully”. Incubus closed out day one with an impressive set, but many in attendance didn’t understand why Shinedown didn’t close the day. Brent seems to be in the best shape of his life these days and his voice was superb.
Day two saw more high temps and plenty of blistered skin everywhere. The Jagermeister stage was rocked hard all day from such acts as former American Idol contestant James Durbin as well as Lacuna Coil, who not only made their ROTR debut but they also headlined the Jager stage. The crowd was huge for their set and lead singers Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro showed why their fan base has been continuously growing here in the states. They delivered a tight set and sounded amazing!
The FYE stage on Sunday rocked out hard when Trivium took the stage for their ROTR debut. Matt Heafy and the rest of his band showed why they were a standout at Mayhem last year. This is a band that you definitely need to see live to fully appreciate what they have to offer. Headlining the FYW was the thrash pioneers Anthrax and they unveiled their new “bare bones, guerilla” performance. It’s a high-energy, barrage of song after song after song. Scott Ian and Joey Belladonna left the crown exhausted and in need of a cigarette after their insane set.
The main stage rocked out hard all day long with performances from Escape the Fate, the Darkness and Mastodon. Megadeth, another thrash pioneer, worked over the crowd with songs from their lengthy arsenal. Lead singer Dave Mustaine sounded great, but at times he appeared to be in pain as his movements were very limited. Marilyn Manson made his ROTR debut and seemed more interested in trying to shock people than in delivering a solid performance. He did everything from turning his band on the crowd as he stood there and sang to spitting beer at the photographers in the pit.
ROTR favorite Rob Zombie returned this year to close out the day and he brought his A game with him. The event is one of his favorites to play and he always loads up his arsenal with special goodies just for the show. Guitarist extraordinaire John 5 was by his side and they delivered a fun hit filled set that was over the top with pyro and lights and strange creatures roaming the stage. Rob always delivers a fun-filled set and gives you your money’s worth.
The days were long and tiring and left most in attendance with a feeling of having experienced their best weekend ever. The numerous signings gave fans numerous chances to get a signed 8x10 of their favorite band. The heat and the alcohol saw fans dropping like flies all day long, which is one thing I have never understood. Why pay all that good, hard earned money to get drunk and pass out? Overall, the 2012 Rock on the Range was a success and the planning starts now to see how they can top it next year.