On this date in history, 8/12/1995, a local Indianapolis radio station began an annual tradition called X-Fest, a collection of bands theoretically featured on the airwaves. The show took place at Deer Creek, and featured Bush, Weezer, Sponge, Quicksand, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Material Issue, Letters To Cleo, Sugar Ray, and The Toadies.

I don’t recall seeing The Toadies at this concert, but I can vouch for them as a powerful live band, because I saw them the following year opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers, and they were fierce.

I wasn’t too excited about any of the bands until Quicksand, and they played an outstanding, intense set. Sponge kept the ball rolling with their Detroit ‘take no prisoners’ approach to hard rock.

Weezer surprised me quite a bit. I had expected them to be pretty light weight, but Rivers Cuomo and his crew cranked up the guitars and blasted through a set of really tight songs and made a fan of me.

Bush were pretty good, but I felt (and still feel) that they weren’t really a headliner. The future Mr. Gwen Stefani (Gavin Rossdale) sang passionately and sounded great vocally, but lacked that larger than life quality that all the greatest front me possess.

To be fair, they were only one album into their career and executed everything with precision. For a first time out, X Fest did enough things right that WRZX brought it back the following year and started an event that exists to the present time.

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/11/1996, Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN was the site of one of the best metal shows I have ever witnessed. Pantera, White Zombie, Deftones, and EyeHateGod combined to just decimate the outdoor venue in a true display of heavy music diversity.

4023790a397497b168b0db5a8bdff356After a crushing opening set by EyeHateGod that I heard more of than I actually saw, my friend and I finally found a patch of ground up in the lawn area and settled in for an amazing set of the atmospheric, sometimes claustrophobic euphoria that is Deftones’ specialty.

 

Chino Moreno has a voice unique in all of metal and the band utilizes this instrument to great effect, building cathedrals of sound around his emotive and eerie tones.

White Zombie came out and delivered the gargantuan horror rock spectacle that Rob Zombie has made his calling card throughout his brilliant career as both a rocker and director. I have a vivid memory of bass player Sean Yseult windmilling her green hair during a large portion of their show. e5d3589403b21bf8696da07d0a04ab0b--white-zombie-band-heavy-metal-rock.jpg

The previous year, White Zombie had released Astro Creep:2000, and their show featured a lot of that album. The highlight song remained “Thunder Kiss ’65” and it was a crushing finale to a monumentally entertaining set.

Zombie left the stage at 11 pm, the time that the venue’s curfew takes effect. The crowd went through a nervous period of waiting, but after a relatively quick set change, PanterA hit the stage with a vengeance, taking charge with a bare bones fury that was the perfect foil to White Zombie’s theatricality.

Pantera-630x420PanterA made their appearance to the prerecorded track of “Suicide Note, Pt. 1” and a back drop of huge marijuana leaves. From there it was relentlessly brutal groove metal from the band that defined that subgenre.

Phil Anselmo was in stellar voice and Dimebag Darrell claimed his crown as the greatest metal guitarist on the planet with incendiary leads and pummeling riffage. Whatever fine the band had to pay for going over the time limit that night was worth every penny.

Every person who was at that show knew that PanterA cared about our good time and they could have opted out, but they were there to play, and play they did. The neighbors probably weren’t too thrilled, but like they say, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!”

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/10/2000, I saw my third consecutive Ozzfest at the familiar confines of Deer Creek. The lineup that year included Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, Godsmack, Static-X, Incubus, Methods Of Mayhem, P.O.D., Queens Of The Stone Age, Taproot, Apartment 26, Soulfly, Kittie, Disturbed, Reveille, Slaves On Dope, Pitchshifter, The Deadlights, Primer 55, and Shuvel.

Out of all those bands, there were only a handful that stood out for me on that day. Soulfly headlined the second stage and rendered all the other bands on that stage null and void with their thunderous tribal warfare.

Max Cavalera stood on the stage like a metal Bob Marley, bringing his people to the promised land of the almighty riff. Queens Of The Stone Age were out of place on this tour, but Josh Homme and company executed their set like ninja assassins, playing with deadly controlled ferocity and elegance.

Incubus were reliably excellent as well. Brandon Boyd sang at a level most metal singers can’t attain, which is to say that Incubus never claimed to be a metal band in the first place. This departure from the norm always suited them and let them separate from the pack in the best way.

Static-X, led by the always unique Wayne Static (R.I.P. Wayne), played their brand of ‘evil disco’ and got the crowd moshing and bouncing throughout their frantic set. Godsmack were the band onstage when the inevitable sod war began. Front man Sully Erna managed to put a quick end to it when he announced that if it didn’t stop, neither Pantera or Ozzy would perform.

Needless to say, the lawn raping came to an abrupt finale then and there. Godsmack played a killer set, but the best was still to come.

PanterA took the stage and top honors for the day. Phil Anselmo’s commanding presence, fearsome vocal power, and drill sergeant crowd control whipped the masses into a crazed volcanic moshing cauldron of humanity.  Dimebag’s guitar cut through our souls and melted all in its sonic path, while Rex Brown’s bass rearranged our chromosomes to Vinnie Paul’s crushing beats.

Ozzy capped it all with a set full of the Ozzman’s finest tunes. Only the Prince Of Darkness himself could follow the Pantera attack and still bring more out of us, but that is precisely what he did. Even on a day where there were quite a few sub par bands, Ozzfest still managed to be the show of the summer.

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/7/2011, the Mayhem Festival arrived at Deer Creek in Noblesville just in time to make all of us metal fanatics happy…or at least argumentative concerning the lineup, which included Disturbed, Godsmack, Megadeth, Machine Head, Hatebreed, The Athiarchists, Unearth, Suicide Silence, Kingdom Of Sorrow, All Shall Perish, Red Fang, Straight Line Stitch, and The Surface. Every year I attended one of these all day metal festivals I would always try to discover a band I hadn’t previously heard before, and Red Fang was that band on this date.
They were phenomenal, kind of a mixture of Clutch and Mastodon, but very individual and original sounding at the same time. Highly recommended, in other words…check ’em out. Straight Line Stitch were great, too. I have a soft spot for bands with female vocalists, and the woman who sings for Straight Line Stitch can truly sing in addition to sounding like a wounded animal being tortured by hot pokers.
All Shall Perish brought the brutality, as did Suicide Silence. This was the last time I saw Mitch Lucker perform before his untimely death, and the next time that Suicide Silence returned, their new singer came from All Shall Perish, so this show was the beginning of a circle.
Kingdom Of Sorrow combined Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed with Kirk Windstein of Crowbar and Down (at that time) for a monstrous side project.
Bad weather temporarily halted their set, but it passed quickly enough that they were able to return and finish what they started.
We (being crazy metalheads) didn’t even seek shelter! Unearth played a blazing set that paved the way for Machine Head over on the main stage. Machine Head were my favorite band of the entire day. Rob Flynn and his army were simply magnificent, playing with a precision and rage that the iconic Megadeth had trouble following.
Dave Mustaine has always run a tight ship with Megadeth, and they rose to the challenge, showing why they are firmly in the Big 4 of thrash metal.
Godsmack shifted gears somewhat, ushering in the more “radio friendly” format of metal that would continue through their set and into the headliners, Disturbed. My friend and I stuck around long enough to watch the film that lead into Disturbed’s performance and then we left.
Mutually agreed that we don’t like that band. I acknowledge their success and understand they have legions of fans. I hope those fans enjoyed the show, but it isn’t my band and never will be. Overall, I had a fantastic time as always. I discovered a band, rocked to some longtime favorites, and truly had a great day with a really cool person.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/6/2004, Linkin Park, Korn, Snoop Dogg, The Used, and Less Than Jake joined forces for the Projekt Revolution Tour at Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. I arrived in time to see Snoop Dogg play an entertaining and enjoyable set of his instantly identifiable rap. Snoop's pimp hand was strong and his flow was as smooth as it gets. I'm not a rap fan, but I recognize quality, and Snoop is the epitome of cool in his delivery and his persona. Korn delivered a thunderous performance as they always have in all the times I have seen them. I was fully expecting them to blow Linkin Park off the stage, but that most definitely did not happen. Instead, Linkin Park delivered a superb closing set filled with exceptional sound and light, high energy playing from a really tight band, and Chester Bennington's amazing vocals, clearly the best element of that band for my taste. I had previously seen them at one of the Ozzfest shows and had been unimpressed, to say the least. On this night in 2004 they showed their growth and their depth, and I had to give them the respect they so obviously earned. For their encore, they played a spot on rendition of "Wish" by Nine Inch Nails that was truly inspired. Writing this so soon after Chester Bennington's tragic death brings back just how much talent the man had and it makes me glad that I got to see such a progression in their career.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/6/2016, The Return Of The Dreads Tour invaded Deer Creek with a blast of high energy rock. Rob Zombie, Korn, and In This Moment were the bands, all bringing their own distinctive flavor to a concert full of great lights, stage sets, and wild theatrics. In This Moment began the proceedings with a well crafted performance that showcased Maria Brink's powerful voice and penchant for dramatic showmanship. I hadn't seen them since earlier in their career and was pretty surprised at how different their whole presentation had become. I prefer their older songs, but recognize that the crowd was totally on board with what they were doing, so I'm glad it is working for them. Korn followed, and took to the stage with a vengeance, fully energized with the original guitar tag team of Munky and Head locked into their monstrous groove behind the frenetic performance of Jonathan Davis, vocals dripping with emotion from the depths of his tortured soul. Rob Zombie headlined with the best performance I have seen him deliver to date. This is saying a lot, as I have seen him play crushing sets with White Zombie and many stellar shows with his always impeccable solo band. John 5 in particular, just gets better and better, probably one of the best lead guitarists in rock. Ginger Fish on drums and formally of Marilyn Manson's band (like John 5, another Manson refugee) had fully transitioned to Zombie's style of shock rock dynamics, and the result was apparent as the band just decimated the capacity crowd. As if the music wasn't enough, the lights and over the top theatrics and props just made this show a sensory overload of the best kind. May Rob Zombie continue to tour for decades to come!

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 7/29/2017, Korn brought the Serenity Of Summer Tour to Deer Creek, in Noblesville, IN. The tour had different opening acts in various locations, but our show featured Stone Sour, YelaWolf, and Ded. Ded opened the show with a burst of energy, sounding like they have done their homework at emulating some of their musical heroes. The first song sounded like Slipknot lite, and the second one featured the singer doing quite a decent job of sounding like the recently departed Chester Bennington. The only problem for me was a lack of any distinguishing original characteristics in their songs. Every song and every riff called to mind something I have heard by other bands. Perhaps these guys will stick together and develop their own groove over time. They played and sang well, and had plenty of energy, so they have good things to build on. I wish them well in finding something to distinguish them from the pack. YelaWolf was next, and for what it was, it hit its mark. I'm not a big fan of the "2 turntables and a microphone" approach, but the crowd seemed pretty responsive to it. The front man/rapper obviously has skill at his profession. I couldn't do what he does, so I have to recognize that he has talent, but I don't want to hear too much of it, either. Stone Sour played a good set, but I felt their mix was a little on the murky side. Corey Taylor sang great (as usual) and the band were on point instrumentally. I prefer Taylor's other band (Slipknot, for those of you who may not know…there may still be a few of you out there!) and admit I'm not familiar with Stone Sour's entire catalog. Nevertheless, they would have benefited from more clarity and more volume in their mix. Korn proved without a doubt why they are still a headliner all these years into their career. Jonathan Davis was a non-stop whirlwind of movement, singing with savage intensity and navigating the band through a virtual tour of their best material. All the highlights were covered and a superior sound mix and light show completed a stellar performance from a band still convincingly in their prime.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History