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

On this date in history, 7/31/1982, I traveled to Fort Wayne, IN, to see Van Halen at the Colliseum. This venue struck me as a smaller version of Market Square Arena in Indy. What was funny was that Van Halen apparently brought the same amount of equipment and this show was LOUD! Once again, they remained true to form and had a terrible opening act…After The Fire. I don't have the interest or the time to describe how boring and incompatible with Van Halen they actually were, so please just take my word for it. Van Halen had released the Diver Down album a few months prior to this show, and their cover of "Pretty Woman" was riding high on the charts. VH now had 5 albums of material to choose from and their set was full of stellar songs, solos, death defying Roth screams, and soaring Michael Anthony harmonies. On the night of this show, apparently David Lee Roth took it upon himself to do a little pre-show drinking. Either that, or he just developed some extreme song lyric amnesia. Whatever the case, the lyrics were forgotten during many songs, but whenever it happened, Dave just let out a monstrous scream and grinned that trademark grin of his, and everything was alright. Even on a night where mistakes were made, the charisma and talent in this band were completely unstoppable.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 7/31/2003, Ozzfest hit Deer Creek with a less than stellar overall lineup, but redeemed by a few above average performances. This version of the Oz man's yearly metal roadshow included Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Chevelle, Cradle Of Filth, Voivod, Nothingface, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Twisted Method, Hotwire, Memento, Motograter, Chimaira, Depswa, Grade 8, Sworn Enemy, Endo, and Unloco. Most of the second stage bands were average to below average with a few exceptions. Sworn Enemy stood out from the pack early on. Chimaira were making their debut on the tour that day and played with some fire that was much appreciated. Motograter were pretty good, all painted up and angry. Their singer would reappear a few years later fronting Five Finger Death Punch, so it kind of pains me to give him props, but I actually enjoyed Motograter's set. 3 crappy bands in a row followed them and then things got much better. Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Nothingface all played killer sets, energizing a crowd starved for quality mosh inducing madness. Voivod were much anticipated due to Jason Newsted's status as the former Metallica bass player. Unfortunately, Jason didn't really help their music, which was just not Ozzfest prime grade. Not to say they were bad, just not what the crowd was in the mood for. Cradle Of Filth headlined the second stage with a magnificent display of style and substance. Dani Filth alternately shrieked and let forth unearthly growls, leading his demonic accomplices in sonic terror through an hour's worth of spooky fun. As the show moved to the big stage I rested through Chevelle and Disturbed, just not a fan of either of those bands. Marilyn Manson took charge when he hit the stage and delivered one of the best sets of the entire concert. Korn followed and held serve, delivering the thunderous bass and quirky guitar riffs that that got the crowd jumping. Ozzy closed things out with help from Zakk Wylde, Jason Newsted (much more suited to Ozzy's songs) and Mike Bordin (Faith No More). It was always a joy to watch bands from beginning level up through the high tech spectacle of the Korns and Mansons of the world, and then top the whole thing off with the immortal Ozzy, bridging the years of his Black Sabbath and solo careers and entertaining us with his ever enthusiastic stage antics.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 7/31/2005, Ozzfest returned to Deer Creek with a much stronger overall lineup than the one on the same date from exactly 2 years before, with one notable exception…this one had no Ozzy! The bands at this version of the tour featured Iron Maiden, Mudvayne, Shadows Fall, Black Label Society, In Flames, Rob Zombie, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, Mastodon, A Dozen Furies, Bury Your Dead, The Haunted, The Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium, Arch Enemy, It Dies Today, Soilwork, Gizmachi, and Wicked Wisdom. Wicked Wisdom were the opening band, and as it always happened, they were done before we could pass the annual body search by security to gain entrance to the venue. Wicked Wisdom was fronted by actress Jada Pinket-Smith (wife of Will Smith) and also featuring the drummer Fish from Fishbone. I had hoped to see them, but to no avail…thanks, security! Another female fronted band, the incredible Arch Enemy, were my first big highlight of the day. They killed it with great songs, blazing lead guitar work and the amazing Angela Gossow on vocals. Trivium, The Black Dahlia Murder, and The Haunted kept the intensity up, weighing in with blistering sets full of energy and technical brutality. Bury Your Dead hit the stage with their metalcore energy and during one song we found ourselves looking at a couple of movie stars as Will Smith (yes, THAT Will Smith!) and Jada Pinket-Smith joined the band for some backup vocals. Seeing Will Smith on an Ozzfest stage in a wife-beater t-shirt and seemingly enjoying every moment was a truly surreal moment. A Dozen Furies were up next. They had earned a spot on the tour by winning the contest on the reality show "Battle For Ozzfest." They were quite good, too, with youthful exuberance and obviously delighted to be on the best tour around at that time. Mastodon raised the bar several notches with their incredible set. I noticed that seemingly every band member from all the other second stage bands were crowded together on the side of the stage to witness Mastodon's performance. They were obviously the buzz band of the tour and the accolades were well earned and well deserved. As I Lay Dying couldn't match the Mastodon intensity, but were still pretty good. Killswitch Engage played an outrageously entertaining, high velocity set and paved the way for a totally stripped down, bare basics performance from Rob Zombie to close out the second stage. Zombie proved he can get by on the power of his music, his superb band, and his own larger than life charisma. I didn't get to see In Flames because I nearly succumbed to heat stroke, so I had to take shelter and re-hydrate myself to get ready for Black Label Society. The Zakk attack was a must for me. His playing, singing, and the whole BLS thing is a very appealing sound for me and so many others. Shadows Fall and Mudvayne played great sets, and then it was finally time for me to see the majestic Iron Maiden for the first time in my life. Up the Irons indeed…just a spectacular performance from top to bottom. They stuck to songs from their first 4 albums, and Bruce Dickinson proved why he is one of the premier singers in all of metal's history. Of course, he has the 3 guitar army of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers, plus the incredible rhythm section of Steve Harris on bass and Nicko McBrain on drums, to build all those iconic Maiden songs on top of. It would have been nice to have some Ozzy to follow Iron Maiden, but that isn't even a complaint. This show was golden and will always remain an incredible set of memories.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Braddon S Williams

On This Date in History