As part of the world’s loudest month, Carolina Rebellion kicked off its main event on Saturday, May 4 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway to the excitement thousands of music fans. Concertgoers came from far and wide to attend the two day event featuring some of the most talented in hard rock and metal. The Concord, N.C music festival featured three stages: the Jägermeister stage, the Rebellion stage, and the Carolina stage. Through out the festival grounds were numerous vendor and sponsor booths featuring a variety of foods, services, and products. Some of the sponsors and vendors included Hooters restaurant, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and Headrush apparel.
The first full day kicked off with UK hard rock sensations Young Guns on the Rebellion stage. The British quintet got the crowd moving with their unique brand of compelling, upbeat rock. They started the weekend by getting the crowd eager and excited for the vast musical journey that awaited them. Playing some of their signature tracks from their latest album Bones, including “Towers” and title track “Bones,” Young Guns demonstrated immense stage presence and charisma, thus winning the affection of many in the throng. Up next was Las Vegas rock rebels Otherwise on the Carolina stage and their heavy, energetic sound. Vocalist Adrian Patrick worked the whole stage to engage the masses while sporting a comical “I (heart) sluts” T-shirt. The band took a break from rocking out to allow a young man to propose to his girlfriend, much to the surprise of not only her, but the entire crowd. After taking a moment to celebrate with the newly affianced couple, Otherwise went right back to work rocking bodies with their song “Vegas Girls.” First up on the Jägermeister stage was 3 Quarters Dead and their brash, in-your-face style of metal that had heads banging and bodies moving. The band tore up the stage with their intensity and presence.
The rest of the day was highlighted by incredible performances on all stages. Stand out performances included In This Moment and the ever-stunning Maria Brink’s dramatic, and at times, whimsical performance including a variety of props. Brink performed center stage from an altar of skulls and bones with billowing wisps of smoke swirling around her. The band powered through several songs from their repertoire including several from their latest album Blood like the title track “Blood” and “Whore.” Then there were mellow alt-jam style rockers MonstrO from Atlanta, GA and their impassioned performance of “Stallone.” Then, there was Halestorm and their incredibly engaging set that was jam-packed with fan favorites. The Grammy award winners played songs like “Love Bites,” “Mz. Hyde,” “Rock Show,” and “I Get Off.” Recently, drummer Arejay Hale won the Revolver Golden Gods award for “Best Drummer,” beating out Rush’s Neil Peart and Gene Hoglan of Dethklok and Testament. At the end of their jumping, full throttle set, Hale leapt off stage and crowd surfed, supported by hundred of fans.
Following the lively Halestorm set was Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) on the Rebellion stage across the festival grounds. The Welsh metal purveyors ripped up the stage with their vicious strings and dynamic vocals. Papa Roach (PR) was another main attraction of the first festival day, yielding a massive draw to the Carolina stage packed with devotees. Led by the charming and bouncy Jacoby Shaddix, the California quartet brought electricity to the stage with their zeal and stamina. Playing PR staples such as “Scars,” “Forever,” and “Getting Away With Murder,” the band and its front man worked every inch of the lengthy stage, engaging fans from all sides. Feeling the love of the adoring throng, Shaddix hopped off stage and proceeded to march directly across the front and up the middle of the barricade within reach of the masses, even going so far as to jump up on the barricade and crowd surf on fans back to the front barricade area.
Disturbed front man David Draiman performed with his new project/band Device on the Jägermeister stage to the awe and enticement of many. The metal master’s new band sought to generate new interest and fans with their more industrial heavy sound than Draiman’s staple band, Disturbed. Device played “Close My Eyes Forever” for the first time live at Carolina Rebellion with Halestorm front woman Lzzy Hale to delight of many. Three Days Grace (3DG) performed their first Rebellion with new vocalist Matt Walst (formerly of My Darkest Days) playing a mixture of some new material from their latest release Transit of Venus and 3DG classics from the “Adam Gontier days” like “Riot” and “Animal I Have Become.” Walst was sporting an all black ensemble and an entranced stare and stage presence that some compared to Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars. The crowd seemed to acclimate to Walst only a few songs into the set, many of them only just now getting a chance to really experience the band with him.
One truly incredible, forceful, and vibrant performance of the first night was that of the Deftones. Headed by the magnetic and enigmatic Chino Moreno, Deftones delivered a set that had their loyal disciples literally flocking towards the stage in drones. Featuring some the craziest and most rampant crowd surfing of the day, Deftones riveted the crowd to new heights and incited hysteria in the masses. The band played fan favorites like “Change (In the house of flies),” “Diamond Eyes,” “My Own Summer (Shove It),” and “7 Words.” Moreno turned on the charm for the crowd with smiles and dancing on stage. Throwing themselves into the music, Deftones devotees could be seen head banging, body rocking, and moshing like mad across the festival grounds.
Finally, Limp Bizkit (LB) performed reunited at Rebellion with eclectic guitarist Wes Borland. Featuring an all black, spaced out Borland and a considerably fuzzier faced Fred Durst, LB brought back the nu-metal/hip hop funk from their early days in the late 1990s and 2000s. Bringing back songs like “Nookie” and “My Generation,” to the amazement and wonder of fans, LB also went a step beyond and dared to brave a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of.” Headliners Alice in Chains (AiC) drew what was possibly the largest crowd of the entire first day. The band played all the classics from the days of Layne Staley as well as newer songs from their time with current vocalist William DuVall. Creating a harmonious atmosphere in which fans and critics were able to meld, AiC closed out the first night of the festival with the love and admiration of thousands concertgoers now looking forward to see what else Carolina Rebellion had to offer.
All in all, day one of Carolina Rebellion was a smashing success according to fans and bands alike. The rock festival’s third year in existence seemed to be off to a great start with tons more excitement to look forward to, but Nature had other plans. Day one went down with nary a hitch in performance schedule due to weather, but day two would prove to be a bit more of a challenge.