Last year’s inaugural Inkcarceration Fest in Ohio was a smash! The fest is back in 2019 and looks big with Shinedown, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, +Live+, Taking Back Sunday, Seether, Skillet among the bands playing over three days in July 12th– 14th at the Historic Ohio State Reformatory. Ohio State Reformatory, a.k.a. Shawshank Prison, in Mansfield, OH – will feature over 30 bands on two outdoor stages, 70 tattoo artists, reformatory tours, gourmet food trucks, the best drinks and for the first time, the haunted house attraction, Escape from Blood Prison! The full line-up and links to buy tickets below. Watch the teaser for the fest now. Continue reading
Savannah, GA will once again host A.U.R.A. Fest (All Underground Rock Allday) taking place at The Gardens at Ships of The Sea Maritime Museum on February 18, 2017. Unearth, ZAO, Oh, Sleeper, He Is Legend are among the first bands announced. Continue reading
We arrived at Day Two of the Food Truck and Rock Carnival a bit tired, but amped up for a full day of bands. With more time to explore the fest this day, we checked out the awesome fair food in the main concert area such as corn dogs and deep-fried Oreo’s as well as some of more interesting choices on the Food Truck side too.
Doing a reverse of yesterday, we took in the bands first, followed by some Carnie fun, and then more bands. Up and coming New Zealand rockers Like A Storm were the first band we saw and they were insanely good. With several rock hits at satellite radio, they had their own fans in the house. They seemed to make a lot of new converts too with a fiery show. Crobot was next on the other main stage. If you have never seen them, they are a fierce piece of psych rock explosiveness! They whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their over the top antics.
After I headed back stage to conduct some band interviews we headed back out the now full festival grounds. It was really impressive to see this for a first time fest. Especially after the performance of the next band I caught: Anthrax. The band has been touring like crazy leading up to their new album For All Kings (Megaforce) due this winter. The band had a short set so they dispensed with the pleasantries and commenced the ass kicking. In addition to their typical hits, they played the rarely ever heard live ‘Lone Justice’ as a tribute to Eddie Trunk. The band was on fire too, especially drummer Charlie Benante and singer Joey Belladonna.
Nighttime fell on the fest and lights from the stages and the carnival lit up the sky and you just felt everyone’s collective energy was high. Following the model of some European fests the two areas in front of the main stages was cut into a big “Y” shape with an enormous VIP area. This also helped security with crowd control, but at the same time made it a chore to see both stages easily. This was the only weakness of the weekend to me. At the same time the two stages also created an awesome VIP Cabana area between them, that for the came with tons of amenities including private wait staff services, a private viewing area of the stage, a private VIP meet and greet sesh, free beers and up close access to the bands and the main stages other fans did not have. The fan in me was a little bit jelly and some of the patrons I talked to were over the moon about the experience.
The perfect band to bring in the spirit of rock revivalism to the darkened skies was Clutch who happened to be up next. They played a lot of songs from their new album ‘Psychic Warfare’ (Weathermaker Music) and no one complained. Neil Fallon gesticulated wildly all over the stage, tending to his flock. The band was tight as hell and just jammed it out for an hour straight. Late in the set brought the hits fans wanted to hear like ‘Spacegrass’ and ‘The Mob Goes Wild’.
Tucked away in the far corner of the fest, the carnival area was the last stage, and by all accounts had been decently attended all day with locals and some bands paying tribute to rock and metal heroes. Two of the most prominent tribute bands in the nation closed the stage each night: RATM2, he Rage Against the Machine Tribute and Schism, the première Tool tribute band. I managed to catch some of Schism’s set, and having been a Tool-o-phile from back n the day and seeing the band as many times as I have, they are the real deal. If you have never seen the enigmatic gods of art rock, Schism is a fair stand in both sonically and visually. Next year this stage ought to be closer to the main stages.
Godsmack and Stone Temple Pilots closed the main stages respectively on this night with a lots of bravado from each. STP featuring Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) for one of the last times, played all the songs that made them of the première alt rock bands of the 90s. Chester is spot on vocally, and a star in every way imaginable. Fans have commented that his copying Scott Weiland is unflattering to the band and off-putting, and I have to say it isn’t necessary at all. Chester can hang with anyone vocally and to me was a great fit with STP, end of story.
Godsmack opened up with a montage film that recapped their last few years touring and intercut shots of iconic Boston sports people such as Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, members of the Boston Bruins and David Ortiz. Curious choices in New Jersey, the land of many Jets and Yankees fans, but oh well. The band came out fired up and played all their big radio friendly tracks. They were a worthy closer on this night. Drummer Shannon Larkin always stands out a lot to me. He is one of the most talented drummers you will ever see live worth watching. Sully Erna flipped back and forth between playing guitar and running around with a wireless microphone, and seemed to really relish performing for such an enthusiastic crowd.
I made it a point each day to hang a lot at the Birch Hill Stage towards the end of each day. It seemed that a lot of industry types were gathering there, and it was awesome to see my brethren from the world of music journalism and publicity. Plus the beer garden was right there. The final bands trifecta of LA Guns, Lita Ford, and Slaughter was a great way to cap off the weekend. LA Guns was solid, Lita was excellent, but Slaughter was downright special. After all these years it’s a amazing how little Slaughter has changed. They were a thing to behold, especial Mark Slaughter’s stratospheric singing voice. Of course they closed the weekend with ‘Fly To The Angels’ and ‘Up All Night’ performed to a crowd feeling a mix of jubilation and satisfaction that comes from a having a great time. I held my BFF tight and raised up those horns one last time for the night. Food Truck and Rock Carnival, do us a solid and comeback next year twice as baddass!
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Throngs of people descended on Southern New Jersey for the first annual Food Truck and Rock Carnival to enjoy the sites, tastes and sounds that they had to offer. Although New Jersey may not be the first place you think of for a destination music festival, to paraphrase a line from the movie Dogma: never underestimate the staggering appeal of “The Garden State”. In the post Hurricane Sandy reality for residents here, including many of the vendors I spoke with, it was great is spend some time and money down here and support this community.
The lay of the land was on the vast side: with two main stages, plus several smaller stages, one hosting a lot of glam rock notables and another with local bands and tribute acts. One entire area was scoped out for the free carnival full of rides, traditional attractions, wrestling matches, notable entertainment personalities speaking, music industry lecturers, comedy shows, merch and a bunch of amazing food trucks. The rides and games were non-stop Some had the typical fair food while others were unique and were like catnip to the foodie souls. Although it was impossible to try them all as the formed a perimeter around the entire carnival area, we did sample a few. Among the best were my personal favorites Fork in The Road, followed by The Angry Crab, Amanda Banana, Dark Side of The Moo, Empanada Guy, Nooch’s Mac Truck, and So Jersey.
Then there was the music. Day 1 featured a bevy of cool bands from across the rock and metal world. Early day entrants from the rock world such as Bad Case For Big Mouth, Fit For Rivals, Otherwise and rising superstars Pop Evil were greeted to a large early crowd and enthusiastic fans. Their recent new album Up (eOne) they are supporting, and the bands high-profile tours and car commercials are starting to bear fruit that can be seen in their sizzling live performances.
Skid Row continues to plow ahead with new singer Tony Harnell. They played a set heavy on the hits, and sounded refreshed. It’s been a minute since I heard this many people screaming along to ’18 And Life’, ‘Monkey Business’, and ‘Youth Gone Wild’. The world needs more of this on a regular basis. Puddle Of Mudd has been road tripping themselves ls a lot of late at similar festivals. Choppy at times as a live band, they leaned on their hits like ‘Blurry’ and their closer ‘She Hates Me’. Next Sevendust was bringing the crowd to their feet in praise for their about to be released (out now), album Kill The Flaw (7Bros) They played some heavy hits and one deep cut, ‘Shine’, that had me and other fans besides ourselves. This band always brings live.
As the warm up to the headliners, Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society played a crushing set of heavy tracks. Wylde of course is the main attraction for shred nerds, Ozzy fanatics, MC crew types. Not only was the band tight, and he played his customary extended guitar solo in the set. Highlights for me included ‘The Beginning… At Last’, ‘Funeral Bell’, ‘Bleed For Me’, ‘Suicide Messiah’, and ‘Stillborn’.
In between bands all day I tried to catch some of the talent at the Birch Hill Stage, named for the old Birch Hill Nightclub, the stuff of Jersey legend and special venue to me. Among the acts we caught some or all of were Gilby Clarke (Gun ‘N Roses), Faster Pussycat, Stephen Percy of Ratt fame and King’s X. We saw all of their set and it was terrific. Hanging out with fans and singing every word in the set from the crowd was LaJon of Sevendust, who also gave the band a shout out earlier in the day too.
Back to the main stage, it has been a big year for Three Days Grace and Ghost Cult has been there for a lot of it. Playing the fest in a run of headline dates, the band leaned heavily on their greatest hits and their new album Human (RCA). Lead singer Matt Walst has won over most of the hold out fans who wanted Adam Gontier (Saint Asonia) back and he is a great replacement for Adam.
Slash closed out night one with his mates Miles Kennedy And The Conspirators and just blazed through a set of his own material and of course, a lot of GNR stuff too. It felt like an epic happening, as Slash is a one of a kind showman, beloved blues jammer and icon. Myles and crew are total pros and deliver song after song all night. It was a fine end to a long day of fun.
PHOTOS BY OJC PICS/OMAR CORDYhttp://www.twitter.com/Ojayy666