Chicago Open Air Festival for the second year in a row invaded Toyota Park just outside of Chicago and brought with it large amounts of metal heads and good times. Turning the soccer stadium into an amphitheater of sorts and the parking lot into one large party Chicago Open Air is more than just a heavy music fest.
To kick it off on top of the stadiums own food stands COA brings a handful of different tents or trucks each with their own specialty food with it. You could stop for some doughnut holes, brick oven pizzas, or even the Kumas tent to each a burger named after a band playing (it was the Pig Destroyer). With all different foods being out there you could make sure to never eat the same thing twice if you wanted to explore around some.
Adding onto that though they also feeding the FYE tent where you could buy Cd’s or Vinyls from all the bands playing to check out or have signed at their signing tents next door. Monster Energy Drink also had a truck as well supplying energy drinks to all those who wanted to partake in them as well as offering band signings as well. If all this didn’t sound enough however there is also a bar tent with pinball machines, a music tent full of instruments and accessories to buy, and to top it off a Tiki tent sending out some tropical drinks to give you that extra edge to your day.
For those willing to put the extra money in as well for VIP’s COA sure will make sure you get your moneys worth as well. VIPS have their own private area and entrance with their own merch tent, bar, special restaurants not open to general admission ticket holders, and a shaded tent. That last one really is a life saver I must say. For main stage as well VIP also have a special section of seats and standing room on the field as well.
Kicking off my day was catching Hell Or Highwater on the main stage. Featuring Brandon Saller of Atreyu on vocal duties they brought the energy with a good hard rock sound. Saller made sure the crowd was ready to kick the day off by spending a lot of time in the crowd interacting with others.
Code Orange from Philly certainly might of thought they’d have a hard time bringing their hardcore infused act to the metal festival but proved that within seconds they’d be giving a performance to remember. With a crushing heavy sound and nonstop energy Code Orange for sure had new fans walking away after their set.
Falling In Reverse might of been the odd band for the festival. While being a fan on record I’ve always said after multiple times seeing them that live their act isn’t all there. Now this is due to frontman Ronnie Radke for various reasons but FIV’s blend of metalcore, pop punk, and rock just didn’t seem to connect with fans. This become so apparent that even Radke addressed it towards the end of the set. While not bad, they just seemed too out of place to fit in.
For anyone that missed what appeared to be The Dillinger Escape Plans final Chicago show ever missed one hell of a performance. With their brand of chaotic yet precise as ever mathcore TDEP show that chaos does create beauty. Featuring a set that involved a thousand jumps and spins, jumping off everything they could, throwing the mic stands / amps / guitars, eating the mic, hanging off the side of the stage, and destroying the drum set; TDEP just never slow down.
All I can say for Anthrax is this; young bands take note of how Anthrax is still doing it because they are some of the best out there. Anytime you can have the honor to catch Anthrax is a must see.
For as long as Rob Zombie has been in the game and all that he does outside of music it’ll still be hard to find an act that is close to as much fun as Rob Zombie live is. John 5 on guitar is beyond talented and brings a wide range of interested guitars to focus on as well as looking at the various video screens showing old Zombie music videos, clips from his films, or clips from old sci fi and horror films.
In being a fair journalist all I can say for KISS is this, they are my all time favorite band and nothing can top them. It’s the most fun you’ll have seeing someone.
Pig Destroyer gave a solid and somewhat rare showing of grindcore brilliance on the side stage Saturday afternoon to a crowd that might be new to grindcore. They brought loads of samples mixed with fast paced viciousness that fans of PxDx have come to expect.
Avatar showed how they are one of the biggest upcoming bands in metal with a captivating performance on the main stage. With heavy yet melodic music mixed with a unique look and stage presence Avatar showed off that they are to taken seriously.
If you were looking the most fun in one set than look no further than Steel Panther. Perfecting their gimmick of being a glam band they mix perfectly timed humor with exceptional playing skills and songs. Now Panther isn’t for the weak hearted as their set for sure will tailor more towards adults especially since they brought a flood of woman on stage with them to dance around and occasionally flash the crowd that was hyping them up for it.
Many people don’t seem to know that outside of his role playing a cop on Law And Order or being a rapper that Ice T has fronted a metal band for 20+ years and Chicago Open Air got one of his rare visits showcasing the legendary Body Count. Though featuring only two original members Body Count still brought a great set of rap infused metal to the second stage. Ice T was able to command the crowd while Ernie C moved and jumped around more than most half his age. With a large crowd knowing every word to all songs Ice T gave the crowd a set spanning the entire career of Body Count making this one act to remember.
Press Passes Provided Courtesy Of Chicago Open Air