The Sun Rises on Day Two of Fort Rock

By on May 9, 2018

Corey Taylor & Stone Sour (Photo-Travis Failey)

Day 2 of Monster Energy’s Fort Rock on Sunday was a beautiful but hot, partly cloudy afternoon with a nice breeze that kept things tolerable. Today’s lineup provided a much “tamer” sound, with bands like Red Sun Rising, Sevendust, Pop Evil and Stone Sour, with Ozzy closing the weekend out.

Mike Protich-Red Sun Rising (Photo-Travis Failey)

After Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown and Toothgrinder finished with the day’s opening sets, Mike Protich and Red Sun Rising started off a bit weary. Protich addressed the early rising and obviously a bit spent crowd by asking for some help energy wise because they aren’t used to getting up that early. The crowd obliged as Run Sun Rising opened with their soon to be released single, “Push” off their new album, Thread.

Ryan Williams-Red Sun Rising (Photo-Travis Failey)

They followed up with their other well known sing-along song, “The Otherside” and “Amnesia.”  “Amnesia” was also the funkiest song of the weekend at Fort Rock.  Red Sun Rising followed up with “Emotionless”, which hit the number one spot on the mainstream rock chart, and closed their set with “Deathwish.”

Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby-Avatar (Photo-Travis Failey)

Red Sun Rising got the early crowd ready for the most theatric and heaviest band of the day,  Avatar. Sweden’s Avatar, the 2017 winner of Metal Hammer Golden Gods’ Breakthrough Band, is out promoting their new album, Avatar Country, which was released last January.   They opened the show with “A Statue of the King” which featured a fully dressed king on his thrown, guitarist  Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby.

Johannes Eckerström-Avatar (Photo-Travis Failey)

After opening with “A Statue of A King” vocalist Johannes Eckerström stated that “their attire was made for a more Nordic climate” as sweat dripped from his forehead. Avatar treated the crowd to a theatric performance, complete with synchronized head banging/twirling, as they played “Let it Burn,” “Bloody Angel” “Smells Like a Freakshow” and closed the show with “Hail the Apocalypse.” Avatar continues to put on must see performances at festivals but I also suggest seeing these guys in a club setting when they can play their full set.

Lajon Witherspoon-Sevendust (Photo-Travis Failey)

Festival veterans, Sevendust, pounced on the stage after “Black Friday” by Megadeth was potted down by the soundman. It was a high energy six-song-set by Lajon and the boys. Sevendust started with “Dirty” the first release from their new album, All I See Is War, due to be released on May 11, 2018.

Lajon Witherspoon-Sevendust (Photo-Travis Failey)

The always grateful, Lajon, thanked the fans for coming out and supporting Sevendust throughout the years, and talked about how much he enjoys the festival season because he gets to hang out with the guys in other bands that are usually continents away. A rock star family reunion, if you will.  He also thanked the security guards and the photographers in the pit which was much appreciated.

Morgan Rose-Sevendust (Photo-Travis Failey)

I will always remember the first time that I saw Sevendust at the 1998 Ozzfest in South Fl.  It’s hard to believe that that was 20 years ago, but here we were, in Sunrise, with Sevendust playing once again with Ozzy.  They are still the humble group of guys that they were back then and Sevendust continues to attain new fans as well as keep the ones that have been with them since the beginning.

Leigh Kakaty-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

It’s been ten years since I first heard Pop Evil’s “Hero” for the first time and since then, it’s been a chart topping ride for Pop Evil. The band is out promoting Pop Evil’s fifth studio, self-titled album, which was released last February.  Singer Leigh Kakaty strutted onto the stage as drummer Hayley Cramer hit the kit. Cramer is the most recent addition to Pop Evil and joined the band just prior to the World Loudest Month two years ago, replacing Chachi Riot.

Hayley Cramer-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

Cramer is a solid drummer and she puts on a hell of a show with backline partner and bassist, Matt Dirito.  After opening with “Deal With The Devil,” Pop Evil moved through their eight-song-set with a rollercoaster of energy that was highlighted by the songs, “Waking Lions,” “Torn To Pieces,” and the finale, “Trenches.”

Matt Dirito-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

The Fort Rock crowd was then treated to a different flavor of sounds as Hollywood Undead brought their masks and their beats to Markum Park. The Los Angeles based band features multiple vocalists and instrumentalists and shy away from “formula” rock and blend multiple genres of rap and rock to provide a party-like energy-filled atmosphere. Out promoting their October 2017 release, Five, Hollywood Undead kicked off their set with “Whatever it Takes“ and then “UnDead.”

Hollywood Undead (Photo-Travis Failey)

The band removed their masks after the first couple of songs and brought a shirtless little boy on stage and asked him what he wanted to hear, to which he replied, “Comin’ In Hot.” The youngster stayed on stage (one hand on his belly and the other throwing horns) with the band throughout the song and then was escorted off by Sunrise PD to help him get back to his parents.  Hollywood Undead then turned Markham Park into a trampoline as bodies bounced up and down throughout “War Child” and closed their set with “Day of the Dead.”

Charlie Scene-Hollywood Undead (Photo-Travis Failey)

Hollywood Undead (Photo-Travis Failey)

Jeff Gutt (Photo-Travis Failey)

One of the most talked about bands on Sunday prior to their set was a renewed Stone Temple Pilots. Founding members, brothers Robert and Dean DeLeo, and drummer Eric Kretz, were joined by new vocalist, Jeff Gutt. Gutt was a former The X Factor contestant and has been their new singer since November 2017.

Eric Kretz-STP (Photo-Travis Failey)

Dean DeLeo-STP (Photo-Travis Failey)

With the focus being on him, Jeff Gutt did a great job singing the STP classics, “Wicked Garden,” “Vaseline” and “Plush.” His stage swagger was evident and the band looked like they were having fun again on stage during their new single “Meadow””Dead and Bloated” and “Sex Type Thing.” STP is now looking forward to continuing their legacy in a positive fashion that has been unfortunately tarnished by tragedy.

Corey Taylor-Stone Sour (Photo-Travis Failey)

Sometimes superstars come in small packages. Thankfully for the rock world, one of them is Corey Taylor, the front-man for not only Slipknot, but also a Fort Rock veteran band, Stone Sour.  Founded by Taylor in 1992, Stone Sour has been on fire with hit records and singles since 2005’s Come What(ever) May.

Corey Taylor-Stone Sour (Photo-Travis Failey)

Roy Mayorga-Stone Sour (Photo-Travis Failey)

Taylor came out to a fevered crowd in a Brittany Spears shirt and doused the crowd with water bottles while confetti was shot out of cannons.  Stone Sour’s eleven-song-set included Taylor’s solo performance of “Through Glass” while the rest of the guys took a break backstage. The crowd was happy to help Corey out with the chorus and Taylor smiled in appreciation.

Johny Chow-Stone Sour (Photo-Travis Failey)

Christian Martucci-Stone Sour (Photo-Travis Failey)

Benjamin Burnley-Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Travis Failey)

As the sun started to set on day two of Fort Rock, Breaking Benjamin took stage to a celestial eyeball backdrop and proceeded to take their fans on a memorable auditory journey. Founding member and singer Benjamin Burnley commanded the crowd with venom and vigor like I haven’t seen from him before.

Jasen Rauch-Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Travis Failey)


Shaun Foist-Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Travis Failey)

Keith Wallen-Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Travis Failey)

Breaking Benjamin opened with their new single “Red Cold River” and continued with their mainstream rock chart topping hits, “I Will Not Bow” “Angels Fall,” and closed with “The Diary of Jane.” A big highlight of the day and of their set was a mash up of “The Imperial March, Schism, Smells Like Teen Spirit & Walk,” which then lead to a drum solo.

Benjamin Burnley & Aaron Bruch -Breaking Benjamin (Photo-Travis Failey)

Breaking Benjamin, with their softer sound may not be loved by all the metal fans, but what they do, they do to perfection, and the band has a solid fan base and albums sales to back it up. Breaking Benjamin will be going out on one of the bigger summer tours with Five Finger Death Punch, Nothing More and Bad Wolves.

Clint Lowery-Sevendust (Photo-Travis Failey)

Matt Dirito-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

It a was perfect ending for Monster Energy’s Fort Rock in Markham Park when Ozzy Osbourne and his amazing band took the main stage. Thousands of people gathered to see Ozzy perform under a full moon for possibly the last time in South Florida.  As Zakk Wylde strummed the first notes of “Bark at the Moon,” the crowd howled with delight and in turn, was treated to a collection of tracks from Ozzy’s solo material as well as songs from his Black Sabbath catalogue.

(Photo-Travis Failey)


(Photo-Travis Failey)

With a huge burning cross as a backdrop, Ozzy looked a bit heavier than in the past, but healthy. He didn’t seem to have any obvious vocal issues and if there were any, his band covered it up. Zakk, Rob and Tommy have been with Ozzy for years now and always put on an amazing show themselves. Zakk went into the crowd for his solo during “War Pigs” and they did a four song instrumental medley that included “Miracle Man, Crazy Babies, Desire, & Perry Mason.” It was great seeing Ozzy again as you never know when it may be the end for the legend.

(Photo-Travis Failey)

This year’s Monster Energy’s Fort Rock was a huge success.  I only witnessed one arrest as the local police used discretion in regard to making mass arrests due to marijuana use.  The security team was also amazing. They handled the mosh pits and crowd surfers with care and extreme tactfulness. The food options were plentiful with a few bargains to be found, and both day’s lineup and schedules seemed to go off without a hitch.

Josh Rand-Stone Sour (Photo-Travis Failey)

As fans, we also need to thank Danny Wimmer and his team at Danny Wimmer Presents and AEGLive. They continue to provide us with the World’s Loudest Mouth Festivals that are well run and cater to the rock and metal community, and I for one, am already looking forward to next year.

More Photos from Sunday:


Nick Fuelling-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

Dave Grahs-Pop Evil (Photo-Travis Failey)

Vince Hornsby-Sevendust (Photo-Travis Failey)

Lajon Witherspoon-Sevendust (Photo-Travis Failey)

John Alfredsson-Avatar (Photo-Travis Failey)


Avatar (Photo-Travis Failey)


Ryan Williams-Red Sun Rising (Photo-Travis Failey)

Pat Gerasia-Red Sun Rising (Photo-Travis Failey)

Johannes Eckerström-Avatar (Photo-Travis Failey)


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