Fire and Ice on Day 2 of Chicago Open Air

By on August 8, 2017

All Photos By and Copyrighted By Travis Failey

Saturday, July 15: 
Saturday’ weather was a little hotter than Friday’s, mostly due to full sun, but luckily, a nice breeze again made things tolerable.  Saturday’s diverse lineup seemed to have something for everybody and hopefully everyone had their walking shoes on as it was a back and forth kind of Saturday.

Black Map got things started early on Saturday and was the first highlight of an action-packed lineup by playing songs from their 2017 release In Droves. Black Map’s first single from the San Francisco three piece “Run Rabbit Run,” has charted at #31 on the U.S. Mainstream rock charts and it’s easy to understand why. Driving guitar and bass rhythms with vocals that you can understand and relate too, really distinguished them from the other two early bands: Cane Hill and Pig Destroyer.

Speaking of Pig Destroyer, they brought their die-hard fans with them as some dressed in pig costumes and even hit the skies with the crowd surfing Jesus in tow.  As Pig Destroyer finished up, Saturday’s initial crowd buzz came from the rail as thrash legends Metal Church  took the stage.

The band is out on tour in support of 2016’s XI. Vocalist Mike Howe returned to the band in 2014 after a 20 year hiatus  but  Howe and the band sounded amazing, even with a few technical problems with Howe’s microphone. Metal Church  opened up with a resounding performance of “Faith Healer” and another in ” Badlands.”

With a bunch of festival dates in Europe and a stop at Prog Power in Atlanta in September, Metal Church looks to kick start their career once more during this thrash revival that’s going on right now.

Dragonforce  is another Prog Power band that was on this year’s Open Air Lineup.   The power metal band from London with new vocalist Marc Hudson provided the crowd in Chicago with the opportunity to check out Dragonforce’s version of “Nintendo metal” as guitarist Herman Li once described it.

Out in support of Reaching into Infinity, Dragonforce performed its recent single “Ashes of the Dawn” and also its version of the Johnny Cash classic “Ring Of Fire.” Dragonforce  concluded its set with its  Guitar Hero monster smash, “Through the Fire and Flames.”

After Dragonforce, Mushroomhead were next on the BlackCraft Whiskey side stage and the two bands couldn’t be further apart in musical style and technique. Give Mushroomhead credit as their live performances are as memorable as they have been since their inception in 1993. Mushroomhead’s incorporation of the water on the lighted drums during their show was visually appealing and memorable as was their  version of “”When Doves Cry/Among the Crows” which concluded their set.

Avatar, always a crowd favorite, opened its set with “Feel the Apocalypse,” and got everybody moving with “Let it Burn” and closed with “Smells Like a Freakshow.” This wasn’t my first time seeing Avatar, and I have to admit, I miss the freakshow.

Avatar usually travels with its very own freak show with sword swallowing ladies and a man with nothing below his belly button.  It’s a sight to see but due to time constraints of a festival, it’s impossible for them to put on their complete show.   In any event, the boys from Sweden put on a great performance as usual and I’m sure they picked up a few new fans along the way.

SiruisXM’s Jose Mangin, and MTV’s Rikki Rachman got the crowd pumped before introducing Ice-T’s Body Count.  Body Count rocked the block and got the crowd charged up by covering Slayer’s “Raining Blood” which led into “Bowels of the Devil” and then Ice-T introduced the band and said that he’s no longer Ice-T. He is now ” Ice Mother Fucking-T Bitch.”

Ice-T got the pits churning during “There Goes The Neighborhood” with bassist Vincent Price getting hurt and then coming back to perform in a wheelchair. Founding member Ernie C was once again with Body Count, along with a new member joining the band , Ice-T’s son, Little Ice, who provided backup vocals.

Next up were the dirty old men, known as Steel Panther.  If you have never seen this band before, I guess you could describe them as a cliché 1980’s hair band, with lyrics that would make Weird Al blush.  These guys are truly dirty mother effers.


Steel Panthers’ inappropriate  setlist included: “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)”, “Poontang Boomerang” and “Gloryhole.”  These guys are always good for a cheap laugh, the trick is to not take things so seriously.  Steel Panthers was a perfect band to get us ready for the funk.

And who brought the funk? That would be the one and only, Clutch and they brought their fans with them. Across the front rail of the BlackCraft side stage, Clutch fans got pumped up for their favorite band.

Clutch and frontman Neil Fallon are truly a special breed. No bells or whistles, no costumes, just four individual guys uniting as one to develop their own distinct sound and it has paid off in spades. Out again on this year’s festival circuit and in support of Psychic Warfare, Clutch performed an 11 song set highlighted by “Sucker For The Witch,””A Quick Death in Texas,” and “X-Ray Visions.”

Back to the Monster Energy Main Stage as Seether, the boys from South Africa were out in support of Poison the Parrish, came on just when the afternoon started to cool down.  Seether opened up with “Gasoline” and kept the fire burning with “Rise Above This,” and “Nobody’s Praying for Me. Sevendust’s Clint Lowery, is still touring with the band, and he fits in perfectly.  Lowery not only is a first rate guitar player, his backup vocals are an asset to any band.

Apparently Shaun Morgan broke his foot, and was wearing the dreaded boot (trust me, it sucks).  He stated that it was weird, “Like wearing your dad’s work boots when you were a kid.”  Unfortunately the band suffered through some annoying technical difficulties, but they were good sports about it and played a ten song set list, which ended with its hits, “Fake It” and “Remedy.”

Godsmack was up next, and their first order of business was to ask the women of Chicago to get up on their men’s shoulders, saying “All I see are ugly goatees and bald heads.”  I think there was a mention of shirts being optional.  After frontman Sully Erna declared his love for everything Chicago,  Godsmack opened up with “Whatever” followed by “1000hp.”

You couldn’t have asked for a better set time, playing “Cryin Like a Bitch,” and The Beatles cover, “Come Together,” as the sun set.  Vocalist Sully Erna and Shannon Larkin both got behind drum kits and battled in front of the packed stadium. Godsmack always puts on an awesome show, but I guess it’s a little hard not to when all your band does is put out hit after hit.

Jose Mangin, Octane and Liquid Metal DJ, got the crowd primed for Korn, telling the crowd about the first time he took his kid to a Korn show and took a huge audience photo while turned around on stage.  It may be the sickest selfie ever!

Korn closed out Saturday night’s festivities in true Korn fashion.  They took us all the way back with “Falling Away From Me” “Twist” and “Shoots and Ladders,” and played its latest hits, “Rotting In Vain” and “Coming Undone.” Korn treated the crowd to a fifteen song set list, plenty of fog and a lot of bagpipes. These guys have been around since 1994, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.  Jonathan Davis’ voice is remarkable, especially when you consider his vocal style. It was a great way to end the awesome “variety” day of music.

How would the final day of the festival compare to the rest? Enquiring minds want to know. Check out our coverage on Day 3 of the 2017 Chicago Open Air Festival:

More pictures from Day 2:


Categories: Entertainment, Featured, Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.