Fort Rock Continues to Shine on Sunday

By on May 11, 2017

Maynard James Keenan-A Perfect Circle (Photo-Travis Failey)

Day two of the 2017 Monster Energy Fort Rock provided the crowd with a more diverse lineup compared to day one, and thankfully it was partly cloudy because the temperatures were in the 90’s.  The crowd was rearing to go after Gooodbye June and Dinosaur Pile-Up finished their sets and I Prevail took the stage at 1 pm.

(Photo-Travis Failey)

I Prevail’s two vocalists, Brian Burkheiser and Richard “Eric” Vanlerghe were in perfect contrast to one another.  Eric made sure to tell the crowd how he felt about Westborough Church, and I think that a vast majority of the crowd agreed with his Fuck The Westborough Church t-shirt.

Richard “Eric” Vanlerghe-I Prevail (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

I have heard I Prevail on Octane, and often wondered why it was on Octane, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I Prevail’s music was much harder than the stuff I’ve heard so far.  One thing is for sure: The girls really seemed to like them especially during “Stuck in Your Head” and the closer, “Scars.”

Brock Richards-Starset (Photo-Travis Failey)

Starset blasted off its set with “Down with the Fallen,” only to experience some technical difficulties with their “spaceboard” and they had to restart from scratch.   Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you rely too heavily on technology in your music. But after that snafu, the glitch was fixed and the band played on.

Ron DeChant-Starset (Photo-Travis Failey)

Dustin Bates-Starset (Photo-Travis Failey)

As usual, Starset put on a visual spectacle. Ron DeChant and Brock Richards donned the full space suit (yes, 94 degrees) and performed “Carnivore,” “My Demons,” and their latest release, “Monster.” Starset has been charting on the modern rock charts and especially on Sirius XM/Octane for months now. Starset also included the only string section of the Fort Rock Festival: Siobhan Cronin on violin, and Jonathan Kampfe on cello.

All That Remains was the first late start of the weekend and they exploded onto the stage. I wasn’t very familiar with the band, except for their singer, Phil Labonte, but I walked away with a new appreciation for All That Remains’ sound, and especially guitarist, Oli Herbert. Herbert is a classic shredder in the vein of Zakk Wylde and Jake E. Lee.

Oli Herbert-All That Remains (Photo-Travis Failey)

Philip Labonte-All That Remains (Photo-Travis Failey)

Labonte also provided the Fort Rock crowd with a strong performance especially during ‘Hold On” and their 2009 breakout single, “Two Weeks.”   He is larger than life on stage and Labonte’s future could be very busy with all the speculation regarding Five Finger Death Punch and Ivan Moody.

Jennie Vee-Eagles of Death Metal(Photo-Travis Failey)

Next up was the Eagles of Death Metal: what a contrast from All That Remains.  The Eagles of Death Metal’s set time was perfect.  Their music was funky and upbeat.  Their music was in sharp contrast compared to the bands preceding them.  Plus, The Eagles of Death Metal gave the crowd, and me, something unexpected: each band member was as different looking from the next but together their music was magic.

Jesse Hughes-Eagles of Death Metal(Photo-Travis Failey)

Vocalist, Jessie Hughes, engaged the crowd by staring at them through his red sunglasses, while Dave Catching smoked his guitar solos that compare to the classics from Lynyrd Skynrd. Meanwhile, the rhythm section of Jennie Vee and Jorma Vik, had the heads banging and the feet tapping. With their style, sound, and attitude, The Eagles of Death Metal definitely put on one of the best performances at Fort Rock on Sunday.

Jorma Vik-Eagles of Death Metal(Photo-Travis Failey)

Niclas Engelin-In Flames(Photo-Travis Failey)

After In Flames returned Fort Rock back to a heavier sound with tracks that spanned their 27 year, 13 album career, Taylor Momsen and The Pretty Reckless donned the Fort Rock stage for the third time. I guess they say the 3rd time’s a charm because The Pretty Reckless’ performance was outstanding.

Taylor Momsen-The Pretty Reckless (Photo-Travis Failey)

Momsen has come into her own as a vocalist and during the third song in the set “Oh My God,” her power, control, and range was transparent and impressive. It also helps when your band is full of veteran players like guitarist Ben Phillips, bassist Mark Damon and drummer Jamie Perkin who all know when to shine and when to defer to Momsen. Fans of all ages and sexes sang along with The Pretty Reckless during their two biggest songs to date “Make Me Wanna Die,” and “Take Me Down.”

Taylor Momsen & Ben Phillips-The Pretty Reckless (Photo-Travis Failey)

Johnny Stevens-Highly Suspect (Photo-Travis Failey)

Highly Suspect, a band I was excited to see, opened their set with their smash hit “Lydia.” I have to admit that I was taken aback by the big sound that this trio pulled off.  And let me tell ya, security had their hands full with all of the crowd surfers.  After covering these festivals for the last five years, this band inspired the most crowd surfers that I have ever seen.

Ryan Meyer-Highly Suspect (Photo-Travis Failey)

Highly Suspect’s included its latest hit, “Serotonia,” “Look Alive Stay Alive,” “Bloodfeather,” and closed their set with “Claudeland,” a song from their first studio album, Mister Asylum.  I think that this summer’s music festivals will be great exposure for this band especially if drummer Ryan Meyer keeps going on epic crowd surfing journeys like he did on Sunday. It was epic.

Johnny Stevens-Highly Suspect (Photo-Travis Failey)

Have you ever seen an MCID sticker and wondered what that meant?  Well, lead singer and guitarist  Johnny Stevens stated during the show that it meant that we are all one, basically that we are all in this together, but I did a little research and found out that it stands for: My Crew Is Dope. I hope that this band’s success continues as the future of rock will be a bit more interesting with them in it.

Troy Sanders-Mastodon (Photo-Travis Failey)

Mastodon was another interesting addition to Sunday’s lineup who are being introduced to a whole new audience through playing the Worlds Loudest Month festival circuit. Know for their diverse styles of rock that includes progressive, punk, thrash and many others, Mastodon doesn’t pigeonhole themselves to a particular sound. Throughout their 17 year career, they have had success and achieved awards but haven’t cracked the mainstream market except for the single “Curl of the Burl” in 2011.

Brann Dailor-Mastodon (Photo-Travis Failey)

Brent Hinds-Mastodon (Photo-Travis Failey)

With the “ Show Yourself” now being played in regular rotation on terrestrial and satellite radio, Mastodon is on the rise and is gaining fans with their on stage performance that showcases their vocal abilities. All four members of Mastodon take the lead singer duties switching up throughout the set. Guitarists Troy Sanders and Brett Hinds really shined on Sunday afternoon, especially during “Show Yourself” and “Mother Puncher” from 2001’s Remission Album.

Noodles-The Offspring (Photo-Travis Failey)

Sunday’s sound switched again from Mastodon’s quasi-prog sounds to the 80’s punk sound of The Offspring. Original members, Dexter Holland and Greg K., have sold over 40 million albums and after hearing their set filled with recognizable songs that are stilled played today, like “You’re Gonna Go Far,” Why Don’t You Get a Job?” you’ll understand why.

The crowd was more aggressive during the Offspring’s set than any of the other bands on Sunday with mosh pits opening up throughout reminiscent of fellow punkers; Pennywise’s set from last year’s Fort Rock.  16 songs of straightforward anthem based punk rock that had security and the fans on their toes with male and female crowd surfers popping up everywhere.

Pete Parada-The Offspring(Photo-Travis Failey)

When the Fort Rock lineup was announced and A Perfect Circle was on the bill, there was an instant buzz in the music industry that remained until A Perfect Circle took the stage.

Maynard James Keenan-A Perfect Circle (Photo-Travis Failey)

Fans of the band were pressed up against the rail and everyone was treated to a rare sighting of vocalist, Maynard James Keenan, performing as the sun slowly set on the final day of Fort Rock.  It’s rare that photographers are able to capture images of Maynard.  He is a “bit” camera shy and will avoid being photographed to the best of his abilities. Accompanied by James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins fame, guitarist Billy Howerdahl and drummer Jeff Friedl, A Perfect Circle mesmerized the crowd with a 13 song set starting with “The Package,” “Orestes” and ending with “The Outsider” as the moon now shined over Jet Blue Park.

Billy Howerdel-APerfect Circle (Photo-Travis Failey)

James Iha-A Perfect Circle (Photo-Travis Failey)

Some of the fans started to make their way to the exit while others transitioned to the other stage for the final performance of the Fort Rock weekend by Soundgarden.

(Photo-Travis Failey)

As usual, Soundgarden and especially Chris Cornell, sounded great.  He will go down as one of the best pure vocalists of our generation ala Robert Plant.

(Photo-Travis Failey)

Soundgarden had an awesome light show and was a perfect choice to end a diverse and solid lineup of music. Soundgarden’s twelve song set included their classics, “Spoonman,” “Black Hole Sun,” and “Fell on Black Days.” They closed the show with “Jesus Christ Pose,” which by no means is an easy song to perform vocally, even by the artist who originally wrote it.

Joe Rickard-In Flames (Photo-Travis Failey)

Day 2 of Monster Energy’s Fort Rock lineup as announced looked a bit uneventful and odd. After leaving JetBlue Park and making the trek home, those concerns were unwarranted. Sunday’s lineup was as diverse as Saturday’s was similar, with the exception of Def Leppard.

Ron DeChant-Starset (Photo-Travis Failey)

With other fly-by-night festivals failing miserably, and more new bands to be discovered, the 2018 version of Fort Rock can’t get here quick enough.

Aaron Patrick-All That Remains(Photo-Travis Failey)

Thanks to Jordan Raiff of Jordan Raiff Photography for providing the I Prevail pictures.

 More Photos by Travis Failey

Johnny Stevens-Highly Suspect (Photo-Travis Failey)

 

Taylor Momsen-The Pretty Reckless (Photo-Travis Failey)

Ben Phillips-The Pretty Reckless (Photo-Travis Failey)

Brian Burkheiser-I Prevail (Photo-Jordan Raiff)

(Photo-Travis Failey)

Jesse Hughes-Eagles of Death Metal (Photo-Travis Failey)

(Photo-Travis Failey)

Ryan Meyer-Highly Suspect (Photo-Travis Failey)

Bryce Paul & Nicholas Engelin-In Flames (Photo-Travis Failey)

Dustin Bates-Starset (Photo-Travis Failey)

Dave Catching-Eagles of Death Metal (Photo-Travis Failey)

Brock Richards-Starset (Photo-Travis Failey)

(Photo-Travis Failey)

(Photo-Travis Failey)

Ben Damon-The Pretty Reckless (Photo-Travis Failey)

(Photo-Travis Failey)

(Photo-Travis Failey)

Phil Labonte-All That Remains (Photo-Travis Failey)

Josh Freese-A Perfect Circle (Photo-Travis Failey)

Maynard James Keenan-A Perfect Circle (Photo-Travis Failey)

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