Monday, May 6, 2013

Live review: Carolina Rebellion, Charlotte Motor Speedway (5/4-5/5/2013)

Posted By on Mon, May 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Carolina Rebellion
Charlotte Motor Speedway
May 4-5, 2013


For its third year, Carolina Rebellion established a new home at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The sprawling grounds welcomed thousands of fans for a (shortened) weekend of music and mayhem. Here's a quick rundown of the highlights and lowlights:

* Let's get right to it. It rained on Sunday... a lot. In turn, there are/were a lot of unhappy fans who complained from the get-go that "rain or shine" meant exactly that - rain or shine. When Nonpoint was forced to cancel its noon kickoff for the day, there was immediate fear the entire day's performances would be canceled. Instead, bands started performing shortened sets in an effort to get back on schedule... until more bands started dropping off the roster again later in the day.

Along with Nonpoint, the scheduled appearances by Volbeat, Rise Against, Bush and Soundgarden never happened. There were rumors of equipment not being insured and of bands wanting to perform but tour managers saying, "no." Fans were left cold, wet, angry, tired, disappointed and, most of all, uninformed. Along with plenty of people prepared to get their mosh on in the mud, many people just wanted to know what was happening - would their favorite band be performing, or should they just pack it in and go home.

I don't blame the bands for not wanting to ruin instruments if that was the case - but I'm guessing it was more likely a fear of electrocution. There's a whole lot of power on a stage with all those lights, amps and instruments and I'm sure no fan wants to watch his favorite performer go to the hospital.

I do blame the promoter, however. AEG Live puts together a lot of shows and a bunch of festivals. They know better. They know to be prepared if it does rain, and to not say "rain or shine" if it won't happen in the rain. They should have kept the crowd - many of whom traveled long distances - informed on what was happening instead of leaving people cold and soggy on the festival grounds.

AEG Live is telling attendees to hold on to their ticket stubs for an announcement coming tomorrow (Tuesday). Unless they can reschedule a show with Volbeat, Rise Against, Bush and Soundgarden, a lot of people are going to be left very disappointed. Stay tuned on that one...

UPDATE: Attendees are now being offered either a partial refund or a free Sunday ticket to next year's Carolina Rebellion. Details are at

* Congratulations are in order for 3 Quarters Dead. The Wilkesboro, N.C., band beat out dozens of competitors for an opening spot on Saturday and tore up the Jagermeister Stage. After being together for more than a dozen years, the group felt the hard work finally paid off.

* It's been years since I've seen In This Moment, and what a difference an album makes. Singer Maria Brink has gone from heavy metal headbanger to pin-up girl in lingerie singing more radio-friendly tunes. With the band clearly trying to sell sex, you wonder if they're still doing what they love or is it now an act.

* Led by brothers Gabe and Dameon, Aranda is known for writing songs which have been covered by Kelly Clarkson. Yeah, if that doesn't sum it up right there...

* Three Days Grace have a new singer with Matt Walst of My Darkest Days after Adam Gontier had to resign earlier this year due to "non-life threatening" health issues. Walst fit right in, making me wonder if he's going to have to front two bands in the future.

* Device, the new band fronted by Disturbed singer David Draiman, appeared on the Jager stage. Draiman said that while Disturbed may reunite in the future, his focus is on Device, which has a more industrial feel. The highlight of the band's set was a first-ever performance of "Close My Eyes Forever" with guest vocals by Halestorm's Lzzy Hale.

* Limp Bizkit hit the stage hard launching into "Rollin'" and offering up a handful of hits. Why though, would you play a cover of Rage Against the Machine ("Killing in the Name"), Ministry ("Theives") and The Who ("Behind Blue Eyes") instead of more of your own material, is simply odd. And why not play the cover of George Michael's "Faith" which helped put you on the map instead?

* Alice in Chains performed a heavy hits setlist with a few new tunes thrown in for good measure. Sure, there are purists who say it's not the same without original Layne Staley, but William DuVall does more than enough to carry his weight through the classics including "Them Bones," "Man in the Box" and "Would?"

* Steel Panther doesn't take themselves too seriously, and neither should you. Some people complained that they were horrible, but that's kind of the point. It's a more metal version of Tenacious D, paying homage and poking fun at plenty of stereotypes of the metal days gone by (mostly the 1980s) while singing songs about sex. They made fun of metal and themselves. As long as you get the joke, it's a good ride...

* Food and drinks were overpriced, but what did people expect? Is concert fare ever cheap?

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