From The Pit To The Crowd: Chicago Open Air – Day 3!

After already two days of stellar bands, some of the best ones were yet to come. Sunday, July 16th brought us a serious dose of heavy metal and the crowds were all in supporting some of there favorite bands. Here was the lineup:

Aversed – Blackcraft Stage

The heavy metal band from Boston, MA opened Sunday’s lineup. They wowed the crowd with amazing vocals from Haydee Irizarry while guitarists Sungwoo Jeong and Alden Marchand provided some stellar thrash. Martin Epstein (bass) and Jeff Saltzman (drums) work blended right in. Aversed is promoting their debut EP ‘Renewal’ and performed “Prison of Existence”, “Renewal”, “Laboratory”, and “Natsukashi”. Aversed provided a good start to the day.

Whores – Blackcraft Stage

The band from Atlanta, GA has been primarily referred to as “noise rock”. Known for leaving it all on stage, the band did exactly the same at Chicago Open Air. ¬†Consisting of Christian Lembach (vocals, guitar), Casey Maxwell (bass), and Donnie Adkinson (drums), the band left their mark on the fans with their hard rock sound. Some of their setlist included “Fake Life”, “Participation Trophy”, and “I Am an Amateur at Everything”. Their most recent album was ‘Gold’ released in 2016.

DED – Monster Energy Main Stage

Hailing from Tempe, AZ, the nu metal band formed in 2016 and released their first studio album, ‘Misanthrope’, on July 21, 2017. While impressing fans on stage with their vocals and sound, they may also creep people out with their white-eyed contact lenses they wear on and off stage. The band consisting of Joe Cotela (vocals), David Ludlow (guitar), Matt Reinhard (drums), and Kyle Koelsch (bass) were definitely having fun on stage and the crowd were loving them as well. Some of their setlist included “FMFY” (their first single released), “Rope”, “Dead To Me”, and “Architect”.

Demon Hunter – Monster Energy Main Stage

The Christian metal band formed in 2000 in Seattle, WA. Though they originally did not label themselves as a Christian band, they later came out stating they are all believers in Christ and are proud to be upfront about it. Demon Hunter is a mix of nu metal and metalcore and has a solid music history producing 8 studio albums over 17 years. The most recent was ‘Outlived’ that was released on March 31, 2017. The crowd were loving the performance from Ryan Clark (vocals), Jon Dunn (bass), Tim Watts (drums), Patrick Judge (lead guitar), and Jeremiah Scott (rhythm guitar). Their setlist included “Trying Times”, “Cross to Bear”, “Cold Winter Sun”, “The Last One Alive”, and “Storm the Gates of Hell”. They were one of the bands I was looking forward to seeing and they went above and beyond my expectations.

DevilDriver – Blackcraft Stage

Ironically back on the other end of Toyota Park, DevilDriver was hitting the stage. The heavy metal band from Santa Barbara, CA had a huge crowd waiting to see them at Toyota Park. The band formed in 2002 and released their self titled album in 2003. Since then they released 6 additional studio albums with all but 1 reaching into the top 50 on the charts. Their latest release was back in 2016 titled ‘Trust No One’. Though heavy metal is their focus, each member has stated different influences towards their music including Metallica, In Flames, and even Johnny Cash. The band consists of Dez Fafara (vocals), Mike Spreitzer (guitar), Neal Tiemann (guitar), and Austin D’Amond (drums). Their setlist included “End of the Line”, “Daybreak”, “I Could Care Less”, and “Ruthless”.

Hellyeah – Monster Energy Main Stage

One of the biggest highlights of Chicago Open Air is when Hellyeah hit the stage. The heavy metal supergroup consisting of Chad Gray (vocals, former vocalist of Mudvayne), Tom Maxwell (rhythm guitar, former guitarist for Nothingface), Vinnie Paul (drummer, former drummer for Pantera and Damage Plan), Christian Brady (lead guitarist) and Kyle Sanders (bass) formed in 2006. Their first album, self-titled, was released in 2007 and hit the Billboard 200 at #9. Since then they released 4 more stuido albums. Their latest one was ‘Unden!able’ released in 2016. The crowd at the Monster Energy Main Stage was fired up to see Hellyeah and the media was as well. Their setlist included “X”, “Moth”, “I Don’t Care Anymore” (Phil Collins cover), and “Hellyeah!”

Kyng – Blackcraft Stage

You know a band makes an impact when both Jose Mangin from SiriusXM introduces you on stage. The band from Los Angeles, CA formed in 2008 and released their first album ‘Trampled Sun’ in 2011. They were then signed to Razor & Tie and produced 2 more studio album with the last one ‘Breathe In The Water’ released in 2016. The band consisting of Eddie Veliz (vocals, guitar), Tony Castaneda (bass), and Pepe Clarke (drums) focus on straight up heavy metal. Their setlist included “Pristine Warning”, “Self Medicated Man”, and “Breathe In The Water”.

Amon Amarth – Monster Energy Main Stage

One my own personal highlights on Sunday was the opportunity to see Amon Amarth. They had received a big push for Chicago Open Air especially that they were bring the Viking Ship on stage once again. The band took their name from J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Amon Amarth is the Sindarin name for Mount Doom, the volcano where the One Ring needed to be tossed into. They’ve been around since 1992 and hail from Tumba, Sweden. After their EP ‘Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds’ released in 1996 they were offered a contract with Metal Blade Records in 1998 and have been with them every since. They produced 10 studio albums with the most recent was released in 2016 titled ‘Jomsviking’. The band is usually associated with death metal. The members include Johan Hegg (vocals), Olavi Mikkonen (guitars), Ted Lundstrom (bass), Johan Soderberg (guitars), and Jocke Wallgren (drums). Their setlist included “The Pursuit of Vikings”, “As Loke Falls”, “The Way of the Vikings”, “Deceiver of the Gods”, and “Guardians of Asgaard”.

Behemoth – Blackcraft Stage

Currently on tour with supporting act Lamb of God and headliner Slayer, Behemoth had the massive crowd in a frenzy Sunday afternoon. The band from Gdansk, Poland has been fueling headbanging fans with their death metal since 1991. The band was producing demo albums on cassette tapes before one of them caught the attention of Pagan Records. The continued to produce albums (after separating from Pagan Records) and started to receive worldwide attention with their 2000 album ‘Thelema 6’. Though their most well known album to date was their latest release in 2014 titled ‘The Satanist’, which earned them the Album of the Year Award through Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods Awards. With 7 EPs and 10 studio albums the band currently consisting of Nergal (Adam Darski – vocals, guitar), Inferno (Zbigniew Prominski – drums), Orion (Tomasz Wroblewski – bass), and Seth (Patryk Sztyber – guitar) is showing no signs of slowing down and expect to have a new album released in 2018. Some of their setlist included “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifier”, “Messe Noire”, “Decade of Therion”, and “Chant for Eschaton 2000”.

Lamb of God – Monster Energy Main Stage

Currently on tour with supporting act Behemoth and headliner Slayer, Lamb of God filled the seats over the Monster Energy Main Stage on Sunday. The band from Richmond, VA formed back in 1994 delivering hardcore heavy metal originally under the name of Burn the Priest and released one self titled album. They changed to Lamb of God to avoid being labeled as a Satanic band. It wasn’t until their 2nd album under the name Lamb of God did the band truly started getting media attention. ‘As the Palaces Burn’ was voted number one album in 2003 by both Revolver Magazine and Metal Hammer. The band was on the rise received rave reviews for their works and even receiving multiple Grammy nominations. They hit a down point when lead singer Randy Blythe was arrested in Czechoslovakia in 2012 for a 2010 incident where he pushed a fan off the stage who hit his head and died from the injuries. Randy was in custody for 5 weeks before being released on bail and though it was proven he did push the fan off the stage, he was not held criminally liable for the fan’s death. During that time in jail he focused on music and wrote songs that would be released on ‘VII: Sturm und Drang’. The band consisting of Randy Blythe (vocals), John Campbell (bass), Chris Adler (drums), Mark Morton (lead guitar), and Willie Adler (rhythm guitar) recently released the EP titled “The Duke”. Some of their setlist included “Laid to Rest”, “512”, “Ruin”, and “Redneck”.

Stone Sour – Monster Energy Main Stage

As Lamb of God had brought in a huge crowd to Monster Energy Stage, that crowd got bigger for Stone Sour. Prior to joining Slipknot, lead singer Corey Taylor had formed Stone Sour back in 1992 in Des Moines, IA. Though they never became a commercial success at the time, the band took a hiatus in 1997 when Corey joined Slipknot. They came back together and released a self titled album in 2002. It peaked at #46 on the Billboard 200 and the single “Bother” reached #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Their success continued on through the years while also taking hiatus for Corey to work again with Slipknot. The band released 6 studio albums with the most recent, ‘Hydrograd’, releasing on June 30, 2017. Stone Sour consists of Corey Taylor (vocals), Josh Rand (rhythm guitar), Roy Moyorga (drums), Johny Chow (bass), and Christian Martucci (lead guitar). Some of their setlist included “Taipei Person / Allah Tea”, “Say You’ll Haunt Me”, “Bother”, “Song #3”, and “Through Glass”.

Slayer – Blackcraft Stage

Though the Blackcraft Stage is considered the smaller of the two stages, there were thousands of people lined up in and around the stage to get a glimpse of the legendary metal band Slayer. The band was formed in 1981 out of Huntington Park, CA by Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. They were discovered by Metal Blade CEO and founder of Metal Blade Records and signed to a contract releasing their first album ‘Show No Mercy’. The reviews were very positive and it started off a very strong run for them. Slayer became known as one of the Big Four of thrash metal with the other three including Megadeth, Anthrax, and Metallica and toured with all of them in 2010. Slayer produced 12 studio albums during their career. Unfortunately, Jeff Hanneman passed away in 2013 and replaced with Gary Holt. Their stop at Chicago Open Air was part of their Repentless Tour with Behemoth and Lamb of God. The band consists of Tom Araya (vocals, bass), Kerry King (guitar), Paul Bostpah (drums), and Gary Holt (guitar). Their setlist included “Repentless”, “Hate Worldwide”, “Born of Fire”, “Raining Blood”, and “Angel of Death”.