After an exciting Day 1 at Champions Park, the fans and media were definitely primed and ready for Day 2 on October 1st. The lineups between the stages made some hard decisions for media coverage, but there was no doubt that day who I was going to photograph and review that day.
Joyous Wolf – Monster Energy Stage
The Southern California band that joined together in 2014 was proudly publicized as the only band at Louder Than Life playing the main stage without a record label. They must have made an impression to Danny Wimmer Presents to be chosen to perform at Louder Than Life and after seeing them perform, I completely understand why. Nick Resse (vocals), Blake Allard (guitar), Greg Braccio (bass), and Robert Sodaro (drums) have a fire and presence on stage that made the fans pay attention. And their rock and roll/blues groove showed why they belong on the same stage as some of the bigger acts during this festival. Nick was all over the stage during the performance including doing cartwheels. The band played music from their forthcoming EP, ‘Enigma’, which included “Mountain Man” and “Sleep Weep Stomp”. Keep an eye on this band as they are here to stay.
Greta Van Fleet – Loudmouth Stage
This band is probably one of the hottest upcoming bands hitting the rock stage. Formed in 2012 the band Frankenmuth, MI is comprised mostly of brothers and one of their friends from high school. Though the town (population about 5,000), doesn’t have a big music scene, played garage parties and bars at as early as 13. The band came up with their from one of the town members named Gretna Van Fleet, who the band learned is a musician herself. The band released their first EP ‘Black Smoke Rising’ in April 2017. Their first single “Highway Tune” hit #1 on Billboard’s US Main Rockstream chart and the album hit #2 on Billboard’s US Heat chart. Josh Kiszka (vocals), Sam Kiska (bass), Jake Kiszka (guitar), and Danny Wagner (drums) recently announced a double EP ‘From The Fires’ will be released with new tracks plus the tracks from ‘Black Smoke Rising’. At Louder Than Life, the crowd was enamored by their sound and they put on a show to be remembered. Their rock/blues style with Josh’s Robert Plant-like voice stunned the crowd. Some of their songs included “Black Smoke Rising”, “Highway Tune”, and “Edge of Darkness”. This is a band who has a very bright future ahead of them.
Nothing More – Loudmouth Stage
The rock band that formed in 2003 from San Antonio, TX at one time was one of the greatest bands you never knew. Now, they’ve made their mark on the music industry. Their first album ‘Shelter’ was self-produced and released in 2004 and didn’t make the Billboard charts. They signed with Vestia Entertainment for their next two album releases, which, unfortunately, neither charted either. It wouldn’t be until 4 years later when they released their self-titled album. They signed with Eleven Seven Music who re-released the album putting a major hit on the charts. The album peaked at #33 on the US Billboard chart and #3 on the US Hard Rock chart. On September 15, 2017, they released “The Stories We Tell Ourselves”, which peaked at #15 on the US Billboard chart and #2 on the US Hard Rock chart. At Louder Than Life, Jonny Hawkins (vocals, second drums), Mark Vollelunga (guitar), Daniel Oliver (bass), and Ben Anderson (drums), stepped out on stage to a large cheer. Jonny, shirtless and shoeless, smiled before displaying to the crowd his very powerful vocals. The band was in top form and even showed off their 14 foot tall “Scorpion” make-shift instrument, which the brought along for their headlining tour. Nothing More was kind enough to allow the media photographers to stay for their entire performance, giving us the opportunity to photograph The Scorpion. And it was worth staying for the whole set which included songs “Christ Copyright”, “Jenny”, “Go To War”, a cover of Skrillex’s “First of the Year (Equinox)”, and “Salem (Burn the Witch)”.
Falling In Reverse – Monster Energy Stage
The rock band from Las Vegas, NV has been making waves in 2017 with a new album, ‘Coming Home’, headling a tour, and multiple festival appearances. The band formed in 2008 and released their first album ‘The Drug in Me Is You’ in 2010. The album charted as high as #19 on the Billboard 200. Their first live performance wouldn’t be until the Vans Warped Tour in 2011 and then followed with their own headlining tour in 2012. Since then Falling In Reverse released three additional albums including their current release. Ronnie Radke (vocals), Derek Jones (rhythm guitar), Zakk Sandler (bass), Christian Thompson (lead guitar), and touring member Chris Kamrada (drums) came out to a roaring crowd and smiles on their faces. Ronnie looked stylish in his mustard-colored suit, sunglasses, and waved to the crowd often. They sounded just as good, if not better when I reviewed them at Chicago Open Air and urged the crowd to get crazy. You could see how much they were enjoying being on stage and how much they appreciated the crowd. Their setlist included “I’m Not a Vampire”, “Raised By Wolves”, and “The Drug in Me Is You”.
Lacuna Coil – Zorn Stage
After photographing Falling In Reverse, I quickly made the walk to the Zorn Stage to photograph one of my favorite bands, Lacuna Coil. The metal band from Milan, Italy was technically formed in 1994 under the name Sleep of Right with Andrea Ferro leading the band on vocals and Marco Coti Zelati on bass. Cristina Scabbia was asked to provide some backup vocals to some songs they were recording. Andrea asked her to join the band as a full-time vocalist. In 1997 they were signed to Century Media and decided to change their name to Ethereal. But, the name was taken and they decided on Lacuna Coil. The band released a self-titled EP in 1998 and started to get noticed. They toured Europe starting to make a name for themselves. They released their first full-length studio album ‘In a Reverie’ in 1999 and followed up with ‘Unleashed Memories’ in 2001. It wasn’t until 2002 with the album ‘Comalies’ they started to gain U.S. attention. “Heaven’s a Lie” the first single began to get national airplay. It was also used in the video game Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines and on the movie soundtrack to Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The popularity garnered them an opportunity to tour in the U.S. and even perform at Ozzfest. From that point forward their popularity skyrocketed producing 5 more studio albums, including ‘Delirium’ released in 2016. There were lineup changes that occurred right before the release ‘Delirium’. Andrea Ferro (vocals), Cristina Scabbia (vocals), Marco Coti Zelati (bass), Ryan Blake Folden (drums), and Diego Cavallotti (guitars) stepped out onto the Zorn stage in their white straitjackets, makeup, and an intensity ready to blow away the Louder Than Life crowd and media. And so they did. The crowd was rocking away, bouncing and crowd surfing, while Lacuna Coil rocked the stage. Their setlist included “Heaven’s a Lie”, “Blood, Tears, and Dust”, and “My Demons”. I had the opportunity to meet Cristina before their set and Marco and Diego afterward.
In This Moment – Zorn Stage
I stayed on that side of the festival grounds waiting for one of the most anticipated bands that day, In This Moment. The metal band from Los Angeles, CA by Maria Brink and Chris Howoth under the name of Dying Star in 2005. Not happy with their direction they changed their name to In This Moment. Generating a fan base on their own, they caught the attention of Century Media Records and signed a deal. In 2007 they released their first studio album ‘Beautiful Tragedy’, which scored them tours including the Ozzfest festival. They followed up with ‘The Dream’ in 2008 that made it into the Billboard 200, debuting at #73. ‘A Star Crossed Wasteland’ followed that was released in July 2010. The band hit certified Gold with ‘Blood’ released in August 2012. A special DVD was filmed in 2013 at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, WI that introduced the band’s costume changes, props, and the first appearance of the Blood Girls. In 2014, In This Moment signed with Atlantic record and released ‘Black Widow’ in November. Their tour continued with the props, costume changes, and Blood Girls. On July 21, 2017, the band released their most recent album ‘Ritual” with a headlining tour, including stops at Danny Wimmer Presents festivals, including Louder Than Life. Maria Brink (vocals), Chris Howoth (lead guitar), Travis Johnson (bass), Randy Weitzel (rhythm guitar), and Kent Diimmel (drums) took the stage to an immense crowd and group of media photographers. They immediately had the crowd screaming with their make-up, costuming, music, and chilling vocals. They too were kind enough to allow the media photographers stay for their entire set. Their setlist included “Blood”, “Roots”, and “Whore”.
Rise Against – Monster Energy Stage
The metal band from Chicago, IL formed in 1999. The released their first album ‘The Unraveling’ in April 2001. Though it did not reach the Billboard charts it did have very positive reviews. They followed up with ‘Revolutions per Minute’ in April 2003. ‘Siren Song of the Counter Culture’, their 3rd album, became their first to hit the Billboard 200 at #136 and was certified as Gold. And from that point on, they found major success in all of their following albums. They released five studio albums and are currently touring on their most recent album, ‘Wolves’, which was released on June 9th. They also announced a 2017 tour with Pierce The Veil. Tim McIlrath (vocals, rhythm guitar), Zach Blair (lead guitar), Joe Principe (bass), and Brandon Barnes (drums) took the stage as the sun was starting to go down with all smiles. They played hard on stage and Tim even jumped into the pit with the photographers to get up and close with the fans. Their set list included “Ready to Fall”, “The Violence”, “Prayer of the Refugee”, “Wolves”, and “Savior”.
Incubus – Loud Mouth Stage
The rock band from Calabasas, CA formed in 1991 and found commercial success very quickly. In 1995 they released ‘Fungus Amongus’ that captured the attention of Sony’s Immortal Records who signed the band to a seven-album deal. They followed up in 1997 with their second studio album ‘S.C.I.E.N.C.E.’ They toured with System of a Down that year and even performed at Ozzfest. ‘Make Yourself’ their third studio album was released in October 1999 where they found their first large success with their singles “Pardon Me” and “Drive. The album was also ended up certified as double-platinum by the following year. October 2001 was the release of ‘Morning View’, their fourth studio album. “Wish You Were Here” was the first single from that album. By December 2001 the album was certified platinum. On top of 3 EPs the band produced 4 additional studio albums including their current ‘8’ which was released April 21, 2017. When Brandon Boyd (vocals), Mike Einzinger (guitar), Jose Pasillas II (drums), Chris Kilmore (turntables, synthesizers, keyboards), and Ben Kenney (bass) stepped out on stage, the Louder Than Life Crowd was louder than ever. Incubus sounded phenomenal on stage and had beautiful lighting to match. They had a long set that included “Glitterbomb”, “Nimble Bastard”, “Wish You Were Here”, “Pardon Me”, “Drive”, “Nice to Know You”, “Stellar”, “Megalomaniac”, and “Warning”.
Prophets of Rage – Monster Energy Stage
The headlining act chose by Danny Wimmer himself. The band is a supergroup that formed in 2016 consisting of members from Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill. Their name comes from the Public Enemy song. The band consists of B-Real (vocals – Cypress Hill), Chuck D (vocals – Public Enemy), Tim Commerford (bass – Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), DJ Lord (turntables – Public Enemy), Tom Morello (guitar – Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), and Brad Wilk (drums – Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave). The band was energetic and sounded great for the crowd. Their set list included “Prophets of Rage (Public Enemy cover)”, “Testify (Rage Against the Machine cover)”, “Guerrilla Radio (Rage Against the Machine cover)”, “Hail to the Chief”, “Like a Stone (Audioslave cover dedicated to Chris Cornell)”, and “Slaves and Bulldozers (Soundgarden cover)”.
And of course, if it wasn’t for the crowd Louder Than Life wouldn’t be what it is. I had the opportunity to photograph The Rocktenders, who ran the drink booths by the main stages. And also got the opportunity to do some photos back at the media tent with some fellow media members.
Overall, the Louder Than Life festival was a huge success, lots of fun, and had a stellar lineup both days. I’m looking forward to seeing what Danny Wimmer Presents lines up next year for Louder Than Life 2018.