My Top 5 Shows From Rock on the Range 2018

5. Pray For SleepSunday

PFS   Skipping graduation to play your fourth show ever at the biggest rock festival in America is, to put it lightly, badass. On top of that, Pray for Sleep killed this set. Musically PFS was tight and heavy, yet often melodic, but the real highlight was the performance itself. The group was noticeably  ecstatic about the opportunity and made the most of it with one powerful song after another. Front man, Cameron Dickinson gave an especially energetic performance, and I couldn’t help but enjoy the pure excitement from the crowd, a few of whom were wearing their graduation robes.

4. Breaking BenjaminFriday

breaking_benjamin   Headed into this set, I was slightly wary of the “cock-rock” style, and what it may mean for a live performance, but Breaking Benjamin knew exactly what they were doing and how to work a massive crowd. The inescapability of their music actually played to their favor in this case, as every single member of the audience, including people like me, who have never cared for their work, new every word.They didn’t take themselves overly seriously and allowed everyone to have a good time singing along to one guilty pleasure hit after another.

3. Code OrangeSunday

 Code-Orange  This show opened with pure, distorted noise, bassist Joe Goldman climbing into the crowd and screaming in my face-I was in the front row, and drummer/vocalist Jami Morgan screaming “We are f**king Code Orange and this f**king place is mine!” This is all before they’ve played a single actual note. The group went on to give one of the heaviest performances I’ve ever heard, utilizing tight, slugging guitar riffs and near constant tempo changes to electrify a previously dull crowd and very nearly starting a full fledged riot in the mosh pit. When they finally ended their set with their best known hit, “Forever,” the crowd lost their minds, having seen, by far, the heaviest set of the festival. I would be shocked if Code Orange didn’t make the MainStage next year, where they just might be able to start an actual riot.

2. Greta Van FleetFriday

Greta   The surprise hit of the weekend, Greta came onto the MainStage with a strong enough word of mouth buzz to fill the main arena to almost headliner capacity at half-past-three, but without a single recognizable hit or well versed fan among the massive crowd. When young rockers took the stage, they seemed a bit shaken by the size of their audience, but from the first strum of the guitar, they held the massive crowd in the palm of their hand with a rockstar performance, catchy, Zeppelin-esque music, and Josh Kiszka’s other worldly voice. The band set a precedent early on in the week which wouldn’t be matched by anyone, including headliners. That is, until Sunday night.

******************************HONORABLE MENTIONS*******************************

Stone Temple PilotsSunday

Three Days GraceSaturday

Stone SourSaturday

A Perfect CircleFriday

Asking AlexandriaSaturday

*******************************HONORABLE MENTIONS******************************

1. ToolSunday

   With a set that mostly consisted of older hits and featured almost nothing newer than Ǽnima, one of the best rock bands of all time blew away a sold out crowd at the biggest rock festival in America. Tool opted not to allow ROTR to video them, so you likely won’t be able to find much of it online, but they also kept their own faces off of the larger screens, using them instead to show clips from their music videos cut in with newer videos which were presumably made for this show.Tool

   Musically, what is their to say? Maynard’s voice was fantastic, showing no signs of ware from his previous set with A Perfect Circle, Adam Jones wielded, by far, the loudest guitar I’ve ever heard with pure skill, Justin Chancellor’s bass work was excellent, and a bit more melodic than usual, and Danny Carey, one of the best drummers to ever live, was his usual self. The hits sounded as excellent as they always have, and the long instrumental passages seemed to be constantly evolving and left no downtime, as one would expect from a band who’s been writing together off and on for the last twelve years.

   I spent this whole weekend seeing fantastic bands play amazing sets, and each time the bar was raised, I thought to myself, “Wow, and Tool is going to be even better than that.” They, of course, didn’t disappoint.

Author: brendonsbeats

I'm a Sophomore at Middle Tennessee State University, studying audio-production while writing and playing music in Nashville. I love music more than anything else in the world, and I run this blog with the hope of introducing people to some great music that I love!

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