Rock on the Range @ Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio, May 16-18, 2014

Guns N Roses @ Rock on the Range Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio 5-16-16

     The 8th annual Rock on the Range took place this past weekend and what a weekend it was. With over 60 bands and 14 comedians (yes this was the 2nd year that a comedy tent was set up), there was enough variety to go around so there was no down time to experience at all. In fact, if you’re looking for down time this isn’t the festival for you. In addition to the aforementioned, there were plenty of cool clothing and jewelry tents set up where you could look for something unique or different. There was also a Playstation 4 trailer and a trailer called Crazy Dave’s Musical Experience making their first appearances at a Rock on the Range Festival.

     Let’s get to the music! With three (3) stages set up and bands starting at noon each day, it made for long days running around and covering as much as we could for you. Both the Jägermeister and Ernie Ball Stages ran simultaneously so we had to pick and choose what band on what stage to check out. We photographed every act on the Monster Energy Main Stage and will mention what bands stood out or what caught our eye during the day in our review below.

     On the opening day (Friday), we caught Kill Devil Hill with former Type One Negative drummer Johnny Kelly in tow. While photographing the band, I noticed bassist Rex Brown’s former Pantera bandmate Phil Anselmo watching the band from the side of the stage. Sure enough, during the band’s last song, Anselmo joined them for the Pantera classic “Mouth for War.” This was a great way to start things off for the rest of the weekend.

     Black Stone Cherry has just come out with a new CD titled “Magic Mountain” and completely tore it up. This is one of the most energetic bands you will see anywhere, they put on one of the most impressive shows of the weekend. They played songs off of “Magic Mountain” including “Me and Mary Jane.” The Butcher Babies are still garnering a lot of attention and delivered a powerful set themselves. Vocalist Heidi Shepherd decided to go fuchsia with her hair and obviously whipping it around, that stood out as well.

     This was the first time I’ve ever witnessed Black label Society without guitarist Nick Cantenese. Former Janie Lane and Lizzy Borden guitarist Dario Lorina is now entrenched as the rhythm guitarist and Zakk Wylde’s right hand man. Lorina seemed comfortable and fit right in on what the band was trying to do. You don’t see classic rock bands very much at this festival (Cheap Trick was last year and ZZ Top made an appearance at the initial offering), so I was happy to see Living Colour. Vocalist Vernon Reid also enjoyed the moment, while on the Ernie Ball stage, by taking out his orange colored phone and taking video of the crowd and some selfies. It was a short set but it included one of the greatest rock songs ever in “Cult of Personality.”

     Seether is getting ready to release new material in July called “Isolate and Medicate” but in the meantime, played a set to the Rock on the Range crowd. I loved John Humphrey’s drum set as both bass drums had a spin off of the Seether guys characterized in KISS’ Rock and Roll Over” album cover. I included photos of this in the photo section.

     The night was topped off by another classic rock band in Guns n Roses. Nothing negative can be said here as the band took the stage promptly at 9:30 to guitarist DJ Ashba at the top of the stage playing the opening chords of “Chinese Democracy.” Well, two and half hours and 20 songs later, the band left its mark for the longest set by far ever performed at America’s premier rock festival. Axl sounded great and it was a perfect warm-up for their residence at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas.

     Saturday’s day began with watching Detroit’s own Wilson taking the stage at noon. Definitely a cool hard rock band that is starting to make its way. The band played a real strong but short set. Check these guys out for a new and up and coming band to watch.

     I just saw Fozzy for the first time a few weeks ago and had to see the band on an outdoor stage. Vocalist Chris Jericho went into the pit and really uses every ounce of stage given. I dig these guys and hope their new album does well for them when released in July.

     One of the other bands I was very impressed with was The Pretty Reckless. You would have never known that singer Taylor Momsen was battling a cold. She owned the stage and had everyone watching her every move. A great show and a band I’m looking forward to seeing more of when they tour this summer.

     For some reason, the sound at the Monster main stage was off for a few of the earlier bands and especially Theory of a Deadman’s set. It was not a good mix and I’m sure the band was disappointed. It was also the first time I ever saw Suicidal Tendencies and what a show! I’ve never seen a vocalist move around so much like he had ticks or ants in his pants. Mike Muir is that man and the lone original member but he wasn’t the only one moving about. Each member, besides new drummer Thomas Pridgen, moved about.

     Of course, the two headlining bands on the Monster main stage, Slayer and Avenged Sevenfold, showed the other bands why they were the headliners. Slayer actually had a cool light blue background that occasionally changed colors throughout the set. Their set ran longer and I believe this was the first time this has happened at Rock on the Range. It’s Slayer, so anything goes I believe.

     Avenged Sevenfold had an amazing stage set up. With steps and a video screen depicting different images with lots of various flash pots and fire going off made it one hell of a closing act. The band has played this festival three (3) times and by far this was the most impressive. Both Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance play fluidly and together in synchronicity. Their set consisted of only 14 songs but the catchy and melodic “Hail to the King” was a highlight for me.

     On Sunday, one of my favorite new bands, Hamilton’s own Monster Truck opened up the Jägermeister stage. They played only a seven song set but packed a punch that left an indelible mark. The boys from Canada did a great job and garnered an even bigger crowd than last year. The band didn’t take this lightly and thanked the crowd for being there for them.

     Closing out the Ernie Ball stage was Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. A different kind of act to be enlisted for Rock on the Range but I think it’s needed. The younger audiences who dominate the attendance should get to witness some of the greatest music ever recorded by a fantastic drummer in Jason Bonham. I hope to see more of these acts intertwined in future Rock on the Ranges. I think it’s important for younger generations to see witness the influences of their favorite bands.

     My favorite act of the entire weekend was Wolfmother. Andrew Stockdale leads this band and it’s back to being a three piece outfit. The trio garnered a lot of praise and really played a bare bones kind of set. No backdrop, and limited stage décor. Nevertheless, it’s the size that matters and Stockdale and the boys delivered in a big way! Kudos to them and I hope to see them on tour in North America sometime this year.

     The talk of the entire weekend with the security guards (who are very well trained and in my opinion, the best in the business) was the anticipation of Five Finger Death Punch’s set. Well, the time came and they did a masterful job handling the crowd surfing and pit moshing. This band has come a long way since the first time I saw them play a side stage in 2008 at Metal Mayhem. Vocalist Ivan Moody was throwing picks out to the fans and getting the crowd energized and keeping them that way throughout the entire set. Guitarist Jason Hook played his Gibson M4 Sherman Explore that lights up for “Lift Me Up.”

     Playing his second headlining set at Rock on the Range (the first was in 2008), Kid Rock gave an hour and half set that consisted of 17 songs including parts of songs from Rush, Ted Nugent and ZZ Top mixed in. Kid Rock is currently not touring but did this one off show. He didn’t show any rust and really is a true professional in knowing how to work a crowd. He worked Columbus like he was still home in Detroit.

     The comedians provided an alternative for music fans to catch a few laughs in the Old Milwaukee comedy tent. We caught our friend Jim Florentine’s act on Saturday. You couldn’t fit another person in there with a shoe horn it was so packed. I believe this is catching on and is a viable option for other festivals to have.

     All in all, it was another great year at the premier rock festival in America. Wait! Didn’t I mention that earlier? Yes I did, but it’s worth repeating!

Headliners Set Lists:

Guns n’ Roses:

Chinese Democracy
Welcome to the Jungle
It’s So Easy
Mr. Brownstone
Rocket Queen
Richard Fortus Guitar Solo
Live and Let Die(Wings cover)
This I Love
Holidays in the Sun (Sex Pistols cover) (Tommy Stinson on lead vocals, with band introductions)
Dizzy Reed Piano Solo
Catcher in the Rye
You Could Be Mine
DJ Ashba Guitar Solo
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Jam (“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” Led Zeppelin cover)
November Rain
(Bumblefoot song) (Bumblefoot on lead vocals) Don’t Cry
Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC cover)
Civil War
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan cover)


Used to Love Her
The Seeker (The Who cover)
Paradise City

Avenged Sevenfold:

Shepherd of Fire
Critical Acclaim
Bat Country
Hail to the King
Doing Time
Buried Alive
Seize the Day
Burn It Down
Guitar Solo
This Means War
Almost Easy


Unholy Confessions

Kid Rock:

Devil Without a Cause
You Never Met a Motherfucker Quite Like Me
American Bad Ass
Wasting Time
Forever (with Tom Sawyer by Rush music)
All Summer Long
Lay It on Me
So Hott
3 Sheets to the Wind (What’s My Name – Lynyrd Skynyrd cover) / La Grange (ZZ Top cover)/ Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent cover) Rock N Roll Jesus
Only God Knows Why
Born Free
Picture (first verse only)

Kid Rock @ Rock on the Range Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio 5-18-16

We would like to thank Marcee Rondan and Aaron Feterl from MSOPR along with AEG for allowing BackstageAxxess to review the show.