Louder Than Life Special Preview

Louder Than Life is about to be a new experience for us. Although thousands of music fans come to our city for this two day event, we have never checked it out. To be honest, the lineup is a little intimidating and a little harder than our usual indie rock tastes. That being said, this year we are going. Aubrey told her 18-year-old brother she would take him as a graduation present, so by god, we are doing it!

The inaugural Bourbon and Beyond festival took place in the same space the weekend before, and is more our speed, so we had the opportunity to check out the layout of the grounds. That being said, we wanted to get some insight from a rock expert and LTL vet about what to expect at this early October festival. We asked a good friend to help us get a little educated on the types of music, the lineup suggestions and general culture that that we might come across at Louder Than Life. Chris provided this insight:

Barking at the heels of the Bourbon and Beyond festival, Louder Than Life offers a quite an alternate feel. Last weekend you could enjoy the musical and lyrical talent that ran the gamut of genres, but now you have the opportunity to dust off your leather, dress in black from head to toe, hang up your higher-order thinking skills, and prepare to melt your face all weekend.

Your regular hosts have asked me to give a brief rundown of what you have in store coming up this weekend, and I am happy to oblige.

This festival has three main stages to enjoy yourself. Monster and Loudmouth Stages are next to each other on the right side of the online map, so transitions between is no big deal. On the complete opposite side, you have the Zorn Stage, so some calculated strategy will be important to catch openers of various bands. As far as food goes, of course, there will be amazing bourbon and food, but grab the Trooper Beer. It is stellar – I recommend getting one for each hand.

In terms of the schedule, here’s what you need to know.

Saturday – 

If you are in for the long haul and showing up early on Saturday, treat yourself to Palisades. Electronicore will be a good start to what will pan out to be a great weekend. Next comes our first conflict. You can go for the punk rock of New Years Day and enjoy the visual aesthetics they bring to the stage (a very cultivated image) or you can go for He is Legend, hard-rock with a touch of stoner/sludge metal. I would lean towards He is Legend.

Not to sound rude, but you can grab lunch, drinks or even take a nap till 2:30 when Ded starts, unless you are interested in the pop-rock/emo style of Sleeping With Sirens. Ded is our first nu metal band of the weekend. I am sure they will rock hard, and if you are lucky, you will catch their hit “Anti-Everything.”

The next one is a struggle, as much as I would love to watch Ded’s whole set, seeing Starset is a requirement. Look into their backstory if you have time. They identify as rock but you can definitely say there is a lot of synth in there that you don’t always see. They created a Science Fiction/L. Ron Hubbard Scientology backstory and perform in space suits – how could you live with yourself if you miss it?!

Next decision is between Of Mice and Men (pop/metalcore) and Through Fire (hard-rock with a bit of alt metal). Personally, I would make the walk to the Zorn Stage to support Through Fire.

Now is where the day really picks up. Eagles of Death Metal has a thrilling hard-rock/rockabilly sound to them. They have been around for around 20 years for good reason. However, you should duck out a bit early to catch the intersecting act. Hip-hop heavy metal. Sounds different? Fire From The Gods spouts refreshingly progressive lyrics while still bringing the metal.  Honestly, I’m a bit frustrated with the scheduling clash that happens here. Going to Fire From The Gods has you miss most of the performance of, equally talented, rap rock group Hollywood Undead. Feel bad for a minute but you have to move on, the metal continues! So buckle up sunshine, the night is about to get nuts.

You must see Gojira. In fact, see it for me. Gojira is tech death metal and the only of its caliber playing all weekend. If you are trying to get your face melted, this is the band to be front and center, although that would put you in the pit. Are you comfortable with the pit? Not everyone is. When in or near one, always remember pit etiquette. First, let thrashers thrash; second, feed crowd surfers into it; third, if you are on the edge, gently bounce participants back in. No need to push them with a savage shove or brutal elbow, help them keep their momentum and keep them upright. This is how they express themselves to the music they love – for Satan’s sake – some people used to do The Macarena! Finally, if someone falls to the ground, get them out pronto!

When Gojira wraps up, peel yourself off of the ground and make yourself chuckle with the end of the Steel Panther’s set (glam/comedy rock), even though the transition might feel as abrupt as smelling salt from a hangover. The end of the night is a celebrity roundup and the reason why most of the audience will be there. Your personal bubble may take some damage. Halestorm and lead vocalist/guitarist Lzzy Haze never disappoint (hard rock). Halestorm will raise the bar, and I predict each band after will do the same. Round out the night with conflict free legends: Mastodon (sludge metal), Rob Zombie (heavy/industrial metal), and ‘The Godfather of Metal’ Ozzy (classic heavy metal). I think the reputations of these giants will save me from having to write any more about your brutal Saturday night. Now get some rest you crazy metal-head!


Sunday – 

Sunday is a far more conflicted day, but I feel that it has a greater diversity in narrowing down what kind of metal fan you are. We start the day out early with Biters (hard rock) followed by Black Map, a refreshing alt metal band to kick off the day, no surprises here, but nothing that will make you cringe. The first true conflict is a dead heat between the punk rock band ’68 on the (far) Zorn stage and the sound of Joyous Wolf (rock) early in the day – there is a lot of migration, but the trek for ’68 is worth it. After that, see Gretta Van Fleet (hard rock/classic rock), but leave early to catch the open of Ocean Grove (nu metal). When you are ready, meander over, and finish the set of Beartooth (melodic metalcore/hardcore punk]. Watch and eventually leave Nothing More (alt metal) to support Radkey (garage punk/psychedelic rock) at the Zorn Stage, stay for their whole set, then catch the ass end of Falling in Reverse…or just take a break and get food and beer (sorry, but glam metal doesn’t always work for me). Regardless, get your booty to Zorn to see a type you have not seen today yet: Lacuna Coil, Italian (gothic) metal at its best. If you decide that is your scene, stay and show up to The Pretty Reckless (hard rock/blues) late. If Lacuna Coil is not for you, get to The Pretty Reckless’ full set – they are worth it.

The next Sunday challenge is the decision between Thrice (garage punk/psychedelic rock) and In This Moment (gothic metal). I would lean toward In this Moment, but that relies on your preference. Both bring the metal, but I do love the lyrical style of In this Moment (they are a top contender for me for Sunday). Finish their set and get a drink or some food during Stone Sour (heavy metal/alt rock). Grab a good spot for Rise Against (melodic hardcore/punk), then complete the night with some nostalgic Incubus.


Cheers! You did it! Now, for all you newbies, collect the patches from all the bands you enjoyed and sew them onto your cut for the next festival or metal show. Might I suggest Monday (10/2) at Tap Room to see Year of The Cobra?

-Chris Ryczek

Key –

Metalcore: This is where you will hear the screaming.

Glam metal: The hair bands of metal. Expect harmonies and power ballads,

Hard rock: This is a more lyrical.

Electronicore: Mix Metalcore with EDM. (sans the screaming)

Gothic metal: Add gothic overtones to heavy metal

Nu metal: Take metal/hard rock and add hip-hop or funk, don’t look for guitar solos here

Sludge metal: combine hardcore punk with metal and doom

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