I remember the first Rock on the Range, in 2007, like it was yesterday. Or at least, I can easily recall the time in my life where I would have been out-of-my-mind stoked to go to the Columbus festival, back in the day when I was all about System of a Down and Disturbed. I don’t feel that way much anymore, but as RotR has grown in the last several years, the weekend-long event at Crew Stadium has garnered more classic, old school acts as opposed to the beer rock that makes brain cells jump overboard.
Regardless, a weekend festival of whatever kind of music is sure to be a grand ‘ol time, and if I were to nab a $100-plus ticket to the rock bowl May 16-18, these are five bands for which I would go.
1. Avenged Sevenfold
“City of Evil” was the s— when I was cruising the halls of middle school, and it became the reason why I picked up a guitar (on “Guitar Hero,” that is) in the first place. From the songs “Beast and the Harlot” to “Bat Country” to “Seize The Day,” this album was representative of the mainstream, gaudy, “screw-you-mom” metal I craved. Channeling that feeling again in 2014 wouldn’t be troublesome.
This progressive metal crew from Atlanta might be one of the more refined artists on the RotR lineup. With catchy hooks interwoven with intricate arrangements, Mastodon might very well take the festival away. Every one of its full-length records is a face-numbing and talented testament to rock music that tries a little harder and showcases a bit more capacity on behalf of its musicians. Fingers crossed for Mastodon to play the first song on its first album “Remission:” “Crusher Destroyer.”
3. Suicidal Tendencies
Frontman Mike Muir is the only Suicidal Tendencies member who’s been with it for the entire haul. Staying hardcore since the early 1980s, Suicidal Tendencies epitomizes the grating brashness that is anti-authoritarian-themed punk. From “Institutionalized” onward, Suicidal Tendencies has been “sticking it” to whatever entity tells it what to do — an apt artist to soundtrack smashing your beer bottle or crushing your Monster energy can.
4. Rev Theory
The only song I know by this band is the theme song to Spike TV’s canceled “Blue Mountain State,” the gross, chauvinistic sitcom that documents the football team’s happening at a fictional college that lives and breathes sports (remind you of anything?). “Hell Yeah” is the name of this song, and it’s best believed that it would be a dream-come-true to be bombarded with some Rev Theory on a warm spring afternoon.
5. Motörhead, again
As with Coachella, Motörhead is making the rounds this summer with another spot at RotR. Lead singer/bassist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister has the comeback spirit, and I’m welcoming it with open arms. I think the band will mesh with the most diehard of listeners in Columbus.