Danny Wimmer Present’s Louder Than Life a great family adventure!!

 

Louder Than Life is one of those events that is not only a good time but if done right, is an absolutely amazing experience. September 30th and October 1st I got to not only enjoy the experience once again, but I got to share it with my two oldest grandchildren for the first time.

I am one of those patrons who orders tickets the same day they go on sell. I don’t really need to know the lineup because I know I am going to be in attendance regardless. I usually by a pair of tickets because up until this year I have always had someone who was willing to purchase the other ticket and go along.

This year however, I was lucky enough to have a photo pass thus giving me two tickets. I had two offers to buy them from me, both at a substantial loss. In fact one of those who agreed to a set price came back at me on Friday wanting to know if I was willing to come down another $20 or $30.

Prior to receiving that message my granddaughter, Jeshell, had stated that she would be interested in going.

I thought to myself that I would rather take my granddaughter and forfeit the other ticket as opposed to giving a total stranger the tickets. As it turned out Travis, my grandson, wanted to go as well, so it worked out beautifully. They were both heading to experience their very first big time concert.

In the end both had a great time. Although it cost grandpa a lot of extra money, it was worth every penny to know that my two oldest grandkids were there with me and had a great time. The biggest beneficiary from their visit was DED, the hot band out of Arizona. Both of them were impressed by the presentation given by the quartet as was I. DED will be doing a short touring run with Pop Evil beginning mid-November. If they’re in your area you have got to check them out.

Covering the Zorn Stage both days didn’t give me much of a chance to check out the main two stages but from all reports from my helpers, things were good. Hollywood Undead was among the favorites as was The Pretty Reckless.

Neither one of the grandkids had an inkling that Taylor Momsen was Cindy Lou Who from the movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas. That seemed to spark even more of an interest.    

Although I wasn’t able to make it to the main stage for either performances, I’ll take the word of both that it was awesome. Those have been my sentiments on every occasion in which I have had the opportunity to see both bands.

One of the things that the festival promoter, Danny Wimmer Presents, does well is include a plethora of up-and-coming bands to the lineup. Case and point would be the opening act on the Monster Stage on Saturday, For We Are Many, out of Dearborn Michigan.

DED and He Is Legend performing at 2017 Louder Than Life Festival on Saturday. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/www.therustbeltchronicles.com

I had the pleasure of checking this five-piece act out as an opener for Art of Anarchy at Diesel Concert Lounge in Detroit this April. I saw enough talent there to know that if given the chance they could arise from the ranks of the locals. I made it down to that end of Champions Park to see a little bit of their set and just as I did in April, I found that the young men were ready to forge their way forward.

I saw three bands that I have never had the pleasure of seeing before and I found that all three were extremely talented and were well worth missing a few acts that I have seen on several occasions.

He Is Legend has been around for over a decade but I had never had the privilege of seeing them before Saturday’s performance.

My band of the day goes to Fire from the Gods out of Austin, Texas. My buddy Jacob Welch has been showering praise on this band for some time and now I understand why. This Rise Records signee provided the LTL crowd with a stirring set that was jaw-shattering pure rock-n-roll. They were full of vigor and enthusiasm that swelled over into the crowd.

Front man, AJ Channer, was enthralling to watch and his vocal work was just as masterful as his delivery. FFTG definitely made an indelible impression on not only myself, but the LTL masses as well, including my two grandkids. They will be an absolute must see should they ever be in the area again.

For whatever reason I missed DED’s performance at this year’s Rock on the Range and when I saw that they would be on the Zorn Stage, I was ecstatic. They didn’t let me down; giving a brutal set that captured the souls of the fans. To say they were impressive would be a major understatement. I can’t wait to see them as well as He Is Legend again in January on Shiprocked.

Through Fire and stage headliners Steel Panther were the other two bands that took to the Zorn Stage and did exactly what I thought they would do, keep the energy level at a high rate and leave everything they have hanging out there for the fans to soak up.

Fire From The Gods and Through Fire performing at 2017 Louder Than Life Festival on Saturday. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/www.therustbeltchronicles.com

Prior to Through Fire’s set I had the opportunity to chat with founder and lead guitarist, Justin McCain who touched on where Through Fire came from, what they’ve been doing and what it meant to be on the Grammy balloting four times.

Through Fire was born about two years ago and we have been touring non-stop since. Working hard and just grinding. As you mentioned being on the Grammy ballot four times was something special and we were very grateful,” McCain said. “Really everything that has happened has been surreal. It’s an ongoing thing of positive energy and positive things that keeps happening. We’re just blown away by all the support that we’ve been getting.”

I also asked about the motivation behind the band’s latest single “Where You Lie” and what can we expect from Through Fire in the future.

“Where You Lie” is basically a song about telling that person who is dragging you down that you’re done being drugged through the trenches that you’re done,” McCain said. “You know, this is my life I’m literally going to leave you where you lie.

“As far as the future goes, we’ve got a headlining tour beginning in November and then we’re going to be starting on new music,” he added. “Fans can check everything out at throughfiremusic.com. They can find our links to Twitter and Facebook there as well.”

Once I was done the three of us headed down to the Monster and Loudmouth Stages to watch the closing five bands which included Halestorm, Mastadon, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch and of course Ozzy Osbourne with Zakk Wylde.

All five bands were spectacular but I’m not sure any of them was as big a thrill for me as seeing Ozzy. Being 56 years old you would think I would have at least seen the “Godfather of Heavy Metal” at least once in my life. But as fate would have it, every time that I had tickets for Ozzfest he didn’t perform.

Random photos from 2017 Louder Than Life Festival. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/www.therustbeltchronicles.com

All I can say about my first experience seeing the living legend is WOW! I had goosebumps as I watched in awe of one of my childhood rock idols. It was well worth the wait, even if the man was two months shy of being 69.

Sunday ended up being a short day for me because I had to make the five hour journey home to get the grandkids in bed at a half-way decent time due to having school on Monday morning.

But that fact didn’t interfere with seeing some great acts. The only mainstage act that I really got to watch was the performance by Stone Sour who was stupendous and as entertaining as always. Stone Sour and The Pretty Reckless got a ‘big thumbs’ up from both the grandkids.

68 and Palaye Royale performing at 2017 Louder Than Life Festival on Sunday. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/www.therustbeltchronicles.com

They like me were also taken aback by the duo called 68. Their rapid-fire punkish sound was volatile yet refreshingly unique. The same can be said in regards to Palaye Royale, who followed 68.

Radkey was a nice prelude to the final two performers of the day, Lacuna Coil and In This Moment. Radkey is a three-piece ensemble out of St. Joseph, Missouri. This three member family band creates their own punk sound which delighted the audience, including this big guy.

Italy’s Lacuna Coil qualifies as my band of the day. I have seen them on several occasions but this was the first time I had the opportunity to photograph them from the pit. The vibrations from the amps were unbelievable as they put on a fantastic performance that was in-your-face.

Andrea Ferro has been around since the formation of the band in Milan while female vocalist, Cristina Scabbia, came onboard two years later. Together this dynamic duo electrified the crowd with a perfect mix that is not only melodic but also hardcore.

Radkey and Lacuna Coil performing at 2017 Louder Than Life Festival on Sunday. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/www.therustbeltchronicles.com

Another original member, Marco Coti Zelati teams with Ryan Blake Folden to unleash a thunderous rhythmic sound tempered by sweet six string work of guitarist Diego Calvallotti. If you have never seen these Italians in person make sure to put it on your to-do list.

Closing the Zorn Stage was the incomparable Maria Brink and In This Moment. Brink’s vocals are blissfully beautiful and her stage presence is as fabulous as anyone in the rock world today. She and her dual compadres go through several outfit changes that enhance the bands presentation.

Guitarist Chris Howorth has been by Brink’s side since day one and does a phenomenal job with the lead guitar. Randy Wetzel is the perfect complement on rhythm guitar while Travis Johnson (bass) and drummer extraordinaire, Kent Diimmel, put forth a massive detonation of power.

In This Moment performing at Louder Than Life Festival 2017. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/www.therustbeltchronicles.com

Collectively they also make it a great photo opportunity from the pit. Not only are they photogenic but In This Moment is one of the rare bands who allow photographers to shoot their entire set.

Corey Taylor and Stone Sour was the final band that I got a glimpse of, albeit from the boonies, which was apropos considering I was in the hills of Kentucky, the state I was born in. Although my vantage point was from a distance, anytime you can hear Taylor doing his thing, it’s a good day. In this case it was a fitting end to an outstanding weekend.

I never did meet the lady that tried to haggle with me on the price of my extra tickets but in case she reads this I want to thank her for giving me the chance to introduce my grandkids to the world of rock festivals. They would also like to reciprocate those feelings as well.

I want to also thank Danny Wimmer Presents and Kristine Ashton-Magnuson of am-media for all of their help in allowing us to take part in this year’s Louder Than Life, especially Kristine for all of her hard work. The same goes out to Justin McCain of Through Fire for doing the short interview.

Finally a big thanks to you our readers for keeping us going with your Facebook likes and website hits.

Until next time this is Big L saying ‘keep those horns up and rock on’!! \m/ \m/

 

    

 

     

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Larry Ritter About Larry Ritter

Hello my name is Larry Ritter, or “Big L” to most of my friends. I’m a production supervisor for a major manufacturer of auto parts here in northwest Ohio. I received an Associate’s degree from Owen’s Community College where I graduated cum laude honors. I have a true passion for music, sports, photography and riding motorcycles. My love for these things are surpassed by just one thing, family, which includes two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

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