Louder Than Life…Rapidly becoming A Must Attend Event!

 

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All photos: © 2015 Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

Let me just start out by sending kudos to Danny Wimmer Presents and all of the sponsors who made Louder Than Life another success at Louisville’s Champions Park over the weekend of October 3rd & 4th.

NXT and random photos from Louder Than Life-2015. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles

Despite rain and below seasonal temperatures on Saturday, LTL went off with only a slight delay. There were other hiccups along the way such as ‘We Are Harlot’s’ tour bus breaking down enroute to the fest, causing them to be late on Sunday, but overall the powers that be, dealt with the negatives to provide one positive weekend experience for those in attendance. The aforementioned ‘We Are Harlot’ did not let their road troubles stop them, they along with DWP simply adjusted the schedule and ended up playing the last set of the weekend on the ‘Jager’ Stage, much to the delight of their fans.

Once again this year just as it was in the inaugural voyage in 2014, the weekend lineup of rock was jam-packed full of outstanding musical talent, the ‘Gourmet Man Food’ was seemingly endless as was the varieties of adult beverages. If you couldn’t find something delectable to fill your tummy and something to wash it down with, well then you just weren’t looking. And if you didn’t get your rock on, you weren’t there to do so because it was coming from all corners of Champions Park.

I’m sure there are those who will find something to complain about in regards to the lineup; there always is for whatever reason when it comes to a festival lineup. However this big guy understands that a festival is for all fans and you will never hear a negative word from me about any lineup.

Oh well, that’s a subject that could fill up a whole article and I’ll save that for another day.

Getting back to the experience that is Louder Than Life, rain didn’t discourage many from attending Saturday’s session. Instead they came out in droves fully bundled in their cold weather gear and trekked through the muddy fields as they traveled between the four stages that were setup for all of the rock-n-roll consumption.

Rob Zombie and Godsmack were the big hitters who capped off the opening day on the Monster Energy North and South stages respectively but there was plenty of rock that came before the dynamic duo.

Kentucky Headhunters, Like A Storm, Aranda and Issues at LTL 2015. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles

Up-and-coming bands like Romantic Rebel, Like a Storm, Aranda and Issues ripped up the ‘Jager’ Stage during the early afternoon while the likes of Ohio’s own Red Sun Rising (Akron) and Starset (Columbus) joined rock stalwarts Tremonti, Sevendust and Chevelle on the Monster Energy Stage East which was located less the a football field away.

I personally spent most of my time at this end of the park due to my assignment and although the majority of the big names were at the other end, I have no qualms in saying the entertainment value coming from these two stages were simply amazing.

I saw Aranda at WIIL Rock Fest in Wisconsin earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed the band’s set then and they didn’t disappoint in the Commonwealth.

I was very impressed with the energy that New Zealand’s, Like a Storm, showed while on the stage and Issues from Atlanta, Georgia was a surprise, especially considering I can honestly say that I had never heard them before, or if I had I don’t remember it.

Tremonti and Sevendust were impressive as always but my favorite set of day was that of Chevelle. This three-piece family affair (brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler along with brother-in-law, Dean Bernardini) from Illinois has been around for twenty years and they still bring it with the best of them. The light show that accompanied their performance was elaborate and added an esthetic beauty to an already powerfully energized performance.

Random photos from Saturday at 2015 LTL. Photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

Meanwhile at the western portion of the park another Columbus, Ohio ensemble, Beartooth, performed on the Monster Energy South stage before Zombie’s closing set along with Trivium, Hollywood Undead and England’s, Bring Me The Horizon.

Although I did spend most of the day at the other end I was still able to take in some of Beartooth and BMTH and I liked what I heard, as did the masses gathered in front of the stage.

Butcher Babies and Saint Asonia are a pair of bands that took to the Monster Energy North area and built the fans into a frothy frenzy in anticipation of Atreyu, Seether and Godsmack. The couple did their job to perfection as I knew they would. This was the third time seeing both groups this year and every time they have been front and center, they delivered. SA has rapidly become one of my favorite bands, of course the fact that former Three Days Grace lead vocalist, Adam Gontier, and Staind guitarist, Mike Mushok, may have something to do with that.

Not much can be said negatively about the rest of the lineup when you have Seether, Godsmack and Zombie yet to play.

To top off my day I enjoyed a chicken enchilada from the Jack Daniels barbeque area and it was an absolute taste bud explosion and trust me I may know more about food than I do music. They don’t call me Big L for nothing!

I also got to spend a little time watching a little pro wrestling as the NXT stars of tomorrow were on display in their own tent. Wrestling and music have always gone hand in hand but I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to fit into the festival atmosphere. Answer to that question was ‘quite nicely’ with the seats usually being filled during the different matches.

By the time I got back to the hotel the temperature was already showing signs of rising so I was ready to get a good night’s rest and go back at it on Sunday.

Things were once again a little off kilter once I got to the venue thanks to the bus trouble of We Are Harlot.

But just as they had done the day before, DWP and the other folks who help with putting on a show of this magnitude, did a tremendous job of adapting and kept the show moving forward.

Two more bands that were unfamiliar to me got things started on the ‘Jager Stage’ and once again the work of both left me thinking, my CD collection is about to grow.

All Them Witches from Tennessee and The Glorious Sons out of Canada are both young guns who have a great upside as far as the future goes. I’ll get another chance to check out the latter early in 2016 when they join the Shiprocked lineup.

The Glorious Sons, All Them Witches, Tremonti and 3 Doors Down at LTL-2015. Photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles.

My age and the ability to travel between stages was tested over the next couple of hours with bands like Nothing More and Hinder playing on the south stage, 10 years on the north side, Kentucky Headhunters and Skid Row setting up on the east flat as well as Flaw on the Jager mobile spot all playing within a two hour window.

I wasn’t able to see a full performance from any of the bands but did catch a song or two from all. The only disappointment I can say I had was in Skid Row’s set, not that it was awful but it just wasn’t Sebastian Bach front and center and that made a difference in my opinion.

10 Years posted a vindicating effort for me, making up for what I felt was an off night at the LC Pavilion in Columbus last month. That pleased me because I am a huge fan of the Tennessee quartet.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Kentucky Headhunters, not because I thought they were out of their element but because I was expecting to hear all of their old favorites like “Dumas Walker” and “Let’s Work Together”, but instead they delivered a lot of new material from their bluesy compilation entitled “Meet Me in Bluesland”. Oh, and they also did please the crowd with rendition of the previously mentioned oldies.

FLAW, Nothing More, Skid Row and Sevendust at LTL 2015. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles

Home grown band, Flaw, who will be making appearances at O’Shecky’s in Columbus and Dillinger’s Event Center in Bucyrus later this month, brandished their alternative metal sound with the power of that of a full running field in the Kentucky Derby. I’m looking forward to seeing the show at Dillinger’s on the 23rd.

Following Flaw I headed back down to listen to Collective Soul and Black Stone Cherry while partaking in a tasty beverage in the Bourbon Tent with a few of my Rock on the Range Party Crew friends.

As the day hit the midpoint there was still plenty of rock to be seen and heard and all of it was top notch including the set list given by We Came as Romans. Even though I had been to previous festivals that the collaboration out of Troy, Michigan has been, this was my first experience of actually witnessing a live show. It may have been my initial look but it won’t be my last, as my time in the photo pit for this six-piece group of high energy individuals left me wanting more. With the exception of drummer, Eric Choi, the rest of the band was jumping and gyrating all over the stage while the vocal work of Kyle Pavone and David Stephens was awe-inspiring. WCAR gained at least one fan with their effort.

We Came As Romans and We Are Harlot at LTL 2015. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles

We Are Harlot closed out the ‘Jager Stage’ after arriving at Champions Park following their bus breakdown but they were well at ease, stepping into the limelight.

Somewhere in there little known bands (this is sarcasm) like Three Doors Down (east stage), Breaking Benjamin (north) and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (south) were pleasing their fans as we drew to the end of the delightful two-day experience.

My performance of the day was the final act on the east stage and that came from Rock-n-Roll Hall-of-Fame member, Lynyrd Skynyrd. I may be showing my age but the southern boys who have been around for over forty years are one of my all-time favorites.

In all the years of going to concerts I have never had the thrill of seeing the Jacksonville, Florida group. I know it’s not the originals from back in the day with the airplane tragedy of 1977 taking the lives of three members and starting (rightfully so) a ten year hiatus.

Lynyrd Skynyrd at LTL 2015. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/The Rust Belt Chronicles

But lead man, Johnny Van Zant, carries on the tradition of his older brother Ronnie, while co-founding member, Gary Rossington is still around and shredding and laying downs unbelievable riffs on the six string. Regardless of the lineup that was standing on the stage, the sound was tight and crisp and brought back memories from my youth that had been lying dormant somewhere in this big old bald noggin! Truly an amazing moment that I’ll not soon forget.

Shinedown and ZZ Top had the task of shutting down the festival and they were more than up to the challenge.

As I hit the road for the five hour trip home, I sat and thought about the two days that had just passed and I wondered if there was anything that I would change and I really couldn’t come up with anything. Perhaps Danny Wimmer Presents can find a masseuse sponsor who can set up a mobile station somewhere on the grounds. Selfishly the media area would be an ideal spot.

Seriously though, DWP and the rest of the Louder Than Life sponsors should be proud of a job well done. Give yourselves a pat on the back, drink a bourbon if you choose and celebrate another great year. But don’t take too long in celebratory mode, remember you have to get started on plans for 2016. I already have the first weekend in October blocked out on my calendar.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer/Disclosure

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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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