The Rust Belt Chronicles review of Friday at Ink in the Clink 2017!!

Sadly, Ink in the Clink 2017 is in our review mirror but the memories that were made will always be right there in front of us. This past weekend Rick and Susan Fields’ dream of putting on a tattoo and music festival proved to be one for the ages. In just its third year of existence IITC had some of the best performances from local and national acts that I have seen. And I’ve been around for a little while. Kudos to Justin Smith for helping put together an amazing musical lineup! 

Not only was the music great but the artistry work given by the droves of tattoo artists were something to behold. Of course the back drop that is The Ohio State Reformatory adds a mystique to the event that can never be matched. The old lady that is most famous for the setting of the movie The Shawshank Redemption was open to all to tour. She is a majestic piece of architecture that while beautiful, can be downright spooky. Add to that the fact that the many actors, who were working in the preview of the ‘Blood Prison’ haunt, were roaming about and the chills and thrills were magnified. And let’s not forget all of the tattoo artistry that was going on within the brick and mortar walls.

Yes, Ink in the Clink may not be as big in stature as many of the rock festivals around the country, but that is just another reason why it is one of my favorites. If you’re a rock fan you really can’t find a bad spot in which to watch the bigger national acts. And you will always be up close to hear those aspiring acts that wish to make it bigger and you get to do so with an amazing sound system.

Things got started on Friday with Cleveland’s Sink the Ship. The five piece ensemble put on quite a performance considering they had the unenviable task of opening the three-day event. They proved to be up to the challenge with a powerful set.

That can also be said for local favorites, Krymzon, who took the stage next. Front man Ron Wise doled out thanks to Rick and Susan before proving why they have been a three time participant at the festival. Wise and his cohorts shoot the foundation of the old prison with a heavy dose of in-your-face attitude.

Shink the Ship, Krymzon, One Step from Falling and After the Ashes performing on Friday at Ink in the Clink 2017. All photos taken by The Rust Belt Chronicles staff photographers.

One Step from Falling from Syracuse, New York made the most of their half hour slot providing the Mansfield crowd with a serving of New York Style rock. Like the cheesecake desert that bears the same name, I very much liked what I saw from this energetic foursome. As far as I’m concerned they’re more than welcome to come back to the Buckeye state as many times as they’d like. If they do and you see the name on a bill, make sure to get out and see for yourself.

From New York to Cincinnati, the unbelievable local talent continued to roll out. This time it was The World I Knew from the Queen city who opened the mainstage. This five piece ensemble is quickly making a name for themselves and rightfully so, they absolutely crank it out with a style all their own. They call their sound ‘TrapMetal’. I’m not sure what that means exactly but they combined metal with rap and then proceed to unleash a ball of explosiveness that is not only fun to watch but also great to listen too. I was a fan from the first time I saw them and they have yet to let me down anytime that I have had the opportunity to take in a show. TWIK were definitely the right choice in which to open up the main stage with.

Once the main stage opened the music was going back and forth the rest of the evening. Bellevue’s After the Ashes was the next act on stage two and it was the first time seeing them for me but it won’t be the last. Sometimes when you’re in the photo pit you miss out on what the name of certain songs are so I looked them up at the end of the night. I believe the tune that struck a chord with me was Just Like You. It blends a heavy dose of screaming with melodic vocals for a great sound.

One of the Battle of the Band winners, Line of Defense, out of Jackson Township tore things up during their set which including a hearty metal version of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. The quartet bounced and jumped their way around the stage while delivering a multitude of sounds wrapped up to create their own unique niche’.

The World I Knew, Line of Defense, Olathia and Bonesaw performing on Friday at Ink in the Clink 2017. All photos taken by The Rust Belt Chronicles staff photographers.

As many concerts that I have been to over the years, I have to shamefully admit that I had never seen the next two bands to entertain the masses from the second stage. Both Olathia out of Cleveland and Mansfield’s own Bonesaw have been around a while. Yet every time that I have had the chance to see them something comes up.  Olathia has played at Ohio Bike Week on multiple occasions and each time I get to Sandusky for whatever reason, after their set is complete. As far as Bonesaw is concerned, it’s just one of those things where I already had a previous commitment at the time they were performing.

Well I’m here to tell you that will not be the case in the future. I was totally mesmerized by the entertaining ability of both Chris Olathia (obviously Olathia) and Greg Parman (Bonesaw) as the lead vocalist for their respective bands. Not only are both charismatic, they deliver a tremendous sound which keeps you wanting more. I truly was disappointed at the end of each set, only because I wanted it to last longer. Remember both bands and don’t pull a Big L, get out and take in a show when you see either name on a marquee.

In between those two tremendous acts was one of my favorite live bands to watch, Flaw, who was the first national act to play the big stage. And as usual Chris Volz and company were on top of their game. Jason Daunt was bouncing all over the place while Tommy Gibbons (bass) and Dan Johnson (drums) rolled out the thunder with their weapon of choice.

Otherwise, who delivered an acoustic show the previous evening at the Whiskey Warehouse, were back in a more familiar setting when they cranked it up with an electrically charged performance. Vocalist Adrian Patrick is as good as they get from an entertainer standpoint. He’s full of piss-and-vinegar (as my grandma would say) and doesn’t stop moving until the final note. They were outstanding as always.

Flaw, Otherwise and Unsaid Fate performing on Friday at Ink in the Clink 2017. All photos taken by The Rust Belt Chronicles staff photographers.

Jackie LaPonza and her band Unsaid Fate delivered once again as they were the prelude to the night’s closer on the second stage, Mushroomhead. LaPonza doubles as a featured backup vocalist for the boys from Cleveland and does a tremendous job with which ever hat she is wearing. The band behind her goes under the radar but they too are very talented and help UF produce a quality rock performance.

Speaking of quality, a Mushroomhead performance is not only top notch from a musical aspect but the visuals are aesthetically amazing as well. From the masks, to the water flying off the drums, to the layout of the props, the stage presence of these industry veterans never gets old. They know what they’re doing and their loyal fanbase continues to swell even after nearly a quarter-of-a-century in the biz.

All That Remains and In This Moment closed out the day’s festivities. ATR not only performed all of their classics but also new material from their latest release “Madness” including ‘Louder’ which is getting heavy air time on Octane. Phil Labonte unloaded his powerful vocals, all the while donning a shirt that proudly read “Definitely Not on Drugs”.

All That Remains, Mushroomhead and In This Moment closing Friday night at Ink in the Clink 2017. All photos taken by The Rust Belt Chronicles staff photographers.

Maria Brink is the consummate entertainer and proved why when she and the rest of In This Moment’s performers capped things off with a flare. The lighting was magnificent (unless you’re a slow photographer such as myself) while the showmanship was at its best. ITM was an absolute perfect way to conclude the opening day of Ink in the Clink.

If you’ve noticed I really haven’t had anything negative to say about the day’s events. There’s a good reason for that, I couldn’t find one. But for those naysayers out there that think there had to be something to complain about. Ok, you got me; I was disappointed by the fact that I was having such a good time that I forgot to eat. That was definitely a negative because there were all kinds of goodies including those scrumptious Island Noodles. Actually the no eating thing would be a model for the whole weekend as I never did partake in any of the cuisine.

Well there you have it…Ink in the Clink on Friday from a musical standpoint. Stay tuned for Saturday, Sunday and an overall weekend recap right here at The Rust Belt Chronicles. Until then 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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