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Louder Than Life


By Angela Ash


Photo Credit:  Tim Ash

Louder Than Life literally roars into Louisville, packed to the brim with hard rocking music acts, whiskey, and plenty to fill your stomach... with what the festival is calling "gourmet man food".  Sound like a good time?  Thousands are in agreement. 

Louisville has needed a festival of this nature almost like it needs the Kentucky Derby.

With the heavy metal and rock scene being a staple of Louisville nightlife, and with a slew of signed acts actually calling Louisville home, it just makes undeniable sense to base a weekend of this magnitude in a city that already embraces its culture. 

Louder Than Life, in its inaugural year, has a lineup literally filled with undeniable talent.  Just out of the gate, this festival already knows what the crowd in Louisville is after, and they know how to present hard-rocking music in a way that doesn't leave you hiking from one side of the festival grounds to the other in a 10 minute window.  With two main stages, side by side, the bands alternate from one stage to the other, with plenty of time to move over just a few yards to catch the next act.  And with the Marshall Headphones Stage just a few moments away, even relocating there is quick and painless.  This brilliant stage set-up should be applauded.

On Day One, the Monster Main Stage North features Judas Priest, Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington, Alter Bridge, Theory Of A Deadman, Pop Evil, and Otherwise. 

The Monster Main Stage South showcases Korn, Limp Bizkit, Mastodon, Steel Panther, Fuel, and Nonpoint. 

On the Marshall Headphones Stage, concert goers may see Memphis May Fire, Miss May I, Thousand Foot Krutch, Wilson, and Louisville's very own Flaw. 

After an incredible performance from Flaw, Nonpoint blazes onto the Monster Main Stage South in a fury, electrifying the crowd with "What A Day", "Breaking Skin", and "Bullet With A Name".  Nonpoint always entertains as if they are on a giant stage, and at Louder Than Life, they even seem larger than life... covering every inch of space as Elias Soriana pushes out clear vocals that resonate down the street.  Obviously a crowd favorite, it is not a bit too early to see fists in the air and feet off the ground.  With their new album The Return out on Razor & Tie, Nonpoint delivers a powerful punch to start things off, leaving many festival goers to say that they put on one of the best performances during the day.


Trevor McNevan - Thousand Foot Krutch

The same can also be said of Thousand Foot Krutch, as they command the Marshall Headphones Stage.  Straight off the success of their latest album, Oxygen:  Inhale, TFK seems to be caught up in a whirlwind of increasing exhilaration, which is so infectious that the crowd has no choice but to be swept away by this virtual storm.  Filled with energy, they roll through "Let The Sparks Fly", "Born This Way", and "Fire It Up"... all met with thunderous applause.

Able to catch up with Trevor McNevan earlier that day, he has plenty to say about the appreciation that they have for their fans.  He is extremely excited to be at Louder Than Life, saying "For a first year festival, this is crazy!  We are honored to be a part of it!" But it seems that it is their fans who feel honored, as they are unable to resist their adrenaline-fueled brand of rock, filled with just the right mix of positive inspiration.

And as the day begins to turn into night, Limp Bizkit takes the stage backed with plenty of nostalgia, as Fred Durst takes the crowd back with tracks like "Rollin', "My Generation", and "Break Stuff".  He didn't provide his cover of "Faith" from Three Dollar Bill Ya'll, but he did manage to squeeze in GNR's "Welcome To The Jungle", and a love it or hate it version of Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name".


Korn duels back with an absolutely incredible set, played to festival patrons who have packed tight against the railing all day... just waiting for the unmistakable sound of bagpipes.  Korn never disappoints.  They instinctively know just how to blend favorites with newer material, like "Spike In My Veins", from their latest album, Paradigm Shift.  Davis is all over the stage, fully aware of how to impress a crowd with "Falling Away From Me", "Shoots And Ladders", "Freak On A Leash", and "Blind". 

Ending Day One, Judas Priest file onto the Monster Main Stage North, with their patented style of metal.  The crowd is worked into a frenzy, bouncing with anticipation, as they start off with "Dragonaut", moving along to hits like "Breaking The Law", "You've Got Another Thing Comin'", and "Living After Midnight". 

As the first day of Louder Than Life ends, many attendees head for the gates, some to the overnight camping area... but all ready for another full day of heavy rock, served up Louisville style.


On Day Two, the Monster Main Stage North features Kid Rock, Papa Roach, A Day To Remember, Buckcherry, Hellyeah, Avatar, and Monster Truck. 

The Monster Main Stage South presents Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Bring Me To The Horizon, P.O.D., Nothing More, Crobot, and The New Black 7.

The Marshall Headphones Stage will thrill patrons with Chiodos, Motionless In White, Butcher Babies, and Islander. 

In short, be ready to rock your face off.


Johannes Eckerstrom - Avatar

And that is exactly what Avatar does, with a theatrical presence not yet seen on the Louder Than Life stage.  Prowling about like a ringmaster, Johannes Eckerstrom completely entrances the crowd with his mesmerizing voice, personality, and captivating antics.  Hailing from Sweden, band mates John Alfredsson, Kungen, Tim Ohrstrom, and Henrik Sandelin bang their heads in complete synchronicity as Eckerstrom waves his cane as if he is the maniacal conductor of a crazed symphony.  Avatar is utterly brilliant, opening with "Hail the Apocalypse", the title track of the album that needs to be in everyone's music library. They smash through "Vultures Fly", "Bloody Angel", and "Smells Like a Freakshow"... all with an effortless bravado that seems to often strike the crowd with awe.  They are undeniably the best performance of the afternoon.


Sonny Sandoyal - P.O.D.

After Hellyeah's mind-blowing performance, P.O.D. is just gearing up for the challenge. After taking a long hiatus, the talk all day throughout the crowd centers a lot on P.O.D., bringing with them an air of reminiscence.  The crowd becomes restless, with this sense of anxiety... just waiting for those opening bars.  And then, in a blast of adrenaline, P.O.D. take the South Stage, met with near deafening applause.  P.O.D. begins the most impassioned set to grace the Louder Than Life stage for the entire weekend.  Watching Sonny Sandoyal sing, rap, scream, and raise his hands to the sky feels almost like an awakening of sorts.  It's a reminder that music has to mean something to really move you... and the patrons at LTL agree, as they jump... fists often in the air... yelling the lyrics at the tops of their lungs to favorites like "Youth Of The Nation". "Alive", "Boom", and "Southtown". 

Buckcherry, Bring Me To The Horizon, and A Day To Remember follow on the Main Stages.  Buckcherry rushes in like a breath of fresh air, always pleasing festival goers with energetic, "feel good" music, and even taking the time to slow things down a bit for "Sorry". 

A Day To Remember is another festival favorite, thrilling their fans with songs like "The Downfall Of Us All" and "The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle".  Their stage effects really pump up the crowd.  It was a not-too-subtle reminder that this isn't just a regular show.  This is Louder Than Life... complete with confetti!


 Michael Poulsen - Volbeat

When Volbeat arrive on the Monster Main Stage South, Louder Than Life is in full force, much like a runaway train.  The stage areas are PACKED... and the festival grounds have quickly turned into a sea of people, all riding the waves to see Volbeat.  Tossing out the likes of "Hallelujah Goat", "Dead But Rising", and "Still Counting", Volbeat bring their unmistakable sound to eager fans who have waited all day for this moment.


Ivan L. Moody - Five Finger Death Punch

After the sun goes down at Champions Park, things begin to take on a different feel.  One can actually see the crowd growing restless.  People are stretching, some are jumping and hopping... as if they are preparing for an MMA fight.  And they're not too far off.  Five Finger Death Punch is about to explode onto the stage.  This performance is just legendary, as they remind the crowd that they are at a metal show, blaring out "Under and Over It", "Never Enough", "The Bleeding", and their mind blowing rendition of "Bad Company".  The floor is ablaze with numerous pits, crowd surfers, and random objects being tossed into the air, as Moody manipulates the crowd like a puppet master.  THIS is a true metal moment.


Kid Rock

To follow Five Finger Death Punch would be daunting for just about anybody, except for this festival closer.  Although he needs absolutely no introduction, when he screams "My name is Kid Rock", I DARE you not to get goose bumps. 

Being absolutely no stranger to a hard climb, years ago Bob Ritchie clawed his way to the top of a music industry that was just evolving into the sort of environment that would embrace his cross-over style. And what is refreshing about this born entertainer is that he has never forgotten his humble beginnings in Detroit.  In fact, he feeds off it... making every fan feel like he is relatable, even though he is the "Pimp of the Nation". 

And there is absolutely nothing that can compare to the way in which Kid Rock takes ownership of this final Louder Than Life stage.  He just erupts like a fiery volcano, spewing musical prowess, catchy lyrics, and an instinctual ability to give a crowd exactly what it wants.  As he rolls from one hit to the next, he sings "Devil Without a Cause", "Cowboy", "Bawitdaba", "All Summer Long", and "Born Free".

At the end of Louder Than Life, it is easy to see that there is no festival of this kind in the nation.  They offer one uniwue experience after the next. One such thing is the opportunity to meet many of the artists throughout the day.  Signing free posters and shaking hands, bands mingle with fans at many locations throughout the grounds... for not a penny more than the ticket price.


Johannes Eckerstrom - Avatar  - Photo Credit:  Josh Vincent

While the caliber of the music alone could obviously be the only draw, festival organizers have also dropped in some note-worthy eating and drinking experiences.  Celebrity chefs are on hand, like Chris Santos and Vic Vegas, and patrons may visit Jack Daniel's Whiskey Experience and Germantown Presented By Jagermeister.

And this fest isn't serving up lukewarm hot dogs and stale nachos.  Whether you are grabbing up a platter of ribs and steak fries, or you are in the mood for some traditional German food, LTL has you covered.

Louder Than Life has FINALLY given Louisville precisely what it deserves... a festival that proudly rocks just as hard as this city. 

Visit Louder Than Life for more information, and stay posted for next year's festival details.