Where will the road take YOU?

Destination Diaries

E-mail Print PDF


Louder Than Life



Written By Angela Ash

Photos By Tim Ash


Louder Than Life raged back into Louisville, Kentucky, for its fourth consecutive year, breaking attendance records and presenting, arguably, the best lineup yet. It's easy to see why attendees are now coming from all across the country (and beyond) to witness the spectacle that has quickly become one of Louisville's premier events. And if any city knows how to do metal, it's most definitely Louisville.

So, let's take a moment to recap and see why this year's Louder Than Life was the best yet.


Its Vast Appeal


When you look out at the crowd at Louder Than Life, you may not always see the demographic that you might expect. Whereas dozens of other heavy rock festivals tend to appeal to a 20- to 30-something age group, comprised mostly of males, this festival turns that idea completely on its head. 

At Louder Than Life, you never know quite what to expect when it comes to attendees. Of course, there are the fist-pumping masses of rockers, but you also see an older crowd. In fact, a self-professed grandmother was even spotted crowd surfing over at the Zorn Stage. And I believe this year welcomed more families than ever before, with a metal princess or two seen fully supporting The Pretty Reckless.


Before 6


If you waited for the headliners to hit the stage at this year's Louder Than Life, it's highly possible that you may have missed out on some of the best performances of the entire weekend. With three stages pumping out back-to-back artists, this is truly a live-music-lover's perfect scenario. Plus, it's an opportunity to hear music that you might not be familiar with. Seriously, how many of you left Louder Than Life after finding a "new favorite band?"

New Years Day, performing on the Loudmouth Stage, enthralled the audience with their empowering stage presence and Ashley Costello's clear vocals. They ran through songs like "Malevolence," "Other SIde" and "Defame Me." 


Ded also put on an amazing set on the Zorn Stage, with their unique sound that has helped them to score an ever-growing fan base. Their high-enery performace included "Disassociate," "Hate Me" and "Anti-Everything."

Other brilliant performances included yet another female-fronted band, previously mentioned, which left quite an impact on the late-afternoon crowd. The Pretty Reckless crashed onto the Loudmouth Stage led by Taylor Momsen, sporting dark sunglasses, all-black attire and an attitude to match. Even though the crowd sang at the top of their lungs, they still couldn't overcome her strong, beautifully-controlled vocals during hits like "Make Me Wanna Die," "Heaven Knows" and "Going to Hell." 


The Experience


Of course, many festivals are going for the "destination" label this season, offering music, food and regional drinks that lend a nod to the hosting city. However, none do it just like Louder Than Life. With a campground for those who don't want to miss a moment of the action and local foods and libations that scream "Louisville," the tantalizing aromas mix ever so deliciously with the excitement that goes along with the festival spirit.


Fan Engagement


Now, most of you came to see your favorite acts on Louder Than Life's three stages, but you may not have known that you were going to get the chance to get up close and personal with them, either. FYE and Monster Energy offered several once-in-a-lifetime moments to meet your favorite artists. Some of the performers who offered signings included The Pretty Reckless, Nothing More, Ded, Lacuna Coil, In This Moment and many others. 

As Night Falls


As the sun began to hide behind the stages of Louder Than Life, you can definitely feel the anticipation begin to build. While the earlier acts were remarkable, some of the artists yet to hit the stage were the main reason that people piled into a van and drove cross-country. With names like Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, the Prophets and Rage and Five Finger Death Punch, it was definitely worth the drive. 

And if any band could be dubbed a "festival master," it would have to be Five Finger Death Punch. Playing all across the globe and in front of tens of thousands of people, this is what a festival performance is all about. With an emotionally-fueled presence, FFDP pounded through fan favorites like "Never Enough," "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Bad Company," even slowing down for an instant to give the gifts of "Wrong Side of Heaven" and "Remember Everything."


Over on the Zorn Stage, filling the  Sunday headlining slot, In This Moment brought a pageantry to the stage that was almost unreal. Maria Brink has to have one of the most easily recongnizable female voices in rock music today, and complete with background dancers and a handful of costume changes, her performance quickly turned into an event. Fans sang along to "Blood," "Roots," "Oh Lord," "Whore" and more.

Rock legends Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie both played through centuries of music, backed with squealing guitars from Zakk Wylde and John 5, respectively. Osbourne brought fans in with anthems like "War Pigs," "Crazy Train" and "Mama, I'm Comin' Home." And the thrilling Zombie left the crowd with "Living Dead Girl," "Superbeast" and "Thunder Kiss '65."

And then it happened - the moment that brought the feverish two days of rock 'n' roll to a climax. That's right, the Prophets of Rage exploded onto the Monster Energy Stage. Comprised of three members of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, two members of Public Enemy and rapper B-Real of Cypress Hill, this is the perfect example of what industry media like to dub a "suger group." Putting on the most energy-packed, prolific performance of the entire festival, they even brought the crowd on the bleacher in the VIP section to their feet. They managed to cram in hit after hit, as they brought the crowd to a frenzy with "Testify," Jump Around," "Sleep Now in the Fire" and the ever-current "Killing in the Name."

As festival goers filed out of Champions Park, it was easy to see that everyone in attendance was in unity about at least one thing - Louder Than Life 2017 was an explosive success. Talk was already happening about who could possibly be performing next year, as names were tossed around and hopes were expressed. Even the traffic didn't break the mood, as cars blasted music from some of the artists featured on stage over the weekend.

As we all look to next year, we might wonder how Louder Than Life could possibly top this lineup of artists. However, something tells me that they'll have no problem meeting the challenge. 

Stay tuned for more details at Louder Than Life, or you can read the news right here on Destination Diaries as it breaks.