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Brisk winds whipped across Champions Park in Louisville, Kentucky throughout the weekend carrying the sound of
rock and roll along with the aroma of gourmet foods and bourbon at the inaugural Louder Than Life music festival.
Cold temperatures didn't prevent fans from going to the outside autumn event, parking spots filled up fast with many
vehicles having out of state plates. Each day, the event's three stages were packed solid from front to back.
Two Monster Energy Drink main stages sat beside each other with a barrier down the middle to separate the north and
south stages with an ideal amount of distance between the two, allowing fans on either side to easily take in all of the
non-overlapping performances on each main stage; when one set ended, another set began after a 5-10 minute break,
bringing 12 hours of live music both days. Marshall Headphones' side stage was stationed at the opposite end of the
The festival opened with an exceptional performance by Louisville hard rockers Flaw on the side stage. The four-piece
plowed through an energetic late morning set with a setlist that included crowd favorite "My Letter." Sixteen more
bands performed during the day including a solid set by Limp Bizkit on Saturday evening.
Fronted by Fred Durst with a mask-wearing black-painted Wes Borland on guitar, Limp Bizkit brought their mix of rap
and rock "like it was 1999," revisiting Chocolate Starfish..., Three Dollar Bill, Y'All and Significant Other.
Durst thanked Korn by saying, "we wouldn't be where we are today without Korn" giving mention to The Family Values
Tour. Limp Bizkit performed a body moving cover of Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name" before closing
with "Break Stuff" and "Take A Look Around."
The environment became relaxed and melancholy when Stone Temple Pilots (STP) with Chester Bennington
performed. Bennington transformed into ex-STP vocalist Scott Weiland, complete with half spins, hunched over
crawls and brief crowd interactions--much different than seeing him perform with currently touring Linkin Park.
Despite the performance having more valleys than peaks, the calm crowd sang along to "Vasoline," "Interstate Love
Song," "Plush," and "Dead and Bloated." As a whole, the band and Chester's vocals sounded most alive during their
new song "Out Of Time."
Following STP's performance, Korn woke the crowd up with a phenomenal set. After 20 years in the business, the
band showed no sign of stagnation. Lead vocalist Jonathan Davis fired the crowd up with his dancing and wicked
beatboxing growls. Tapping into the band's 11 album catalogue, songs performed included "Got The Life," "Falling
Away From Me," "Freak On A Leash," and "Here To Stay" as well as newer tracks "Spike In My Veins" and "Hater."
Davis brought out his bag pipes for danceable, syncopated nursery rhyme favorite "Shoots and Ladders;" nobody can
say "Mary had a little lamb who's fleece is white as snow" like Jon Davis. Having guitarist Head back in the Korn lineup
made the band's performance sound more complete. After closing the high energy set with "Blind," drummer
Ray Luzier walked down from his massive spider shaped drum rig holding a child who was wearing headphones.
Luzier handed drumsticks to the wide smiling young'en who attempted to toss out the sticks to fans in the crowd.
Throughout the summer, Louder Than Life received praise and hype after announcing legendary Judas Priest as a
headliner, but unfortunately the crowd thinned out before Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, Scott Travis and guitarist
Richie Faulkner took the stage. After the speaker's blared Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" for an audience sing along,
Halford stepped on stage decked in black leather wearing his metal shades and black gloves to open the set with the
band's new album Redeemer Of Souls' single "Dragonaut." Halford still kicks a punch with his wide vocal range and
high pitched wails that haven't flattened since the band's early 70's formation. The metal inspiring 45-year-old Judas
Priest performed songs including "Breaking The Law," "Living After Midnight," "Hell Bent For Leather," and "You've Got
Another Thing Comin'." Priest is currently on tour with Steel Panther in support of their 17th album Redeemer Of Souls.
Sunday brought warmer temperatures, a brief rain shower and a heavier lineup. Towards the evening, Danish rockers
Volbeat dominated Louder Than Life with a solid, forceful 10-song set that included chart toppers "Still Counting,"
"Heaven Nor Hell" and "A Warrior's Call." Lead guitarist Rob Caggiano (ex-Anthrax) nailed it throughout the
performance and lead vocalist Michael Poulsen expressed his gratitude to fans in America for Volbeat's success and
"not letting them leave." Volbeat is currently on a co-headling tour with Five Finger Death Punch alongside early
Sunday Louder Than Life performers Nothing More and Hellyeah.
After Volbeat tore through the speakers, Papa Roach blew the crowd away with a pounding set. Papa Roach vocalist
Jacoby Shaddix's energy was contagious as the band opened with Infest's "Between Angels and Insects." Other songs
performed off the 2000 album were "Infest," "Blood Brothers" and set closer "Last Resort." The crowd stayed alive for
the band's 50-minute set which also included "Burn," "Getting Away With Murder," "Scars," and "Forever." Papa Roach
will release a new single late October and a full studio album in January.
Knuckleheads were out in full force at Louder Than Life on Sunday proving to be the rowdiest crowd of the entire
festival. Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP) always bring an 'in your face' mastered performance with high energy.
5FDP opened with "Under and Over It" and delved into "Lift Me Up," "Bad Company" and "Never Enough" among
other tracks between baseball bat carrying vocalist Ivan Moody's crowd interaction interludes. With major success
and relentless touring, each member of 5FDP has made individual trademark names for themselves by continuously
connecting with fans on a personal level and dominating with top notch live performances. The sea of crowd surfers
and sporadic mosh pits subsided after Five Finger left the stage.
Similar to the previous night, the crowd began to slowly disperse before Sunday night headliner Kid Rock took the
stage over with his southern rock/rap style. Rock sounded smooth and consistent as he flowed through his gritty
twang rhymes meshing songs together including "Devil Without A Cause," "Fuckn' Forty," "Only God Knows Why" and
"Bawitdaba." After two decades as a live performer, Kid Rock still knows how to throw a massive party with a full band
including a DJ, back up singers and a saxophonist.
Louder Than Life has established a fresh idea that proved successful--a combination of Louisville trademark foods
and drinks with rock and metal music to create a memorable two-day experience. Event co-producer Gary Spivak
announced to the crowd: Louder Than Life will return to Louisville next year.
Louder Than Life Artists Speak To Out Of The Blue About The Festival's Debut
Tobin Esperance (Papa Roach bassist): "It feels like home. We're playing this festival tonight and it's with all of our
friends, all the bands we grew up playing with. This is a market that we haven't been to in a long time, but we know
that every time we come here, the crowd goes off and has a great time. They definitely need this festival so we're
looking forward to it."
Tony Palermo (Papa Roach drummer): "The guys that run it, Danny Wimmer and Gary Spivak, they're the same guys
that have been popping up these festivals all over the country now and they're just breaking into a different market.
Like Tobin said, it feels like home. I wasn't sure how the setup was going to be, but it's a proper festival."
Jonny Hawkins (Nothing More lead singer, auxiliary drums): "First of all, the lineup is incredible. We play a lot of these
festivals that span across the entire year. We played Aftershock a few weeks ago and that lineup was so good and I
thought that was going to be the best festival we play this year, but then this came around and I looked at the lineup
and I was blown away. So that alone is worth it, just being here. The whole setup, the organization, the cool VIP perks
they have for everyone here is just amazing. It's great to be a part of it and playing on the main stage in front of all
Elias Soriano (Nonpoint vocalist): "It's an awesome festival. So far, so good. The crowd is out here early, which is
great and everyone seems to be having a good time."
Kyle Landry (Wilson guitarist): "I'm cold, but that's my own fault for not bringing something warmer. Good food and
good vibes all around!"
Jason Spencer (Wilson guitarist): "As far as the festival set up, this is great. It's right along the river, it's a great area
for fall. The crowd has been great. Everyone who has been working the show has been very organized and helpful.
All the stages have sounded great."
Ryan Patrick (Otherwise lead guitarist): "It is going to be one of the best festivals in this part of the country for sure.
It's the first year and it's bad ass."
Andy Pugh (Otherwise rhythm guitarist): "It's really cool with this being the first year of the festival to see so many
people come out early and check out some of the early opening bands."
Jake (Crobot bassist): "We came right before Mastodon's set, that was the band we were all really looking forward to."
Brandon (Crobot vocalist): "Music, food, whiskey and bourbon... I mean, you can't really go wrong."
Keith Nelson (Buckcherry guitarist): "It's phenomenal. Amazing parking for the buses, great catering. Not too hot,
not too cold and great interviews. It's been great."
Levi Benton (Miss May I vocalist): "I think it's pretty awesome. It's close to home for us, we're from Ohio so it's nice to
drive down and do something close. Usually all these cool festivals are either in Chicago or LA or something crazy,
so it's nice to be in the Midwest. This is cool because there's a lot of whiskey sponsors, so I'm excited to walk around
and see all these local tents."
Connect: Louder Than Life
Louder Than Life slugs home run in Louisville
Kid Rock closing the final day of Louder Than Life 2014 on Sunday, October 5.
Judas Priest headlining Saturday, October 4.
PHOTOS (click images for photo galleries -- more coming soon)