Live Review + Photos: LOUDER THAN LIFE 2017 at Champions Park, Louisville KY on 30/9/17 – 1/10/17

Louder Than Life 2017, in Louisville, Kentucky, was definitely a weekend to remember! With a record crowd expected to exceed 60,000 people, it’s safe to say the festival was an amazing success.

Day one of the weekend kicked off with New Jersey natives, Palisades. Although they had the difficult task of opening up for the entire festival, they didn’t disappoint. With their high energy and excitement from festival-goers, it was as if they had been given the perfect set time. As the Palisades set came to a close, and I made my way through the crowd, I noticed several people cosplaying as different characters. From SpiderMan to PowerRangers, from Ted to Jesus, it was by far one of the best moments I’ve witnessed at a festival.

As the beautiful fall day progressed, and several artists played, there was one set in particular i was rather excited to cover: Starset. I can honestly say they exceeded all my expectations! With their killer space theme and amazing cellist and violinist, it’s safe to say that Starset knew how to put on a show. They had such strong emotional crowd connection that it made them a must-see for LTL17.

As several artists graced the stage throughout the day from Sleeping With Sirens and Of Mice And Men, to Hollywood Undead and Gojira, it was more than obvious that Louder was off to a great start. As the sunny day slowly began to turn to dusk, it was time for the headlining sets, and Halestorm was there to kick it all off. They opened their set with “Love Bites (But So Do I)” and it was immediately clear fans were in for a strong and fast-paced show. Lead singer, Lzzy Hale, brought an entirely different vibe to the stage with her powerful vocal performance and incredible guitar shredding. Every band member’s interaction on the stage set it apart from the other sets. With drummer Arejay Hale’s constant smiling, to lead guitarist Joe Hottinger’s calm stage presence, and bassist Josh Smith’s exciting energy, there was honestly never a dull moment during the Halestorm set.

When the sun had set it was time for the next phase of the party to start! It seemed as if everyone in attendance had made their way to the Monster stage to see, the one and only, Rob Zombie. As the dark night sky hung above the thousands of fans, you could feel the excitement build as the lights on stage dimmed and the music began to play. It was as if the crowd had come alive in a totally different way. He hit the stage in his tassel covered silver Forgotten Saints LA get up and matching cowboy hat. But things were only just getting started. I thought the crowd couldn’t possibly get any more energetic, but when Zombie started to play his hit “Living Dead Girl”, it was as if things had been kicked up to an unimaginable level in a matter of seconds. Adults, as well as the kiddos, were all dancing and singing along. He is truly a performer with a style all his own. Although his performances were incredible, the icon’s connection with his fans was incredibly memorable. He joked in between songs with them about things such as needing to be louder or he’d have to turn his hearing aids up. You could hear the laughter across the entire park when he made these jokes, and it made for such a fun, easy going, and exciting set.

As the “undead party” came to a close, we were left with one last set before the legendary Ozzy hit the stage: Five Finger Death Punch. I don’t think I saw the crowd get as into any other set as they did for Five Finger. Just in the opening song alone, the crowd surfing was non stop! However, what I think made this set so much fun was the huge amount of young kids there to see the band perform. Playing both old favorites and new ones, the setlist was stacked with more than just a few hits from “Bad Company” to “Wash It All Away”. Though the mix of new and old songs was nice, it was really the two acoustic songs that made for such an amazing set. Hearing their song “Wrong Side Of Heaven” played acoustically in front of thousands was somewhat of a haunting experience. Lead singer, Ivan Moody’s voice echoed unearthly across the crowd. Hearing a song with such a strong meaning being performed live, with so much emotion is definitely something you will never forget. As the Five Finger Death Punch set came to a close, it was finally time for the set everyone had been waiting for.The legend himself, Ozzy Osbourne, along with Zakk Wylde, were about to play on the chilly September night. As 60,000 plus fans gathered around the Monster Stage, it was clear that this crowd was ready to see their legendary icon take the stage. As the set began, and the crowd roared at its loudest, things were definitely off to a very vigorous start. They began the set with “Bark At The Moon”, which was a rather unique song to watch be played. There was a special kind of feeling when Ozzy first came out that was much different than the other sets. Maybe it was being in the presence of a living music legend, or maybe it was the anticipation that you could feel from the fans. Either way, there was no doubt that there was something special about watching him and Zakk Wylde take the stage. As the set progressed, and the excitement grew and amplified, fans looked ahead to the stage in amazement. Things were rapidly coming to a close for the first day of LTL17. Capping off the set with “Paranoid”, fans took the opportunity to show just how much fun they were having. They made sure to crowd surf as much as they could during the final few moments of a remarkable set. As we walked away from the stage we heard people saying with pure joy, “I just saw Ozzy!” This was heard from hundreds walking out of the venue for the first date of the festival. This substantiated what a unforgettable performance from a favorite artist truly can mean. As the first day of Louder Than Life 2017 came to a close, it was time to rest up and recover for day two, with yet another stacked lineup. Day two was to feature artists such as Nothing More, Falling In Reverse, Lacuna Coil, and none other than Prophets Of Rage.

The legend himself, Ozzy Osbourne, along with Zakk Wylde, were about to play on the chilly September night. As 60,000 plus fans gathered around the Monster Stage, it was clear that this crowd was ready to see their legendary icon take the stage. As the set began, and the crowd roared at its loudest, things were definitely off to a very vigorous start. They began the set with “Bark At The Moon”, which was a rather unique song to watch be played. There was a special kind of feeling when Ozzy first came out that was much different than the other sets. Maybe it was being in the presence of a living music legend, or maybe it was the anticipation that you could feel from the fans. Either way, there was no doubt that there was something special about watching him and Zakk Wylde take the stage. As the set progressed, and the excitement grew and amplified, fans looked ahead to the stage in amazement. Things were rapidly coming to a close for the first day of LTL17. Capping off the set with “Paranoid”, fans took the opportunity to show just how much fun they were having. They made sure to crowd surf as much as they could during the final few moments of a remarkable set. As we walked away from the stage we heard people saying with pure joy, “I just saw Ozzy!” This was heard from hundreds walking out of the venue for the first date of the festival. This substantiated what an unforgettable performance from a favorite artist truly can mean. As the first day of Louder Than Life 2017 came to a close, it was time to rest up and recover for day two, with yet another stacked lineup. Day two was to feature artists such as Nothing More, Falling In Reverse, Lacuna Coil, and none other than Prophets Of Rage.

To start the exciting day off was the awesome Nothing More. Delivering an extremely high energy and fast paced set, Nothing More was definitely one band you didn’t want to miss. Watching the deep emotional persona that every member carried, while watching the fans connect so strongly with them, was truly a sight to see. Playing songs such as “Go To War” and “Salem (Burn The Witch)” made for a very fast setlist that I found to be rather fun for the early set time. The true highlight of this stellar set was their performance of their song “Jenny”. The emotion that this song pulled from not just the fans in the crowd, but the band members, was something rather beautiful to watch. The lyrics to this song are already very powerful, but seeing it live and witnessing the emotion it pulled out of frontman, Jonny Hawkins, made this their most memorable song.

Immediately following the Nothing More set was another personal favorite, Falling In Reverse, who had already drawn a rather large crowd. I’d definitely say that this was an entertaining and humorous set that I was incredibly excited to photograph. From the catchy lyrics to super hyped up stage persona, it was very clear why so many fans had gathered to watch them. They did not disappoint! Opening the set with their hit “I’m Not A Vampire” only fueled the fans excitement. I could actually hear the crowd singing behind me as I stood in the photo pit. I believe what made this set so much fun was the fact that they played quite a few songs off the first Falling In Reverse album. One of those songs was “The Drug In Me Is You”. Whether you’re a new or old fan, it’s a pretty good bet you know the lyrics to this song. Across the park at the Zorn Stage, In This Moment would soon be up and I made sure I was there to photograph the beautiful Black Widow herself, Maria Brink.

But first coffee…and a big shout out to Blackbeard Coffee for making that happen all the way from North Carolina.Fans were given a performance that was more fit for the Monster Stage as In This Moment gave fans a spectacular and theatrical performance. Something that was rather new to the ITM setlist, however, was their new song “River Of Fire”. As it was played, I would have to say, it has taken its spot as my favourite song to hear live by this incredible group of artists. With its strong drum beat, delivered by drummer Kent Diimmel, and exciting lyrics, it’s one song that will likely get stuck in your head after a listen or two. What truly made their set worth the hike across the venue was their performance of their hit song “Whore”. Every fan seemed to be singing along with Maria.

Fans were given a performance that was more fit for the Monster Stage as In This Moment gave fans a spectacular and theatrical performance. Something that was rather new to the ITM setlist, however, was their new song “River Of Fire”. As it was played, I would have to say, it has taken its spot as my favourite song to hear live by this incredible group of artists. With its strong drum beat, delivered by drummer Kent Diimmel, and exciting lyrics, it’s one song that will likely get stuck in your head after a listen or two. What truly made their set worth the hike across the venue was their performance of their hit song “Whore”. Every fan seemed to be singing along with Maria.

Following up In This Moment’s set over on the Loudmouth Stage, the first headliner set of the night was about to take place. Opening the final night of performances was none other than Stone Sour. Out of every set, I had seen over the weekend I hadn’t seen the crowd go as hard as they did for this one. The crowd surfing and moshing seemed to have intensified to match and complement lead singer Corey Taylor’s strong and powerful stage presence. Something rather unique about this set was the vibrant colours, you could not only see but feel. Whether you were seeing Corey shooting a brightly coloured confetti gun, or watching guitarist Josh Rand switch out between several neon guitars, it was pretty clear that Stone Sour knew how to put on a show. Even the security guards seemed to be enjoying themselves during the set, which made it even more fun to stand and watch.

There was no doubt that Stone Sour had set the bar pretty high for the rest of the night with the headliner performances. However, Rise Against was able to set things even higher with their incredible performance. Opening up the set with “Ready To Fall” the crowd was instantly connected with the band.  It was what happened during their performance of “Give It All” that made this set distinctive. About halfway through the song frontman, Tim McIlrath jumped off the stage and stood on the barricade practically in the crowd. Though this in itself was an amazing moment to see, I think it was truly incredible to witness the reactions of the fans as he stood so close to them singing. “Savior” would be the closing song for the Rise Against set and fans took this opportunity to crowd surf non-stop one last time. As the band gave one final intense song, and the crowd exploded for the members once more, it seemed almost picturesque watching it all happen against the incredible fall sunset. This seemed to leave a certain unexplainable energy lingering even after the set had come to a close.

The night sky had finally fallen over Champions Park and alas it was time for the final set of Louder Than Life 2017. Fans gathered all around and made their way to the Monster Stage to see the one and only Prophets Of Rage. You could feel the excitement building as all the lights went down and the beat to the song “Prophets Of Rage” began to play. Seeing silhouettes and dark shadows come onto the stage in front, we knew things were about to be the loudest they had been all day. As the lighting hit the stage, and the crowd roared, it was obvious that this set would be a different animal than all the others. With exceptionally high energy, and a stacked setlist including the songs “Killing In The Name Of” (Rage Against The Machine) and  “How I Could Just Kill a Man” (Cypress Hill), you felt as if you had stepped into a time machine and gone back to the 90’s. From the hard-hitting stage presence to the non-stop moshing, it was without a doubt one of the strongest crowds I had seen all weekend. This was a crowd full of fans ready to see an old-school rock/rap show and Prophets definitely was able to bring it to the table. To cap off the set was a tribute to the late frontman, Chris Cornell, of the band Soundgarden and a touching cover of their song “Slaves & Bulldozers”. This seemed to send chills down everyone’s spines as it played and echoed around the venue. It was a perfect tribute and ending to cap off Louder Than Life 2017.

All in all, it’s safe to say that LTL 2017 was an absolute success! It achieved a record-breaking crowd size and a massive lineup for the weekend to keep everyone going. I’d definitely say everyone is excited to see what next year holds.

 

Written by Alexia Blue

At 14 I started shooting and became in house at a local venue and back up for 2 LiveNation arenas. usually can find me at shows wearing knee high Converse carrying cameras \m/

Yours & Owls Festival 2017

PREMIERE: “How Do Ghosts Work” Song by TOEHIDER