While hard rock and heavy metal festivals practically dominate the European festival scene, finding a large scale festival catering to headbangers is more difficult in the United States. For the past five years, Charlotte's Carolina Rebellion has been one of the most consistently solid hard rock festivals. Entering its 6th year in 2016, Carolina Rebellion has delivered another mix of classic and modern hard rockers, with a couple of wild cards acts thrown in for good measure. There are easily a dozen bands who would land on many metal fans' "must-see" list over the course of the festival's three days, but these five should be at or near the top of all of them.
A band with a record of hits like Scorpions don't need any introduction. The German rockers have been rock radio staples since the mid-'70s. Led by the booming voice of Klaus Meine and wailing guitars of Rudolf Schenker, Scorpions can deliver sing-along scorchers like "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and "No One Like You" as well as some of the best power ballads in the business with songs like "Still Loving You", "Winds of Change", and "Send Me an Angel." Their live show remains just as hard hitting over 40 years after they debuted. Scorpions will play Carolina Rebellion on Friday, May 6th.
Bands always turn it up a notch for a home state show and, considering the thunder progressive rockers Between the Buried and Me bring every night on tour, what the Raleigh-based band has in store for their neighbors in Charlotte for Carolina Rebellion is anybody's guess. The band is touring behind their 2015 Metal Blade release "Coma Ecliptic", which has received strong reviews from critics and fans alike. If you're looking for thought provoking lyrics and lightning fast time changes along with some good old fashioned thrash growls, Between the Buried and Me should be on your can't miss list. Between the Buried and Me will play Carolina Rebellion on Friday, May 6th.
Fresh off a Grammy win for Best Metal Performance, Swedish melodic metal act Ghost is as hot a young band as there is at Carolina Rebellion 2016. Their 2015 album "Melioria" was at or near the top of most year-end Best of metal lists and even cracked quite a few non-genre specific ones. Ghost mixes the high theatrics of an Alice Cooper with the menacing melodic guitar riffs of a Blue Oyster Cult. The result is a band that looks and sounds nothing like any other act you'll catch at Carolina Rebellion 2016. Ghost will play Carolina Rebellion on Saturday, May 7th.
When critics can't find a genre niche to place your band in, that's usually a sign of something special. Since their self-titled debut album was released in 1997, Sevendust has been called progressive metal, nu metal, alternative metal, and soul metal, as well as drawing comparisons to a wide range of artists that include Living Colour and Ministry. In 2016, Sevendust look to take the next step in their evolution as a band, nabbing their first ever Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance and embarking on their first ever major package tour as a headliner instead of a support act. Sandwiched between their theater dates with Trivium and Like a Storm is an appearance at Carolina Rebellion that is sure to impress. Sevendust will play Carolina Rebellion on Saturday, May 7th.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has never been kind to metal artists, only letting in a trickle of bands through the years and then only when their work is groundbreaking enough to be impossible to ignore. That description fits shock rock inventor Alice Cooper perfectly. The sheer number of Carolina Rebellion acts who list Alice Cooper as a major influence, a list that includes Rob Zombie, Megadeth, and Sixx: AM, are a testament to his wide ranging influence. But Alice Cooper is no legacy act. He is still writing, recording, and touring behind new material to this day and, at 68, is widely considered to be putting on some of the best performances of his life. Miss his Carolina Rebellion set, which will take place on Sunday, May 8th, at your own risk.
Carolina Rebellion will take place May 6-8 at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. You can keep up with all of the latest news about Carolina Rebellion as it happens here on AXS.