The third and final day of Rock on the Range (ROTR) didn’t seem like a Sunday. The crowds didn’t seem diminished in the slightest. Concertgoers were out tailgating early, and people were still streaming into the gates into the evening hours. There was one temporary scare, when the threat of lightning prompted management to clear out the stadium. The danger soon passed, however, and the only other snafu came in the form of the occasional sprinkle of rain.
The day was kicked off officially by Unlocking the Truth on the Ernie Ball stae, the teen/pre-teen band that has been making waves with their metallic precociousness. The roster for the afternoon featured veterans like Anthrax - who finally made it onto the main stage after appearing on the Jagermeister stage in their last ROTR appearance - and newcomers like the Pretty Reckless who had a breakthrough year in 2014. Five of the best moments of the day were as follows:
5. Anthrax’s coffee fixation. Concertgoers may have been confused as ty why Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante’s set was covered in Starbucks logos. A closer look revealed that Benante, who is a long-term coffee fanatic and recent entrepreneur - had the motto “Forever Metal” attached to the logo. Well put.
4. Rival Sons throw down. As proof positive that Americans can have lame taste, rock traditionalists Rival Sons, who are more popular in Europe, threw down an incendiary set in the mid-afternoon, demonstrating what American audiences have been missing while the band takes extended tours abroad where they’re more appreciated.
3. The Pretty Reckless: A F’d Up World. Another band who graduated to the main stage was the Pretty Reckless, whose recent album Going to Hell has spawned a number of hits. Just as the album closed with the song “F----- Up World,” so did the band close their set with it. What could have been a careless toss-off number turned out to be a perfect summation of a particular sentiment, and could practically be the sub-motto of the festival.
2. Halestorm’s jam. Rock on the Range perennials Halestorm closed their set with “Miss the Misery,” in the middle of which the band took off on a momentary instrumental jam. Brief as it was, it highlighted the band’s underrated instrumental prowess.
1. Unlocking the Truth stops the show. It can be difficult for kids to get adults to take them seriously. Ninth grade-aged Malcolm Brickhouse, guitarist and vocalist for Unlocking the Truth, stopped the show about ten minutes into the set after his exhortations to et a mosh pit started resulted in nothing but blank stares. He told the audience he wouldn’t play until they started a pit, which was only met with more blank stares. “I’m not playing until you start a pit,” he said. “I’m serious.” After a few more silent moments, the crowd eventually obliged. You tell ‘em, Malcolm!