With less than two weeks to go until the biggest "family reunion" in America takes place at the 2017 edition of Rock on the Range, it is time to whittle the list down to the Top 5 absolute, must-see acts of the weekend. There are several acts that could justify being on this list. With bands like LIVE reuniting. Both Bush and Soundgarden will be making their returns to Rock on the Range. Chevelle, Papa Roach, and Seether never disappoint and Sum-41 and Primus will be making their much anticipated ROTR debuts. Up and comers, Dorothy, will be sure to earn new fans like they are accustomed to doing each and every time they step on the stage with their excellent throwback sound and all around bad-ass front-woman. These five must sees, however, are going to make the festival complete for various reasons.
Korn will be playing the festival yet again, and will be Saturday night's headlining act. Their live show is not one that will disappoint and is one of the acts that the core, loyal base of the Rock on the Range family from the beginning grew up on. Korn broke through during our adolescent years. As a fan favorite, they take their performance here seriously each and every time. Combine all of this with the mysterious cancellation of their tour dates; minus the festival gigs, leaves me absolutely confident that they will once again put on one of the most memorable performances of the weekend.
4. The Offspring
Punk icons The Offspring will be making their ROTR debut. The festival doesn't have a lot of experience with many punk bands, but The Offspring will be sure to fit right in. As Korn's direct support for the night, they are in an awkward spot. Punk rock and nu-metal don't necessarily go together. However, this is another band that the core ROTR family cut their teeth on growing up. The Offspring is one of the definitive bands of the mid to late nineties era and have continued to put out good music sporadically since their heyday as well. They should fully expect to be well received and with their back catalog of sing-along hits, they will be one of the most fun shows that this festival has ever put on that stage.
3. Zakk Sabbath
What? How can a cover band make this list? How about because it's Zakk Wylde, and he's playing a set of Black Sabbath covers. Black Sabbath, the band that created the heavy metal blueprint. This festival has pulled in some of the biggest metal bands of all time (seriously, get Maiden next) but unfortunately, they weren't ever quite able to haul in Black Sabbath. Wylde, who has an extensive and well-documented history with Sabbath legend Ozzy Osbourne, will make sure that these iconic tunes get the all-star treatment. Much like Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience (the most underrated performance in ROTR history) perfectly recreated this legendary music, be prepared for Zakk's take on the first metal band to be epic.
2. Amon Amarth
This band is also making their Rock on the Range debut. While they might not be one of the most well-known bands to the casual metal fan or to whiny metalcore fans; they will certainly be well known in Columbus, OH after the festival. Their heavy metal onslaught of Viking lore and (hopefully full) stage show will be a performance unlike any other that the event has had. While Viking horns, turkey legs, and beards might be optional for the concert goers; catching the performance by these Swedes should not be. Seriously, miss this performance at your own risk. The only band that will be more talked about is the one that headlines the whole thing.
This one really is a no-brainer and shouldn't need any explanation. While they may be controversial to the "nothing mainstream" crowd, there is no debating that they are the biggest metal band in the history of the genre and they'll be capping off the entire weekend. The event organizers have now officially set the bar so high now for future Rock on the Range's that this year may ultimately be remembered years from now as the greatest one of them all. This festival has had some of the most influential and important bands in rock history in the past. Bands like ZZ Top, Motley Crue, Saxon, Judas Priest, Cheap Trick, and Guns N' Roses; just to name a few, have all graced these stages. None of those, though, are quite on par with a band of Metallica's stature. These thrash legends are the definitive metal band, ever. We can all debate who is the greatest, sure. We all have our favorites and maybe for some that isn't Metallica. There is no debating, though, that they are the biggest and are flat out the definitive metal band. We've seen rock royalty in the past. We've not seen anything like this, though. For Rock on the Range standards, this performance will be groundbreaking. Are you ready? See you soon!