[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Limp Bizkit[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type="artist_info"] Staind[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Papa Roach[/lastfm], and many more gathered together at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre for one of the most extreme hard rock/alternative metal shows of the year.
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Check out our live show reviews, great pictures of the event, backstage reports, tweets from the audience, and hopefully some embarrassing moments.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Limp Bizkit[/lastfm] just shut down the night, capping Epicenter 2011 off with one of the best sets of the night. Fred Durst is the white Kanye West. There, I said it. He’s eccentric and controversial, yet knows how to put on a pretty damn good show. They kicked off their set with their single “My Generation” from their album Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water.
During “My Way,” Fred Durst hopped down into the pit then proceeded up to the orchestra seats, where he sang along with fans and even posed for a few group photos. As he hopped back up on stage he said, “You guys are a bunch of angry mother f**kers. I got something for you,” and the band went straight into one of the angriest songs around – “Break Stuff.”
“Nookie” brought the energy level to a max as people sang and danced along to every word, but was followed by a very mellow, semi-acoustic performance of “Behind Blue Eyes.” Tom Cruise popped into everyone’s head as they started playing “Take A Look Around,” which was featured on one of the Mission Impossible soundtracks.
They ended the set with two of their biggest songs, their cover of George Michael’s “Faith,” which was the first song to put Limp Bizkit on many people’s radar. They closed out the night in style, performing “Rollin’” with tons of energy and to a large crowd that stuck around to see the entire show. Durst performed the entire set in classic LB style, rockin’ his white tee and red baseball hat.
Somehow we managed to swipe a copy of LB’s set list too…
Side-stage view of Limp Bizkit!
One of the bands at the forefront of the heavy, melodic nu-metal sound was Massachusetts-based [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Staind[/lastfm]. Much like [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Puddle of Mudd[/lastfm], Staind was also helped along by Fred Durst’s connections, fueding with Durst over cover art on one of their self-released albums and then subsequently having Durst help them get signed to Flip Records.
However, beyond being helped by Durst and being in the same overall genre as Limp Bizkit, Staind is a band in a class of their own. While other alternative metal bands have simple, albiet driving song structures, Staind’s songs are complex, angst-ridden, and weighing. Even the band’s energy on stage is a lot more understated.
Beyond their synchronized hair-eography, Staind come off, initially, as normal dudes with a penchant for metal. But continue watching the show and they come alive through their music which has touches of classic heavy metal and speed metal sounds while still being grotty and grungy.
Playing songs like “Outside,” “Eyes Wide Open,” “Right Here,” “Crawl,” and “Paper Wings,” Staind know how to make a crowd get into the groove of the song, into the deep trenches of feeling. Even if they stand silently doing so.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Papa Roach[/lastfm] front man Jacoby Shaddox spent almost an entire song amid the crowd at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, walking through the aisles and singing in the middle of tons of fans. Some crazy fan threw water all over Shaddox as he went to go back on stage, as if he were doing it in some sort of vengeance.
They were the first act to play as night falls, and most people have arrived to the venue and found their seat to enjoy the show. Their set was packed with their hit songs like “Scars,” “Last Resort” and more. It was a perfect follow up to Five Finger Death Punch and set the tone perfectly for Staind.
We heart this dude.
If you’ve never heard the sound of more than a thousand people doing a “death growl,” you’ve never seen [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Five Finger Death Punch[/lastfm] in a large venue. Clad in army-toned colors, Los Angeles’ Five Finger Death Punch’s volatile brand of nu-metal might be shocking to those not familiar with such a hard sound, but to the heavy metal enthusiast, Five Finger Death Punch is a perfect example of what makes the newer sounds of metal so exciting.
Singing songs like “Hard to See,” “No One Gets Left Behind,” and “Bad Company,” lead singer of Five Finger Death Punch, Ivan Moody, is an expert showman, pointing to the audience at the exact right moment, stopping mid-song to address a hand-sy security guard who had just escorted a girl out.
Moody addressed the security guard saying, “You know what you security guards? You need to f**king relax. You think you’re cool throwing a chick around? Come on stage…If you don’t let her back down I quit singing…I know you are just doing your job but do me a favor…These kids paid hard earned fucking money for thee tickets.”
And thanks to the words of Moody, the hissing and booing of the crowd, and the mood of the night, the security guard let the girl back in.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Buckcherry[/lastfm] came out with a bang and had some of the older crowd up and out of their seats for most of their set. These guys have been around since 1995 and have put several years of work in to their live act. Everyone was full of energy and while I didn’t know most of the lyrics, there seemed to be a good number of fans who did and were singing along to every word.
As expected, most people went craziest when they broke into their biggest single “Crazy Bitch.” Singer Josh Todd was very confident in not only his singing, but his stage presence as well. He’s very comparable to Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell in that sense. As the sun began to set in Irvine, Buckcherry wrapped up the last few songs of their set.
Missouri-bred [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Puddle of Mudd[/lastfm] had [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Fred Durst[/lastfm]‘s seal-of-approval when he signed them to his record label Flawless Records more than a decade ago. Fitting considering the gritty, alt-metal band has a similar swagger to Limp Bizkit and a similar core audience.
Exuding pure rock ‘n roll, Puddle of Mudd took the stage with Scantlin wearing a studded khaki-colored cowboy shirt.
He cradled the microphone quietly before ripping apart the stage and bringing the audience to their feet with songs like “Blurry, “Control,” and “She Hates Me” and a little bit of the Rolling Stones–probably a result of their cover album ‘re:(disc)overed’ that came out at the end of August of this year.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Skillet[/lastfm] hit the stage with an intro by two masked string players, one bearing a cello and the other a violin. The rest of the band followed them out on, also in costume. We were super impressed with how hard their female drummer and guitarist both rocked out. This Memphis based post grunge-alt-metal Christian rock band left the bible at the side of the stage and grew horns for this provocative performance.
There's a stand at Epicenter where they're packing bowls for people to try out their pieces. What the fuck planet is this? Even for CA, damn—
Johnny Firecloud (@JohnnyFirecloud) September 25, 2011
Blackout already stopped by that booth SEVERAL times tonight…
Woot! Woot! “Jump Around” was so awesome.
Epicenter tonight. Been about 10 years since we played L.A. Let's rock!!!—
DJ Lethal (@djlethal) September 24, 2011
Many consider [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Erik Schrody [/lastfm]a/k/a [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Everlast [/lastfm]the father of rap-rock, so while the younger crowd may not have been familiar with the funky, groove-laden hip-hop rock of Everlast in his Whitey Ford Sings The Blues vein, his influence on the current modern scene is esteemed.
With Everlast and DJ Lethal here could we have a mini House of Pain reunion?—
lou de la rosa (@uberlou) September 24, 2011
Schrody was also a member of ’90s rap force, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]House of Pain[/lastfm], infamous for their song, “Jump Around.”
While the audience was excited to hear Everlast’s Top 40 hit “What I Like,” the audience went nuts when Schrody jumped off the rotating stage at the supposed end of Everlast’s set, brought out DJ Lethal from House of Pain, and went into “Jump Around.” In the middle of the song, he stopped and said, “They turned the stage before my band was done. I’ll stop when I want to f**king stop.”
The side stage has been running late due to some technical difficulties, so P.O.D.’s set ran a little long, forcing us to miss most of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]RED[/lastfm]‘s set over on the main stage. We were lucky enough to catch the last few songs of their set and saw that these guys definitely rock. They hail from Nashville and are considered a Christian band, although you’d never guess from the sound they emit. Bummer we didn’t see the rest of the set, because it seemed like it would have been pretty dope.
On a side note, Sonny from P.O.D. stopped by our trailer and took over the KROQ Twitter account for a few minutes:
The KROQ stage is going off. DJ Jeremiah Red on the 1s and 2s!
There has been a Fred Durst sighting, Limp fans! It’s sooooooooo close!
Despite their line-up changes, record label changes, and the changing climate of the music industry in general, San Diego-based four-piece hard rock band [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]P.O.D.[/lastfm]. (orPayable On Death) stays true to their musical roots of reggae, hip-hop, Latin-esque rhythms, and their born-again Christian values.
Of course, we were definitely interested to see how these beliefs translate in a hedonistic festival setting. The answer? Awesomely, of course. Although P.O.D. was a little late coming to the stage, their loyal audience didn’t care.
Lovely ladies rocking P.O.D. shirts were pressing up against the barricades, an intent look on their faces. When the band took the stage, their was an uproar from the crowd. Guitarist[lastfm link_type="artist_info"] Marcos Curiel[/lastfm] kissed a child on the head before he heard him let out his raspy scream.
Rocking out on songs like energetic, high-wired songs like “Boom,” “Alive,” “Roots in Stereo,” and “Illumination.” Rocking back and forth on his feet like a rabid boxer, lead singer [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Sonny Sandoval [/lastfm] bounced his energy off the audience, them feeding his frenzy and vice versa.
P.O.D. must feel the reciprocal energy often. Before telling P.O.D told the audience to put their fists up, he told the audience that the event asked them if they wanted to play the big stage, but the band wanted to be closer to their fans.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Asking Alexandria[/lastfm] brought the heavy metal to the youth of Epicenter, as the English band rocked out and got a massive mosh pit started in the center of the crowd. After being one of the headliners of the Warped Tour, they’ve really stepped up their live performance with brutal breakdowns and tons of animation from the band, especially singer Danny Worsnop.
They had the crowd riled up as multiple mosh pits broke out immediately after they started. It’s hard not to have your head bobbing along to the heavy riffs of guitarists Ben Bruce and Cameron Liddell, bassist Sam Bettley, and drummer James Cassells. They played a solid set with songs from both of their albums Stand Up And Scream and their latest Reckless & Relentless. Check out their setlist below:
- Not the American Average
- A Lesson Never Learned
- To The Stage
- I Was Once, Possibly, Maybe, Perhaps a Cowboy Kind
- Final Episode (Let’s Change The Channel)
- Morte Et Dabo
Also, check out this video of the pit during Asking Alexandria’s set (sorry about the audio)
Pretty gnarly, huh?
With his unique take on alternative rap, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Redlight King [/lastfm]a.k.a Mark Kasprzyk made his way onto KROQ with his extraordinary single “Old Man” –a soulful fusion of Kasperczk’s hip-hop influenced sound with classic rock vibes.
Kaz is incredibly dynamic on stage, engaging the audience with his broad smile and his musical precision. In his gritty voice, the singer gave the audience a mischievious look and said “I just got a drunk test from [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Middle Class Rut[/lastfm]. I don’t know what that was all about.”
Decked out with a retro swag sort of look, the band launched into songs like “Bullet In My Hand,” “City Life,” “Comeback,” and his radio hit “Old Man.” In the middle of his relaxed, lively set, Kaz admitted the reason for his “drunk test” and encouraged the audience to follow the same path: “This is the sh*t. We’re three beers into it. It’s f*cking hot out. Drink!”
He also suggested the audience get their hands on the free sex toys, courtesy of Penthouse, if they just happened to sneak into the artist swag tent.
No, thank you.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Middle Class Rut[/lastfm] rocked the sh*t out of the crowd for only being a 2-piece group, with guitarist Zack Lopez and drummer Sean Stockham providing a very powerful and awesome performance.They played several tracks from their latest album No Name No Color, including their track “New Low” which can still be found in the KROQ playlist.
Stockham puts tons of energy into his drumming, slamming his cymbals and hitting the bass drum with tons of intensity. Lopez has tons of passion as he sings and screams into the mic. Coming from Nor Cal they still haven’t built a huge fan base in Southern California, but performances like today definitely help build their credibility.
A glimpse at what backstage behind Middle Class Rut looks like!
These girls obviously know how to party.
South Carolina-based moody post-grunge four-piece, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Crossfade[/lastfm], played their sticky, dark hard rock for the slowly filling up venue. Releasing their third album at the end of June called We All Bleed, it was obvious that the band had a pretty devout core audience; people were singing along with their songs word-for-word.
The highlight of the set was the raw, emotional vocal delivery of lead singer Ed Sloan. Though his voice sounded cracked and pained, the emphasis seemed deliberate while he sang “a song off” their new album called “Lay Me Down” and the more driving tune “Dead Memories.”
The first band to hit the Monster Stage at Epicenter was KROQ Locals Only band [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Drive-A[/lastfm], who’s song “Let’s Have A Wreck” has been featured on Kat’s program for several weeks this year.
Their high-energy set was a good start to the morning, especially since the weather is a little dreary and fans are still continuing to pour into the venue.
They kept their set short and sweet, sticking to fast paced punk songs and garnering as much crowd participation as they could. Being one of the younger bands on today’s bill must be a little tough, as a majority of the crowd is a bit older and unfamiliar with their music.
They did a great job though and ended their set strong, kicking off Epicenter 2011 in style.
Gettin ready to go Epicenter. It's like a reunion of bands I listened to in HS. Limp Bizkit-P.O.D.-Staind-Papa Roach-Puddle of Mudd…haha—
Dan Marteski (@revanant007) September 24, 2011
Dude, exactly how we feel. Except, thankfully, we’re not virgins anymore.
Even though the sky is a dull grey and it’s before noon, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Drive A[/lastfm] is currently rocking the Monster Stage with their heady, self-assured crossbreed of balanced, melodius hard rock mixed with ’80s sleaze rock influences.