Two weekends in a row, we went to all-day music festivals sponsored by local radio stations. On Saturday, August 17th we made our way to Willow Island in Madison, WI for JJO Band Camp. The following weekend on Saturday, August 24th we went to Twin Lakes, WI to Shadow Hill Ranch to go to 95.1 WIIL Rock Fest. I will admit I'm a little bit biased because 94.1 WJJO is my home station and I've been going to Band Camp since it's conception 10 years ago, but I think there were great points about both and not-so-great points about them as well.
As far as the venue and setup go, Band Camp has always been on Willow Island, but it keeps getting smaller. Not the island, but the barriers that keep the rockers corralled in. WIIL Rock was at a large ranch in Twin Lakes and it was extremely spacious. I really liked the venue (despite the hill!). In both cases, the setup of booths and tents seems kind of unorganized, but overall Band Camp had a better organizational system to their booths. Shadow Hill Ranch also had a lot of trees that people could sit under when the heat and sun got to them. They also had tents with tables set up where people could hang out, eat and drink beer. One of the trees that was a popular spot was right between two of the stages and right by "back stage" where band members were going in and out.
The food was a no brainer. WIIL Rock had that one down. They had a lot more options, better prices, and even a carnival food booth that had all kinds of deep-fried awesomeness (twinkies, oreos and funnel cakes!). It was affordable and the water and 23oz Arizona teas/juices were less expensive than the soda. The only thing I didn't like was the use of the ticket system, where you had to purchase food and drink tickets at a separate booth before going to one of the many food tents to order. I understand why they do it, but it's just kind of an inconvenience.
I wasn't a huge fan of the lineup at Band Camp this year, but in years past they have blown us away with great bands. WIIL Rock's lineup was similar (though had a few more bands that I really like) this year. Band Camp has 2 stages that they alternate between all day with very little time between bands. WIIL Rock actually had 4 stages. One stage was used only for the 2 opening band and one was the Reverbnation stage that was set so far back that most people didn't even know it was there and featured local bands. The other two were the Jagermeister, which is the equivalent of JJO's second stage, and the main stage. Instead of alternating back and forth, they had a bunch of bands play the Jagermeister stage with about 20 minutes between bands before switching to the main stage with the same lag time between bands. It was good because it gave people the chance to get something to eat or run to the portapotties, but at the same time it seemed wasteful to have so much down time.
One of the things I absolutely hated at WIIL Rock was the tiered tickets. Both shows had a similar price on tickets (Band Camp was cheaper, though), but WIIL Rock had tiered tickets that separated the crowd. They had a gold circle ticket that was more expensive that got you in the area by the stage. The rest of us were in general admission hiding behind fences. It had a bad consequence of creating a huge gap in the middle of the show. I can't tell if the lazy people were lazy due to not enough people in the crowd or because they just suck. We saw about half a mosh pit during one of Nonpoint's songs and not one body surfer. Most of them didn't know the words to any of the songs and I kept hearing people ask if HURT was a new band. Yikes. Sounds like that station isn't doing it's job. In the future, I would recommend they do what JJO does with the Cage tickets where it does not actually put a huge hole in the crowd halfway back from the stage, but provides a "special" area with private portapotties, bleachers, and an autographed guitar.
WIIL Rock allowed chairs and blankets, which farther back in the grass was good but up close was not (see discussion about boring people above). They also had a printable lineup list that also had the times of live interviews with the bands and meet and greets. I would love to see something like that at JJO Band Camp. I did not like how WIIL Rock gave away the meet and greet passes. They would find someone wearing station logos, which is fine... but later people were plastered in stickers and were being told that they didn't have "enough" WIIL Rock stuff on them. That just seemed kinda shitty. And wasteful.
So, who won the battle of the rock fests? I don't know. I'm partial to Band Camp because I love it and have been to every one. I wish there was more room to wander, better food prices (and options), and more shade. WIIL Rock was fun, but the tiered tickets ruined the vibe (do people say that anymore?) JJO always reminds us that we're family, but WIIL seemed to go out of their way to create a separation. Since it seems to be a draw, I award 100 bonus points to 94.1 WJJO Band Camp because... well, because they are the best radio station in the world. Oh yeah, and because they have Ultimate Arts Tattoo (the best tattoo shop ever!) doing body painting and lot of boobies come out to play because of it.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
It's been nearly nine years since Dimebag Darrell was killed and it is still a fresh wound for many people. Friday's 2nd Annual Dimebag Darrell birthday celebration and tribute show was a benefit for DryHootch Madison, a vets-helping-vets group. Hopefully they were able to raise a lot of money and awareness for PTSD and their organization.
It was a great show with a 50/50 raffle, raffle tickets to win great prizes including a lot of band memorabilia and Scorpion Shots stuff (We went home with a limited edition Pantera concert poster and Lamb of God signed drum stick). Check out the organization here.
There was a good mix of bands. Some that I enjoyed, some that I didn't enjoy as much. Lying Still from Milwaukee, WI started the night on a good note. Vocalist Justin Netzel rocked the rough vocals and screams and just came out swinging. I will admit his polished look threw me off a little bit, but he did not disappoint. I'm glad I got the chance to see them.
The next two bands didn't quite do it for me. Look, I'm Burning used a lot of really bright lights that honestly just annoyed me. The vocals and instrumentals were good but didn't always seem to mesh together. They are a young up-and-coming band with a refined sound that many people seemed to enjoy. Wake and Prevail was just not my taste. I'm very much in support of all local bands, whether I enjoy them or not and try not to bash anyone. They all work very hard for what they do and hopefully the passion drives them.
Up next was Cast in Fire. They have a great sound, so much energy and fit every possible stereotype of a metal band. Maybe I'm a little biased since I stalk every band Chris Fox is in, but there's a reason for that. I have never been disappointed and neither will you. The next time there's a show, get your ass out there and enjoy the face-melty goodness that is a Madison-based pure metal band. And while you're at it, check out photos below taken by KNS Photography (my own personal photographer) at the show.
The last band up was Northern Trendkill, a Pantera tribute band. I've seen them before and definitely liked them but unfortunately we had an all day music festival to get to Saturday morning, so we were unable to stay to see them. I'm sorry I couldn't see them that night, but I guarantee if you check them out you won't be disappointed (unless of course they started sucking since I last saw them).
All in all, had a great show and it was an important cause. Please remember that our vets took care of us and we should take care of them. There are an alarming number of homeless vets and many have untreated or undertreated mental illness, specifically PTSD. Next time you see any member of the military - active duty or not, thank them. And if you're able, find a cause like DryHootch that you can support either financially or by donating your time.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Yesterday was the day JJO listeners have been waiting for all year - Band Camp! It was a great time as usual despite the sun that didn't want to go away, the sudden "rule change" regarding purses/small bag (that apparently only existed for the people who were already standing in line but was amended as the day continued), and the lineup that caused a lot of stir.
I won't say much about the lineup. There were bands I loved (Nonpoint, Dope and Mindset Evolution) and some that I didn't care for. I know that the people at JJO put a lot of effort and time into creating this event and for that I'm grateful, but looking back at old lineups, I can see why people weren't as impressed. They have set the bar really high with great bands like Korn, Black Label Society, Damageplan, Five Finger Death Punch and Godsmack.
Now I'm sitting here exhausted, sore and sunburnt but I would do it all over again. And I will - next year, and every year after that. There is nothing that can keep me from Band Camp. In 2010, I was on a trip to Florida with my mom and best friend, staying at Disney World and I left 2 days early to ensure I would be back in time for Band Camp.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
|Photo from Murp's Facebook Page|
I watched this because of an article I saw on Loudwire and I just had to share. This is exactly what I want my future child to be like. This is their audition on America's Got Talent and you can check out their Facebook page for more.
Monday, June 24, 2013
There was a decent turnout at the MadCity Underground show on Saturday. It's not quite what it should be, but at least people showed up.
I even found a few new bands that I like. Self Driven from Rockford, IL was up early in the night and definitely set the bar high. Vocalist Mike Stanfill has an amazing talent. At first, I wasn't convinced he had a good range, but a few songs in there was definitely more depth to his vocals. He had a great sound that reminded me of Gwar, Pantera and more all at the same time. I'll definitely make a point to see them again.
Autumn Reverie from Madison, WI also surprised me. They weren't overly heavy, but were definitely enjoyable. I wish they had been on the larger stage because their energy was unbeatable and I would have loved to see them with more room.
I really looked forward to seeing AutoChaotic, but had to leave due to unforeseeable circumstances. I'll definitely catch them the next time they play.
Last but not least, Bitter Cold had their debut show. It could have gone better. Not because the band isn't talened (because they are) and not because of a lack of chemistry (because I've never seen better), but because their singer didn't show. Bassist and backup vocalist Mike Ash stepped up to the plate and filled the flaky shoes of the MIA vocalist. He was a little shaky at first (understandably), but fell into it quickly and wrapped up their debut show on a high note. Speaking of... if there is anyone interested in singing with this amazing trio and you have a good scream and a "Killswitch sound" - let me know. I'll forward your information on to the guys. They have another show this Thursday at Club Tavern, so come check them out - with or without a vocalist.
And a special thank you to KNS Photography for getting some good pictures of this unforgettable debut show.