The first-ever Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival continued on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Things really heated up. The temperatures approached 90 degrees, with only gusts of wind to cool things down. The Monster Energy Stadium Stage was ready to bring the heat with pyro. Unfortunately the combination of fire and wind almost led to tragedy, as Gojira lead guitarist Christian Andreu took a blast of fire to the face. After taking a few minutes to check the damage, he remarkably returned to finish the set! That put an end to the pyro for the day, but it was no problem as the bands brought plenty of heat on their own.
The day started with Black Coffee, and what great day doesn’t? This band with a classic rock vibe got things going quickly. Fever 333 put on an amazing set! The crowd went wild for them. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler, guitarist Stephen Harrison and drummer Aric Improta perform with wild abandon, flying on and off the stage. Their songs also have searing, political lyrics such as “Stand up or die on your knees”. Butler finished the set by crowd surfing inside of an open road case he threw into the crowd.
Gojira came all the way from France for their first show in almost a year. Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God joined them onstage to help get them back in the swing. After Randy left, Christian Andreu had his pyro to the face incident, but the show went on. Inflated whales were thrown out to crowd to join the crowd surfers. In this Moment had a gorgeous set and costumes, with Maria Brink and her 3 dancers changing costumes to match the theme of each song. Lamb of God played as the sun was setting. For many, this was the one band they had to see. Randy Blythe thanked the crowd for keeping metal alive, and even crowd surfed.
Papa Roach stole the show, as they always seem to do. Jacoby Shaddix’s authentic enthusiasm connects with the audience in a way that few can. He expressed gratitude and love for the fans. They played “Firestarter” from The Prodigy, whose slot they filled after the death Keith Flint. An image of Flint was on their drumhead as a tribute. Disturbed closed the main stage with a powerful performance. Lead vocalist David Draiman spoke eloquently about addiction and the lives lost to what he emphasized was a disease that no one chooses, and spoke about how we can all reach out to those in pain. During one song, there was a presentation of band memories, with photos of the band and their musical friends from over the years.
The Echo Stage had the entire area outside of the stadium moshing all day. The Plot In You, Evan Konrad, While She Sleeps, The Black Dahlia Murder, Architects and Killswitch Engage all had high energy shows, with crowds growing throughout the day. The Cult finished things off by playing songs from their classic album “Sonic Temple”, a fitting choice given the name of the festival.
The Wave Stage once again had the most eclectic, alternative lineup. No1Cares, Boston Manor, Movements, Don Broco, Mark Lanegan Band and Action Bronson brought energy and passion. The Zippo Sessions acoustic stage kicked off with a very special performance. Mark Morton, lead guitarist from Lamb of God recently released a solo album featuring guest performances by singers from other bands. His vocalists for this show were Mark Morales, Mark Lanegan and Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach. This was a truly special event, and his bandmate Randy Blythe could be spotted taking photographs.
The SiriusXM Comedy & Spoken Word Tent featured Craig Gass, Mark Normand, Eleanor Kerrigan and Andrew Dice Clay. Clay attempted to fill some time as the crew was setting up for Disturbed, by reciting his classic nursery rhymes. The crowd was not amused, as these jokes come across as tone deaf in today’s environment. They were much happier with their own performance screaming along to Linkin Park’s “In The End,” as many had last seen Chester Bennington performing on this very stage a few years ago.
Words by Hudson and Johnnie Crow.