Forget about the sweltering heat at this year’s Louder Than Life Festival, the real fire was coming from the amazing performances that took place on the stages during this past weekend’s epic three-day festival. In addition to major headliners Slipknot, Guns N’ Roses, Disturbed, Rob Zombie, Breaking Benjamin, Marilyn Manson, Ice Cube and Staind, there were also some truly epic sets from artists such as Godsmack, Dirty Honey, Halestorm, Dropkick Murphy’s, Deadland Ritual, The Melvins, Jelly Roll, The Crystal Method, Motionless In White and Dead Posey to only name a few.
This year’s festival took place on the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville and the team at Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP) should truly congratulate themselves on an incredibly well-run, laid-out and organized festival. This year’s diverse line-up featured something for fans of every genre and Louder Than Life Festival was crowned America’s largest rock festival!
While the weather did play somewhat of a factor into the three-day weekend event, as the temperatures that reached the high 90’s had many seeking out shade, it did nothing to slow down the momentum of the festival performances. Maybe we were all a little bit more sweaty and dusty, but you know what? We were having an absolute blast! Plus nothing says Kentucky more than starting off our day with a shot of Metallica’s new branded whiskey called “Blackened” from Sweet Amber Distilling Co. making for one heck of a wake-up call!
Slipknot headlined Friday, the first evening of the festival and certainly kicked things off into high gear. Their set consisted of many fan favorites from their early albums and new tracks “Solway Firth” and “Unsainted” off their latest album release “We Are Not Your Kind”. Frontman Corey Taylor truly knows how to work a crowd and it was absolute mayhem from the beginning of their set to the very end.
Just prior to Slipknot’s face-melting performance, Staind took the stage for their first performance together in nearly five years and the crowd went absolutely wild. We almost weren’t expecting the kind of crowd we witnessed for Staind, but after so long, it was obvious on this night that fans were certainly hungry to see this band rocking out together once again to faves such as “It’s Been Awhile” and of course, “Mudshovel”.
GWAR provided us with a memorable, yet bloody, performance as usual which is what we love so much about the band … their showmanship and dedication to giving it their all on stage especially in that kind of heat with those kinds of costumes! Mad props GWAR, you rock! We were also thrilled with the set from Phil Anselmo and the Illegals which consisted of mainly all Pantera tracks. This was a dream come true for fans and was probably a time during the day that we saw some of the largest circle pits surrounding the stage. Phil Anselmo has more than earned his legendary status! It was also pretty amazing to see members of GWAR out on stage with Anselmo for a few songs as well!
Friday also featured some fantastic sets from Dead Posey (who absolutely need to be on your list to check-out), Motionless In White, The Crystal Method, A Day To Remember and New Years Day.
Saturday was headlined by the legendary Guns N’ Roses and while they were a tad bit later hitting the stage than their originally slotted time for 8:30 pm, they more than delivered a fantastic three-hour-long performance giving the crowd all they had and more! We thought Axl sounded better than ever and watching Slash shred on his guitar will be a sight that I don’t think we can every truly tire from seeing. The band’s setlist featured it all ranging from “Welcome To The Jungle”, “Mr. Brownstone, “Live and Let Die” and “Easy” to covers from The Who, Pink Floyd, Velvet Revolver and more!
The festival grounds were packed earlier in the day to catch early sets from Amigo The Devil, Dirty Honey,Parlor Mob, Jelly Roll, Badflower, Suicidal Tendencies, The Melvins, Halestorm, Ice Cube, Dropkick Murphys, Anti-Flag, Stone Temple Pilots and Godsmack which were the perfect lead-in for Guns N’ Roses blazing set.
We had several highlight performances on Saturday including an incredible set from Amigo The Devil who has the most incredible way of connecting with the crowd, as well as Jelly Roll, whose brand of hip-hop with a southern twist had us hyped from beginning to end. Again, Jelly Roll is an artist that produces music that we can in all some way relate to and it was amazing to have him included within such a diverse line-up for this year’s festival.
We are also becoming slowly obsessed with the down and dirty rock n’ roll vibes from Dirty Honey who provided an amazing performance, as well as, expending just about all of our energy bouncing around the festival grounds to the punk-rock riffs from Anti-Flag and our favorite Boston boys the Dropkick Murphy’s. Also, truly enjoyed the early nineties throw-backs from both The Melvins and Ice Cube which truly brought back some amazing memories, so it was great to see them included on the bill.
There was no slowing down for Louder Than Life this year, as Sunday’s line-up featured even more blistering rock n’ roll from headliners Disturbed, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Disturbed closed-out Louder Than Life with their hit single “Down With The Sickness”, but also included in their set songs that span their entire discography. Seeing Disturbed can be a truly emotional experience, as at one point during the set front-man David Draiman had all of us reaching for our tissues to wipe away some tears. Music truly is a universal language and as Disturbed has always said, “Music Is A Weapon” and it is our greatest defense and release against any odds that we may face in life.
For those fans that may have been rocking out a little too hard this past weekend, Dr. Robert provided us with an absentee note for work and it was definitely needed after Rob Zombie’s electrifying performance prior to Disturbed. His set included songs such as “House Of 1,000 Corpses”, “Living Dead Girl”, “Everybody’s F**cking In A UFO,” “More Human Than Human” Thunder Kiss ’65” and many more closing out with everyone’s favorite “Dragula”. Marilyn Manson also gave us a solid performance which contained hit after hit such as “Dope Show”, “mOBSCENE”, “Angel With The Scabbed Wings”, “Rock Is Dead” and of course “The Beautiful People”.
Additional Sunday highlights included a great performance from Deadland Ritual, the new supergroup featuring Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, Demon Hunter who we were truly impressed with, Three Days Grace, Sum 41, In This Moment and Breaking Benjamin who are always one of our favorites in the live environment. Frontman Ben Burnley always commandeers the crowd and it is truly amazing to watch the eager audience sing back each and every word to Breaking Benjamin’s extensive music catalog.
We also did a ton of interviews with various artists who were performing at this year’s festival which will be rolling out in the next few days, so be sure to stay tuned to this space to check out our chats with Phil Anselmo, Jelly Roll, Dirty Honey, Amigo The Devil, Motionless In White, Dead Posey and more!
Not that there was very much downtime between bands at Louder Than Life, however, there were also a ton of other activities to check out during your time on the festival grounds including an Angel’s Envy Speakeasy, Kroger’s Big Bourbon Bar presented by Louisville Courier-Journal which featured more than two dozen hand-selected bourbons from top distilleries, and a unique opportunity to enjoy bourbons and exclusive one-time specialty cocktails from 1792, Angel’s Envy, Barrell Bourbon, Coopers’ Craft, Elijah Craig, Four Roses, Jeptha Creed Four Grain Bourbon, Kentucky Peerless, Michter’s, Old Forester, Rebel Yell, StoneHammer, Wild Turkey and more!
There was also Fred Minnick’s Mini Bar which was hosted by the Louder Than Life bourbon curator, bourbon author/expert, and Amazon Prime host (Bourbon Up) Fred Minnick that showcased craft selections from Louisville’s world-renowned distilleries. We also had a great time checking out Louisville whiskey bar The Silver Dollar’s tent called The Hunter’s Club, where attendees found vintage bourbons dating as far back as the 1930s, as well as contemporary collectibles. It was a cool experience.
Overall, we had a great time at Louder Than Life 2019 and we can’t wait to attend next year’s festival as well, as DWP always manages to bring us some of the best rock n’ roll festival line-up, so we can’t wait to see what they will have in-store for 2020! Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that mother nature will give us a little less heat!