As concert announcements flood everyone’s social feeds this summer, few events are more anticipated than the return of Danny Wimmer Presents festivals. From those that brought you events like Carolina Rebellion, Epicenter and Sonic Temple comes the return of Louder than Life in Louisville, KY. Like the other DWP festivals being held this year, the event has been extended to four full days- with two nights of iconic Metallica performances. While the headliners are fantastic (as always), what really makes this year’s iteration a must-see is in the smaller print. Here are five acts you’d be silly to miss out on at this year’s festival. Whether it’s an afternoon set or a smaller stage won’t matter, all of these bands will make you glad you checked them out.
A newer act that has taken the DWP stages by storm since their inception, Fever 333 is a political powerhouse of a band that pulls absolutely no punches. A supergroup formed from members of Letlive., Night Verses and The Chariot, Fever brings an energy reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine blended with a more rap-heavy delivery to the LTL stage. Fever uses their performances, or “demonstrations” as they call them, as a means to both provide an outlet for musical catharsis and shine a light on social injustices. You never know what antics are in store- from climbing the radio tower at Epicenter ‘19, to leaping from club banisters, to tearing down their own stage banner mid-set, the enigmatic three piece is an unpredictable ball of energy that will be one of the most crowd-engaging performances of the weekend.
Where to get started: ONE OF US, Made an America, Prey For Me
ICE NINE KILLS
If you love horror films and mystery novels, you can’t miss Ice Nine Kills’ set. With lyrics, stage clothes and props inspired by the likes of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, INK is the embodiment of committing to an aesthetic. The music is as ominous as the films it’s inspired by, using samples from various horror films over searing guitar work. The sequel to their critically acclaimed 2018 record “The Silver Scream” is out on October 15, so there will be thirteen all-new horror-heavy tracks to experience live for the first time. While concept record after concept record can get old for some bands, Ice Nine Kills consistently stays creative and fresh while maintaining the thriller roots that inspire their music.
Where to get started: Communion of the Cursed, Thank God It’s Friday, The Jig is Up
Breaking onto North American shores for the first time, Spiritbox brings a distinctive flavour of progressive metal blended with a softer side to LTL ‘21. Whether it be the absolute wrecking ball of their breakout single “Holy Roller” or the tenderness of tracks like “Constance”, the four-piece’s versatility is damn-near unmatched in modern metal. As this is one of the band’s first US appearances, they may be a little less known than their billing suggests, but they’re quite possibly the most intriguing band on the entire lineup. Their debut LP “Eternal Blue” comes out just days before the festival kicks off, so this set will be chock full of never before heard tracks. Courtney LaPlante delivers absolutely crushing vocal lines over some of the sickest riffs of the year, and if you’re unsure about them as a band- take this as a push to give them a listen. You won’t regret it.
Where to Start: Holy Roller, Constance, Circle With Me
Crossing over into the more hardcore side of the lineup, Code Orange brings a grimy punch that few can match. A chaotic, intense package of grooves sure to get the crowd in a frenzy, this is a can’t miss set if you’re partial to heavier shades of punk in your metal. Be forewarned, though- this is probably going to be one of the craziest pitting sets of the weekend. If crazy pits, crazier breakdowns and dissonant HxC is in your musical niche, you have to check this set out. Case in point below, from a 3am show after Chicago Open Air ‘19:
Yeah. Be there.
Where to Start: Forever, My World, Swallowing the Rabbit Whole
Finally, the piece de resistance of insane festival sets. Knocked Loose has grown beyond their Warped Tour beginnings to become one of the most engaging HXC-infused metal on the modern scene. A barrier-hopping extravaganza of dissonance and sonic violence, vocalist Bryan Garris isn’t afraid to get up close and personal even on the larger festival stages- even calling fans up to mosh onstage and even stagedive (in smaller clubs of course). Their latest offering “A Different Shade of Blue” is a mature, varied, and blisteringly aggressive record that is an absolute treat to witness live- and quite the way to shake off the rust after almost two years of no shows.
Where to Start: Mistakes Like Fractures, A Serpent’s Touch, Counting Worms
All of these bands bring different shades of metal to the LTL ‘21 lineup, but every one is worth checking out. LTL ‘21 is scheduled to take place September 23-26, 2021- get your tickets below: