Words By: Amber James
As Rock on the Range transitions into being Sonic Temple Festival, the lineup that has been gathered for its inaugural start is no joke this year. This collection of bands that have been assembled for it are unparalleled and create stellar live shows in their own right. Some of the bands put just a little more into their show, however, and, in our opinion, these are five of our favorites.
The only way you could possibly have never heard of Pussy Riot before would be if you’ve been living under a rock. The band first came on the radar in the US when members were arrested by the Russian government for protesting the Russian Orthodox Church’s support of Putin in 2012. They had staged a protest performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior and shortly after two members were arrested and charged with hooliganism, after the clergy declared their activities “sacrilegious”. Two years later, after being convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years in prison, members were released.
Their songs feature lyrical themes that include feminism, LGBT rights and opposition to Putin, who they view as a dictator.
Another band that has been all over the place lately is Fever 333. What can almost be described as a super group comprised of Jason Butler, formerly of letlive, Steve Harrison, formerly of The Chariot and Aric Improta, of Nightverses, the band hit the music scene by storm in the last two years. Bringing together the sheer insanity of their live show and the energy they exude as well as a message that is political yet easily accessible, their shows quite easily reflect the fact that they’re called ‘demonstrations’. If Butler or Harrison aren’t climbing on/up/over something that they shouldn’t be then the show wasn’t truly a Fever 333 show.
Amigo the Devil
Amigo the Devil is probably one of my newest favorites and definitely my favorite on this list. Playing a genre that is dubbed as “murder folk”, Amigo is known for playing songs about such serial killers as Jefferey Dahmer and Jim Jones and songs with titles such as “I Hope Your Husband Dies”, “Hell and You” and “Cocaine and Abel”. One of the only two solo artists on this list, Amigo is definitely the calmer of the two between him and Yungblud. However, he is also known for his rousing singalongs to some of his songs, a crowd favorite being “I Hope Your Husband Dies” with the crowd singing that exact line along with him. Quite a soft spoken person when you speak to him, singing songs about murder and death is not something you’d think would be the main subject matter of his songs. But, yet, when you watch him live, it fits perfectly.
While She Sleeps
Along with Fever 333, While She Sleeps is probably the heaviest band on this list. Hailing from across the other pond in England, this band has just dropped a new full length entitled So What? Known for similar frenetic energy similar to Fever 333 as well, this another band not to be missed. Especially considering that, since they’re from England, they’re not touring over here as often as some of the other bands on the lineup for the festival. In fact, it’s easily been at least three or four years since I’ve last seen them tour near me. With a penchant for engaging the crowd and unexpectedly going into it via either crowd surfing or starting up a circle pit, they will be certain to make sure the crowd doesn’t stay still.
Yungblud is probably one of the most unique and eclectic artists on our list. It’s hard to place what type of scene or genre he is exactly a part of. He has played on both Warped Tour stages and also doing duets with Top 40 artists like Halsey. Either way, the one thing he has in common with the artists on our list is his ridiculous live show. No matter if he’s bounding all over Warped Tour stages or rocking out in a wheelchair after breaking his ankle, nothing stops this young star.