Words by Amber James
Suicide Silence – This past fall and early winter Suicide Silence hit the road for a full US tour to celebrate the ten year anniversary of their release, The Cleansing. Taking a few months off, it was just announced that they’ll be hitting the road again for the summer on Attila’s Ragefest tour but, beforehand, the band is making a stop in Montebello for Rockfest. Their live show taking on a new brand of intensity in light of their self titled album released in early 2017, it’s definitely not one to miss. From Eddie Hermida’s powerful live performance to Garza and Alex Lopez’s set finale full of guitar smashing and drum kit trashing, it puts a new spin on the idea of destroying art for your music.
Counterparts – Honestly, Counterparts is probably one of the most underrated bands on the lineup this year along with The Plot in You. Melodic hardcore darlings who never disappoint with any of their albums have undeniably upped their game after the release of You’re Not You Anymore. Ever since they burst onto the scene with their sophomore album, The Current Will Carry Us, Counterparts has been one of the number one go to bands for both emotional lyrics and emotional live shows. Because if you haven’t crowd surfed, stage dove, or mic grabbed during ‘The Disconnect’ or ‘Witness’ have you truly experienced a Counterparts show?
The Plot in You – Outside of the almighty Steel Panther, TPIY is hands down my favorite band on this lineup. Having listened and worked with them since 2012 after the release of their sophomore full length, Could You Watch Your Children Burn, I’ve loved watching the growth and change in this band. With the release of their newest (and my favorite) album, Dispose, on Fearless Records, they’ve done a full 180 in regards to sound compared to when they entered the scene with their Wifebeater EP. Displaying a different type of emotion on this newest release, you’ll be hard pressed to find a song you don’t relate to in some way. ‘The Sound’ is easily one of the best songs written by any band in this genre. When performing live, vocalist Landon Tewers lays it all out on the stage and their fans give it back just as much. A band that always has had a very diehard fan base, as they spend this spring touring the US, Australia and Europe before they hit up Rockfest you can be guaranteed that their fanbase will increase exponentially. Personally, I cannot wait to hear these new songs and see just how much Plot has upped their live show since the tour cycle for Happiness in Self Destruction and, believe me, you won’t want to miss it either.
Dropkick Murphys – Rockfest seems to be going for the full Irish punk rock experience this year with both Dropkick Muurphys and Flogging Molly playing. I’ve yet to have seen Flogging Molly but I got the opportunity to see and shoot Dropkick at the end of February on their St Patrick’s Day tour with Agnostic Front, who are Rockfest alumni from 2016. First off, you don’t expect there to be that many of them that emerge onto the stage and, secondly, on their headlining tour at least, their set HAS to be sponsored by the Energizer Bunny since they usually perform between 20-25 songs every night. I’m interested to see they plan to cram that much energy into the typical shorter festival time slot. I expect to leave their set exhausted by proxy.
Prophets of Rage – I feel like I don’t really need to say much to explain why you should watch their set at Rockfest. Being from the United States, I especially don’t think I need to really say why this is probably one of the most important sets of the festival. Considering the state of the country, Tom Morello and the other members of Rage Against the Machine have a very important message. Both their songs and their music videos for ‘Living on the 110’ and ‘Unfuck the World’ are abrasive and in your face enough to tell you just exactly what is wrong with society.
Atreyu – Quite possibly one of the all time greats of the metalcore era of the early 2000’s with their album, The Curse, and the single off of it, ‘Bleeding Mascara’. Because, honestly, even just the title ‘Bleeding Mascara’ could be considered an anthem and mantra for hundreds of scene kids. Now they’re back and better than ever.
Rancid – Rancid’s existence, I personally believe, and their releases are responsible for the creation of the majority of the bands on lineups whether the band knows it or not. Rancid was definitely one of the bands that introduced me to punk music thanks to ‘Maxwell Murder’ being on the Dave Mirra BMX video game soundtrack. Tim Armstrong is easily one of the most well known icons of the 90s and 00s punk scene.
Steel Panther – Steel Panther is, by far, my favorite band that was announced on the lineup. For as long as I can remember the extravagant nature of the 70’s and 80’s glam rock and hair metal eras was one of my favorites and part of me wishes I lived during that era to see all the well known bands of the day. I guess I’ll have to settle for seeing the almighty Steel Panther instead then. Even if they do have a song called ‘It Won’t Suck Itself’. Catch me bathing in what I would assume is a traveling cloud of hair spray and neon colors while shooting this band.
All Time Low – All Time Low is another one of those icon bands in their scene. Their debut full length, So Wrong It’s Right, is easily one of the anthem albums for the early pop punk fans. Most recently, they just finished up a short run of playing ten year shows for the album this past winter as well as a short runs in the UK and the US for their most recent release, Last Young Renegade. If you haven’t sang along to ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ at least once in your life, have you ever truly been a pop punk scene kid?
Every Time I Die – Another band that I feel needs no description is Every Time I Die. Western NY natives like myself have one of the greatest live shows known to man. ETID seems to be an unstoppable touring force ever since the release of their album, Low Teens, bringing the intensity at an all time high. During an ETID set it’s almost impossible to know what exactly could happen. Jordan Buckley has jumped over my head into the crowd and Andy Williams has played in the middle of a mud pit on Warped Tour. No live show has ever been the same.