Wednesday, September 22, 2010

buzzfest 2010- A Kick in the Teeth

Buzzfest 2010 ~ Sept 10 2010 ~ Nashville, Tennessee

Buzzfest, the annual outdoor music festival hosted by Nashville's 102.9 The Buzz, returned again September 10 to Music City, bringing with it some of the biggest names in rock to the town known for it's country roots.   

Lesser known bands Janus and Seven Day Binge kicked off the show, but when faced with driving through rainstorms and potentially standing outside in said rainstorms for bands I that didn't pass my "instant fan test" when I sampled their music online, I chose to skip out on their sets. Sick Puppies was a band I hadn't seen before but enjoyed, though, so I made sure to get to the stadium (well, technically outside of the stadium where the main stage was set up) just in time for their part of the show to start, but still rockin' the rain boots, just in case.

Sick Puppies put on a good show, playing the songs that had made them popular, but many of the songs were unfamiliar to me, and just didn't draw me in. (And, for the purpose of full disclosure, at the beginning of Sick Puppies set, Shinedown was in the autograph tent, so i'll honestly admit that I listened and watched from a distance as I nervously planned to finally get a picture with my favorite band ever, only to realize once I got to them that no pics were allowed, as usual. But, I think my addiction to their shows and my name dropping boyfriend finally made an impression on their memory, and Eric, Zach, Barry and Brent FINALLY recognized us. At least Eric did, because he said "Nice to see you guys again." If that ain't proof, then i don't know what is.) Back to the point, though: Overall, Sick Puppies put on a good show and were great musicians, especially with the awesome girl bass player, but they would have been much more appreciated later in the day.    

Next up on the stage was Drowning Pool. This was the point in the day where the entire feel of the show changed. Excitement levels went up (right along side many people's drunken levels) and the crowd started to pack closer and closer to the stage. The combination of all these elements led to one of the first big blood-shedding fights of the day, and once that happens, you know a real rock show is about to begin.

After resurfacing a few years ago from relative obscurity with the release of "Full Circle," Drowning Pool brought a strong mix of their new jams along with the older ones that put them on the map. The audience loved every second of their latest single "Feel Like I Do," and also "37 Stitches," but the real reaction came as they finally played the one song we all had been waiting for: "Bodies." Hands shot to the air as they counted down the "nothing wrong with me's" and "something's got to give's" and collectively screamed the chorus to the song. As their set closed, the crowd was pumped up and ready for the rest of the lineup.       

As the sun started its decent down through the Nashville skyline, the stage lit up as Papa Roach kicked off their set. By this point, the crowd was just a lit up as the stage (but what else would you expect when a beer brand is the sponsor of a show?) and that was just the energy that was perfect for Papa Roach to feed off of.  They didn't play a bad song. Hit after hit, the new residents of Indie label Eleven Seven Music only played one song that the fans didn't know all the words to, but it was obvious that"Burn," off their newly released "Time for Annihilation" is destined to join the ranks of "Scars" and "Getting Away with Murder."
Frontman Jacoby Shaddix is widely known for his vocal abilities and front-man abilities, but the rest of the band really had a chance to show off during an extended intro into "Forever," proving that they were more than just a band with a good singer- they're an all around awesome band, with a live show that grabs you and doesn't let go.

By the time that Papa Roach had left the stage after a set cut short because of thunderstorm chances for the area, on and off sprinkles left the audience damp from the rain and sweat from the day's unexpected heat (remember, i was wearing rain boots--rubber rain boots.  rubber rain boots+no real rain+pretty outrageous heat= a slightly perturbed kelli with really hot feet. not so pleasant.) But, Seether was next on the list, so there was not time for whining, sitting, or even a much needed pee-break. I had made my way to the very front and not-quite center, so I was there to stay.

I must admit, I was a little weary of the Seether show. The last time I had seen them, it was right after the death of singer Shaun Morgan's brother. That show's mood was somber to say the least, still amazing, but Morgan had no interaction with the audience. He just sang the songs (really, really well!) and that was it. From the time the South African band took the stage, though, the feeling was different. Morgan conversated (i think i just made that word up, but i like it, so i'll keep it) with the audience, smiling and enjoying himself and, oh yeah, rocking out, too.

They plowed through favorites like "Fine Again" and their version of "Careless Whisper." We were even treated to a sneak preview of a new song from their soon to be released follow up to 2009's "Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces." A really beautiful part of their set came as Dale Stewart traded his bass for a guitar did a acoustic version of "Broken" with Morgan. Literally every voice in the audience sang along as they played a few verses.

Under a sky that had darkened from both clouds and the fading sun, the audience knew that after Seether left the stage, headliners Shinedown would soon be taking hold of the reins for the rest of the night (horse reference...the world equestrian games coming to lexington this week must be getting to me).

As you know if you've read any of my other blogs or know me at all, this was not my first Shinedown rodeo (horses? again!? ugghh!!). I had seen them about a month before at the Carnival of Madness, along side Sevendust, Chevelle, etc. I've seen them a couple other times for their Sound of Madness tour as well, so to say that I basically have the set memorized is an understatement.
 I was slightly disappointed with the set up time that it took. I don't know exactly how long it took, I didn't time it though I wish I would have, but it was slightly exorbitant. The crowd got irritated and even began throwing bottles and cans onto the stage, yelling and just becoming unruly. Eventually, the white sheet was raised up and 99 problems blasted over the speakers, and I (thanks to my extensive Shinedown experience) knew that the show was about to start.           

This set was basically the same as the Carnival of Madness (which varied only slightly from Sound of Madness, but I'm not complaining. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Plus, how different can you make the show with no new album?) Brent, who in case you live under a rock or are just not as obsessed as i am is the singer of Shinedown, did the whole "look to the left and to the right of you, make friends, we're the only people in the world who matter right now" and before "If You Only Knew" gave his little speech about how women are the most beautiful creatures on Earth. I enjoyed them just as much as the first time I heard them. He also did the whole "rise" element of the show, and for those of you who don't know what that is, I'll let you go to your first Shinedown show and experience that for yourself.  It's pretty sweet :)
The rest of the show was amazing, as usual, with a mix of songs from all their albums, including an acoustic version of "Simple Man" that is always a winner with the crowd. But, during "Second Chance," my heart broke a little. Now, I am not so obtuse that I believe that every sound that I hear is live during the show, but i really believed that all of Brent's singing was live. But watch the video, specifically around the 16 second mark and see if you catch what I caught.        

Overall, though, the show was great. Shinedown puts on the best show of any rock band out today, with some of the best music as well. It is highly unlikely that the people who saw them for the first time aren't big fans now. Shinedown has the power to do that to ya. 

Buzzfest is almost guaranteed to be a great show, every year. With bands like Shinedown, Seether, and Papa Roach you can know that for the cheap ticket price you get an amazing concert. This year was no different--Buzzfest 2010's verdict: Simply Amazing, with scattered sprinkles, rain boots suggested.

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