This past weekend, we made our way to the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater for 2011’s Rock Festival; Epicenter Music Festival. This year brought the return of Limp Bizkit to the main stage, among many other rock heavy-weights.

But this article is a bit different than most festival posts we at BTH usually do. Why? This year, we didn’t have access to take pictures on the main stage, so we focused our sights on the Monster Energy stage. Shall we?

As years before have been, the crowd was host to black hair dye, tattoos, cleavage, and thick leather, despite the high temperatures and little shade. Fortunately, Shock Top put their Mohawk on to fit in, and keep the masses proper cool.

We arrived early on in the day, as this stage’s acts went from 11-4PM. First on my list was a band that I had the pleasure of first hearing during their opening set for Them Crooked Vultures last year.

MIDDLE CLASS RUT

Middle Class Rut, the power duo that made me think immediately of the days when AFI and The Offspring reigned supreme.

Guitarist and vocalist Zach Lopez screamed of shitty relationships, and corruption in the world around us. As I did, the crowd also ate it up. Most people would cry bullshit to their stance on worldly affairs, but with Sean Stockham’s permanent message on his chest, it made it hard to argue. These guys are great, and if you haven’t listened to their debut album, No Name No Color, I highly recommend it. The album is almost at its one year anniversary, but still remains relevant.

DRIVE A

I missed the set of Drive A unfortunately, but what I did see when I met up with them at their booth was more important. As I watched bassist Taylor Knowles (no relation to Beyonce) sign autographs for fans, it was clear that he truly gave a shit about his fans.

I took the time to speak with him, and learned about how he dropped out of college to trek from Wisconsin to be a part of his dreams. Its interesting to see how level-headed young musicians from other states can be. Not to discount anyone else, but his heart was truly in the right place, and the genuine energy should be something that all musicians should follow. Plus, ladies love him. Win.

ASKING ALEXANDRIA

The name sounded familiar, but I had never had the chance to listen to British hardcore crew; Asking Alexandria. We asked, and they screamed. To give you an idea of the energy during their set, I actually started laughing. Not because they weren’t great live, but at the fact at how cartoonishly hardcore this band is. AA made it seem like they were doing it for years, with synchronized head banging and haircopters.

They aren’t all for show though, the musical talent was definitely there. Since seeing them, I’ve listened to their recent album, Reckless and Relentless. If you’re into hardcore, it’s great. Not to mention, these guys were great to shoot.

POD

I admit, I can recite maybe a couple POD songs, but I never thought they were megastars. Epicenter taught me that POD is insanely live. Someone will have to inform me, but it seems like they are trying to make a comeback in a big way. Were they always this kick ass live? Front man Sonny Sandoval made sure we knew just what was really good. The pictures speak for themselves.

Life on the Monster Stage was great, and we’re happy to have been there. See you next year, and don’t forget to see the chiropractor about that sore neck.

Until next time my friends,

~Flak