Summer is music festival season everywhere and while I make my home in LA, I took a chance to see one of the Midwest's greatest music festivals; ROCK ON THE RANGE, in Columbus, Ohio. A little bit of culture shock and some great music made my trip well worth it.

My namesake "Ohio" is where I am from but it is not known for its music festivals. I was happy though to be able to make a trip back to Ohio and see my family and go to Rock On the Range. My dad also jumped at the chance to come along as my assistant and attend his first real rock show. We got there Saturday early afternoon and explored the venue and found that the people watching might be as incredible (though in a different way) as the sets.Though I am from the miswest, I do not remember the shirts that read "Cum-blo-us, Ohio" and "Boobies make me happy"...They say that the people that talk about  sex the most are having it the least.... Anyway, way to represent my home-state. Thanks guys! (Really?)

A sea of pun covered t-shirts and faded tattoos lead us to the stages where we would later see Incubus (pictured top), Five Finger Death Punch (my dad's favorite of the night), Slash, Chavelle and more (Lineup listed below). The secondary stages were just outside the main venue and were home to POD, Cypress Hill and more. Five Finger Death Punch attracted a massive crowd of people anxiously awaiting autographs and photo ops. Their show, later in the night was one of the memorable sets and included an invite extended to the younger members of the audience to join them on stage. By the end of they set, they had a new 4 year old band member. Their set also included a crowd surfing wheelchair accompanied by cheers from the entire stadium.

  I had a chance to talk to the guys of Otherwise while they were taking a break in their trailer (which was decorated with retro flowers... I approve). When I got there I told the guys that they had made a lot of new fans. It is true, but I dont think they believed me. "You tell every band that, don't you?" I don't. They did however manage to get people to mosh at 1pm. They are not headliners just yet, but not everyone can get a crowd moshing in the beginning of the day. They have new fans and someday they will believe me. Based out of Vegas, the guys have been through their share of trials to get to this point. The death of a cousin gave them the name of their album and as painful as it was for them to tell the story, it brings soul to the album that was just released. They described the day as absolutely surreal and one of their most exciting days as a band.

I took a minute to get a shot of the guys on my way back to the stages. I've said it before, but I always like rooting for a band with great people involved. The guys will be through Los Angeles this year and I'll be sure to drop by, so see you at the show!

Before covering POD's show I met up with one of next year's players Rich Juzwick of Gemini Syndrome getting an inside look at the festival, he was running back and forth between back stage and his must see sets. Make it to next year's Rock on the Range to see his band take over.

At the end of the night we settled in to watch one of my personal favorite live bands, Incubus. Their sets never fail to impress and with the spotlight deservedly on Mike Einziger for much of the set, they blew us away. Their eight minute In The Company of Wolves is my current favorite to hear live with the opportunity for each member to shine. The audience sang along to Are you In and I Wish You Were Here, and they knew every word.

 

With an interesting (to say the least) audience and a line up that rivals anything currently in the works in the midwest, Rock on the Range is worth the crazy parking. The people we met from Wisconsin, Florida, upstate New York and of course all around Ohio, all had a blast and most were not there for the first time. It's safe to assume it will not be the last either. Look forward to next year's line up and we'll see you in the pit!

Back home in LA, but from Ohio,

Cheers to you all,

Ohio

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Emphatic New Medicine Falling in Reverse Cavo P.O.D. Cypress Hill

Adelitas Way Halestorm Theory of a Deadman Chevelle Slash Five Finger Death Punch Shinedown Incubus

Fox Rocks Winner Otherwise Rival Sons Kyng In This Moment Bobaflex

Ghosts of August Eve to Adam Soil James Durbin 12 Stones Lacuna CoilBlack Stone Cherry Escape the Fate The Darkness Volbeat Mastodon Megadeth Marilyn Manson Rob Zombie

Aranda Redlight King Trivium Attack Attack Down Anthrax