Day 4: Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky

This is it, the last hoorah. One last time around the track for Louder Than Life 2021.

Virtually all the music festivals that returned this year added an extra day. I know what they are doing. They are trying to give the fans a little more because last year was so tough for everybody, missing the festival and the general malaise we all lived in. That’s great. It also requires additional endurance. Four days is a long festival. More music is better. You just have to give it that extra push. Another cup of coffee. A little yoga. A couple more beers. And then we’re ready for Day 4. It was a big one with Judas Priest and Metallica’s second set.

We learned a few things this weekend. Three quick ones. 1. The covid-19 protocols really caused almost no delays at all. There was a health check station before the box office or security, and the lines moved extremely fast. This could easily become the emergent standard for festivals – proof of vaccination or proof of a recent negative test – that allows us to gather in very large groups and enjoy music together. It worked. 2. We found out that it is inevitable in these times that the line-up will change, sometimes suddenly, but that other bands will jump right in and fill out the bill. 3. We also learned that two full, completely different sets by Metallica is a fantastic idea.

All right. That’s a wrap, Loudmouths. Another great festival under the belt. The promoter, Danny Wimmer Presents, always does an excellent job putting on festivals. Compare their festivals to any other ones and I think you’ll agree with me. The grounds are clean, safe, and well-maintained, and if any issues pop up, they get addressed. It all adds up to an exceptional fan experience. Their next one is Aftershock in Sacramento in two weeks. I will be at that one, too. See you all out there.

Photos by Wayne Edwards. Metallica set list image is from the band’s Instagram page.

Festival Info: https://louderthanlifefestival.com/

Day 4: Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky

Day 3: Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky

It is time to stretch out your muscles and get your second wind for the rest of the festival – we’re running downhill from here.

Butcher Babies

Disturbed was the headliner for Saturday, backed up by Machine Gun Kelly and the indefatigable Volbeat. I spent a good deal of my day at the Disruptor stage because there was a string of bands playing there I couldn’t wait to see. Before that though, I saw Bones UK for the first time and they ripped the stage up. What a great band. I already checked and they are playing the next festival I am going to and I am already fired up to see them again.

Late in the afternoon the Butcher Babies, Code Orange, and Suicidal Tendencies played back-to-back on the same stage, and that was three amazing hours. I first saw Butcher Babies at the final Carolina Rebellion a few years back and since then I have always been thrilled to see their name on a bill. I haven’t seen Code Orange enough in my life yet, and even though I did witness Suicidal Tendencies in action just two weeks ago at Blue Ridge Rock Festival, I had to stop by again for a second dose.

I know Volbeat sometimes divides a crowd, but I am a fan. Hard-edged up-tempo rockabilly is always a good time. And when they had Neil Fallon of Clutch join them a couple years back on a song, well, I knew they had good musical sensibilities. Their set at Louder Than Life was full of the usual energy and bristling light-hearted spirit I have come to expect from them. Great show.

Volbeat

One more day left. The mighty Judas Priest and the festival-closing second set by Metallica is what we have to look forward to. See you out there.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Festival Info: https://louderthanlifefestival.com

Day 3: Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky

Day 2: Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky

Metallica played their first set of the festival on Friday night and they brought the house down. But there is more to the story of Day 2 at Louder Than Life.

Rise Against

It was a good evening at the festival. Killswitch Engage, Gojira, Rise Against, and Jane’s Addiction leading up to the big Metallica Show. And nicely set up, too, by the earlier bands like Avatar, Joyous Wolf, Turnstile, and Cleopatrick.

I spent the afternoon wandering the grounds, looking at the art installations, stage hopping, and drinking. There are no shortages when in comes to drinking options with the Tiki Bar, whiskey bars, and the regular beer stalls at every turn. Hey, the summer is almost over and it’s a music festival.

A big surprise for me was how much I enjoyed Jane’s Addiction. I don’t mean anything bad by that – I just hadn’t seen them live before and had not really followed the band since their big hit decades back. The performance was amazing, from the opening eerie vocalizations to the acrobatic ending. I came away feeling a lot like I did the first time I saw Primus after not really paying much attention to them for years and years – I felt like I had really been missing out. Catch Jane’s Addiction live whenever you get the chance.

Metallica’s performance was off the hook. I hadn’t seen the band for several years and my memory of that earlier performance faded a little compared to what I saw Friday night. Thinking back on it now, I guess I do not know what I was expecting, but what we all got to see was absolutely amazing. It is incredible to think that they will be playing again on Saturday, and they will perform a completely different set. I heard (and read) many fans hoping for a front-to-back Black Album set, and that would make some sense given that 2021 is the thirty-year anniversary of its release. Whatever they do, my money is on an epic show that we will all remember for years to come.

And it is only Friday now; it’s not over yet. We are at the halfway point which means there are two more days of great music to go.

Photos by Wayne Edwards. Metallica set list image is from the band’s Instagram page.

Festival Info: https://louderthanlifefestival.com/

Day 2: Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky

Day 1: Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky

After skipping one year (like every other festival), Louder Than Life returns to Kentucky with a roar for a four-day event.

The big story is Metallica playing two unique sets to close the show on Friday and Sunday nights. That has to be the show-stopping draw for the festival. But there is more. The other headliners are fan favorites, too: Korn, Disturbed, Judas Priest, Jane’s Addiction, Staind, and Machine Gun Kelly. Add in the robust undercard and there is more than enough music to please any rock fan.

I am at the festival mostly as a fan this year, wandering the grounds and taking a couple of snaps. And listening to the music. Today I am going to do a quick run-down of the grounds to give you an idea of what it is like at Louder Than Life.

Most importantly, there are three stages. Two main stages are erected side-by-side – the Space Zebra Stage and the Loudmouth Stage – and a smaller stage set on the far end of the grounds, the Disruptor Stage. The two mainstages alternate music nearly continuously – when one band finishes, another begins. During each set, the quiet stage is breaking down the previous act and setting up the new one. Fans do not really have to move much to get to the next set.

The Disruptor Stage is running a separate program that overlaps the main stages. It is far enough away that, while you can hear the music from the other stages, it does really affect the bands when they are playing on the Disruptor Stage. It only takes a couple of minutes to walk from the far stage to the main stages when you want to, or you can camp out in either place and listen to music for hours.

There is merch (including a separate stand for Metallica merch), beverages and food – I had Island Noodles for the first time in two years today – and the VIP area is huge, if you want to go that way. Louder Than Life is very well organized and everything is running smoothly. It is easy to get through the gates, and when there is a long line for food or merch, it moves fast.

Anthrax

It was a great first day at Louder Than Life. Three more to go. Passes are still available so check out the festival link below.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Festival Info: https://louderthanlifefestival.com/

Day 1: Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky

Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, September 23-26, 2021

The big show this year at the Highland Festival Grounds in Louisville is Louder Than Life, returning with a bigger show than ever before.

Stretching over four days this year as a return bonus after missing last year, the big news at Louder Than Life is that Metallica will be playing both on Friday and Sunday nights – and they are playing different sets each night.

Thursday night the headliner is Korn and Nine Inch Nails is the feature on Saturday. Other big hitters taking the stage over the weekend include Judas Priest, Snoop Dogg, Staind, Jane’s Addiction, Killswitch engage, Anthrax, Beartooth, Ghostemane, Sabaton, Cypress Hill, and loads more.

You can still get tickets to Louder Than Life (at this writing). Check out the link below.

Someone (me) from Shardik Media will be at the festival. See you in the crowd.

Link.

Festival info: https://louderthanlifefestival.com/

Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, September 23-26, 2021