XFest Meets Carnival of Madness Tour for 2nd Year
Carnival of Madness / XFest
September 11, 2011
Harris Riverfront Park
Once again tri-state radio station WAMX (KY, OH and WV) hosted the 2nd annual Carnival of Madness tour as it makes it way across the country, the WAMX event is better known as “X-Fest”, This is the 15th year WAMX has brought some of the best music from both the indie and national scene, and although this is the 15th year of XFest, this marks the 11th year the X-Fest has held this event at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington, WV. Carnival of Madness is sponsored by InDegoot Entertainment, Monster Energy Drink and PRS Guitars, the Carnival started in 2010 with the first tour featuring such artist as Shinedown, Sevendust and 10 Years. This year’s roster to the main stage includes Roadrunner recording artists Theory of a Deadman and Black Stone Cherry, as well as national acts Alter Bridge, Adelitas Way, and Emphatic. West Virginia’s own national touring acts Bobaflex, Zeroking and Stacee Lawson hosted the “loud and local” side stage, which also featured Downtrend, a band from Pikeville, Kentucky.
A few minutes of rain tried to put a damper on the days festivities, but that was not to be so. The fans from all around the tri-state area had shown that they were ready to rock. The day began at the XFest “Loud and Local” stage where we caught the set of Downtrend with their own style of metal. The powerful set would hit its mark on the many music fans in attendance, yet Zeroking and Bobaflex were clearly the fan favorites on the side stage. Both bands gave the fans what they wanted; Andy Haught (vocals) commanded every inch of the stage as Zeroking belted out song after song, while two dancers and their rhythmic moves joined the band onstage. Zeroking are a very tight outfit from Huntington, with Andy Haught on vocals, Shane Day on guitar, Paul First on Bass and Chris Webb on drums. They were very entertaining both on and off the stage as they made the rounds to greet fans that had ventured up to the barriers that were in front of the stage.
Bobaflex upped the ante; by now the crowd had grown much larger than the previous bands before them. Bobaflex comes out of Mount Pleasant, WV and they have shared the stage with Nickelback, Sevendust and Disturbed. Mind you this is the short list to their fierce sound and ever so busy tour schedule. Martin McCoy (guitar) informed me prior to show time that a “monster” was to be included in their set, I just didn’t know when. Then there he was; “Bio slash Zombie” man, center stage, with what looked like some type of meat with blood that smelt like ketchup protruding from its mouth. This added to the already blistering set Bobaflex brought with them. Now I was hungry for more music and maybe a sandwich.
The Carnival had begun. We soon found ourselves at the Main stage where Atlantic records recording artist Emphatic roared out on stage to a sea of cheers and raised arms. Patrick Wilson (vocals) took command from every angle of the stage, delivering an onslaught to the masses as guitarists Justin McCain and Lance Dowdle paired up from time to time to greet each fan with their blistering finger work. Emphatic clearly set the pace for the course of the day and the day was far from over.
Then before the crowd had a chance to recoup from the Emphatic’s crushing sound, Adelitas Way hit the stage with a sonic blast. Beckley, WV native Keith Wallen (guitar) whipped his guitar up as Rick DeJesus (vocals) walks out to a wall of cheers from the those in attendance, as Adelitas Way served up an abundance of great music and stage presence that would not go unchallenged as the day progressed. Rick DeJesus stage performance does not lack away from the humming amplifiers; he is as animated and out going off the stage as we watched him make the rounds to the fans that were awaiting the chance to meet those they came to see, both from the stage and up close and personal.
If you have not caught Roadrunner recording artist Black Stone Cherry, then you must live under a rock, ’cause this Edmonton, Kentucky band with their blend of southern rock knows how to capture an audience with each guitar hook and poetic line in their music. Ben Wells was all over the stage with every leap and bound, hitting every note with precision as Chris Robertson’s vocals were timeless, filled with emotion and energy. They belted out such tunes as “White Trash Millionaaire” and “Blame It on the Boom Boom” from their 3rd release Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea as well as other fan favorites. I had to take a moment to watch John Fred Young on drums hit the skins with such passion and strength that I almost missed hitting the shutter button as Jon Lawhon and Ben Wells took turns upon the drum riser enticing the crowd into a frenzy.
Alter Bridge soon took the stage, cheers filled the air as this band that was formed by former Creed members lead guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips, and Myles Kennedy (Slash, The Mayfield Four) who was invited to the trio to form what we known as Alter Bridge as a whole. I was clearly blown away by their performance, even more so by Myles Kennedy. This was Alter Bridge on stage, and they gave it their all to the masses. Kennedy’s vocals were right on as he stretched his vocal range to the max and Mark Tremonti took residence on stage left hammering away each song with precession and skill. The band clearly came to play and deliver, and deliver they did. After the last note faded, Kennedy thanked the crowd and announced “now you can go back to your texting.” Mr. Kennedy I could not agree more. As I gazed into the sea of fans, all I could seen was the LCD’s of camera phones. REALLY!
It did not take long to have the stage ready for the next act, Theory of a Deadman, another Roadrunner Records recording artist. The stage was lit in blue prior to showtime and to each side of the drum riser stood a old school type of art piece of a woman that looked like what you’d see on a world war II bomber. The same could be said about the second microphone that was set up for Tyler Connolly (vocals/guitar); something that had a retro appeal. That, hand in hand with Tylers hair style, reminds me of the old “Big Boy” franchise mascot. But don’t let this look fool you, their sound and catchy lyrics tell another story; a story of a band that has gained fans from all over the world. When Tyler Connolly announced from the stage during their set “we formed a band to get girls, and we got fans instead” the band was greeted with a even louder response from the crowd. This band did not hesitate to close out the day’s events with some tongue-in-check humor and a truck load of hit songs that put them on the charts. Tyler Connolly pitted the crowd against one another in cheers as he worked both sides of the stage with a video camera in hand, seeing which side would out do the other. Surely the “no contest” rule would have to be applied here, for the fans were more than eager to be even more of a part of the show in the video. The band pulled no punches with several of their hit songs like “Bitch” and “Bad Girlfriend,” as well as a mix of the newer songs from their latest release The Truth Is… which was released in July of this year. They came, then they conquered. The Carnival of Madness as a whole delivered a memorable tour with some amazing bands that came to Huntington to rock. Mission accomplished Carnival of Madness, this was a tour well done.
Carnival of Madness – http://www.facebook.com/CarnivalofMadness
WAMX Radio (Huntington, WV.) – http://www.facebook.com/X1063WAMX
Downtrend – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Downtrend/118326918202752
Zeroking – http://www.facebook.com/Zerokingfans
Bobaflex – http://www.facebook.com/Bobaflex
Emphatic – http://www.facebook.com/emphaticrock
Adelitas Way – http://www.facebook.com/adelitasway
Black Stone Cherry – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Stone-Cherry/8509615068
Alter Bridge – http://www.facebook.com/alterbridge?sk=wall
Theory of a Deadman – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Theory-of-a-Deadman/16131485044