I had the great pleasure to attend this year’s Scion Rock Fest in Pomona CA. For those that don’t know the Scion Rock Fest was a day long free concert featuring 26 Metal bands from all of the country and the world. I have no idea why Scion has been putting on these free concerts around the country but I’m damn glad they do. Honestly, I almost didn’t go but I got a ticket a few days before and even though it meant a nearly 800 mile drive round trip, I took the plunge and went.
I used to go to tons of concerts in my younger days but now with so many responsibilities I rarely get to go and honestly the last few I went to were good but not great and I was thinking about hangup the patch vest and retiring my headbanging days. The Rock Fest rekindled my love for ear splitting live music and I will again be attending more concerts in the future.
Upon arriving at the fest I ran and grabbed my free wristband, number 4621/6000 and stood in the tremendous line to get in. See the fest was held just outside the Glass House and the whole square in which it resides was chain linked off. Only one entrance and several exits. Outside of the Glass House were two tents that served as two more stages, and just down the street was the Fox Theater also taking part in the fest. Scion was kind enough to hand out goody bags filled with a size small t-shirt (seriously have you ever seen a size small metalhead? We’re all big and fat dudes FYI Scion, a medium at least), earplugs, flash drive and some other cool stuff. The problem was carrying the bag throughout the show. I opted to dismantle my swag bag and place the items in my plethora of pockets, other dudes opted to wear the bag like a purse. Very funny. Nothing more metal then daintily carrying around a bag of free stuff for 8 hours.
Anyway, Wormrot was first up all the way from Singapore. Everyone flooded into the tent to listen as they ripped through primal grind. Good stuff. From that point on all 4 stages started blasting out headbanging madess simultaneously until about midnight. This meant everyone was running from venue to venue to catch all their favorite bands. Full disclosure, I only watched a few bands’ full sets, opting for a maximum of bands seen instead. Up next was Dark Castle from Florida and they busted out some great two member sludgy/isis-y type stuff. An amazing set and wonderful guitar tone. Certainly one of my favorites from the day. Next I caught a few songs from Fuck the Facts before I caught Woe from Philly. Woe was great, the soundguy was not. In fact the soundguy in tent #2 ruined every band that day. I’m guessing he was a wedding dj, not used to mixing live bands, and certainly not scathing black metal like Woe. Woe put on an impassioned set and I’ll gladly see them live again. Check em out for some forward thinking black metal. From this point on I bounced around a bit, checking a little bit of Primate busting out some pretty good hardcore, and Cough churning out heavy as hell doom, whom win the award for most killer guitar tone of the day. Seriously they were setting off car alarms in a nearby parking lot. How metal is that?
At this point I got a burger from the Grill Em All truck that was at the event. I actually watched the reality show they were on and was excited as a little school girl to see the chefs cruising the show, drunk out of their minds. I have to stop for a second to just say that the burger I got, the Somoa Joe, was the best damn burger I’ve ever had in my life. Period. Go to L.A. and eat one. While waiting for my hot beef injection Nails was playing and unfortunately by the time my burger was done they were 95% done with their very short set. Bummer. Next time. After them I stuck around for Black Breath. Totally amazing band. Really. Super fun, tons of energy and a killer guitar tone. I’ll gladly check em out again, and hopefully next time there won’t be a bunch of hardcore kung fu kicks going on. That shit is lame and after almost getting punched in the face, I decided to take my leave. Moshing is awesome, dancing and trying to get everyone in the room to look at you is not. That shit is weak and needs to be ended at metal shows. Nuff said. From there I ran over to the beautiful Fox Theater to catch the last half of Agalloch’s set. Great stuff, they sounded just as clean and perfect as they do on their records. I caught 1 song and then headed up to the balcony to rest with the other sleepy metal heads. It was pretty funny seeing a roomful of dudes wearing Morbid Angel shirts trying to digest the arty folk/black metal/post metal stylings of Agalloch. A lot of confused stares and yawns. From there I caught the first have of Obituary’s set. Amazing. They totally rip live and the crowd went nuts for them. Funny, a guy in front of me pulled out a pipe to smoke a bowl and a dude nearby asked for a hit, he handed over the pipe and the dude proceeded to smoke the entire nug in one pull. Hilarious. Anyway after banging my head Florida style for 30 minutes I ran over to the Glass House to catch Municipal Waste whom won the award for best show hands down. I got there a little early so I checked out Dispirt. Now I knew their guitarist was from Impaled/Engorged so I figured they might be awesome gore metal, but they were selling Asunder records at their booth so I figured they could also be super slow sludge. They turnout sounding a bit like Hooded Menace after the world’s longest vocals mic check. They won the award for the creepiest stage show. Nothing but red lights and so much fog I had trouble finding the door to go face the waste. Killer stuff for the Khanate/Cough crowd. I then ran over to the glass house to score a choice spot for Municipal Waste. They ripped through 60 minutes of material in about 45 minutes, playing their already fast brand of crossover even faster. Honestly I think they were trying to burn through their set so they could all catch a bit of Morbid Angel’s set. The singer came out with a trashcan full of empty beer boxes and food wrappers and tossed it into the crowd before ripping into their first song. Circle pitting rulled that show along with one instance of the wall of death. Stage diving was alive and well including a very drunk stage dive from a member of the Grill Em All truck. An amazing fun set from a great band. I had been wanting to see them for several years now and they were totally worth the wait. After them I finished off the show by checking out Anaal Nathrakh all the way from the UK, I’ve been a fan of theirs since the Codex Necro but honestly lost track of them until recently. Again their set was ruined by the soundguy in tent #2. It was nearly impossible to tell which song was which as all we could hear were vocals, drums and bass but no guitars. Wtf? I actually had to tell the dude to turn up the guitars. Nothing like having to tell someone to do their job. Weak. In his defense he did crank the guitars and salvaged some of the show. The vocalist wins my award for most impassioned and amazing vocal delivery for the day. That guy is killer live. After that I began my long journey home with ringing ears and a sore neck.
The Scion Rock Fest was the best concert I’ve been to in years and reminded me of why i loved going to concerts so much. Even though I had to fly solo due to lack of tickets I still met some really cool people and had a blast and a half. And I had never seen any of the bands I got to check out. How killer is that? Sign me up for next years event.