The High Elevation Rock Festival made its way to Fiddler’s Green for the second year in a row, hitting Denver with all the metal they could handle. For two power-filled days, Fiddler’s Green would become a metal playground full of arpeggios and sweeps like none you have ever witnessed before. Come walk with me through day one of this most amazing metal fest, fueled by Monster Energy; why would you feel it would be anything less?
The doors opened at three and I was there to see Starset, Beartooth, Halestorm, I Prevail, A Day to Remember and All That Remains. My photographer was there to see Five Finger Death Punch I pretty much just listed the full lineup for that whole day by the way. An absolute insane lineup and that was just for day one!
Starset performed a short set on the mainstage followed by Beartooth performing on the second stage. This year it was to the left of the main stage, as opposed to the right, but people managed to find it easily enough and continued to enjoy the show without disruptions. Bringing their signature bass lines and growls, Beartooth stormed the stage playing crowd favorites from two popular albums ‘Aggressive’ and ‘Disgusting’.
Heading back over to the main stage to catch Halestorm, I took my seat in the bleachers to watch Lzzy do her thing. I had never been a huge fan of their music when it played in a heavy rotation on the radio, but hearing them live was a completely different story. The way she commands the stage with such a vixen-like prance, one could only be captivated and left watching intently. It’s amazing how a song recorded can speak to you differently than one that is played live for your ears. The feel of the music is just so much more real; the words come to life for you in such a new way. Her brother Arejay even flaunts his talents in a short little drum solo towards the end that drives the crowd wild. Overall, I would say I was impressed with their stage presence, but then again this sibling duo has been performing together since 1997 when they were just 10 and 13 years old!
Wrapping up that set and jogging back for I Prevail, I was blown away at their intro, opening with a heavy hitter from their album ‘Heart vs. Mind’ the crowd instantly began to mosh when the bass dropped and one could say that the mosh did not stop until the music did.
A Day To Remember takes to the main stage and the lawn, as well as the chairs were packed solid. Clearly, ADTR was one of the headliners for the tour. Their latest album ‘Bad Vibrations’ was recently released with Epitaph and was recorded at Bill Stevenson’s Blasting Room Studios in Ft. Collins. Vocalist Jeremy McKinnon mentioned that it was one of the most unique recording experiences that they have ever had and the audience tonight received the new music well. Originally signed with Victory Records, ADTR released their second CD ‘For Those Who Have Heart’ that quickly gained them huge success in the metal scene. Tonight they played many of my personal favs from both of their chart topping CD’s released under that label. ‘Bad Vibrations’ is the first album from the boys since 2012 so you could see why everyone was so excited to see them perform! I hope that the release of this latest CD will bring them back on tour very soon!
Wrapping up Friday night were All That Remains and Five Finger Death Punch. These two main attractions slayed the stage, performing one after another. After ATR leaves the stage and FFDP takes over, Phil Labonte performs “Wash It All Away” which is a duet with FFDP singer Ivan Moody providing a great way to cap off the day and leave much anticipation for day two!
On Saturday, the doors opened a bit earlier at 11am with Tonight We Rise taking the stage at 12:50pm. The day was overcast and chilly with a few brief breaks in cloud cover but not many. Already you could see that many were contemplating leaving but wanted to wait it out and see if they could check out the music they came here to see. By the time P.O.D. took the stage, the sky was dark and gloomy, though the crowd was dedicated and packed in close towards the stage to watch them perform some of their greatest hits. The rain was making it hard for many to stay. Few came prepared for the sudden temperature and shift in weather but there were some that managed to bring appropriate attire. You could walk around and see people in parkas, hunting gear, rain jackets and holding umbrellas. Anything it would take so they could enjoy the priceless aspect of having the chance to see your favorite band perform live.
By the time Mastodon took the main stage, I was drenched. My jogging pants were stuck to my skin, my feet were frozen from the cold wet rain but I had luckily brought my ski jacket to wear over my hoodie giving me maximum protection against the elements.
Believe it or not, people still braved through the weather to watch Stone Sour and Korn take over the main stage and cap out the evening. Both unleashing a vicious fury on the few remaining loyal fans littered in the seats. I must admit, I am very happy I stayed for this.
There is not a proper way to describe just what it was like to see Korn live. If you have ever listened to their music or watched their videos before, it was like watching them come to life right before your eyes. Jonathan Davis entices the crowd with his semi sexual stance upon his microphone, with his raspy voice, his melodic words turn into deeper growls and you are pulled into every word slowly. Makes for such an epic experience.
Being only two years into a festival, I don’t think you would find many complaints about this one. Year after year, they have brought a solid lineup to both days of the festival giving the fans a true diverse and amazing choice of music. I am very excited to see what next year will be bringing to Denver from this amazing tour.
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Till next time
Photos by Teddy G / Xposer Photography