Sonic Temple 2021 Lineup Analysis

The unofficial lineup for Sonic Temple Festival 2021 lineup has been released to the public. Still taking place in Mapfre Stadium in Columbus Ohio, the lineup has been out for sometime as this lineup was supposed to be the lineup for 2020 but due to the ongoing global nightmare it was canceled but fans were told that mostly all of the lineup will be the same. That answer to the fans raised questions as to whether or not the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool will still be performing as they took the spot for Metallica who had to back out of the Friday and Sunday slots. Even with some potential changes in the lineup this festival will still be unbelievable from the looks of it.

Sonic Temple Festival Poster

          Let’s take a look at each day and some of the highlights that fans will get to check out. Friday one of the most hyped bands of recent we see on the Wave stage is the Ukranian metal band Jinjer who’s careers took after the insane media attention for their vocalist Maksym Fatullaiev for her unbelievable low vocal growls. On the Echo stage the artist I am most excited to see there is Ghostemane, his unique style and genre morphing songs will bring something new to the Midwest festival. Now, the main stage is chalk full of heavy hitters from beginning to end. Dirty Honey has become a fan favorite since last year, Sleeping With Sirens are veterans of the scene and Kellin Quinn’s higher pitched vocals give them an interesting sound, Anthrax is one of the big four of thrash metal and that’s basically all that needs to be said about them, Royal Blood is one of the biggest rock bands to come out of England in the last decade, Bring Me The Horizon is quite possibly the most popular rock band in the world at this moment gaining rapid popularity in mainstream music over the past five years, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have and always will be a household name when talking about some of the greatest alternative music of all time.

          Saturday is consistently amazing throughout the day, on the Wave stage we see Knocked Loose headlining which is great for those fans of hardcore who want to see it brought back to the forefront of heavy music. On the Echo stage two of the bands that I think will be great are of course everyone’s favorite, Ice Nine Kills, the horror movie themed metal band taking mainstream rock and alternative radio by storm and hip hop rock legends Cypress Hill which the fans will go “insane” for. The top four slots of the main stage are the highlight there with rock veterans Alter Bridge lead into our ears by Myles Kennedy and guitar great, Mark Tremonti, Staind makes there return to touring just a few months ago and have been tossed on the main stage for tons of festivals, Evanesence has some killer live performances that show their tightness as a group, and Slipknot is this generations Metallica, veterans of festivals and touring these titans are going to put on a set no one wants to end.

          Sunday is usually the more relaxed day for festival goers and this festival is no different which I believe is always a good thing. On the Wave stage we have Mongolian metal up and comers The Hu, and Code Orange who gained popularity through their work with Corey Taylor will be headlining that stage. On the Echo stage fan favorites, Dropkick Murphy’s are sub-headlining with punk rock legends Rancid holding down that headlining slot which I think will be a fantastic set. On the main stage, Dance Gavin Dance a favorite scene band for many holds an early slot in the day, Taylor Momsen’s The Pretty Reckless is a crowd favorite as of the past few years holds an evening slot, and finally either a hit or miss with festival goers, Tool is holding that headliner position and will put on a more low key set to send everyone home.


Sunday Spotlight: Northlane

This week we are putting Australian metalcore heavyweights Northlane in the spotlight. Formed in Sydney in 2009, the band consists of guitarists Jon Deiley and Josh Smith, drummer Nic Pettersen, bassist Brendon Padjasek and vocalist Marcus Bridge. As of August 2nd, 2019 Northlane has released five full length albums which have all been released under UNFD and Rise Records as well as two extended play releases. The five piece was sort of trapped within the typical early 2010’s metalcore bubble up until the release of their 2019 full length album titled “Alien”. With this record they introduced elements and influence of nu-metal into their songs. This style is becoming more popular within metalcore and for good reason, this combination is killer and as a metalcore fan exactly what I want to hear from my favorite bands. This is not to say their previous work wasn’t good or interesting, there was influences of progressive metal and alternative metal while still having that often used metalcore sound. All of their releases have something unique to them and that has attracted quite a lot of people over the more than eleven years of their time as a band.

From left to right: Jon Deiley, Josh Smith, Marcus Bridge, Brendon Padjasek, Nic Pettersen

              With eleven years under their belt they obviously have done a lot of touring in their time. They have played alongside some really big bands opening for the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, August Burns Red, Parkway Drive, and Architects. The Aussies have also appeared at some huge festivals across the world such as, Slam Dunk, Good Things, Unify The Gathering, Hell Fest, and Download. So, these guys are not newcomers to the metal world, and their tightness as a band shows. I have watched a lot of live performances on the internet from many different stages of the Northlane and they have certainly grown over the years that is for sure. Through member changes, sound changes, and growth in popularity as a band, Northlane has found themselves a pocket of amazing creativity and musicianship. They need to take what they have right now and run with it without stopping no matter what comes up in their way.

              I believe the future holds great things for this group. As metalcore is developing its sound, Northlane is one of the bands that I believe should be at the forefront to represent metalcore to those that might not listen to it. This one of the bands that I believe has lightning in a bottle and will release it at the perfect time. If “Alien” is any sort of indication to the direction their sound is headed, every other metalcore band ought to grab tight onto their coattails. They’ve got a sick mind for riffs, awesome melodies and hooks in their songs, Marcus Bridge is one of the most consistent vocalists I have heard in metalcore since Sam Carter of Architects, and they have some of the most underrated breakdowns in metalcore today. Every album is one I could listen to back to front and it does not feel like a chore. I have not gotten the chance to see Northlane live in person but they are one of the bands I want to see as soon as I can once concerts start happening again.

Song to check out: Dispossesion

Sad Summer Festival 2021 Analysis

Sad Summer Fest has announced their official lineup for the rescheduled 2021 dates of the sophomore year North American run. They have not announced special guest artists for the dates yet because of the rescheduling but every announced artist has agreed to play the new dates. This year features an almost entirely new lineup aside from returners and coordinators The Maine. Bands this year also include All Time Low, The Story So Far, Movements, Grayscale, Yours Truly, and Destroy Boys. It was also revealed that this year their will be varying set times which is different from last year. The Story So Far and All Time Low will be playing longer sets as they are billed as headliners. This is going to provide those attending with a less Warped Tour experience which is what I believe they are going for this year after all the success they had last year.

Poster for Sad Summer Festival 2021

Another new development for them this year is the announcement of VIP tickets that are available for purchase whereas last year they just had one ticket option. Regular GA tickets are priced at $35 plus fees of course and that just includes entry to the festival. The Funhouse VIP ticket includes first entry into the festival, VIP viewing area, private bar, a Sad Summer signature cocktail menu, and a Sad Summer Fest “commemorative” laminate. We can see the growth from last year to this coming year of Sad Summer has been quite exponential due to the bigger names on the lineup, VIP options for ticketing, and the festival being presented by none other than the scenes biggest support Journeys. There is of course going to be photo opportunities like last year and other things that will be unique to each date of the tour. This of course, is a good sign for the fans of the festival because it shows us that this festival is not just here to come and go, they want this thing to stick around for a while.

The idea that there is going to be two headliners that are on opposite ends of the pop punk spectrum is going to be interesting, you have The Story So Far who are on the edgier, more aggressive side of pop punk that has a very passionate fanbase; and you have All Time Low who are on the more neon pop punk side that basically everyone is somewhat a fan of. I would be hard-pressed to find someone going to this festival that does not have a single All Time Low song that they enjoy. The rest of the bands are all really solid, another interesting choice for the festival this year is Movements who will make this festival open up some serious mosh pits to get everyone warmed up for the damage that The Story So Far is going to cause. The Maine is essentially going to be for All Time Low what Movements will be for The Story So Far. This is going to create a healthier variety of artists for fans of both styles. I believe that this coming year of Sad Summer is going to far and away exceed the previous year simply because this no longer just a DIY tour, they have bigger names, more sponsors, different ticketing options, and different formatting set times. Everyone should take a trip to the nearest venue to them that is hosting a Sad Summer date and go have a blast.

Sad Summer Festival 2019 Experience

In the summer of 2019 in wake of the end of the Vans Warped Tour, this event was a touring festival going across the US, hoping to give a similar vibe for pop punk loving kids that were missing Warped Tour, and was organized by the scene veterans in The Maine. There were mainstay artists for the whole tour as well as some special guests playing select dates. Some notable special guests for the tour were, The Wonder Years, Four Year Strong, Forever The Sickest Kids, Set It Off, Every Avenue, and Jetty Bones. The artists that played every date of the festival were, The Maine, State Champs, Mayday Parade, Mom Jeans, Stand Atlantic, and Just Friends. All of these bands would not surprise us to see them on the Journeys Left or Right Foot stage at any given Warped Tour date.

Sad Summer Festival Announces The Maine, Mayday Parade, State Champs & More  - News - Rock Sound Magazine
Poster for Sad Summer Festival 2019

One super cool thing they did at each date was free meet and greets with the bands, I know at the date I attended that was one thing I was really excited for. I went with my sister and we got to meet The Maine while we were waiting outside the venue, as soon as we got inside we ran right to the Mayday Parade tent to meet the band and they were so kind to us, lastly we hopped in line and got to meet Derek and Ryan from State Champs who were the coolest guys ever. Doing free meet and greets with so many fans every day on the tour can really tire out these guys and I’m sure it did, but they were so happy and cheerful to do it and of course us fans were truly grateful. They also had super cool photo opportunities with awesome banners with lyrics from some of the bands on them, a human sized toy packaging for us to get photos inside of. The color theme of the festival was pink and that made for some really cool merch and photo opportunities again. There were awesome, local food trucks there and of course free water bottle filling stations for the festival goers which I made various trips to throughout the day because it was 100 degrees and 85% humidity. The heat didn’t stop fans from having the time of their lives watching these awesome bands crush their sets at Express Live.

The set times for the bands were right around 35 minutes each because of the number of bands to perform each day which was even more so reminding of how Warped Tour was. Everyday the order of bands was changed with who plays when, although the bigger names always played in the second half of the day since there was only one stage whereas Warped Tour had about 30 different stages it felt like. This was the last of three festivals I went to that summer and I could not have enjoyed myself more, so much music from bands I love and even some bands I didn’t know before but know now. Stand Atlantic was the one band that caught my attention the most, their songs are so upbeat and catchy, and their frontwoman Bonnie Fraser has a distinct tone and grit to her voice that is unmistakable. Overall, it has been one of my favorite festivals and cannot wait to go again. They already announced the lineup for the rescheduled Sad Summer 2021 festival and there will be an analysis for that lineup coming soon so, keep an eye out for that!

Sunday Spotlight: The Story So Far

Formed in 2007 in the town of Walnut Creek, California, The Story So Far has become one of the biggest pop punk bands in history and is considered by some to be the greatest of all time in the genre. This five piece consists of members, Ryan Torf (drums), Kevin Geyer (lead guitar), Will Levy (rhythm guitar), Kelen Capener (bass), and Parker Cannon (vocals). The group has released four full length albums, “Under Soil and Dirt”, “What You Don’t See”, “The Story So Far”, and their latest which was released in late 2017. Each one of these albums has something different to add to their repertoire of gut checking pop punk. “Under Soil and Dirt” is considered to be one of the best pop punk albums of all time and is widely known as their best record. “What You Don’t See” was and always will be the perfect sophomore release for a pop punk band such as The Story So Far. Their self-titled album is definitely not their best work and most people will agree with that statement, but this is by no means a bad album. I don’t believe they have released an album that isn’t good. “Proper Dose” has so far been the least heavy of all their albums which I believe is a really good thing, they really showed their skills in diversity and that they could write and release hits much different from their previous releases.

From left to right: Kelen Capener, Parker Cannon, Kevin Geyer, Ryan Torf, and Will Levy.

              The California rockers made a name for themselves in their early stages with having a bit of an edgier side to pop punk which was not all that popular until around 2010. Because of bands like themselves, Knuckle Puck, The Wonder Years, and Neck Deep. The genre of pop punk started to become really popular again and was considered to be mainstream music until somewhere around 2013. The Story So Far has in my opinion been the biggest influence on the popularity in pop punk. Parker Cannon has a knack for writing some amazing lyrics that are angsty, deep, aggressive, and relatable. The rest of the band play so tightly together it all just works out beautifully. The guys aren’t ones for jumping or dancing around on stage while they are playing all that much but if you look out in the crowd while they are playing you’ll see it by every single person in the room. They have something special that makes them their own and puts them on another level above other bands.

              Up until 2018 I had always heard of them but, never really tried listening to them. Until I finally gave in because a close friend of mine is obsessed with them and always pushed for me to listen because, she knew I would love them. Soon after that I was hooked, enthralled, and obsessed with everything about them. I got the opportunity to see them live in November of 2019 at the Van Buren in Phoenix, Arizona. I knew they were going to be good and I knew the crowd was going to be intense but, I truly underestimated just how good they were going to be and how much fun the show as going to be. It was far and away my favorite club show I went to in 2019 and I am dying to see them again. And would recommend anyone that is physically able, to go see these active legends as soon as possible.

Song to listen to: Things I Can’t Change

My Time at Sonic Temple 2019

In May of 2019 myself along with one of my best friends got the opportunity to go to the Sonic Temple Festival that is held at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus Ohio and is hosted by Danny Wimmer Presents. This was the first year for the festival after replacing what was Rock On The Range. This was not my first festival experience, but it was my first weekend long festival I had gone to and the first festival period for my friend. We were excited, nervous, restless, and intimidated up until stepping foot on the grounds. There was a plethora of different artists to see, art to look at, and food to eat.

Lineup Poster for Sonic Temple 2021

              When we got into the festival on that first day, we walked around the grounds for a little while to get familiar with everything. After walking around for a bit, it all felt familiar to me; reminded me of a larger scale Warped Tour. We ended up getting to watch nine artists that day and to highlight a few of them, my favorites from Friday were, Wage War, Badflower, Avatar was the biggest shocker of the weekend with their theatrical performance that terrified us in the best way possible, Beartooth played their best songs to a huge hometown crowd, and Ghost stole the show on Friday with their tightness as a band as well as Cardinal Copia making the entire stadium laugh with ease.

Saturday was also packed, we managed to watch ten bands throughout our day and some of my favorites from Saturday were, Boston Manor who is now one of my favorite bands because of their performance, Don Broco, Fever 333 was definitely the most energetic performance of the weekend because Jason Butler is an absolute maniac when he has a microphone, In This Moment, Lamb Of God were the circle pit kings of the weekend, Papa Roach, and I think Killswitch Engage were the best that day with their classic sounds of the new American metal scene from the early 2000’s.

Sunday took a rough turn, but it worked out great in the end. We only ended up watching six bands on Sunday because of weather delays and cancellations of some performances. On the good side of Sunday, the bands we saw were all great. We saw Dirty Honey who blew us away with these amazing classic rock vibes, Palaye Royale threw everything and the kitchen sink at us with their high energy alt rock sound, YUNGBLUD gave everyone a different experience with his pop rock and alternative style all while running around the stage, The Struts gave us all the glam rock we could have wanted and then some with their amazing performance, and the last band we saw that weekend we got to watch from less than 50 yards from the stage, and I can say with confidence that Foo Fighters was the best band I have ever seen. They made it their goal to make sure that we got to see them play no matter what. Getting to see Dave Grohl in person near to me was an experience I never thought I would have. They gave it their all for just over two hours and sent every last person that was there home unbelievably happy.

Overall this weekend was my three days of paradise and I cannot wait to go back the next time that it happens. Genuinely some of the most fun I have had at a festival, it was an exhausting weekend all together but I would give anything to back there right now watching some of the best bands in the world. As nervous as I was going into it, I quickly forgot about that and felt safe, happy, loved, and accepted which, I could not ask for more from a festival.

Sunday Spotlight: Bearings

Ladies and gentlemen, under the spotlight this week is Canadian pop punk/rock band Bearings. Formed in 2014, these boys from Ontario have further given the great white North a reputation for bringing some great rock music to the world. Their EP’s began gaining traction and popularity in the scene of Ottawa. They debuted in the later half of 2017 on Pure Noise Records and were booked almost immediately to go on tour with the likes of, Less Than Jake, Four Year Strong, and State Champs. At the perfect time they released their first LP, “Blue In The Dark” in 2018 which consists of nothing but hooks and beautiful choruses. The boys and their fans are currently looking forward to the next LP release entitled, “Hello, It’s You” which is set to bless our ears on November 20th of this year.


              I have had the pleasure of seeing Bearings and was able to chat with some of the guys at the merch table, all very down to Earth and were genuinely interested in talking to myself and all others that stood there to talk with them. They were the second opening band on the Nella Vita tour in 2019 that consisted of Rich People, Bearings, Belmont, and headlined by Grayscale. Before the show I knew maybe two of the songs on Bearings setlist. During their performance I could just tell that these guys are tight, they have a great chemistry and truly enjoy the music they are playing. Their songs translate very well from recording to live. Vocalist Doug Cousins has a wonderful energy and persona on stage with an infectious smile. You cannot help but like these guys after seeing them. Soon after that show I was listening to Bearings daily and have learned almost every song they have released by heart.

              Their new album comes out this month and I could not be more excited, it’s one of my most anticipated releases for the year. The direction they are headed musically is exactly where I was hoping they were going to head. The hooks and choruses are very pop sounding, but they stay true to their roots with chord progressions and general tone of the songs. These creatives have a ton of potential and are headed to great places, I’m convinced. Their music is for everyone, everyone just needs to give them a few minutes of listening to see that. This band could open for Blink-182, The 1975, All Time Low, and 5 Seconds Of Summer and I believe the crowds at each show could go home satisfied with the opener.

Must Listen To Track: Sway

EP Review of Post Human: Survival Horror By: Bring Me The Horizon

Surprise! The only word that comes to mind when I think about the hottest thing from Sheffield’s new EP. Bring Me The Horizon really decided to lay everything out on the table this go around for their listeners. Oli really honed in his writing skills and creativity when conjuring up some of the tracks on this masterpiece. I can hear every single album that they have released up until this point in their career and I do not think anyone is mad about that at all. This nine track album is 32 minutes of pure sticking it to those who say “pick a genre”, which is exactly what they were going for.

Bring Me The Horizon - POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR | Album Review
Album artwork of Post Human: Survival Horror

         Right off the bat with track “Dear Diary,” we hear guitar parts that you would not be shocked to have heard on their first two albums, “Count Your Blessings” and “Suicide Season”. Lee Malia also comes out of left field with a solo that is reminiscent of earlier Pantera. Four out of the nine songs on the EP are featuring different artists, all of which I was blown away with. Obey is featured with YUNGBLUD who grabs takes the microphone it makes it his, the power and tone of his voice made him the perfect choice for a feature on this upbeat, chorus driven, and radio-friendly track. The next highlight is Kingslayer which features the kawaii-metal founders BABYMETAL; Oli brings back the  “Suicide Season” vocals that a lot of people thought was either behind the band or Oli could not do anymore which obviously is not true. BABYMETAL brings something seriously special to this track that makes it unlike anything I have ever heard before and I can’t get enough of it. Next up on the things that really impressed me is the song 1×1 which features Nova Twins, the rock duo consisting of vocalist/guitarist Amy Love and bassist Georgia South. 1×1 has a chorus that has been stuck in my head since the EP dropped, probably the song that I think would get the most air time if it had been released as a single but, I am happy it wasn’t a single. It’s the gems like that one that really make albums special and worth listening through over and over again. The last truly special song is the simply titled, One Day The Only Butterflies Left Will Be In Your Chest As You March Towards Your Death; the track that features Amy Lee of Evanescence, who just so happens to love BMTH. This piano driven and methodical ballad is perfect for those who love beautiful clean vocals. The entire song builds and builds until the very end and it sure does end perfectly.

         Bring Me The Horizon told us in this EP that they do what they want and are not going to be changing that any time soon. These are all songs that can and will translate beautifully if they decide to pop them into the set on any given night. Currently this EP which has the length to almost be considered an entire album, is the front runner for album of the year from me and I will be pleasantly surprised if something beats it. Massive congratulations to the Bring Me The Horizon gentlemen for yet another amazing release, we all cannot wait to see where it goes from here.

         RATING: 9.5/10

Must Listen Track: Kingslayer (feat. BABYMETAL)

Sunday Spotlight: Beach Bunny

Welcome to the first edition of the Sunday Spotlight! This is going to be a weekly article we are going to put out. Each week we are going to be writing about different artists that we enjoy or were submitted to us by readers that deserve a spotlight. This week the artist we are putting in the spotlight is Beach Bunny. Beach Bunny is an indie rock/ pop rock band hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 2015 by frontwoman Lili Trifilio as a basement creative project when she recorded the first song she had ever wrote titled, “6 Weeks”. Since the release of that song, Beach Bunny has released four EP’s and one full length released this year titled, “Honeymoon”. This band has blown up immensely in popularity over the past year because they’re biggest song, “Prom Queen” gain much popularity after being used in thousands of videos on the app Tik Tok.

Beach Bunny

            I found out about Beach Bunny after seeing them on the first wave of the lineup for Riot Fest 2021 in Chicago. I had not made an effort to listen to them at that point but, scrolling through Instagram and a Tik Tok with the aforementioned “Prom Queen” used as audio for the video came up. Just the first three seconds of the song had me intrigued and desiring to find out more about their sound and style. I began going through their discography because I was hooked, one song after the next; I just fell in love with all of their tracks. Their songs are not flashy or mind-blowing instrumentally, which I think is really helpful with the music they are putting out. Lili is an unbelievable songwriter, and her voice on recording and from what live videos I have seen is fantastic. The three song acoustic set that Lili and lead guitarist, Matt Henkels did for Paste magazine was beautiful, Lili’s vocals sounded no different from the recorded versions that had been released. Honeymoon has been one of my favorite albums of 2020 so far and will for sure have a spot on my albums of the year list.

            This band has all of the potential in the world, once venues start opening back up and artists start touring again, we can all expect to see Beach Bunny making their way across the states and overseas. We cannot really ask much for new releases seeing as they just released a full length record but, I am excited to see what comes next musically for them. One of the more unique and impressive bands I have discovered recently and am pushing hard for these creatives to gain all the attention and listeners they can get because, they truly deserve it.

Track to check out: Cloud 9 off of Honeymoon.

DWP Announces Lineup for Aftershock Festival 2021 in Sacramento, CA

On Thursday, October 22nd rock and metal festival titan Danny Wimmer Presents announced the full lineup (aside from a mystery reunion band) for Aftershock 2021. This may seem as a blessing to some but a bad omen to some of the DWP spring festival goers. Of course there is always a chance for those spring festivals to happen but, they are not going to put out those lineups until they are certain the show will be going on. When DWP dropped this lineup bomb onto all the fans, they were hoping for a great reaction and from what it seems to me, most people are very excited about this stacked lineup, especially with that exciting new Thursday night lineup.

Danny Wimmer Presents Aftershock 2021

This lineup is quite diverse, which is good for the rock listeners of today that have been going to these festivals for years now. Artists like Machine Gun Kelly is bringing a pop-punk/rap style to the lineup, bands like Rancid and Pennywise are bringing skater and surf punk, Hatebreed and Killswitch Engage are bringing that new American metal, and Knocked Loose is bringing hardcore to the bill.

              As the weekend lineup has many diverse acts, we would hope to see the daily lineups also be just as diverse. As previously mentioned by DWP Metallica will be performing Friday and Sunday night. My Chemical Romance is headlining on Saturday night, and Limp Bizkit on that new Thursday date. Each day has a wide variety of artists that can capture the attention of festival goers that may not have given the time of day to listen to artists like them. Limp Bizkit from what video I have seen look like they still put on a great show today, their songs have this infectious groove that translates well live and makes people want to move, I think their headlining performance will be good. Metallica is getting up there in age, they have been around the block more than a couple times so, I do not believe they will be putting on the greatest shows that they have. It will of course be fun, nostalgic, and impressive because come on it’s freaking Metallica. My Chemical Romance put on an amazing show at their reunion in December at the Shrine Expo Hall, I cannot expect them to put on anything less than that with a huge festival headlining slot.

          There are some artists on the lower card that have some serious potential to steal the show each day, as well as artists that I have seen that put on great performances that people ought to check out, if given the opportunity. Some acts that I believe may steal a day or the whole weekend are, Parkway Drive, Knocked Loose, Creeper, Black Veil Brides, Killswitch Engage, Machine Gun Kelly, and Avatar. Overall I think this festival has potential to be one of the better festivals that we will see next year, the diversity, amount of acts, grounds, and just the general excitement that hopefully live music will be back can draw tens of thousands of people to the grounds for that long weekend.