This year has rocked (we’re not kidding). With Nickelback, Opeth, Godsmack, and Rob Zombie being just a few of the bands that have slammed down in Michigan so far this early summer season, we’re not sure how things are going to get any better. And as our brains cells were being fried by guitar waves and head banging, we happened upon the question that possessed the power to change the rest of our lives: sure each band rocked, but which one rocked the MOST?

(See those caps? Yeah, it means we’re serious.)

After spending a sleepless week pacing circles in our offices, we finally understood how to successfully answer this question impartially (our statistics teachers would be proud). That is, in order to fully understand which band is the ultimate live concert champion of Michigan, we depend entirely on your feedback.

So here it is, the another chapter of our Best Live Performance in Grand Rapids. Up are the almighty guitarists, whose riffs helped to melt our brains!

  • Ryan Peake (Nickelback)

    Ryan Peake befriended Chad and Mike Kroeger and initially joined them to create a covers band, but it wasn't until 1996 that they reformed the group under the name Nickelback. Peake stated that Metallica and Megadeth were some of his early influences. Ryan Peake was born on March 1, 1973

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    Nickelback played at the Van Andel Arena on April 12th, 2012.

    Cindy Ord / Getty Images
  • Chris Traynor (Bush)

    Chris Traynor was a founding member of Orange 9mm, before eventually joining Helmet. After several other projects, Traynor joined Bush to help them finish their 2001 tour. In 2010, he officially rejoined Bush. Chris Traynor was born on June 22, 1973

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    Bush played at the Van Andel Arena on April 12, 2012.

    Ethan Miller / Getty Images
  • Shaun Morgan (Seether)

    Shaun Morgan and his band mates hail from Johannesburg, South Africa, where Morgan was born on December 21, 1978. Stating that Kurt Cobain and Tool's Maynard James Keenan are two of Morgan's chief influences, Morgan also drives his lyrics to challenge personal trials and frustrations he's endured.

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    Seether played at the Van Andel Arena on April 12, 2012.

    Ethan Miller / Getty Images
  • Fredrik Åkesson (Opeth)

    Fredrik Åkesson began playing guitar at an early age, and along with Opeth, he remains an active member in Talisman and Krux, although he has been involved in several other bands. He states that some of his influences include Mikael Schenker, Uli Roth, and Richie Blackmoore.

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    Opeth played at The Intersection on April 14th 2012.

  • Bill Kelliher (Mastodon)

    Born on March 23, 1971, Bill Kelliher plays guitar along with Brent Hinds. He and Hinds won the Metal Hammer Golden Gods award for best shredders in 2007. Kelliher stated in an interview that when creating riffs, he likes to write the notes off time once in a while to make people think.

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    Mastodon played at the Intersection on April 14th 2012.

    Jason Merritt / Getty Images
  • Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie)

    Chris Walla, while playing guitar for Death Cab, has also produced all of their albums. On top of this, he also has a solo project called Martin Youth Auxiliary. Walla stated in an interview that the album Codes and Keys was in part inspired by Bowie and Visconti records. He was born November 2, 1975 in Washington.

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    Death Cab for Cutie played at Calvin College on April 14, 2012.

    Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images
  • Loren Turner (Foxy Shazam)

    Foxy Shazam formed in 2004, and Loren Turner has provided the band with the sound of his amazing guitar. In an interview, Turner said that he's inspired by watching other bands perform live. He's also remained humble about "Unstoppable"'s success, which is pretty awesome.

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    Foxy Shazam played at The Orbit Room on April 29, 2012.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
  • David Brenner (Theory of a Deadman)

    In an interview, David Brenner said that hearing Alice in Chains as a teen was one of the main reasons he got into music, having decided he needed to learn guitar to play along with their songs. Brenner joined the band when it originally formed.

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    Theory of a Deadman played at The Orbit Room on May 1, 2012.

    Angela Weiss / Getty Images
  • Tony Rombola (Godsmack)

    Tony Rombola was born in 1964 and taught himself guitar when he was around the age of 11. Some of his early influences included Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and Rombola is also involved with the band Another Animal

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    Godsmack played at the Kellog Arena in Battle Creek on May 9, 2012.

    Ethan Miller / Getty Images
  • Mike Mushok (Staind)

    Born on April 10, 1969, Mike Mushok is known for his signature baritone guitar riffs. He started playing guitar at a young age, and says that Van Halen and Led Zeppelin were some of the artists who inspired him.

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    Staind played at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek on May 9, 2012.

    Mark Mainz / Getty Images
  • Joe Hottinger (Halestorm)

    Joe Hottinger took up guitar at an early age before his family eventually moved to Philadelphia, PA. He was in and out of bands within the area, until he joined Halestorm in 2003. Hottinger says that Beatles, Sigur Ros, and Radiohead were some of his main influences.

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    Halestorm played at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek on May 9, 2012.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
  • Hank Shermann (Volbeat)

    Hank Shermann agreed to tour with Volbeat in late 2011, providing the guitar for Gigantour. He began playing guitar in late 1977 and is best known from Mercyful Fate. Recently, he played with Metallica at their 30th anniversary shows.

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    Volbeat played at Intersection on May 15, 2012.

    YouTube
  • John 5 (Rob Zombie)

    Before his work with Rob Zombie, John 5 was playing for several other well known artists, including Rob Halford, Ozzy Osbourne,KD Lang, and of course, Marilyn Manson. He joined Rob in 2005, and has also released several solo albums.

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    Rob Zombie played with Megadeth on May 18, 2012.

    Karl Walter / Getty Images
  • James Bowman (Against Me!)

    James Bowman is an original member of Against Me! and joined the band after meeting Tom Gabel in Gainsville. In an interview, Bowman stated that Elvis created his initial interest in guitars, and his other influences include Slash, The Ramones, and Tom Petty.

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    Against Me! played on June 6, 2012.

    YouTube
  • Sal Costa (My Darkest Days)

    Like many of the other guitarists on this list, Sal Costa began learning guitar at a young age and developed a passion for music right away. He states that some of his influences include Slash, John Frusciante, Tom Morello, and Randy Rhoads.

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    My Darkest Days played at the Van Andel Arena on April 12, 2012.

    YouTube
  • Slash (with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators)

    Born on July 23rd, 1965, Slash moved to Los Angeles around the age of 11, which is also when he began playing guitar. After joining several unsuccessful bands, he found major success in the 1980's with Guns N' Roses until the band broke up in 1996, where Slash continued his career by carrying on solo.

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    Slash played at The Orbit Room on May 17, 2012.

    Michael Loccisano / Getty Images
  • Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

    Once a member of Ataxia, Josh Klinghoffer joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2009. Prior to this, Klinghoffer had played with the RHCP and their previous guitarist John Frusciante. Josh Klinghoffer was born October 3, 1979.

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    Red Hot Chili Peppers played at the Van Andel Arena on May 26, 2012.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
  • Zach Myers (Shinedown)

    Shinedown's dominance of the rock scene has endured and a big part of that endurance is Zach Myers ability to create riffs that grab you right away and keep you throughout the rock. -Shinedown played the Orbit Room on April 14th.

    Ethan Miller/Getty