Korn, Godsmack, Steel Panther, Body Count, Avatar + More Highlight Day 2 of Chicago Open Air 2017 [Photos]
Following the headlining performance of KISS on Friday night, the slate was wiped clean with a new set of bands ready to make their mark on the Chicago Open Air crowd. It was a bit of a scorcher after a temperate opening day with the most diverse lineup sweating it out under the Saturday sun. The heat did little to sway the intensity of the crowd as they ambitiously trekked between the two stages with the Blackcraft stage set up on the concrete, surrounded by food and drink vendors and the Monster Energy stage within the confines of the Toyota Park soccer stadium.
Black Map got things going early with a more than sizable crowd already awaiting another round of a rock and metal blitzkrieg. After Cane Hill‘s set came Pig Destroyer, the lone grindcore band of the weekend. Two fans endured the heat in blood-stained pig costumes as circle pits on both sides of the dividing barrier broke open with some encouragement from the band. Switching gears, traditionalists Metal Church mixed up the bottom-heavy sets as many welcomed songs like “Fake Healer” and “Badlands” with Mike Howe once again fronting the group, letting his ageless pipes soar through the stadium.
Maintaining the sense of more traditional metal, power metal banner waivers DragonForce were one of the most anticipated bands of the afternoon as Herman Li and Sam Totman engaged in furious, dazzling solo battles across songs like the new single “Ashes of the Dawn” and, of course, the Inhuman Rampage classic “Through the Fire and Flames.” Fans quickly made their way (some in a full sprint) back to the main stage to catch rising stars Avatar and their theatrical performance. The Swedish sensation’s stock is skyrocketing thanks to the spirited performance of dynamic frontman Johannes Eckerström, who got the crowd to swing their arms in sync with him during the slugging opener “Hail the Apocalypse.”
Mushroomhead were a perfect follow-up to Avatar, as their industrial sound is rounded out by a masked troupe that continued the theatrical presentations. Steel Panther, who are a visual treat of their own, offered a reprieve from the more extreme facets of the metal spectrum, thrusting the ’80s into the face of everyone in attendance, busting out favorites like “Eyes of the Panther” and “Community Property” before inviting the ladies in the crowd onstage for the final two songs, “Gloryhole” and “Party All Day (F–k All Night).”
Next up were Ice-T and Body Count, fittingly playing the second stage in the parking lot, bringing their streetwise hip-hop swagger to their compelling brand of metal. The band was easily one of the highlights of the set with a floor-punching sound, hitting the pocket with tight grooves on new cuts like “No Lives Matter” and “The Ski Mask Way” after opening their set with a cover of Slayer‘s “Raining Blood.” Ice, ever the entertaining frontman, informed the crowd of his previous named change (Ice-T to Ice-mothaf–king-T) which is now “Ice-mothaf–kin-T, b–ch!” Bassist Vincent Price injured himself onstage, gritting it out from a seat onstage like a true rock warrior.
Seether hit the main stage after Body Count’s raucous set on the other side of the festival grounds. While their new album, Poison the Parish, has received high praise, they played just one fresh track. Festival sets often call for the hits and Seether weren’t tempted to deviate. Clutch delivered the feel-good set of the day with their warm southern, bluesy riffage and then it was time for the heavy hitters of the night: Godsmack and Korn.
Godsmack’s 12-song set led with “Whatever,” displaying chest-thumping bravado against attitude-ridden tracks like “Cryin’ Like a B–ch,” simmering things down when the all-timer “Voodoo” came up. A bit ironically, they closed with a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together” followed by “I Stand Alone.”
Enjoying the only full performance under a nighttime sky, Korn hit the stage to a packed stadium that had been waiting for the chance to go ballistic to the band’s signature low-slung riffing might and the psychotic vocal presence of Jonathan Davis. The band tore through three songs off their latest record, The Serenity of Suffering, while also representing eight albums in total with favorites like “Here to Stay,” “Shoots and Ladders,” “Make Me Bad” and “Freak on a Leash,” drawing the last bits of energy an exhausted crowd could muster, giving as much as the band did onstage.
See photos from Day 2 of Chicago Open Air 2017 at the top of the page!