As their supporting act closed out their set, Alter Bridge were prepared to take over the Heaven Stage. The Orlando, Florida based hard rock band was just mere days away from the release of their 6th studio album Walk the Sky. Myles Kennedy (vocals, guitar) and former Creed members Mark Tremonti (guitar), Brian Marshall (bass) and Scott Phillips (drums), arrived in Tennessee. They were excited and ready to unleash some new tracks to the live crowd as well as doling up some tried and true hits. In celebration for the upcoming release, the stage’s screen bore the upcoming album’s artwork, creating a surreal backdrop for the band’s time on stage. The speakers blared “One Life” off the new album to play the band to the stage before the four took over, opening with new track “Wouldn’t You Rather.” Another new cut, “Pay No Mind,” showed up a few songs later, giving fans another sample of what the new album brings to the table.
“White Knuckles” followed before cuts of tracks, including “Rise Today” and “Cry of Achilles” before the band closed their ten-song set with megahit “Metalingus.” From the band’s debut album, One Day Remains (2004), the track gained a ton of steam when it was adopted by WWE wrestler Edge, playing the multi-time champion to the ring for the rest of his storied career. Currently wrapping up a tour in Europe, Alter Bridge will be unleashing Walk The Sky to live crowds in the US at the end of January with Clint Lowery and DEEPFALL in tow. The band also is set to rock out on the open seas alongside co-headliner Halestorm as part of the 2020 ShipRocked cruise with fellow Exit 111 acts Dead Sara and Of Mice & Men also in on the fun. Whether you catch them by land or by sea, don’t miss Alter Bridge as they set out for what could be a very prosperous 2020.
Lamb of God
As the sun began its descent on the final night of the Exit 111 Festival, fans were left with perhaps the contrasting decision of the day as Christian rock’s Skillet and metal’s Lamb of God were set to face off on the Rise Above and Hell Stages respectively. Forty-eight hours removed from their slot in California’s Aftershock festival, Lamb of God were ready to show another massive crowd what made them Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods Award winner for Best Live Band in 2016. Not losing a beat since then, the group has been hard, supporting Slayer during their final tour throughout 2018-19. The Richmond, Virginia based act made up of Randy Blythe (vocals), Mark Morton (guitar), Willie Adler (guitar), John Campbell (bass) and Art Cruz (drums) came to Exit 111 as their last stop on land for 2020 before heading to sea shortly after as part of the 2019 Megacruise hosted by Megadeth and featuring the likes of Anthrax, Testament, Overkill and Dragonforce among many others.
The set started strong with “Omerta,” getting the crowd moving. The pits opened up quick as the band turned their attention to “Ruin” and “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For” with Blythe banging his dreadlocked head to the beat and occasionally getting some major air time jumping from platforms. Crowd surfers were a common appearance as “11th Hour” and ‘Blackened the Cursed Sun” were shown off, among others, before the band polished off their set with “Redneck.” A band always worth banging your head to, Lamb of God is taking some time away from the road before heading to Europe late March of 2020 as part of the State of Unrest Tour featuring Kreator and Power Trip as well.
With day turning to dusk, The Deftones were next to perform on the Heaven Stage at 6 PM. It was fitting the band followed Lamb of God as lead singer Chino Moreno made a special guest in the band’s release “Embers” in 2015. Now, with over 30 years of history, the Deftones have built a legacy worth being proud of, including the 2001 Grammy for “Best Metal Performance.” The alternative metal band out of Sacramento California also featuring the likes of Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Abe Sergio Vega (bass), Abe Cunningham (drums) and Frank Delgado (keyboard) have been gearing up for a hinted-at 9th studio album. While no new tracks were sadly on display, the band had enough ammo to unleash on the Tennessee crowd, kicking things off with “You’ve Seen The Butcher” before providing fans cuts of tracks including “Around the Fur” and “Rosemary.” Each song brought with it a rawness that only Moreno’s vocals can provide.
Fan favorites “Change (In The House of Flies) and “My Own Summer (Shove It)” were delivered to the rabid crowd before the Deftones closed it out with “Headup.” Fans still eagerly await the heavily built-up album set to succeed their 2016 release Gore. Suggested to be heavier than their last effort, fans can expect a record to make a mark on the metal scene when it finally arrives. Shortly after Exit 111, The Deftones kicked off their second annual Dia De Los Deftones festival with a lineup including CHVRCHES, JPEGMAFIA, and fellow Exit 111 performers Gojira in San Diego’s Petco Park.