Photos by: Julius Richardson
Words by: Shadow Editor
We seemed to have survived the electric performances of Day 2 of Exit 111, but a few hours of sleep back at camp seemed to revitalize us for a final Day of Rock and Metal acts at the Inaugural Exit 111 Festival. Up we go and head to the stages after grabbing a quick breakfast to check out MGM’s favorite Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown. When I spoke to Tyler a few months back when they played in Huntsville, we discussed their stint at Exit 111 and he seemed excited about the prospect of playing this new festival closer to their home base of Nashville.
Many fans we’re not out and about for their opening performance at the Heaven Stage, so again for those who missed their set, you missed out on another great young Blues and Hard Rock band that has been making waves for a while. They put on another solid set, and despite the obvious fan turnout, Tyler and the guys had a good performance, which include a favorite off their new album “Couldn’t See The Fire” and also “Drive Me Mad”. We also got a second pass through on photos since their set from Huntsville a couple months earlier did not yield great photos due in part to the lighting limitation that night. Have said it before and will say it again, a great young band that needs your support, do not miss them if they play in your town!!!
We decided to dedicate more time to the Rise Above Stage and headed over to check out both From Ashes to New and Dirty Honey. The Lancaster, PA natives from Ashes to New put on a good energetic show, and singer Danny Case has a solid voice that can range from clean to growl vocals without a moments notice. “Broken” and the Linkin Park cover for “In The End” seemed to me as the most notable songs from their set. Overall a good performance.
Dirty Honey has been making waves as well becoming the first unsigned band to obtain a number 1 hit with “When I’m Gone”, who according to Nielsen metrics got over 172,000 streams same week it debuted. In speaking with singer and vocal powerhouse Marc Labelle that day, he made it clear the band still trying to make it, and while they have had early success they remain unsigned. Well I’m here to tell you that won’t stay that way for long after a great performance showing on Exit 111 final day. The band has obvious chemistry, their songs are bluesy, sultry and have all the elements that make your 80’s Rock with the modern Rock scene and borrows many influences, one which the guys we’re excited to see that same night as GnR headlined the last day of this great festival.
“Fire Away”, “Rolling 7s” and “Down The Road” we’re all memorable numbers on this set and with gaining even more live experience with being on the road with Alter Bridge and Skillet, these guys will be trending even further north from this point forward. Ohh yeah and opening for GnR on their last 2 day days of their world tour in Vegas is pretty memorable too, so again great talking to the guys and nothing but best of luck. Needless to say check them out if you haven’t already, they are as advertised!!!
I sprint back over to the Heaven Stage to get a closer look at the one and only Alter Bridge, who are firmly cemented into the Hard Rock culture as one of the premier bands and live acts on the circuit. Hot on the heals of their 6th studio album “Walk the Sky” and trekking throughout the states as main headliner act, the guys bring that sort of energy live; and without question put on a smooth, and very professional set.
Myles Kennedy is always on point live, his vocals are great and Mark Tremonti is an underrated axeman. Their latest record seems to be heavier then their last one and it shows in their live set. A few of the numbers that stood out for me was “Isolation” “Rise Today” and “Blackbird” and “Metalingus”. With a badass cover artwork from their latest album as the backdrop and fans in full force, their set climbs to the top of best for the the final day.
Although the next hour and half we spent in the press tent for interviews, we had photos covered for Lamb of God, and despite missing the live set, I can tell you that their earth piercing set could be heard from the press area which was next to the Hell Stage. Their set killed it and after bodies laid battered and bruised, this one turned out to be one of the most intense sets of the festival, period!!! Photos to prove it.
I wanted to check out Ministry and finding the energy this time of night and at this moment in time was not easy, but we made it to the Rise Above Stage for Ministry and to check out Uncle Al in person was pretty cool. With their acid-esque visuals and their trademark industrial vibes, we manage to catch a few songs before heading out to the Heaven Stage for a little known band called Guns N’ Roses.
The end is almost here and for many that traveled far and wide to make it to Exit 111, it has all come to this, Guns and Fucking Roses. For those fortunate enough to have caught their lengthy “Not In This Lifetime” tour anywhere in the world we’re witnessed to Classic Hard Rock at it’s best, but paid a pretty dime to get tickets; so to see them at the only festival here in the states was pretty outstanding!!!
Ohh yeah and that tour has grossed over 560 million dollars, proving once again that Rock is not dead and it never will be!!!
Anyways after a lengthy wait for the royal king himself Mr Axl Rose to come fashionably late onstage, the crowd’s appetite was wet enough to welcome songs like “Mr Brownstone”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, “Live and Let Die” and “Civil War”. While Axl’s voice is not what it once was, he stills puts up a spirited performance, often times changing clothing attire throughout. Both Slash and Duff McKagan we’re great as usual, and Slash’s guitar work still exquisite live. He kills it on “Rocket Queen” especially. If we get another Exit 111 next year, the bill is going to be hard to live up with the main headliner acts, hope they do come through cause GnR did not disappoint!!!
As the night comes to an end, we leave the grounds a little earlier to beat the mass of traffic from the concert goers and reminiscence on 3 long days of as much music as one can possibly take in. We recall the friends we made, people we met from different parts of the country that attended, and the many great acts we were privilege enough to see live under one umbrella. Good job to the staff, PR, all the festival personnel involved with catering, security etc, a lot of coordination goes into these things and it was done well. A worthwhile experience that will no doubt improve if future festivals are in the works, and one of which needs to be supported for these areas of the Deep South.