Fort Rock Festival
Jet Blue Park
Ft. Myers, FL
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Review: Matthew Pashalian
Photos: Scott Nathanson

With a lack of a rock station serving the South Fl area, sometimes a music fan has no choice but to make a bit of a trek out for a really big festival style show, and with that we have South West Florida’s answer in the annual Fort Rock Festival. Now in its  third year, this fest just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger with a lineup that boasted such heavy hitters as Rob Zombie and Korn, along with radio darlings Seether, Theory of a Deadman, Sick Puppies, and rising stars like The Pretty Reckless and 12 Foot Ninja.

If you braved a long drive and the heat, you were in for a heck of a day. 12 Recent Golden God Award winners Foot Ninja drew in crowds at the cusp of noon while Nothing More definitely turned some heads on the main stage with their down tuned rock and on-stage bass tricks. Seriously, if you have the chance to check this band out live do it. If you’re missing the old school 70’s stoner rock look no further than Kyng who churned out a massive wall of fuzz that made you yearn for those old Kyuss albums.

As the day wore on the more intimate Jagermeister Stage drew larger crowds as The Pretty Reckless pounded out a killer 40 minute set of tunes that relayed heavily on their recently released Going To Hell disc. Central Fl. Frontwoman Taylor Momsen and guitarist Ben Phillips played off of both the crowd, and each others energy on the bluesy “Cold Blooded” and got the arena stomp going on “Heaven Knows.” Natives Trivium proved however to be the most metal act of the day; sorry Five Finger Death Punch, your ‘metal’ can’t touch these boys.

Meanwhile on the main stage the always energetic Sick Puppies put on a memorable set that saw the trio throwing in a lovely cover of the Foo Fighters “All My Life” that Dave Grohl would surely tip his hat to.  The next two bands really surprised me on the good and bad sides. Both Theory of a Deadman and Seether both have new albums out in late and early July respectively and as expected, Theory of a Deadman pulled out their latest single, the Alice In Chains tinged “Drown” as well as the title track, “Savages” from the upcoming disc into their fun, but abbreviated set that also included “Hate My Life” and crowd pleaser “Bad Girlfriend.” However I found myself, as well as other fans a bit disappointed that Seether played a set of nothing but singles, excluding there new single, and closing out ten minutes earlier than their scheduled end time; what gives? Luckily Five Finger Death Punch picked up the slack and gave fans a show that was more than just ‘the hits.’

As the sun finally started to set the days headliners Korn and Rob Zombie did not disappoint as they delivered memorable sets to the now sold-out crowd who ate up every song like candy. Korn is definitely a band that puts on a show for the fans as they brought out the expected hits “Got The Life,” “Blind,” and “Falling Away from Me” as well as deeper cuts such as “Twist,” ”Good God” and “Shoots and Ladders.” Despite not being the actual headliners, Korn gave a show that any fan would walk away happy with.

To close out the day you have to go even bigger and Rob Zombie knows just how to do that. Along with his partner in crime, guitar virtuoso John 5, the signature Zombie tracks were all there, as well as a few surprise teases from KISS, Grand Funk, and Diamond Head. Zombie and his band pretty much put on a heavy metal party that makes you sad to leave as he MC’s like the coolest guy in school with no care in the world, playfully goading the crowd to get up, scream, move and just have the best time possible. After seeing Zombie and Korn end the day, you almost feel bad for whoever headlines next year’s fest as the bar has been raised. -Matthew Pashalian


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