After spending a day with friends and fans in Virginia, numerous bands on the Operation Rock Fest lineup traveled south to North Carolina for yet another rockin' music festival.
Rock The Yard took place on Sunday, June 22nd, and was hosted by Bucked Up Super Saloon in Kernersville, NC. Elisium kicked the day off shortly after noon, with Blacklite District and Wayland next on stage. The sun was bearing down and temperatures were high, but Charlotte natives Another Lost Year continued the day of rock, leaving their set drenched in sweat. Between bands, the crowd seeked shelter in the near by shade. A couple people even found a spot that was dripping water off the roof and stood under it to cool off for a moment.
Atlanta, GA rap rock band Almost Kings performed next and brought their typical high level, even given the heat. Bassist Danny Helms and guitarist Ryan Yunker rarely keep their feet on the ground, playfully running across the stage and bouncing during their full set. Vocalist "Boze" added a new level of hype to the crowd with a cover of Eminem's classic "Lose Yourself." Super bob kept the intensity going - vocalist Matt Santoro, guitarist Adam Smith and bassist Drew Recny are hard to keep the eyes off of with constant headbanging of long dreads and colorful hair. Drummer Chris Faircloth is not to be missed either, sporting a head of vibrant pink hair and constantly spurting water both into the air and on his drums. Though their entire set was entertaining, the potential highlight was a hard rock cover of LMFAO's number one hit "Sexy and I Know It."
Saving Abel underwent a major member change last year, which included the introduction of new vocalist Scotty Austin. Though his voice doesn't closely resemble former vocalist Jared Weeks', he definitely packs a new punch into the band and they still did a great job representing southern rock at the festival. During their closing song "Addicted," Scotty vaulted off stage and walked around the VIP area, singing directly to and with the fans.
Vocalist Elias Soriano proceeded Saving Abel's set by jokingly introducing Nonpoint as the band Korn, and even though no one fell for that joke, Nonpoint dominated the stage just as hard. Playing songs including: "I Said It," "What A Day," "Rabia," and "Bullet with a Name," not a moment of idleness passed during their set.
The crowd seemed to have tripled in size as everyone came out from the shade to pack against the barricade for the final band. When the stage lit up, Pop Evil opened with "Flawed" and "Hero," then quickly dialed back the tempo as vocalist Leigh Kakaty broke out an acoustic guitar for "100 in a 55." The rockers balanced their set of many older songs with the hits from their 2013 album release Onyx, an album that has achieved much success so far, with three singles reaching the number one spot on US rock charts. Pop Evil close their set with an encore of two of those singles - "Deal with the Devil" and "Trenches."
Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch's side band Love and Death was originally scheduled to play as part of Rock The Yard, but had to drop off the bill due to sickness. On the up side, Almost Kings announced that they would be playing a surprise after party inside, free for all festival guests.