The annual rock tour that is Carnival of Madness rolled into St. Louis Saturday night with five bands in tow. Now in its 4th year the tour features Shinedown as the headliner for the first time since its inception in 2010.
The tour features fire breathers, jugglers and other carnival-type attractions. But the main focus is on the music.
This is the first year the tour has hit the St. Louis area. Good timing too, because two of the major yearly festivals that normally stop in St. Louis (Mayhem Fest and UPROAR Fest) bypassed the Gateway city, leaving the metropolitan area with only two festivals: Pointfest and Warped Tour.
While this tour doesn’t have the amount of bands the others have it is still a festival nonetheless. With the opener We As Human hitting the stage at 5pm the show continued for 6 hours. This is the perfect size for those who don’t want to bake in the sun for 12 hours trying to fight to get from one stage to the next before the next band starts, getting confused as to who plays when and general exhaustion.
This tour has just enough bands to rock your socks off while still allowing your kids to go and not complain because they are too hot or tired. In other words; it is a more family-friendly atmosphere.
But these are not kiddie rock bands. Just looking at the lineup will tell you that.
As for the performances the bands were loud and in your face, just the way I like it. In This Moment played a short 35 minute set that was filled with costume changes for vocalist Maria Brink between each song. The setlist was short, only five songs, but the presentation was visually stunning, audibly adrenalizing and theatrically intriguing.
The band was rock-solid and hard hitting, the heaviest band on the tour.
It was hard to pick a highlight from their set as each song was killer, but “Whore” probably stood out a little more than the rest.
Skillet was up next. The Christian rock band rolled through a 55 minute performance which saw 11 songs in a fast paced set that featured lifters on each side of drummer Jen Ledger which elevated members high above the stage.
Their hit “Monster” easily was the highlight of their set.
This was the 2nd time this summer that Papa Roach played in St. Louis (The first being at Pointfest) and as good as they sounded then they sounded even better Saturday.
Vocalist Jacoby Shaddix vocals were spot on and his high-energy showmanship was nearly exhausting to watch (that’s a good thing, by the way). I wish I had half the energy he sweats out during one performance.
On more than one occasion Shaddix got down into the crowd, not afraid to mix it up with fans. It is always great to hear “Last Resort” and “…To Be Loved” live by this band.
By the time Brent Smith and the rest of Shinedown hit the stage at 9:30 the crowd was in full rock mode. That was perfect because Shinedown doesn’t wait for anyone as they ripped into “I’m Not Alright”, “Enemies” and “Devour” not even giving the crowd a chance to sit down.
With a very large repertoire of hits Shinedown rolled through rockers and ballads alike. Smith took his usual spot in a pedestal at the front of the stage with a steadfast stance and elaborate statuesque poses. Too bad the lights were so dim that many sitting in the lawn missed it because the video could not pick it up.
One of the highlights of their performance was a moving tribute to Amanda Todd in a video as they performed "Bully". The video and song sent a poignant message in hopes to stop bullying.
But it is Smith’s incredible voice that really puts the emphasis on the songs. The rest of the band (guitarist Zach Myers, bassist Eric Bass, and drummer Barry Kerch) sounded as tight as ever and the whole show was punctuated with enough pyro that fans could feel the heat 25 rows deep, at least.
From the concussion-based pyro to the intense light show and superb presentation of the songs it was no wonder that the 90 minute set seemed to go by too quick.
This is certainly a tour to catch live.
In This Moment setlist:
2) Whispers in the Dark
3) Sick of it
6) Awake and Alive
7) The Last Night
8) Not Gonna Die
9) Circus for a Psycho
Papa Roach setlist:
2) Blood Brothers
3) Give Me Back My Life
4) Between Angels and Insects
5) Where Did the Angels Go?
7) Leader of the Broken Hearts
9) Still Swingin’
10) …To Be Loved
11) Getting Away with Murder
12) Last Resort
1) I’m Not Alright
5) The Crow & The Butterfly
7) I’ll Follow You
8) Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom Lay Boom)
9) If You Only Knew
11) Sound of Madness
12) Second Chance
14) Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)