The 2017 edition of the metal festival Ozzfest Meets Knotfest proved to be one for the books. Two days of pure in-your-face metal. The San Manuel Amphitheater was packed both days with metal fanatics and people looking to have a good time now that the year was coming close to an end. Both days were stacked with metal bands ready to thrust their way into your ears and fans were more than ready to mosh and drink lots of beer.
Day one was Ozzfest and featured a stellar lineup of bands. Starting early on the day on the side stages were Rings of Saturn, Fallujah, and SoCal natives, Night Demon. Even this early, dedicated metalheads filled the side of the venue where the side stages were being held. Tents with merch were plentiful as well as lots of food vendors. In the afternoon, bands like Suffocation ruled the Nuclear Blast stage and was extra special because vocalist Frank Mullen joined the band which he’s usually not able to do due to his regular job. Havok thrashed it up on one of the side stages. 1349 is a Norwegian black metal band which doesn’t come to the USA too often to it was a great opportunity for the band to reach out to new fans and play a large outdoor venue. Iron Reagan is a hardcore punk band which features members of Municipal Waste. Fans went wild for them as the mosh pits were fierce and crowd surfers were plentiful. Death metal legends and pioneers Possessed are one of Nuclear Blast’s newly signed bands so it was no surprise to see them on the bill. Plenty of Possessed fans were seen in the crowd and they got rowdy as Possessed delivered death metal classics like Pentagram and The Exorcist. High on Fire and Baroness are sludge metal bands that are sometimes referred to as “stoner metal” and they were so much fun to see live as fans raged on. Finishing up the side stage were the German thrash metal legends, Kreator. Earlier this year, they released their newest album Gods of Violence and fans were eager to get wild to some classic thrash metal. Kreator drove the fans wild with mosh pits and crowd surfers as they performed thunderous tracks such as Phobia, Satan is Real, Phantom Antichrist, Enemy of God, and finished up their show as they asked fans if they’re ready to kill each other as they played the grand finale, Pleasure to Kill. Now that the side stages were done, it was time to move out to the main stage where fans had completely skipped the side stages in order to secure a spot up front for the main stage bands. Orange Goblin started the main stage and warmed up the audience. Children of Bodom are a melodic death metal band from Finland and they were ready to bring that crazy metal from Europe that Americans love. They delivered blistering tracks like Needled 24/7, Hate Me!, and Downfall. Deftones are no strangers to the metal community and they are one of those bands that as a metalhead, you either love them or hate them. Fans in the mosh pit seemed to enjoy them as they played classics like My Own summer (Shove It), Shut Up and Drive (Far Away), Digital Bath, and Change (In the House of Flies).
Prophets of Rage are a rap/metal supergroup consisting of members from Rage Against the Machine, B-Real of Cypress Hill, and Chuck D from Public Enemy. Their music consists of covers from all three music acts which is something you have to see to believe. Fans cheered and went wild as the band played RATM classics like Testify, Bulls on Parade, and Bullet in the Head. Other covers were Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill and Bring the Noise by Public Enemy. Prophets of Rage brought sadness and tears to fans as they performed an instrumental version of Audioslave‘s Like A Stone in Memory of Chris Cornell who sadly committed suicide in May. In Audioslave, Cornell was the singer/guitarist and the other three members were also members of RATM who were also in Prophets of Rage. The show wrapped up when they performed one of the greatest songs in the metal community and surely everyone in the venue knew what it was, Killing in the Name. It drove the mosh pits wild. Ending Ozzfest was none other than the prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy came back with Zakk Wylde after he was gone from the band for 10 years. The entire venue erupted into a roar as Ozzy came out and started the show with the classic, Bark at the Moon. This was a very cold night for this festival and lots of plenty were seen shivering from the cold. Ozzy suffered the most as he complained about it and his voice suffered from it too as you could hear he wasn’t at his best. Regardless, Ozzy played plenty of favorites which included Mr. Crowley, I Don’t Know, No More Tears, and Crazy Train. Ozzy is famously known for being the frontman for heavy metal gods Black Sabbath, so it only makes sense that the band also played songs like Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots, and War Pigs. Wylde is known for his solos in his work and he showed that during an extended guitar solo ending of War Pigs which seemed to go on forever with what sounded like the same guitar notes for what felt like ten minutes straight. Ozzy and the rest of the band partied hard as they finished Ozzfest with what is easily one of the greatest songs in metal, Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid. Everyone cheered and sang along as Ozzfest came to an end.
Day two was Knotfest and also featured some of today’s top metal acts.
Starting the day early were band like Warbringer, Repulsion, Exhumed, and Stitched Up Heart. Just many metalheads showed up for day two of this festival. In the afternoon, bands like Oni, Death Angel, Goatwhore, and The Black Dahlia Murder made fans wreck each other in the pit. The side stage for that day was headlined by the San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal legends, Testament. The crowd was especially wild for them as Testament brought classic thrash metal to the festival with ripping tracks like Rise Up, Practice What You Preach, Over the Wall, and Into the Pit which the band wrote specifically for people in the mosh pit. Daylight Savings really took its toll on the festival as near the beginning of their performance, the sun went down and made it difficult to see the band. Road crew brought out lamps as an attempt to light the stage which singer Chuck Billy made a joke on how the band spared no expenses on their lights. Regardless, it was a great performance by one of metal’s finest bands. Even in almost total darkness, the huge swarm of metalheads made their way out of the side stage area like a horde of zombies and making their way to the main stage. Starting the main stage was Prayers which warmed up the audience. Eighteen Visions is a metalcore band that reformed earlier this year after having broken up ten years ago. A lot of fans were complaining on how the festival was called Knotfest, yet it didn’t feature Slipknot which is who always headlines the festival and are the creators of it. Instead, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor got his other band Stone Sour to perform at the festival so it was close enough. Stone Sour recently released their newest album Hydrograd and have been actively touring for it since. Stone Sour performed many of their classic hits like Made of Scars, Say You’ll Haunt Me, Get Inside, and the band’s biggest single to date and ballad, Through Glass. Shock rock superstar Marilyn Manson was up next. This was his first performance coming back from an accident a couple of months prior where his gun props fell on him which resulted in a broken ankle. In the middle of the show, he made a joke on how he, himself, was a victim of gun violence. Manson mainly stayed strapped to a throne as to not cause more injury to his ankle. He still performed plenty of his hits which included Disposable Teens, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), The Dope Show, and of course one of the most popular songs in the metal community, The Beautiful People. Ending Knotfest was horror mastermind, Rob Zombie. Zombie released his newest album in 2016 titled The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. The stage was set as a giant boombox was at the center of the stage with monster and clown heads surrounding the stage. Rob Zombie came out with his band and started the show with Dead City Radio and the Gods of Supertown. Zombie himself stood on the top of the boombox while guitarist John 5 and bassist Piggy D stayed on the ground in full makeup and masks. A stunning light show combined with lots of pyro made for an amazing stage presence from the band. The second song performed was one of Zombie’s oldest and best songs, Superbeast. The energy to that song still holds even after all these years and always drives the fans wild. Zombie and his band always put on an energetic performance. They prove this as they performed lots of Rob Zombie classics and newer tunes which included Living Dead Girl, More Human Than Human (White Zombie song), House of 1000 Corpses, Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a UFO, and Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy). The band took a quick break except for John 5 who performed a nice guitar solo with backdrops specifically for him to showcase his underrated guitar skills. Rob Zombie and the rest of the band came back out with Zombie saying a few words to the audience that for this next song, for people to put away their phones and enjoy concerts like people used to back in the days.
Rob Zombie performed one of metal’s most popular songs, Thunder Kiss ’65 (White Zombie song) and what a wild ride it was and a sigh of relief to not see any phones up in the air. Rob Zombie would entertain the crowd with something different and performed two covers. The first being Blitzkrieg Bop by punk rock legends The Ramones and School’s Out by legendary rockstar, Alice Cooper. To end the show with a bang, Rob Zombie played his most famous song, Dragula. What a show it was with giant tv screens and pyro everywhere. Ozzfest Meets Knotfest 2017 was a very successful metal festival and hopefully the next edition of the festival is also held at the same location.
High On Fire
Jose Mangin of SiriusXM Liquid Metal
Children of Bodom
Prophets of Rage
Ozzy Osbourne (Photos courtesy of Stephanie Cabral)
The Black Dahlia Murder