Blue Ridge Rock Fest 2021: Day Two

Day Two of Blue Ridge Rock Fest definitely gave us some Warped Tour vibes!! With bands like D.R.U.G.S, Bad Omens, I Prevail, Asking Alexandria and Motionless in White… we were definitely feeling the nostalgia! Day Two also seemed to be slightly more organized then the day before! It’s like they found the flaws and fixed them to the best of their ability. I’m not saying it was perfect, but baby steps, right?! As long as the music is still playing, we’re all good!

With entry lines being shorter and more organized, we were ready for Day Two to begin!!

Nonpoint was supposed to kick off Day Two, but unfortunately had a trailer accident. While traveling to the grounds, their trailer unhitched and crashed into a wooden area, which damaged some of their equipment. The band made it out safe, but they were definitely missed by us at the fest! Hopefully, we’ll get to hear “Ruthless” and see those crazy dreads at next year’s fest!

This was our first time seeing Fozzy. If you didn’t know, frontman Chris Jericho is a rock star in the wrestling world; he brings that charisma and showmanship to the metal stage. They performed their hit “Judas” and ended their set with a cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. It was a fun way of leaving the crowd pumped up and ready for the rest of the day.

Blue Ridge Rock Fest had the honor of welcoming back the return of D.R.U.G.S.! D.R.U.G.S. (short for Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows) originally formed in 2010 and quickly became popular with just one album. Unfortunately, the band decided to go their separate ways and broke up in 2012. But, in early 2020, an Instagram account was made for the band, which leaked info about a new song, signaling a band reunion! Blue Ridge was their first show back since 2012! I heard a lot of people in passing talk about how excited they were to see D.R.U.G.S. again. In that crowd, I saw a guy wearing a helmet with a dildo on it, pointing straight up — iconic! I honestly loved looking around and seeing how creative people got with their signature fest looks.

Gemini Syndrome! I will say this over and over again: I love bands that have a signature look, move or anything that makes them stand out. If I didn’t know them, it makes me want to go check them out and makes me remember their set. Gemini Syndrome is another band I knew nothing about, but I absolutely loved them! Seeing over 20 bands in one day, I remembered them and their names because of their look and aesthetic. Lead singer Aaron Nordstrom came out in a three-piece suit. It was very hot out, so I don’t know how he did it, but it looked sick! Bass player Alessandro Paveri had the zombie look, with all of his makeup.

Bad Omens was a band that I discovered during quarantine, so it was really cool finally being able to see them live.

I got to hear the two songs, “Limits” and “Dethrone”, that I played constantly during quarantine. As well as many other people, we were running around like crazy that day! There were so many amazing bands that happened to be overlapping or back-to-back at completely different stages. We were only able to stay at Asking Alexandria, Crown the Empire, Sevendust, Atreyu and Saul for a couple of songs. I don’t know about y’all, but it’s kind of a rush sprinting to the different stages, even if it’s only for a few songs!

Anthrax put on a very special 40th Anniversary set: they had this really cool, colorful banner that paid homage to each of their albums throughout the years. It was also a really cool experience watching Anthrax with my mom! They’re a band that she’s been listening to pretty much her whole life and has tried to get me to listen to, as well. I will admit, I love them! But, don’t tell her I said that… I actually jumped in my first mosh pit ever during the ‘WarDance’ part of “Indians”!

I’ve heard Fever333 puts on a pretty entertaining show, but holy shit — I definitely was not expecting THAT much energy! Lead singer Jason Butler is a maniac! Whether he is climbing up to the very top of the stage or convulsing on the ground, he is just constantly moving. The whole band is actually constantly moving, so it makes the show so intriguing and entertaining. I love when bands like this give you a reason to come to their show other than just the music. We were lucky enough to run into Jason later that day and he is actually the chillest and nicest guy! You would never guess that he goes that crazy onstage.

I Prevail opened their set with “Bow Down”, which is my personal favorite!

It’s one of those songs that just gets you so freaking pumped up; it was so amazing feeling that energy from the crowd. I Prevail was another band I discovered during the beginning of quarantine. I listened to their album TRAUMA on repeat constantly. I guess when crowd-surfing people get boring, crowd-surf a trash can? Yes, there was literally a crowd-surfing trash can during “Bow Down”. It wasn’t an empty one by the way, so garbage dumped everywhere. It was quite the sight to see!

There was an unfortunate situation that occurred during the Chevelle set, which once again proved how metalheads come together and help each other. Luckily, the situation was resolved and everyone made it out safe. The dust really came out to play this day, as well! Blue Ridge was my first ever festival and I’ve heard that dust is a real problem at festivals and that I should bring some sort of mask to protect myself from it. There wasn’t any dust on Day One, so I was like, ‘What’s all this hype about?’ I totally get it now, though. All the moshing, walking and running around really tore up all the grass, so all that was left was dust. I honestly didn’t mind the dust too much; it looked really pretty all up in the air when the sun was setting!

Motionless in White! Oh my goodness, another one of my favorite bands that I’ve been dying to see for such a long time! Their ‘walk out’ song was so groovy! It was mostly just beats and bass, but it had such an eerie vibe to it and really got you in the ‘Motionless mood’. They came out and kicked their set off by playing “reincarnate”.  During the breakdown part of “Thoughts and Prayers”, they really turned up the heat with full fire pyro!! I didn’t realize I was standing a foot away from the pyro machine and it felt like my eyelashes were literally gonna burn off! Around the middle of their set, lead singer Chris Motionless was talking about how they came up with the setlist for that night. He said that there was probably going to be a lot of old-school fans in the crowd. I jokingly said, “What if it’s ‘Abigail’!!”… thinking they weren’t going to play it and, right after, Chris Motionless goes “this next one is called… ‘Abigail’.” I screamed, “Are you fucking kidding me??!” and all the people around me looked at me, but I didn’t care — it was my favorite Motionless song! Motionless put us all in our feels by playing “Another Life”, then closing out their set with “Eternally Yours”.

Rob Zombie is a must-see in your lifetime.

Even if you’re not really a fan, he puts on such an amazing show!  The costumes, masks, props and lights are phenomenal. His signature tassels and dance moves make the show so intriguing to watch. If you’re close to the front, watch out for John 5 drool. Wait, what? I have a really bad gag reflex and was so not expecting the drooling; it definitely caught me off guard, but it’s all for that authentic ‘zombie’ vibe.

When the day ended, we all looked like the walking dead (get it? Cause, Rob Zombie…) making their way back to the parking lot. We were walking alongside a very entertaining group that kept shouting things, like “can I get a HOYAAA!”. Then, we passed this very enthusiastic cop (not!) who had a megaphone and kept repeating in monotone, “Blue and orange buses to the right.” Then, that group was like, “Can I hear that one more time!”, “Keep it going!”, “One more time!” and “Now, the people in back!” They got pretty much the whole crowd of people to chant, “Blue and orange buses to the right!” That cop definitely hated all of us, but it made the walk so much more fun and tolerable. If you were part of that group and happened to be reading this, just know that made my night! Day Two definitely topped Day One, in my opinion. And, Day Three was going to have to come at us real hard if it wants to top Day Two!

Photography by Heather Vandemark; recap by Kaiya Vandemark

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