Blue Ridge Rock Fest 2022: Day Two

It was a beautiful day in Virginia for the second day of BRRF. As we were walking by the tour buses to the gate, I was thinking to myself, “Candlebox is playing, so maybe we’ll see them!” Sure enough, I look up and see guitarist Island Styles and lead vocalist Kevin Martin of Candlebox hanging out right outside. It was a great way to start the day! We were cutting it close on time and we couldn’t miss Zero 9:36; we’ve seen him in San Diego and Hollywood this year, and he always puts on a great performance… but, he was on fire at BRRF! He had the big stage and the energy from the crowd, making it definitely a different vibe. Zero lit it up! 

Our Day Two festival schedule was insane!

We made our schedule based on who we wanted to see (which was pretty much everybody) and ended up with 22 THOUSAND steps by the end of the day. Siamese flew 15 hours from Denmark to make their US debut at BRRF; we felt bad they were having sound issues and were late getting started. Once they did though, they were amazing and fun! “We’re not shy, we love to hear how good we are,” said their lead singer, as he asked the crowd to make more noise. We got to meet them after their set — they are cool, humble, fun guys. Check them out! 

All the way from Russia, Slaughter to Prevail had the most insane crowd of the day, I believe. Kaiya is all about them. They played  “1984”, relevant to today’s world, and “Baba Yaga” (not baby Yoda). I stayed for about four songs and started the hike up Hay Hill to catch Candlebox on the main stage. As I was walking up, I was looking back at the crowd, thinking, “Damn, that is so metal!”

During Candlebox, Kevin Martin was telling security someone needed help in the crowd. They were slow to respond, so he said, “Hurry up!” They slowed down the song and then stopped playing until the guy got help — so cool. We all love their debut album from 1993 and there’s nothing like hearing “You” live: seeing the sea of middle fingers singing “fuck You, I don’t want it no more!”… but, listen to their new stuff, too! Wolves was released September of last year. 

Badflower’s lead singer/guitarist Josh Katz went out in the crowd, did a little crowd-surfing and lost his earpiece. People were picking up things and he would say, “That’s not mine!” They finally found it and the show could go on. 

We saw security take a kid up to the stage to get a pick.

As the festival went on, this security guy became every kid’s hero, taking them over the rail and up to the stage to get a high five or a guitar pick. I’ve seen Sevendust a few times in recent years and lead singer Lajon Witherspoon puts all his emotions on the stage. He had tears in his eyes when talking about being grateful and appreciating the moment, because “you never know what’s going to happen”. I think we all felt that, especially over the last two years. We loved their vibe and their energy onstage. 

At this time, we went back down Hay Hill to catch In Flames, Memphis May Fire, Hatebreed and Bad Omens. We love all four bands, so it was nice to have the stages close enough together to run back and forth, and even better that the stages were facing opposite directions for no sound overlap. We were especially loving Bad Omens frontman Noah Sebastian’s new look! Have you seen it? A sharp dressed man — it’s a great aesthetic for them. When they announced the wall of death, Kaiya dumped her camera and phone on me, screaming “be right back”!!

She ran down the hill and I saw her swallowed up in the wall of death, reappearing on the rail moments later.

Then, it was back up the hill and down to the Monster Energy Stage for Gojira — another band I’ve been sleeping on and didn’t know much about their music. They were amazing! I have them on my playlist now! While standing there, I looked over and saw Jonathan Slye standing by; we were so excited to meet him. Even with all the haters, he keeps pushing through to make things better. That is incredibly inspiring! 

After one more time doing Hay Hill (feeling like an athlete at this point), it was time for Alice Cooper. His performance has been on my bucket-list forever. Alice Cooper is iconic… and he was standing right in front of me. We couldn’t stay for the whole set, because we had to hike back for Mudvayne. I was stoked to hear a few of my favorite Alice Cooper songs, though. “Feed my Frankenstein” was accompanied with a big Frankenstein onstage. Also heard were “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Bed of Nails” off my favorite Alice Cooper album, Trash. I wanted to stay for the whole set, but I’ve never seen Mudvayne. We needed extra time to make the hike, because I was dragging ass by now, too. 

I’ve said this many times, ‘I have never seen them… and now I’m a fan.’

Mudvayne is another one on that list. They are definitely intriguing with their look alone. I love that shit. Make me watch you; make me research your songs and want more. Lead vocalist Chad Gray had me trying to figure out his amazing costume makeup. Was it a bullet in the head? Were his eyes rolled back? Were they contacts? Makeup? All of it was mesmerizing… a creepy and intriguing look. I’ll definitely be checking out more Mudvayne. 

And, just like that, Day Two was a wrap! We had so many unforgettable ‘wow!’ moments and we were only halfway through the festival. Plus, so far, the weather had been good to us. Would it continue to be nice? Stay tuned for Day Three! 

Photography by Heather Vandemark

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