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  • Live Review: Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Sour, Asking Alexandria, and More — Rock on the Range, Columbus

    Sun, 19 May 2013 10:24:45

    Live Review: Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Sour, Asking Alexandria, and More — Rock on the Range, Columbus - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

    Smashing Pumpkins Photos

    • Smashing Pumpkins - US musician Billy Corgan of the band Smashing Pumpkins performs on the Other Stage on the fifth day of the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts near Glastonbury, southwest England on June 30, 2013. The festival attracts 170,000 party-goers to the dairy farm in Somerset, and this year's tickets sold out within two hours of going on sale.
    • Smashing Pumpkins - Musician Billy Corgan, of The Smashing Pumpkins, performs during the Cumbre Tajin culture festival -- this year devoted to the 'Rebirth of the Self' -- at El Tajin archaeological site, in the highlands of Papantla, Veracruz State, Mexico, early on March 24, 2013.
    • Smashing Pumpkins - NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Nicole Fiorentino, Billy Corgan, Mike Byrne and Jeff Schroeder of Smashing Pumpkins perform onstage presented by P.C. Richard & Son at iHeartRadio Theater on June 19, 2012 in New York City.

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    "Is everybody crowd surfing like it's ninety-four?" Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins asked the Rock on the Range masses. Well, with the legendary quartet on stage, they certainly had every reason to sail across the audience. The Pumpkins closed out the second night of Rock on the Range with a rapturous set plucking out the heaviest moments of Oceania and their towering catalog.

    The stage production evolved from last fall's "orb" to two triangles hanging on opposite sides above the stage and a pyramid of screens in the middle. Corgan built a warm wall of distortion with the seesawing stomp of "Quasar" punctuated by Nicole Fiorentino's elegantly brooding bass, Mike Byrne's flawless drums, and Jeff Schroeder's impressive fretwork. Corgan let out a potent and piercing scream in the middle of "Cherub Rock" that could've split the Columbus ground open. Somehow though, his six-string prowess proved even stronger. "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" sparked a stadium-wide sing-a-long, and the band added an even heavier heft, swinging the timeless gem like a sledgehammer. "X.Y.U." spit wonderful vitriol, while a transcendent cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" spiraled out into the most gorgeous reaches of the galaxy.

    The visuals and the music converged seamlessly during "Disarm" and "Tonight, Tonight", allowing the audience to drift into the group's warm distorted embrace. This quartet's pedigree remains unchallengeable. Fiorentino's bass packs a wallop that could put a smile on Geezer Butler's face, while Byrne is a candidate for the "next drum legend" award. Schroeder's a perfect guitar counterpoint for Corgan. That brings us to the frontman. Throughout history, few individuals can rip and sing as well as he can and "Oceania" and "United States" functioned as shimmering proof.

    You want rock on the range or anywhere else—very few do it as well as Smashing Pumpkins.

    Speaking of real rock, Stone Sour dispensed it with the spirit of legends. "Gone Sovereign" and "Absolute Zero" make for one of metal's best opening salvos ever. Corey Taylor commanded the capacity crowd like he only he could sending a shockwave of epic proportions through the city.

    "It took us two fucking years, but goddamnit, Stone Sour is at Rock on the Range," he screamed.

    That scream was sent back exponentially louder, especially as Jim Root and Josh Rand locked into "Mission Statement". The duo swings from a tapestry of thrashed-out fireworks into some of the most mind-blowing soloing in the genre. Drummer Roy Mayorga and bassist Johnny Chow added a distinct bounce to "Made of Scars" that shook the ground. At the same time, Stone Sour brought everyone in the stadium close to them during chilling renditions of "Bother" and "Through Glass".

    A fitting homage to Black Sabbath, "Children of the Grave" received the Stone Sour treatment and morphed into a metallic monster with teeth bared and claws out. The freight train blasted through the gate on the shuddering and succinct salvo "30/30-150".

    One thing was clear as all hands were in the air and Stone Sour stood victorious in front of the sold out stadium—they are the 21st century's ultimate rock band, and that's not going to change.

    During the day, Asking Alexandria ripped through a rousing packed set on the Pabst Blue Ribbon Stage. Ben Bruce's fretwork on "Closure" and "To the Stage", while frontman Danny Wornsop brought devilish old school charm to "The Death of Me" and "Run Free". Asking Alexandria conjure the same kinetic energy of Guns N' Roses and Van Halen, but they do so in the most vicious modern fashion. They had the girls screaming and the boys moshing, and they're poised for their biggest stages when From Death to Destiny hits later this year.

    Earlier in the day, Otherwise and Gemini Syndrome waved the rock 'n' roll flag as the next generation's rising guard. Otherwise's swaggering grooves sizzled during "Vegas Girl" and "Die For You" made bodies move, while Gemini Syndrome's "Pleasure & Pain" and "Left of Me" conjured audience singing that remained palpable and powerful to witness.

    Rock is alive and well…

      Rick Florino

      Were you there? Who was your favorite band?

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    Tags: Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Sour, Asking Alexandria, Otherwise, Gemini Syndrome, Billy Corgan, Corey Taylor

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