With summer coming into humid nights and sweltering days, it seems only fitting that summer concert tours pop into full swing as well. Kicking off the three months of summer festival runs this year is the highly anticipated newcomer the Sounds of the Underground tour. Loaded with a power, aggression, and tons of sweat, the tour barreled its way through the Jerome Duncan Ford Theatre calling the summer of music into order.

Arts Department
Vocalist Randy Blythe of Lamb of God during the Sounds of the Underground Tour in Sterling Heights.

Carrying up to 21 bands, the Sounds of the Underground Tour ravages throughout the country bringing thousands of metal and hardcore fans together for 11-hour days of Mayhem. The tour’s goal: To steal a full day’s worth of second stage caliber bands from Ozzfest, while cutting its the ticket prices nearly in half.

Kicking off with noon start off time the amphitheatre seemed somewhat barren. Due to its midweek date, the crowd filled in as the came closer to the horizon. Metalcore acts like Norma Jean, and From Autumn to Ashes and Unearth filled the stage with maniacal theatrics bouncing off of drum kits, and flailing guitars with all disregard to safety. Quick five-minute set changes made for an all close to non-stop-rocking, but at some points during the show, the extra time may have been worthwhile to spend getting a full sound check.

Contrast to the energetic sets of the hardcore acts, more tuneful bands such as High on Fire, Strapping Young Lad and Opeth took stage to pull of ear enticing, and occasionally awe inspiring solos. Despite a lack of a real stage presence, these bands still managed to keep the crowd fully in-tune with their true musicianship and accuracy.

Heavier, faster, and even angrier bands like Chimaira, All That Remains, and the Black Dahlia Murder brought the true metal acts back to the main stage for highly aggressive performances and ear pounding tunes. Not straying far from the on-stage blitzkrieg of the band the active crowd screamed along all while bashing full speed into each other in the mosh-pits.

Although standing apart from the other musical genres, the highly visual, guised theatrics of GWAR, fit in just fine. Strutting about the stage, the fully costumed band put on a true 30-minute rock opera. Although the “opera’s” story is highly uncreative, and quite crude, there’s something about barbarian, sword wielding musicians who decapitate fellow members, spewing fake blood into the crowd that just seems to mesh seamlessly with this festival. Antics aside, the band still manages to belt out some impressive songs that keep the crowd bouncing (as well as screaming for more blood).

Closing out the night was the crowd anticipated Lamb of God. Blistering fast guitar work and ear crunching distortion brought the crowd to its full potential. The on stage showmanship of vocalist Randy Blythe is the selling point to the headliners show. Using the stage to its entirety Blythe makes sure no part of the crowd was left unattended.

The festival on the whole brings a momentous potential to be a possible annual tour, but without proper publicity, this rocket of energy will be stuck on the ground. The lack of patrons may have smothered the fire slightly, but the blaze of fury this tour brings was far from put out. For the 30 dollar ticket price that averages out to less than five cents a minute. At prices like that this concert is a steal. Fans should be thankful that they’ve been given such a great tour, and with any luck, this tour will pick up the momentum it honors, and make a return trip next summer to ravage fans a second time.

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