Slipknot, Lamb of God, Three Days Grace, and Bullet For My Valentine on the main stage had White River Amphitheater overflowing with metal fans.

Pain In The Grass is, without a doubt, the metal festival everyone waits all summer for in the Pacific Northwest. The festival debuted in 2007 and is now in its eighth year of in the Washington/Oregon region. Donations of two dollars from each ticket sold went to The Vitalogy Foundation, a non-profit organization developed by the members and management of Pearl Jam. The foundation disperses funds to assist in commendable projects that focus on community health, arts, education, social change, and the environment.

The show began with an excellent local, blues/rock band called Ayron Jones & The Way. The crowd began building early on at the main stage to catch their songs from their album Dream and newest release ‘Boys From The Puget Sound.’ Their set rocked the crowd with “Feedin’ From The Devil’s Hand,” “Baptized In The Muddy Waters,” and “When Will I Learn.” Currently, the band is working on new music and has a bright future ahead of them.

The next band up on the main stage was Crobot. If you have yet to see this band live, it is imperative that you do so. Immediately upon taking the stage, fans feel teleported to the 70s, and this band could actually be direct support for Led Zeppelin. Their eclectic performance is one of the most entertaining shows on tour today.

Bell bottom jeans, long hair, gyrating hips, and other onstage antics keep fans coming back for more. Their music is a mixture of blues, rock, and funk and they are every bit as wild as they sound. Currently, out in support of their album Full Moon Howl released in May of this year, there is much more to come from this incredible band in the future.

The Another Century Stage served as the second stage for this festival, and it was about to revved up with Varsity Week. Packed full of energy, and apparently enough fluids to survive the heat, Varsity Week got the crowd at the second stage moving. The crowd, not yet reaching full capacity, had enough room to dance and mingle while the band blasted through their set. Varsity Week, based out of Tacoma, Washington, is blowing up the Seattle/Tacoma music scene.

Back to the main stage for the theatrical, goth, hard rocking band Motionless In White. The band hailing from Scranton, PA has been around since 2005. They hit the ground running and worked very hard to get to where they are today. Motionless In White, a band that can stand the test of time, has a solid base of hardcore fans. Chris Motionless kept the young women swooning with his dark and mysterious good looks while his voice kept the young men banging their heads to his guttural screams.

Perhaps the most mesmerizing member to watch is Devin ‘Ghost’ Sola. Sola sauntered on stage in full costume of “The Jackyl” from the movie Thir13en Ghosts. The band is out supporting their album Reincarnate. After the tour ended with Slipknot on Sept 4th, the band is taking a short break and then they are headed overseas to Great Britain in November. If you have not seen them yet, they are a band to added to your metal wish list.

The founders of ‘Didgeridoo Metal,’ Like A Storm hit the second stage with the force of a hurricane. The New Zealanders are tearing up the charts with hits from their newest release Awaken The Fire. The band had a fiery stage set up with backdrops of flames and skulls stacked on poles in the front corners.

The band ripped through hits like “The Enemy,” “I Love The Way You Hate Me,” and “Wish You Hell.” A definite crowd pleaser, vocalist Chris Brooks ventured out into the pit area, to get up close and personal with the band’s fans. High energy and a tight sound keep fans coming back for more. Like A Storm is one of the best live shows on the touring circuit. The band will be continuing on with their North American tour into mid-October. Catch them if you can.

Next up on the main stage was Theory of a Deadman. With a minimal stage set up, with the exception of a disturbing mic stand made from a shotgun that brought back memories of Kurt Cobain for some Seattle fans, Theory of a Deadman needed no frills to thrill the crowd. With their history of two No. 1 hits, “Low Life” and “Bad Girlfriend” still being heavily played on Sirius XM, Theory of a Deadman shows no signs of slowing down with their 2014 release SaVages and 2015 release of the five-song EP Angel. Many favorites played during the bands set including “Bitch Came Back,” “Angel” along with the afore-mentioned hits “Low Life” and “Bad Girlfriend.” Theory of a Deadman did their part to prime the crowd for what was to come later in the night.

Stitched Up Heart stormed the Another Century Stage while Theory of a Deadman continued to rock the main stage. With the crowd at the second stage continually growing, Stitched Up Heart turned up the heat on the screaming fans. Vocalist, Mixi Demner, was scorching hot in cut off shorts and barely-there t-shirt over her bra. The band on tour promoting their 2014 release, Skeleton Key had fans on their feet in the pit and showing their true metal spirit as the day went on. Stitched Up Heart will be heading back out on the road with One-Eyed Doll and Run 2 Cover later in September.

As things were heating up on the second stage, the main stage ignited with the anxiously awaited return of Bullet For My Valentine. With the lukewarm response received by the bands fourth album, Temper Temper, Bullet had much to prove with their new release, Venom, that dropped in August 2015. With the bands separation from bassist Jason James, and the lack luster response to Temper Temper, Bullet fans were anxious about the band’s future.

Fans, relieved when Matt Tuck announced that the band would be moving back to their previous sound on Scream Aim Fire, finally began to relax. All anxieties and concerns moved aside when the single, “No Way Out,” was released. Shortly after that came “Broken” and “You Want A Battle?” Bullet is on the right track with new bassist Jamie Mathias as well. He is a perfect fit for the band and adds some flare to the stage. Now, if only Matt Tuck would grow his hair back, all would be right with the world.

Awaken The Empire, an alternative band from Seattle, took the second stage and began the internal conflict for fans whether to stay at the main stage or catch the local band. It was clear that many fans were ready to rock with Awaken The Empire. With the bands release of Aurora in July of 2015, they were ready to show their hometown followers what they had been up to.

Fans showed their love by opening up a pit that sent fans flying through the air with some landing on their backsides. In true metal fashion, fans stopped and picked up those who crashed, and then proceeded with the onslaught of brutality. Fresh off a tour with 10 Years, Nonpoint, and The Family Ruin the band has yet to release any new tour dates. Check our their video and single released in June called “Cross My Heart.”

With the main stage area becoming increasingly full, and the sun dropping behind the lawn of the Amphitheater, Three Days Grace hit the stage with an energy that can only be described as explosive. The departure of Adam Gontier in December 2013 left the band faced with the choice whether to move on or quit.

Quitting never crossed their minds. Matt Walst, the younger brother of bassist Brad Walst, stepped up and took over the vocals in a big way. Matt brought so much new energy and passion to the band. The change only revitalized and propelled the band forward toward much bigger and better things. The band released Human in March 2015 and it was clear that they were a force that could not be stopped.

The band is currently touring the US and Canada, and the fans love every minute of it. A mixture of old and new songs still being played with excellent reception, this band can do no wrong in their fans eyes. Keeping track of Matt Walst during their show is the only problem fans are having. Matt runs from side to side of the stage and only briefly stops in the middle.

He keeps you guessing at where he will end up next. Fans were chanting, screaming, and singing along to all the familiar songs, and the newest ones as well. Three Days Grace will continue with this leg of the US tour, then head back up into Canada to finish out this current schedule.

The last band to play the second stage, New Years Day, wrapped up that portion of the festival on a high note. Beautiful vocalist Ash Costello whipped the fans into a frenzy. Fans were brimming with excitement for the headliners and New Years Day made sure to keep them at a fevered pitch. The band is working on a new album that will be out in October of this year called Malevolence. Check out their most recent release from that upcoming album called “Relentless.”

As the crowd filled the main stage amphitheater for the anxiously awaited return of Lamb of God, the air was electric. After Randy Blythe’s horrible ordeal in Prague, where a fan lost his life, fans were ready to welcome Randy back with open arms. Acquitted of the manslaughter charges in March of 2013, Blythe, still dealing with the trauma that he and the fans family felt during the situation, was still under a dark cloud. This led to Blythe taking a break from music and writing his personal memoir entitled The Dark Days.

The pressure of all the recent events led to the birth of VII Sturm und Drang, which translates to storm and stress, released in July 2015. Lamb of God hit the stage with such vengeance that the crowd went crazy. Randy, with his signature leaps to epic heights, brought delighted screams from the fans. The pit came alive with moshers and crowd surfers. Fans cheered and head banged through the entire set. The band’s sound was excellent, and quickly it was hard to remember that they had been away for so long. Needless to say, the metal community is behind this band in a big way, and they are glad to have them back.

Finally, the time had come for the biggest band in heavy metal to grace the stage. With large red curtains blocking the view of the fans, cheering and chanting began long before the curtains opened to reveal Slipknot. The carnival-like stage set which typical for the band was bigger and better than ever. Corey Taylor was in perfect form with his profound vocal range on full display.

The nine members moved around the stage in such a spectacle that fans were unable to look away. The masked group proved why they are on top of the metal music scene. The trademark spinning drum risers rocked and swayed on their hinges with the movements of Clown and Chris Fehn. Syd Wilson danced around the stage, hung from drum kits, and showed off his acrobatic prowess.

The newest band members Alessandro Ventrulla and Jay Weinberg were mostly obscured by the dark. Ventrulla did not venture too far forward on the stage while the rest of the band shared the spotlight. Mick Thomson and Jim Root appeared larger than life. Craig Jones, often also obscured by the cage that surrounded his keyboards, was difficult to see on the large stage.

The band sounded amazing and slayed the crowd with their recent hits from their current release 5:The Gray Chapter. The band released their ferocity on the fans with the likes of “Custer,” “Psychosocial,” “Killpop,” “Wait and Bleed,” “The Devil and I,” “Sarcastrophe,” “The Negative One,” and many others. This show was the culmination of what metal fans had been waiting all year for in the Northwest.

KISW PAIN IN THE GRASS 2015
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