Avenged Sevenfold returns to Louisville for the first time in a decade and dominates opening night of the Louder Than Life festival with Slayer, and Cheap Trick.

Opening night, headliners Avenged Sevenfold closed out a fantastic evening of music at Louder Than Life Louisville with a ten-song powerhouse main set opening with “Nightmare,” “Afterlife,” and “Shepherd of Fire.”

M. Shadows took a few minutes to address the packed crowd. “This is our first time in Louisville in 10 Years, and I’ve never seen so many crowd surfers,” he said eliciting a huge cheer. “We are going to play for you as long as we can,” as Avenged dropped into blazing renditions of “Hail to the King” and “Buried Alive.”

“We are not too far past the anniversary of 9/11, and we want to dedicate the next song to those men and women who fight and have died for this country, people who fight for all of our rights,” Shadows said to which chants of “USA! USA!” rose from the crowd. Avenged rolled into “Gunslinger,” which has the entire venue on fire.

Avenged finished off their main set with “To End the Rapture,” “Second Heartbeat.” “Planets” and “Acid Rain” that kept building on the incredible energy of the evening.

Avenged Sevenfold finished off the evening’s music with a two-song encore featuring a hard-driving “Bat Country” before ending with “Unholy Confessions” providing a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Providing the main support was thrash metal masters Slayer. On a stage saturated with deep red lights, they opened their set with the title track from their newest album, Repentless, followed by “Chemical Warfare” and “Disciple.” With the crowd in a moshing and crowd surfing frenzy, Slayer rolled thru a powerhouse hour-long set in their usual brutal fashion, ending their set with “Angel of Death” that left the festival abuzz.

Across the festival grounds, 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Cheap Trick wowed a great crowd from Zorn Stage. The arena rock icon released a new album this year titled Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello, their first since 2009.

One great thing about festivals, a surprise visit or two is not uncommon.  Taylor Hawkins added his vocals to a rendition of “Stiff Competition” while Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello joined Robin for a rockin’ performance of “Surrender.” Last but not least Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian joined Rick Nielsen for “Auf Wiedersehen” closing out a dynamite set.

There were some memorable performances during the day: Anthrax touring in support of For All Kings was greeted to a huge ovation as they rolled on to the Monster Energy Stage delivering a classic 40-minute set of favorites including opener with “Caught in a Mosh.” The crowd went crazy as Frank Bello launched into the familiar opening bass notes of “Got the Time” along with “Antisocial” before ending with “Indians.”

With an incredible drive and energy, Hellyeah‘s 40-minute set grabbed the festival by the throat and didn’t let go. Their set included “Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)” complete with Chad’s bloody face along with their Phil Collins cover of “I Don’t Care Anymore” before closing with “Human” from their latest album, Undeniable.

Avatar launched into their 30-minute set like a rocket with “For the Swarm” and  “Hail The Apocalypse.” With everyone hot, sweaty, and revved up, Johannes told the crowd, “Guess what Louder Than Life — Avatar has just stolen the show!” which is exactly what they did.

Fans eager to hear their latest release, Feathers & Flesh, along with the old favorites packed in close to the stage. Avatar finished their set with “Paint Me Red,” “The Eagle Has Landed,” “Let It Burn,” and “Smells Like a Freakshow” vowing a return visit to Louisville soon.

Chevy Metal’s fun remakes of ’70s rock were thoroughly entertaining. Their set featured covers of “Jailbreak,” “My Sharona,” “Live Wire” and ending with AC/DC’s “Let there Be Rock.”

Motionless in White’s set brought some serious energy and grand theatrics to the Monster Energy Stage. The band, who has not released an album since their 2014 chartbuster, Reincarnate, has announced a new release due out in early 2017.

The music kicked off Saturday with ’68 along with Bishop Gunn, Twelve Foot Ninja, Dinosaur Pile-up, Young Guns, Neck Deep, Being as an Ocean, I Prevail, Sick Puppies, The Amity Affliction, Pierce the Veil and the Cult.

With a successful Day 1 behind them, fans eagerly looked forward to Day 2 featuring heavyweight acts, Slipknot and Disturbed with many more, including Korn, Ghost, Zakk Wylde’s Zakk Sabbath, Sevendust, Pop Evil, Parkway Drive, and Skindred.

Be sure to read our coverage of Louder Than Life – Day 2.

Avenged Sevenfold
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Slayer
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The Cult
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Pierce The Veil
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Cheap Trick
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Anthrax
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Hellyeah
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Chevy Metal
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Motionless in White
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The Amity Affliction
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Avatar
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Sick Puppies
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I Prevail
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Neck Deep
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Young Guns
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Being As An Ocean
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’68
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Twelve Foot Ninja
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Dinosaur Pile-up
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Bishop Gunn
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Louder Than Life
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Event Date: 01-Oct-2016