Saturday, June 3 was not just another hot summer day in Las Vegas. The Scars and Stripes Festival in LasVegas packed in 12 plus hours of rock'n roll in support of American Troops past and present. The “second Memorial Day” concert was an all day long event that featured 17 bands rocked and loaded with guitars and drums and ready to annihilate the stage.
The inaugural event was produced by Filthy Nasty Productions in conjunction with Empire Reign and Mungo Creative Group and took place at The Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. Ticket sale proceeds will be used to benefit several local Las Vegas veteran organizations, the most interesting being the Nevada Chapter of Pets for Vets. Pets for Vets provides a second chance for shelter pets by rescuing, training and placing them with veterans who could benefit from their own perfect pet companion.
The sun was high in the sky, with temperatures already hitting the 99 degree mark early in the day and on had supporters braving the heat for the music ahead. A dual stage was set upon the main event stage, and gave bands the opportunity to take turns for their set without fans having to venture to a separate location. Festivals can be quite suspenseful since they draw bands from every corner of the country and sometimes from the other corners of the world. Gates opened at 11:00 a.m. with the first band Charcoal Tongue taking the controls at 11:45 a.m. This Texas based band, newly signed to Spinefarm Records, recently released a new song titled, “Fix Me”.If you’re a Linkin Park, Slipknot or Korn fan, you will definitely enjoy these guys! Chrysalis from nearby Barstow kicked off the next set. This California band also had a recent album release Reminder, already with two tracks receiving repeat airplay.
Never will you be disappointed with new music or new bands at a festival as you are hit with back to back, non-stop new music. There is always a band that will hit that proverbial rock and roll sweet spot and win you over for life. Las Vegas band Honor Amongst Thieves once again gave a solid performance, Moscow, Nocturnal Affair, LansdowneShaman’s Harvest were new to me, but be sure to check them out they gave great performances for upcoming newer bands! A live performance can always make or break a band or a fan, and if a band can win an audience at a live show and make them want to hear more, their work has been accomplished and every band did just that at Scars and Stripes!
A more well known artist, Canadian Adam Gontier, lead singer for Saint Asonia and former lead for 3 Days Grace was on a solo set next. Gontier was a one man show with his amplified acoustic version of fan favorites and some even by request as he stated “You say it, I play it, I heard it, here you go!”
The South came alive with Memphis based band Devour The Day, Black Stone Cherry from Kentucky, and 10 Years out of Knoxville rounding up the afternoon sets. Devour The Day thrilled with favorites such as "Good Man" and "The Bottom", and singer Blake Allison surfed though the front rows as he finished out their show.
Devour the Day Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos
Black Stone Cherry never fails to bring all they have and more to the stage, we were wowed by their performance! Not sure if it’s "White Trash Millionaire" or "Blame It On The Boom Boom" but it gets us everytime! Tennessee represented with 10 Years who filled their time with a ten song set list, and near to the end of their stage time lead singer Jesse Hasek has a thank you to all in attendance, “Back in Memphis it’s probably 99 degrees and everyone is complaining about how hot it is! I just want to say thank you staying out in 103 plus temperature to see us and be here to show your support for what this event is all about! Supporting our troops!” Hasek spent part of the set in the crowd, letting the fans hold him up and he sang from out in the mass. Closing their set with "Shoot It Out", 10 Years were joined on stage by Gemini Syndrome’s lead singer Aaron Nordstrom to the crowds roaring approval.
Black Stone CHerry Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos
10 Years Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos
Taking the last spot on the dual main stage is the local Vegas band Otherwise, and lead singer Adrian Patrick gives a heartfelt thank you to KOMP 92.3 Radio for the event and for playing their new music from an upcoming album. Patrick gave another thank you to the fans for coming to support what the day was really about - “Today, right now, it doesn’t matter our religion, our political stance or our race. We are are "Soldiers" fighting for our country and our freedom. We give honor and thanks to those who give their service.”
Otherwise Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos
As the dual stage now becomes one large center stage in preparation for three headlining bands that remain. Shannon Gunz from SiriusXM, Octane and Ozzy’s Boneyard takes the stage and welcomes everyone to the first ever Scars and Stripes Festival and a “huge thanks to all who serve our country each and every day”.
As "Eye of the Tiger" begins to play, it was a small crowd sing-a-long as Pop Evil come out to take the stage. Seeing them perform live for the first time they were the epitome of a rock and roll show, there was great crowd interaction and it must have been apparent on both sides as lead singer Leigh Kakaty states, “Thanks to all the real people that come to rock shows, you are the real rockers! Give it up for our men and women in the Hero’s Deck! Thank you for what you do for us!” Performing many front-running hits including the faction favorite being "Footsteps (Go Higher)" as everyone forms that connection and roars the words in unison.
Pop Evil Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos
The sun is setting and the temperatures are dropping slowly, but it goes back into a heated frenzy as Hellyeah tears it up! Another Las Vegas (we claim them as locals!) band that packs a punch, this regiment of rockers - Chad Gray, Tom Maxwell, Vinnie Paul, Kyle Sanders and Christian Brady are a no holds barred band with dynamic vocals, strong guitars and of course a master on drums. The classic start to a Hellyeah show is Vinnie Paul standing midst of his drum kit and spinning his sticks, and the masses are at a crazed frenzy as they explode with pure driven rock and roll with each song. It is a thank you moment, a bonding moment as lead singer Chad Gray states, “Hats off to our men and women who serve this great country. You know, they have had two Memorial Days this year in Vegas and they definitely deserve it for their commitment and dedication to do what they believe in, which is protect my life and yours.” Everyone cheers and claps as Gray continues, “As for rock and roll, this is one big happy, heavy metal rocking family and music is our bond. Today we are opening a time capsule, so to speak, as it was a year ago today we released our fifth studio album, Undeniable, which we recorded right here in Vegas! So, we want to dedicate the first release off that album to this entire rock and roll family, because we are all "Human"! Thank you all!”
Hellyeah Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos
Asking Alexandria had a hard act to follow, but the crowd stayed strong as they kept the energy level high and ran through a set that included “Dear Insanity”. The Death of Me”, and “Run Free”. Three Doors Down was the final band of the night, starting the set with “Still Alive” and running through a 15 song show to close out a great day of music, 12 plus hours and over 17 bands for this inaugural Stars and Stripes event. Thanks to all the bands and supporters that made this show possible and we look forward to the next year!
Asking Alexandria Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos