Carolina Rebellion Rocks Charlotte

Fan clap along with Volbeat’s rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. Volbeat accompanied big-name bands like Def Leppard, Soundgarden, The Offspring and Avenged Sevenfold throughout the weekend (photo courtesy Will Hollerung).

On May 5-7, the Carolina Rebellion concert festival rocked Charlotte Motor Speedway to its core.

Marking seven years since its debut, the three-day event consisted of all day festivities Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with around 60 bands performing — Soundgarden, Def Leppard and Avenged Sevenfold headlined each night respectively. Carolina Rebellion is just one part of a series of Hard Rock festivals like “Rock on the Range” and “Rocklahoma”.

I had the opportunity to attend the last day of the festival, and the event certainly exceeded my expectations. Sunday — an event that started at high noon and lasted until midnight — also happened to have the most attendance numbers in its seven year stretch.

With that in mind, the accommodations couldn’t have been better. Food and merchant tents were scattered throughout the campground, so you never had to go far for what you needed. Festival sponsors like Zippo and Jack Daniels even had their own tents set up with games/contests, food, drinks, and photobooths. While there were huge crowds, long lines and a scarcity of T-shirts in my size, it was an amazing event to attend.

With over 20 bands in one day, there was always a performance to watch. While experiencing what the campgrounds has to offer I had the opportunity to listen to the likes of Beartooth, Kyng, and Motionless in White. All of these bands were well received and had high attendance for middle/lower card slots, their heavier metal style was just not a preference of mine.

The first band that I sat down and listened to was actually a band that was pushed back from Saturday: Citizen Zero. I hadn’t heard of them before the event, and for a “opening” band, I was surprised how good they sounded with their modern, hard-ish rock vibe.

The first major concert I attended was for Seether. This was my second time seeing them live from the front of the crowd and with their new album which dropped May 12 I was curious to see how they performed. They performed just as well as they had two years ago. My one gripe was that the lead singer, Shaun Morgan, only interacts with the crowd a very limited amount. Granted, their time slot was for 40 minutes, so I appreciated how they tried to squeeze as much music in this time frame as possible.

Later in the evening I attending the Volbeat concert. Unlike some other bands, I had only heard a little bit from the hard rock/metal band out of Denmark. They put on an amazing show. Almost perfection in every song they played and even humoring the audience with a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. Michael Poulsen, the leader singer, seemed very personable and seemed to have a fun time performing at Carolina Rebellion.

After such an awesome day of music, food and fun, I didn’t this the main event could be any better. I was proven wrong.

At 9:30 pm, after waiting an hour and a half after Volbeat ending, Avenged Sevenfold made their appearance. Seeing them for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. In the end, I was blown away.

It’s hard to describe what their concert was like other than it was more than just a group of guys playing music, it was a show. In collaboration with technicians at Cirque du Soleil, the band had a giant cube covered with screens with three video panels on each side that would show their music videos/ graphics created for each song they played. What I was pleased with the most was the type of music they played. In the the time that they had with their hour and fifteen minute slot, Avenged Sevenfold played new material from the latest album The Stage like the title track and power rock songs like “Paradigm”, while still making room for older ballads like “So Far Away” and even a nine minute rock-orchestra piece — “A Little Piece of Heaven” — from the self titled album from 2007.

I can safely say that seeing Avenged Sevenfold live was one of the best concerts I’ve seen. A band with a powerful stage presence, invigorating music, and an over experience to go along with it.

Even though I may have been packed like sardines with weird people I have never met while being bombed by a barrage of crowd surfers, it was all worth it and I would go back in a heartbeat.


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