Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Disturbed, Slipknot, and many more artists converged at the White River Amphitheater for KISW’s Pain in the Grass from Aug 1 through 3.
Pain in the Grass is a hardcore music experience; the bands and energy of the crowds reflected that this year in force.
Friday night saw Disturbed headlining. However, that didn’t stop the opening acts from owning the stage during their time in the light. In This Moment, led by Maria Brink, dominated during their performance with powerful vocals and strong stage design. Their show was impressive and the fans seemed to agree as they sang along and chanted out their favorite song titles.
Then Disturbed took the stage and the night was turned up to eleven. They opened with newer material from “Evolution,” their 2018 album. “Are You Ready,” a single from the album, slammed into the crowd, and the show only got better from there. Disturbed’s leading man, David Draiman, showed that the years haven’t slowed him as he roared into the music and drew the crowd to their feet. The band also touched on the softer emotions of their fans. Draiman’s performance of “Sound of Silence” is known to be powerful in its own right and the addition of “A Reason to Fight” to the band’s repertoire of acoustic ballads saw tears falling as lighters rose. “Evolution” was written as a tribute to friends that the band’s members have lost over the years, so Disturbed made sure that the numbers for suicide and depression hotlines were available several times throughout the show. Despite this, the show was not all tributes and ballads. Disturbed’s ability to put on an amazing show combined with a solid mix of newer material and well-known songs kept the crowd roaring until the stadium emptied.
Saturday night was a completely different animal. The opening bands were great, but there were two reasons for people to show up: Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, who are together for the third time as part of the Twins of Evil: Hell Never Dies tour. Manson took the stage before Rob Zombie and put on a good show. However, no one listens to Marilyn Manson and thinks of smoke and lights. Everyone in the crowd was there for Manson himself and songs made possible through his signature vocal style. Manson delivered solidly on that front. From his opener “Angel with the Scabbed Wings” through his well-known cover of “Sweet Dreams,” and even after his closing “Beautiful People,” Manson rocked. His attitude and energy were contagious; the crowd rose to meet his enthusiasm for every moment. His presence on stage felt right and every song was fun. Unfortunately, he said we only gave him as much hearing damage as his Portland concert and I can never forgive him for that.
Rob Zombie took the stage once Manson was through, and he took it by force—as Rob Zombie does. The shock-rocker knew exactly why people were coming to his show. In a July interview with Revolver magazine, Rob Zombie was asked about new songs he might be performing. His response, in true Rob Zombie fashion, was, “First of all, nobody wants to go to concerts and hear songs they don’t know. Nobody—and if they say they do, they’re full of shit!” It seemed that he hit the nail on the head for this weekend,\ at least. The crowd was more than happy to dig through the ditches and burn through the witches of “Dragula” and other classics, while he also pulled out amazing stylized covers of “More Human than Human” and “Blitzkrieg Bop.” While the set-list was strong, the performance was amazing. The stage felt like a never-ending explosion of rock and roll. Through the smoke and the lights, the band would dress in multiple costumes from aliens to monsters and everything in between. The dynamic show was never messy through all the chaos. No song or costume felt wrong or misplaced, and the music never stopped blowing the audience away.
Pain in the Grass was just as amazing this year as it has been in past years. As a music experience for hardcore music fans, Pain in the Grass 2019 delivered on every front.