Nathan Percy

Epicenter 2009 @ Pomona Fairplex 8/22/09

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The inaugural Epicenter festival, which calls itself “SoCal’s rock explosion,” was a huge hit with fans from the first act on the Monster Energy Stage, After Midnight Project, to the final act, Tool, on the Main Stage.

The Main Stage started with former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello’s new project, Street Sweeper Social Club. Fronted by veteran Political hip-hop artist Boots Riley, SSSC entertained the crowd with a mix of guitar driven rock and over ferocious hip-hop lyrics.

Dressed in matching blazers, SSSC did a great job in getting the crowd involved right from the start. SSSC also reminded fans after almost every song that they are not just a band, but also a social club.

With the exception of Hollywood Undead, who could really do without the masks, every group on the main stage put on great shows.

Atreyu sounded exceptionally good for a band that hadn’t performed in some time and though Wolfmother slowed the pace down a bit, they kept the energy alive with a top-notch showcase of their own.

But all the excitement came with the last three, or technically four, groups of the evening.

By the time the sun began to set on the main stage in the early afternoon, every person in attendance waited in anticipation for the return of Alice in Chains. After witnessing their first song, it wasn’t hard to see why, as the more-veteran group almost stole the show.

Alice in Chains commanded the stage with a presence that kept fans in the palm of their hands from start to finish. New lead singer William DuVall, who sounds a lot like the late Layne Staley, was flawless on lead vocals thoughout the set, which included hits “Them Bones” and “Rooster.”

Up next was Linkin Park, who began with a high energy set while playing songs like “Given Up,” “Don’t Stay” and “Sorrow.” Unfortunately the energy dropped severely as the next five songs were slower ballads.

In the middle of the Linkin Parks set, frontman Chester Bennington introduced Dead By Sunrise, his new side project. Despite the fact that DBS sounded great, the impatient crowd did not welcome them with open arms. After their second song, drummer Elias Andra threw his sticks in the crowd, to which a fan responded by throwing it back on stage, almost hitting guitarist Ryan Shuck.

Finally, about 10 hours after Epicenter ’09 started, Tool took the stage to close out the day-long event.

Though lead singer Maynard James Keenan stayed toward the back of the stage due to what he called an “unforeseen” leg injury, Tool dazzled the crowd with their colorful lighting sequences as well as their dark and heavy sound.

A fitting end to the inaugural installment of the annual Epicenter festival.

Photos by: Paul Hebert

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Linkin Park
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Dead by Sunrise
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Alice in Chains
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Hollywood Undead
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