Halfway Jam 2015 Recap [GALLERY]
Halfway Jam 2015 is over and that depresses me. A) It's fun. 2) I have to go back to work. D) Summer is 2/3 over.
But hats off to Rockhouse Productions and Henry's Farm for putting on a HELL of a show! They departed from the 80's-heavy theme of years past (which riled-up some of the Halfway Jam purists), but I feel like this is a very good thing. Halfway Jam still had the 80's element, but added the 90's through today to the mix.
For the sake of a kinda concise review, I'll stick with the main stage acts. ALL of the Westside Stage bands killed it!
Autograph opened up the Main Stage on Thursday with an Aqua Net-licious set. Steve Plunkett no longer fronts the band, but from what I've been told this lineup continued on with his blessing. Musicians getting along? Wuh?!
The surprise of the Jam was Vertical Horizon, who went on second. I'm still not much of a fan of their music, but the delivery and crowd interaction was spot on. They stuck out like a pop band at a hard rock festival, but still featured some stellar musicianship.
Night Ranger rocked. They always put on a great show. A little heavy on the covers this time around (I get the guitarists each played in other big bands, but still...) but a fun show as usual.
Friday opened with Puddle of Mudd. First off: WOW. Using backing tracks during a show is one thing, but lead vocal tracks?! Frontman Wes Scantlin's antics over the rest of the weekend (kicked off a plane, DWI, fleeing police) did not surprise me at all. Still very sad.
Lit did NOT disappoint. They kicked our asses back into party mode. And zero lip-syncing!
Hinder caught me off guard. I didn't know that they replaced frontman Austin Winkler. Marshal Dutton is a fine frontman, but he definitely has a different voice. Nonetheless, they brought the Friday Main Stage festivities to a rousing close.
Filter opened Saturday. My laminate said Saving Abel was to open. Was I drunk? Nope. Typo. Founder Richard Patrick did not dig his microphone at all. A several-minute rant cleared any confusion about what was upsetting him. When they did play it was AWESOME. Filter was one of my favorite bands in the 90's, so this was a wet dream of rock come true. Patrick can still scream, too. While wandering around backstage we came across Patrick giving industry advice to Beau from Ivy Stone (one of the killer bands that blasted the Westside Stage). First off: how cool is that? In a cutthroat industry like this, a guy like Richard Patrick still took time to talk to a young up-and-comer. As he was getting ready to leave, Patrick saw me with my phone camera ready (fanboy moment), grabbed it, and took a few selfies with me and my wife. Excuse me: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saving Abel came on second. Another band without their original lead singer (I've gotta start keeping up). I'm not a fan of their radio hits, but their live show ROCKED. New frontman Scotty Austin kept the crowd engaged.
Skillet was amazing. Coming in as a last-minute replacement for Buckcherry (who cancelled their entire tour due to vocalist Joshua Todd's throat problems) they could've brought a bare-bones show. It was almost expected, as they were in the middle of a scheduled break in their touring/recording schedule. But, they brought the whole show. ALL OF IT. Giant video screen, multi-leveled hydraulic stage, cryo jets, and a gratuitous amount of energy. Fantastic live show, great crowd interaction, and the fact that a christian rock band was closing a party like Halfway Jam didn't matter. They had an infectious amount of fun onstage, and were a blast to watch.
Overall, another fine Halfway Jam! Can't wait for next year!