Chicago Open Air is back and with a vengeance! After a year hiatus, the windy city’s rock festival has returned to Seat Geek stadium and with a solid two day line up. This year is a little different though. Instead of consisting of a second stage with a lot more bands, the entire show is performed on the main stage and quite a few less vendors.
Day One started off a bit rough with thunderstorms and delayed the venue from opening the gate at the scheduled time of 2:00pm. Luckily the weather did clear up and the gates finally opened around 4:30pm. The bad news is Vein, Knocked Loose and Code Orange had to be scratched from the bill. Fans could catch these acts afterwards at the Metro for a last minute make up show. To kick off the festivities, Ohio’s own, Beartooth hits the stage. They brought the energy and warmed the crowd up for things to come. Next up, metal juggernauts, Meshuggah! With a very impressive stage set up, they bring the metal and now things are starting to heat up. Next up for our viewing pleasure is the Swedish hard rockers, Ghost. They deliver the awesome hooks and riffs they are known for and have a stunning stage set that resembles a satanic temple. Now for our Saturday night headliners, System of a Down. Hailing from Los Angeles and after taking quite a few years off have returned and totally brought it by playing all the hits and singalongs we have come to expect from the Armenian-Americans. Day One is over and despite the weather, I had a great time and couldn’t wait for Day Two!
The next day starts off nice and around 1:00pm a storm rolls through. I thought it was going to be a replay of the previous day but we lucked out and it cleared up only to put a slight delay on the schedule. To start off Sunday, New Zealand’s own Alien Weaponry takes the stage at 2:45, about 15 minutes late due to weather. The teenage trio performed a killer set of their own style of metal and I definitely was very impressed and will keep an eye out for these guys. Next up, Michigan’s own, Black Dahlia Murder delivers a brutal death metal onslaught and the pit starts to open up. Now we move on to Fever333, one of the most energetic bands I have ever witnessed, and with a message that might be construed as being political, these guys entertained! Next on the bill, In This Moment hits the stage with their stunning visual show with Maria Brink at the reigns and quite an elaborate stage set up. The performance was breathtaking as usual. Next up is the French metal masters, Gojira. Things got heated up with tons of pyro and the heaviest of riffs. They were another show favorite for me and I can’t get enough of them. Now on to The Cult who replaced The Prodigy because of the death of front man Keith Flint. The Cult brought a different style to the festival and are rock royalty that have been around for four decades. And finally, the best for last, the one and only Tool. Visually spectacular and all the classics you would expect to hear from the musical geniuses including two new songs that have been long in the making. Tool ruled and sounded amazing and brought the festival to a close.
Overall the festival was a success and was a great time. I hope they bring it back next year and maybe bring back the second stage and more vendors but will enjoy it either way. See you next year Chicago and keep your horns up and heads banging!