Now entering its fourth year, San Antonio’s River City Rockfest packed a stellar amount of big names into a one day festival that saw some of the biggest names in rock playing side-by-side with local heroes. Hard rock heavyweights Disturbed headlined with the legendary Scorpions and stalwart Megadeth who just hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart with “Dystopia.”
Shortly after noon, Swedish death metal band Avatar took to the Bud Light Stage. Looking like the juggalo love children of Alice Cooper and Gene Simmons, the entertaining quintet delivered a sonically entertaining set that primed the audience for the day’s lineup.
Drummer Hayley Cramer brought the rock radio-friendly alt-metal group Pop Evil to the stage with forceful pounding. At times sounding like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Nickelback, the musical amalgamation worked and left the crowd wanting more.
Appearing on stage looking like a blood-thirsty rastafarian, Mudvayne’s Chad Gray led his metal supergroup Hellyeah through a pummeling set. Joined by Pantera’s Vinnie Paul, Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell, bassist Kyle Sanders and guitarist Christian Brady, Hellyeah left it all on the stage.
One of the day’s most anticipated sets was delivered by Sixx AM, Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx’s long-time side band. The group combined LA glam metal swagger, autobiographical and political lyrics and arena rock sensibility. Playing their first of two Texas sets, the boys jetted off to Dallas after the last chord was struck by guitarist DJ Ashba.
Bullet For My Valentine followed with a combination of screamo, alt-rock and modern metal, setting the stage for the legendary acts to follow. And follow they did. Megadeth brought a mix of new material and thrash metal favorites to their set. Dave Mustaine, his hair obscuring his face, gave it his all and the crowd expressed their admiration with fists held high.
German hard rock radio gods Scorpions took to the stage and immediately had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Continuing their celebration of 50 years as a band, Rudolph Schenker, Klaus Meine and Matthias Jabs had the crowd singing and swaying to many hits, closing their encore with the classic “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”
The evening closed with headlining alt-metal quartet Disturbed taking the stage to shooting streams of fire and bellowing smoke. Vocalist David Draiman emitted his trademark stutter-scream and the fans rejoiced. It was a fitting end to a very hot day – both in music and the weather.
Playing blistering sets throughout the day and evening on the “AA Best Bail Bonds” stage was Sevendust, P.O.D., the Sword, Hatebreed, Texas Hippie Coalition, DevilDriver and Red Sun Rising. Playing the FanDuel stage was Lynwood King and the Revival, Mud River, Donella Drive, The Heroine and Wild Throne.
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