On May 17 Pomona, California held The Scion Rockfest. This all day event hosted a plethora of talent with a surprisingly wide range of sound. With a headlining act like Machine Head, one would expect to see acts from just the belles of the Headbanger’s Ball; however, many of the bands showed up and gave exceptionally unique performances.
Not only did the Scion Rockfest offer a smorgasbord of entertainment, but the set up and execution of the festival could not have been better. The free all day event allowed all ages to attend, but the festival felt like a big, bearded bar crawl. Band members and concert goers alike roamed the streets, freely hopping from venue to venue. The seasoned crowd either spent all day getting prime seating at the Fox Theater, where the headlining acts played, or they popped in and out of the other three indoor venues to see the lesser known, more local acts. The four venues hosted a total of 26 bands and spanned a couple of blocks. Beer, metal, free music, and air conditioning – what more could you ask for in this Southern California heat?
Now, out of over thirty bands who played that sunny Saturday, a few groups stood out from the rest. Black Sheep Wall opened the line up at the Sky Lounge, a rooftop bar with an intimate indoor stage and spacious outdoor patio. Black Sheep Wall, a unique four piece group from the City of Angels, arguably put on the best performance at the Sky Lounge that day… and again, they opened. Their frontman, Brandon, performs in a way which puts Black Sheep Wall on the cusp of genres. He brings a fluidity to metal that few do. He contorts his body into the microphone stand and his body trembles with emotion. His eyes, crazed with passion, search the room as he screams, making a connection with each audience member. He even left the stage for a while to join the crowd so he could enjoy the music of his bandmates. He gave off a very Jason Butler vibe (without the phenomenal beard, of course). His style of screaming leads more towards the post-hardcore style which even further separates Black Sheep Wall from the rest. Their 30 minute performance set the bar to unreachable heights for the rest of the bands at the Sky Lounge.
Over at the Acerogami stage, by far the smallest venue of the four, The Well brought another innovation to the beard filled day: a female. The Well came all the way from Texas to share their gritty rock and roll with the Cali crowd. Besides having a female bassist, their overall sound put a distinct twist on the metal-filled day. The Well, just a three piece rock band, brought some dirty old southern groove to the Scion Rockfest. Their guitarist and vocalist played some mean riffs, quite reminiscent of Lynard Skynard, which made the crowd groove to their sultriness. Bassist and vocalist Lisa Alley gives a haunting performance. Like Snow White or Wednesday Adams, her jet black hair, stunning blue eyes, and rose red lips had everyone in a trance. Later on the Acerogami stage, All Them Witches from Nashville, Tennessee put on another fantastic show. They too had a southern rock, ambient sound that brought an incredibly cool vibe to the festival.
Connected to the Acerogami sits the Glass House. The big warehouse-like room sets a fitting stage for any rock show. Nekrogoblikon opened the lineup here, and they did so with their very own goblin roaming the stage. A life size, metal loving goblin crept onto the stage and ran around head banging, gesturing to the crowd, and harassing the band members. A fitting for metal, which stereotypically includes witchcraft, Satan, and all things mythological. Nekrogolikon can shred, and their keyboardist added a fantastical element to the band’s sound. Later in the day, Power Trip ruled the Glass House stage. They had a lot of energy and really got the crowd moving. A circle pit lasted almost their entire set, something that, because of space and style, had been missing in the smaller venues.
The fourth and biggest stage, The Fox Theater, hosted all of the bigger acts including Machine Head, Red Fang, and Orchid. All of the acts on the main stage, according to Warped Tour language, had the quintessential metal attributes: the long hair, the power stance, big vocals, and devil horns raised. It looked like the Sunset Strip of the 80’s resurrected in Pomona, California. A lot of seasoned metal fans chose to ignore the other three stages and get to the Fox Theater early to sip beers till Machine Head’s last song.