Rock and roll is neither dead nor dying. If you disagree we highly recommend booking a last minute flight to Louisville this week because Louder Than Life festival is bound to change your opinion. Hell, it may even change your life.
For two days beginning this Saturday, September 30 Champions Park in Louisville will be transformed into a musical paradise featuring the latest and greatest acts in rock. There are multiple stages going at almost all times, but fear not! The Substream staff has been preparing for this weekend since the start of summer and we have narrowed the list of artists you absolutely must make time to see down to just 10 acts spread across both days. You can find our picks below.
Tickets for Louder Than Life are still available, but they are going very fast. Cancel whatever plans you have for the weekend and join us in Kentucky. We promise you won’t regret it.
Sleeping With Sirens (2:10 – Monster Stage)
Hot off the release of their new album Gossip the men of Sleeping With Sirens will be among the first to grace a Louder Than Life 2017 stage. Their new material ushers in a bigger sound for the alternative favorites, one that is perfect for the kind of crowd they will greet on Saturday. The early set time will be sure to detract those idiots who think good music only happens after sundown, so take advantage of their loss and come early to ensure a spot close to the front of the stage. You can dance and sing with SWS, then get comfortable and ride out the day until Ozzy performs on the same stage later that night.
Gojira (5:25 – Loudmouth Stage)
No one does heavy metal quite like the French, and no other French band has the kind of genre pedigree that Gojira will bring to the Loudmouth Stage. Still, due to a lack of traditional radio singles the band is something of a best kept secret stateside. Be among the cool kids who know where the future of music is headed and be on time to Gojira’s set. Their crushing sound will make you feel alive in a way few bands can achieve, though we cannot promise your hearing won’t be impacted if you’re close to the stage. Of all the bands that will bring a big sound to Louder Than Life, this one may be the loudest.
Steel Panther (5:40 – Zorn Stage)
Bad news: In order to experience Steel Panther you will have to cut your time watching Gojira a bit short. Good news: It will be worth it. Steel Panther is a band that found a way to take everything great about hair metal from the 1980s and preserve it so that future generations can enjoy all the wild and crazy things that era in music gave the world. We don’t know how they pulled this feat off, but we do know their live show cannot be missed. Be prepared to party.
Rob Zombie (7:50 – Monster Stage)
Seeing Rob Zombie in concert has been compared to witnessing a satanic ritual and/or watching a horror film play out in real life. We cannot guarantee his performance at Louder Than Life will be either, but isn’t that more than enough reason to find out what this rock legend’s live show is like for yourself? Zombie has been steadily releasing music for decades at this point, and fans can expect hits from every period of his career to make his Saturday night setlist. Our team will be there too, but you’ll probably have to venture deep into the pit to find us.
Ozzy Osbourne (10:00 – Monster Stage)
If you need two to four sentences to explain why you should see Ozzy Osbourne perform we have to question why you would even attend a festival like Louder Than Life. Ozzy turns 69 (nice) this year, but still the aging icon is known around the world for his electrifying live shows. You never know how long the greats will tour, so do not be the idiot who decides to skip this set “because he’ll probably come back to Louisville again”. There are no guarantees in this life, so you better see Ozzy in person while you can.
’68 (1:20 Zorn Stage)
This is the only set all weekend that will feature just two musicians, and we believe it’ll be one of the best thirty-minute performances of your lifetime. ’68 are a force for raw rock goodness whose live show will act as something of a transformative experience for those in attendance, ushering them to a place of higher understanding as to what quality music should be. To witness their talent is to know that anything is possible as long as you’re willing to destroy your body through sweat and hard work in the pursuit of glory. You will find the inspiration you are seeking in life through the music of ’68. Don’t miss out.
Greta Van Fleet (1:55 – Loudmouth Stage)
This is among the last opportunities anyone on Earth will have to see Greta Van Fleet perform this early in the day. By this time next year this group of young men, none of whom have yet to turn twenty-one, will likely be headlining festivals like Louder Than Life. Their unique take on rock pulls heavily from influences like Led Zeppelin and channels them through a youthful perspective that is undeniably fresh, yet oddly familiar. You can read about our experience seeing the band live in a club here, but even all those words cannot properly prepare you for what will happen on Sunday afternoon. We urge you to do everything in your power to see this group before you – and we – cannot afford to do so.
Beartooth (2:30 – Monster Stage)
Many longtime fans of Substream have emailed us with concerns over our recent pivot in coverage. As you may have noticed, we no longer cater solely to the Warped Tour crowd, but that does not mean our little punk hearts have died. Quite the contrary, in fact, as it is safe to say Beartooth is the one hard rock band our entire staff – including accountants and other non-writer types – unabashedly love. Their is a realness to everything Beartooth does that allows them to connect with the listener on a deeply personal level. You can feel the pain behind the songs, as well as the relief that comes from screaming their lyrics until your lungs go sore. Their Louder Than Life set is sure to be among the most passionate of the weekend, and it’s likely your best chance to crowd surf. Show up and throw down. We’ll see you in the pit.
Thrice (5:10 – Monster Stage)
There was a time not long ago when the world thought it may never see another Thrice performance again. Those dark days may have temporarily passed, but we learned an important lesson from their time away. Whenever you find a band whose music is so good it moves you on a spiritual level it is your duty as a fan to make sure they – and everyone else – know how important that band is to the world. Thrice were known for their live show back when they were still a band straddling the world of rock and punk. Their sound may have strayed greatly from that fast, heavy sound, but their performances have never wavered in the slightest. This will be an emotional gut punch in the best possible way. So good, in fact, you’ll wish for it to never end.
Incubus (7:40 – Loudmouth)
This is something that will be hard for many readers to swallow, but in 2017 Incubus is pretty much a modern classic rock band. We know saying such things makes the child inside you who discovered the band way back in the 90s or early 2000s want to cry while holding onto your CD collection for dear life because we feel that way too. Time’s arrow neither stops nor reverses, so all we can do appreciate the fact the band is still around and continuing to pump out quality releases on a regular basis. Join us at the Loudmouth stage as the sun begins to set on Louder Than Life 2017 for a singalong you will never forget. Tears may still be shed, but the good news is you won’t be the only one caught up in your feels.