2011 WJJO Band Camp Had Hits and Misses

Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch at 2011 WJJO Band Camp

Madison’s “Solid Rock” WJJO hosted its eighth iteration of Band Camp at Willow Island on Saturday, 30 July. Although WJJO did not bring in a true headliner for this year’s event (Godsmack headlined 2010’s lineup) they did produce a number of outstanding acts to keep most heads banging despite the ongoing Midwest heat wave. The sound crew had the audio portion of the day tweaked to perfection–guitars, percussion and vocals were well-balanced; and there was no indication of dropouts during any set. A pair of eastward facing stages were each divided down the middle, toward their respective soundboards, such that the adult (21 and over) crowd could mingle effortlessly between the main and side stages.  This separation also provided them access to alcoholic beverages within this monitored compound. The younger crowd also had stage-front access on the outside portion of each stage. This tended to make life a little easier for security who could focus on the outside portion for crowd surfers. It was an ideal configuration and the music never stopped for more than a few minutes.

WJJO Fan PhotosWJJO Fan PhotosWJJO Fan PhotosWJJO Fan PhotosWJJO Fan PhotosWJJO Fan PhotosWJJO Fan Photos

However, WJJO failed when it came to dealing with the dangerously high heat index. Shade was limited to the vendor tents and a few willow trees that dotted the grounds. Both first aid tents were teeming with fans who were stricken with (mostly) heat related issues. Given that fans had to dish out a ridiculous $3.50 per bottle of water implied that most were not maintaining a proper fluid intake. We’ve covered Vans Warped, Dave Matthews Band Caravan, the upcoming Kanrocksas festival, and a host of others that all provide free water fill stations AND misting areas to cool down. On top of that, while most shows are trying to go “green” it seems Band Camp decided to take a turn toward the brown by requiring each bottle of water sold to be poured into a paper cup, really?  One additional knock was the no re-entry policy.  If they could provide wristbands to sell alcohol then it should not have required much additional effort to issue something similar for re-entry.  This was a major problem for those who were attending with somebody afflicted by the heat and needed an escort to get home.

EDIT: It should be noted that there was a water station with free water near the entrance under the willow trees.  I still feel it was not very well advertised and something that should be remedied for next years event.  They also did a great job handing out LOTS of bottled water near the front of the stage as the day progressed.


Musically the day simply rocked.  Music ranged from metalcore act All That Remains to blues-influenced hardcore Clutch to the straightforward hard rock of Pop Evil and Saving AbelVolbeat and Five Finger Death Punch closed out the main stage with solid performances, and Dope filled the bill as the only act to have performed at Band Camp since its inception.  Unfortunately both Redline Chemistry (death in the family) and Burn Halo (vehicle issues) were scratched from the lineup, though Eve to Adam stepped in as a last minute replacement and Burn Halo showed up in time for the afterparty.  Aranda, Egypt Central, Edisun, and Anew Revolution rounded out a diverse day of Solid Rock.

Gates opened at 11 am to a crowd who gathered for early entry.  We arrived in time to catch Aranda, fronted by Dameon (guitar and vocals) and Gabe (lead vocals) Aranda.  They crowd moving with a short but satisfying set.  They always cover Zeppelin’s Dazed and Confused and it never fails to draw praise from the fans.  Unfortunately we were trying to straighten out our photo credentials so we were not able to provide photos for Aranda, or any coverage for Eve to Adam, Anew Revolution and Dope.

NYC-based Edisun, fronted by Madison native Ethan Isaac, followed early crowd favorite Dope; and they gained some new believers to accompany those that had gathered around the side-stage just before their 2:45 pm set. Edisun’s classic-styled rock was a departure from Dope’s heavier riffs but was still a power driven set with  Vedder-like stage presence by Isaac.  Check out their self-titled debut release.

Egypt Central took the stage with a vengeance and did not relent during their 30-minute set.  Joey Chicago, shirtless, commanded stage-right while slapping his low slung bass in unison with Blake Allison on drums. Vocalist John Falls drew forward as they opened with the anthem Taking You Down, combining melodic vocals and guitar with crunchy riffs and gut wrenching screams.  Falls’ screams set the pace for their set as fans started surfing over the barricade less than a minute into the song; an intensity that was matched by guitarist Jeff James whose sweat flung from his body with each movement.  Their live performance shines and they successfully present the emotion of their 2011 release, White Rabbit, on stage.  They are presently touring with Hinder and Adelita’s Way.

Crowd participation increased as the afternoon progressed.  Egypt Central’s set was a warmup, for both fans and security, as All That Remains 45-minute set induced a constant wave of crowd surfing over the barricade. Vocalist Phil Labonte proudly claimed, “you aren’t going to get anything heavier than this today,” and he was speaking the truth.  For We Are Many has been their biggest success to date, cracking the top 10 on Billboard, and charting both Hold On and The Last Time. Guitarist Oli Herbert and Labonte originated the band in 1998 and continue to gain support with each release, which now totals four.  Mike Martin (rhythm guitar), Jeanne Sagan (bass) and Jason Costa (drums) have been with ATR since the release of Overcome in 2008 and they’ve gelled as a unit.  Their combination of tight play and frequent tempo change-ups set the tone for Labonte’s vocal styling.  Their set easily had the most active fan base.

James Cruz - EdisunTodd Budich - EdisunJonathan Svec - GuitarEthan Isaac - EdisunEthan Isaac - EdisunJoel Kelley - EdisunBlake Allison - Egypt CentralJohn Falls - Egypt CentralJoey Chicago - Egypt CentralJohn Falls - Egypt CentralJeff James - Egypt CentralJohn Falls - Egypt CentralJeff James - Egypt CentralJoey Chicago - Egypt CentralMike Martin - All That RemainsOli Herbert - All That RemainsPhilip Labonte - All That RemainsPhilip Labonte - All That RemainsJeanne Sagan - All That RemainsOli Herbert and Mike Martin - All That RemainsJeanne Sagan - All That RemainsOli Herbert - All That RemainsPhilip Labonte - All That Remains

While polling the crowd, more than half of those questioned were most excited to see Danish metal band Volbeat, and they did not disappoint.  Any incurred disappointment was due to their short 45-minute set.  Having found success in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland and Sweden for the past few albums, they’ve finally broken out in the U.S. market with 2010’s Beyond Hell/Above Heaven and heavy radio rotation with Fallen with a somewhat unique fusion of rock styles.  They are currently in the midst of a world tour, headlining smaller venues, and a perfect time to catch their live show.

Jon Larsen - VolbeatMichael Poulsen - VolbeatAnders Kjølholm - VolbeatMichael Poulsen - VolbeatAnders Kjølholm - VolbeatThomas Bredahl - VolbeatMichael Poulsen and Anders Kjølholm - VolbeatMichael Poulsen - Volbeat

Clutch followed with a similarly unique, but more blues influenced, sound as Volbeat. Easily the most matured artist on the bill, Clutch have roots which date back to 1990.  They were perhaps the perfect segue between Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch because their musical styles transitioned to a heavier sound than Volbeat combined with the quirky vocal presence of Neil Fallon that could only be matched by Five Finger Death Punch’s Ivan Moody.

Tim Sult - ClutchNick Fallon - ClutchJean-Paul Gaster - ClutchDan Maines - ClutchDan Maines and Nick Fallon - ClutchTim Sult - ClutchNick Fallon - ClutchNick Fallon - ClutchNick Fallon - ClutchJean-Paul Gaster - ClutchTim Sult - Clutch

With only two studio releases under their belt, Five Finger Death Punch, 5FDP, are well on their way to stardom having broken into the Billboard top 10 with War Is the Answer in 2009.  Ivan Moody (vocals) commands attention with his multifaceted facial gestures while engaging the crowd to actively participate in the show while stating, “Get out of the way or get run over!”  Saving their radio hits (Far From Home, Never Enough, Walk Away, and Bad Company’s Bad Company) for the latter portion of their set, they opened with Burn it Down and Salvation.



Egypt Central:
1. Taking You Down
2. Over and Under
3. Ghost Town
4. Kick Ass
5. Blame
6. You Make Me Sick
7. White Rabbit

Saving Abel:
1. Hell of a Ride
2. Stupid Girl (Only in Hollywood)
3. Drowning (Face Down)
4. The Sex is Good
5. 18 Days
6. Addicted

All That Remains:
1. Now Let Them Tremble
2. This Calling
3. The Last Time
4. Forever In Your Hands
5. Six
6. Some of the People, All of the Time
7. Won’t Go Quietly
8. The Air That I Breathe
9. Hold On
10. Aggressive Opposition
11. Two Weeks

1. The Human Instrument
2. Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
3. Sad Man’s Tongue
4. The Mirror and the Ripper
5. Fallen
6. Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
7. Still Counting
8. Radio Girl
9. I Only Wanna Be With You / Boa [JDM]

1. Gravel Road
2. The Mob Goes Wild
3. Subtle Hustle
4. 50,000 Unstoppable Watts
5. Struck Down
6. Animal Farm
7. Escape From the Prison Planet
8. New Song
9. Cypress Grove
10. Electric Worry
11. One Eye Dollar

Five Finger Death Punch:
1. Burn It Down
2. Salvation
3. Way of the Fist
4. Hard to See
5. No One Gets Left Behind
6. Bad Company (Bad Company cover)
7. White Knuckles
8. Never Enough
9. Dying Breed
10. The Bleeding

Head over to Sonic Rampage and The Dead Hub for in depth concert reviews and more photos.

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  1. By WJJO Band Camp in Madison on 2 August 2011 at 14:45

    […] To hear the hits and big misses of Band Camp in Madison check out Concert Capture’s Review of the festivities.  […]