Two days and 16 bands of hard rock and metal during last weekend’s Fall Ball at 210 Kapone’s provided a little of everything.
P.O.D. brought kids on stage to help sing “Youth of a Nation.” Starset performed in spacesuits and helmets. Trains rolled by during every band’s performance, but one conductor messed more with Alter Bridge singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy than anyone else by blowing its horn on four occasions as he tried to address the audience. Chevelle saw speakers blow out during fifth song “Send the Pain Below.”
No matter the circumstances or obstacles, all bands rocked. Humor wasn’t expected to be part of the equation, but if one person was the comic of the festival, it would’ve been Devil You Know singer Howard Jones. Of course, metalheads remember Jones fronting Killswitch Engage for 10 years. After parting ways with them, Jones put together his new band. During Saturday’s early evening set on the blacktop of Kapone’s, Jones sang every song while walking from one end of the stage to the other. Back and forth. Back and forth. He only stopped to address the crowd — even a pair of guys watching the show for free while standing on the railroad tracks on the opposite side of the fence. One of them wore a checkered ensemble and wasn’t about to escape Jones’ wrath.
“What picnic table did you steal that from,” Jones said, drawing laughter from the few hundred that were starting to settle in for headliners Alter Bridge along with Toadies, Buckcherry, and Saliva.
Playing tunes from their 2014 debut The Beauty of Destruction such as “It’s Over” and “Shut It Down,” Devil You Know is comprised, much like Jones, of guys with a history in other bands. Guitarist Francesco Artusato is also in All Shall Perish, bassist Ryan Wombacher is in Bleeding Through, and drummer John Sankey of Australia has written songs for Fear Factory and Divine Heresy.
After introducing his bandmates’ pedigrees, Jones directed his attention to his other guitarist.
“That’s Roy,” Jones said. “That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.”
The two-day festival began Friday with headliners Chevelle plus Papa Roach, P.O.D., Flaw, New Medicine, Starset, Eyes Set To Kill and Scare Don’t Fear. Saturday’s festivities began with Crobot followed by Otherwise and Butcher Babies preceding Devil You Know.
Fall Ball was expected to take place at the 5,200 capacity Sunken Gardens Theater. The fest was supposed to be the venue’s concert grand re-opening after an 18-month renovation, and many fans had tickets nearly two months before it was to take place there. But less than 10 days before the event, it was switched to the blacktop by the railroad tracks at downtown’s newest facility, 210 Kapone’s, which is next door to Backstage Live on Houston St. Many of those ticket-buying fans for Sunken Gardens were displeased by the switch, which also took away their free parking at SGT and forced them to pay $15 per day parking at Kapone’s. There was also only one food booth in Kapone’s lot — $7 hamburgers — with Spaghetti Warehouse an option across the street. Sunken Gardens has more food booths available.
While Chevelle’s Facebook page stated that the switch was “due to a city noise ordinance too low for a rock show,” that was likely a shoddy reason given to the bands, especially considering how often Chevelle has played Sunken Gardens in the past. A source told the SAMME that Sunken Gardens’ fees for security and sponsorship more than doubled barely more than a week before the festival, and since the promoter declined to pay the fees, a switch was necessitated.
The parking lot of Kapone’s can reportedly hold 3,500, and roughly 2,500 were in the house for Chevelle’s headlining set Friday. Saturday’s crowd reached its peak when Toadies played, but even that may not have reached 1,000 with so many other things going on around the city that day, including the Beer Festival at Maverick Park, a Spurs preseason NBA Finals rematch against the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center, the Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert across the street at the Alamodome and a haunted house extravaganza next door to Kapone’s.
The Toadies were the one band on the bill that you either came to see or didn’t. Some fans wondered why they weren’t scheduled for a longer set than 70 minutes; others wondered why they were on the bill at all. Those who watched them enjoyed a set that opened with I Come From the Water and included Backslider, Got a Heart, Waterfall and of course Possum Kingdom. If you missed the Toadies or want to see them again, they’ll be in Austin at Emo’s East the day after Christmas (tickets here).
Buckcherry performed songs from its new EP F—. The SAMME was conducting an interview with the Butcher Babies that was supposed to take place an hour earlier during a good chunk of Buckcherry’s set, but you can view his coverage from their April performance at the Aztec Theater and Sept. 3 at the Uproar Festival in Corpus Christi at the suggested links below.
Saliva had bestowed upon them the same fate as Chevelle the night before. While covering AC/DC’s T.N.T., the amps blew out, eliciting a collective groan from the fans. But unlike the previous night, when the issue was quickly fixed and Chevelle didn’t miss a beat into the next song, Saliva’s problem lingered for five minutes, forcing the band to huddle up as the clock ticked on its time on stage. When it was fixed, singer Bobby Amaru (see our interview below) and Co. picked up where they left off on the cover tune before continuing with the band’s most famous song Click Click Boom. Earlier offerings included Ladies and Gentlemen, with Amaru blaring the intro through a small bullhorn, and the title track to new album Rise Up.
Crobot vocalist Brandon Yeagley set the tone at the start of the day as the band from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, took the stage at 2:30 and energetically played for half an hour. Yeagley occasionally took a page from Lynnwood King, vocalist for San Antonio’s The Heroine, when he sprung his mic stand toward the crowd and yanked it back to himself. Crobot will release Something Supernatural on Tuesday.
For the rest of the SAMME’s coverage of all 16 bands on Fall Ball, click here.
It pays to subscribe for free to the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner, no matter where you live. Do so below for exclusive interviews, concert announcements, reviews, and all things metal. You can also get your fix via the SAMME Facebook page, follow along on Twitter or StumbleUpon, check out his YouTube channel and see the rest of his Fall Ball coverage on AXS.com.