by Reggie Edwards
When you think of iconic names in the early rock and grunge movement, you think of Soundgarden. Sometimes Bush will even come up in the conversation. This year’s May Day festival, annually put on by Indianapolis’ X103 station featured both bands plus a couple others
Buckcherry, AWOLNATION, Bush and Soundgarden took control of the main stage while The Virginmarys and Picture Me Yes controlled the Plaza Stage.
The day started off warm and sunny but quickly transformed to a cold, rainy day but that didn’t stop the fans, who showed up in the thousands and it sure didn’t stop the bands, who all played stellar sets.
New Politics opened up the main stage, all the way from Denmark- even though they’ve been living in the States for a few years now. Their set combined punk rock with electronica with a little breakdancing to get the crowd on their feet and ready for the rest of the bands.
Next up on the Main Stage was longtime rockers Buckcherry, who had a bit of a new look. Frontman Josh Todd has grown his hair out- it’s not super long but longer than normal and bassist Jimmy “Two Fingers” Ashhurst has grown an impressive mustache. With his yellow tinted sunglasses and western-style hat with a nice black jacket, he had quite the look going on.
The band played an impressive set, opening with “Lit Up,” as Todd talked about his experiences with cocaine, “Rescue Me,” and jammed through a set that included songs from 15, Black Butterfly and their brand new smash record, Confessions.
Buckcherry is one of those bands who have come a long way over the years and have developed an impressive stage show. They’ve really come into their own over the last few years.
After a few bands playing the side Plaza Stage, The Virginmarys closed the day out there, all the way from the UK. This British three-piece offers up one of the most energetic and entertaining shows from a triple-member band you can find, especially for a band just breaking into the U.S.
They’re taking their first steps in the States but their charisma and energy should take them far if they continue with the momentum they’ve picked up with their hit, “Dead Man’s Shoes.”
Shortly after The Virginmarys started their set on the Plaza Stage, AWOLNation were getting ready to kick off their day on Main Stage.
They were probably the surprise of the day- while their sound didn’t seem to fit the rest of the bill, they still drew an impressive crowd reaction. They’ve grown a considerable amount of radio play and the fans absolutely loved them.
The next two bands need no introduction. Bush and Soundgarden have both been huge inspirations and influences on every band on this lineup.
Bush came on first, kicking it off with “Machinehead,” and breezing through a setlist that included “Everything Zen,” “Glycerine,” “Comedown” and an outstanding cover of “Come Together” during which frontman Gavin Rossdale left stage and went through the crowd.
When he hit the Lawn, it seemed as if there was an altercation between frontman Gavin Rossdale and some fans in the Lawn, though it’s hard to tell as the crowd was so big and all you could hear was Rossdale saying “step back” numerous times.
When Rossdale finally made it back to stage around 10 minutes later, the show continued and the situation was quickly forgotten. Kudos to Rossdale and Bush- a lot of bands would have left stage and ended their set early but Bush finished the set and continued on respectably.
As Bush left and Soundgarden began setting up, the energy at Klipsch Music Center was indescribable. The weather had gotten very windy, the temperature dropped to around 30 degrees, or maybe the low 40’s but the crowd stayed and were getting antsy for Soundgarden, who closed out the night.
Pre-festival interview with The Virginmarys