By Greg Maki
Read our recap of the festival’s first day here.
11 A.M. GATES OPEN
On the second day of this year’s Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival, my first order of business is checking out Blood Prison, the haunted house located inside the Ohio State Reformatory. It’s another unique offering of this festival, filled with dedicated performers and has me anticipating the coming Halloween season even more than I normally do this time of year.
12:15 P.M. – SPACE ZEBRA STAGE – WIDOW7
The first band of the day for me is Widow7, out of Des Moines, Iowa, playing a catchy, energetic brand of modern hard rock. I hadn’t heard this band before and now I want to know more.
1 P.M. – CB ENTERTAINMENT STAGE – FAREWELL TO FEAR
Another new-to-me band, even though Farewell to Fear has been around for some time now. This is the only performance I watch in full at the small third stage and one of my favorites of the weekend. A nice crowd turns out early for a solid set of riff-driven metal that includes a cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”
2 P.M. – INKED MAG STAGE – VOLUMES
Here’s a band I’ve been meaning to check out—thanks, Inkcarceration—and I’m not disappointed. Part metalcore/part nu metal, this band is one hit single away from breaking bigtime.
2:35 P.M. – SPACE ZEBRA STAGE – AYRON JONES
One of my favorite acts to emerge in the past couple years, Ayron Jones is quickly claiming his place as a modern guitar hero with performances like this one. The dude is an absolute beast who can shred with the best of them while still playing with so much feeling. The extended solos in most of the songs are among the day’s highlights.
3:10 P.M. – INKED MAG STAGE – SAINT ASONIA
The band featuring former Three Days Grace frontman Adam Gontier and Staind guitarist Mike Mushok garners a respectable response from the crowd playing its original material that quickly turns much more enthusiastic when they break out a couple 3DG tunes. With Gontier and his former bandmates back on good terms, the seemingly inevitable reunion will be huge. People clearly still love those songs, especially when Adam is singing them.
SAINT ASONIA SET LIST: “Better Place,” “Bite the Bullet,” “Beast,” “Never Too Late,” “Above It All,” “The Hunted,” “I Hate Everything About You,” “Let Me Live My Life”
3:50 P.M. – SPACE ZEBRA STAGE – SPIRITBOX
2021’s biggest buzz band in metal fulfills that promise with a dynamite performance that’s only flaw is how short it feels. The band absolutely pummels songs like “Circle with Me,” “Hurt You,” “Yellowjacket” and “Holy Roller,” while vocalist Courtney LaPlante is nothing short of mesmerizing. Spiritbox is on its way to being huge.
SPIRITBOX SET LIST: “Rule of Nines,” “Circle with Me,” “Blessed Be,” “Hurt You,” “Yellowjacket,” “Holy Roller”
4:30 P.M. – INKED MAG STAGE – AVATAR
Always a festival favorite, Sweden’s Avatar wows the crowd with a theatrical performance highlighted by catchy songs like “Hail the Apocalypse,” “Bloody Angel” and “Smells Like a Freakshow.” The riff of “Colossus” might be the heaviest moment of the entire weekend.
AVATAR SET LIST: “Hail the Apocalypse,” “Colossus,” “Paint Me Red,” “Bloody Angel,” “The Eagle Has Landed,” “Smells Like a Freakshow”
5:15 P.M. – SPACE ZEBRA STAGE – THEORY OF A DEADMAN
Another act that seems tailor-made for festivals, Theory of a Deadman is a band I’d never go out of my way to see or listen to, but I can’t deny how entertaining they are in this setting.
THEORY OF A DEADMAN SET LIST: “Lowlife,” “Bitch Came Back,” “So Happy,” “History of Violence,” “Friends in Low Places,” “Hate My Life,” “Angel,” “Rx (Medicate),” “Bad Girlfriend”
6 P.M. – INKED MAG STAGE – BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
Many successful, talented musicians are gracing the stages of this festival over the weekend. And then there’s Zakk Wylde. He’s a true one-of-a-kind, a huge, larger-than-life presence and one of the last remaining bona fide guitar gods. This is far and away the best performance of the weekend to my eyes and ears. The songs—as good as they are—are almost incidental. This is all about the guitar—and not just Zakk’s. Fellow guitarist Dario Lorina has really found his place in the band and is becoming a star in his own right. Watching him and Zakk trade solos throughout the set, including an extended sequence with each of them playing their guitars behind their heads, is simply awe-inspiring.
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY SET LIST: “Bleed for Me,” “Destroy & Conquer,” “Heart of Darkness,” “A Love Unreal,” “In This River,” “Set You Free,” “Fire It Up,” “Suicide Messiah,” “Stillborn”
7 P.M. – SPACE ZEBRA STAGE – FALLING IN REVERSE
I first saw Falling in Reverse live in 2012 at Rock on the Range. Playing early on the second stage, the band really didn’t make much of an impact. What a difference a decade makes, as Falling Reverse clearly is one of this festival’s fan favorites. Starting with one of this year’s biggest hard rock hits (“Zombified”), closing with one of 2020’s biggest hard rock hits (“Popular Monster”) and featuring the first-ever live performance of current single “Voices in My Head,” frontman Ronnie Radke has the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the entire set. After the final note, he stands on the stage for a few more minutes, seemingly overwhelmed by the response and only able to say “thank you” over and over again.
FALLING IN REVERSE SET LIST: “Zombified,” “I’m Not a Vampire,” “God, If You’re Above …,” “Losing My Life,” “Raised by Wolves,” “Rolling Stone,” “Fuck You and All Your Friends,” “The Drug in Me Is You,” “Situations,” “Drugs,” “Voices in My Head,” “Just Like You,” “Popular Monster”
8 P.M. – INKED MAG STAGE – EVANESCENCE
Though the energy can’t hope to match that of the preceding performance, Amy Lee’s beautiful vocals always make an Evanescence show worth seeing. Though much more active in the 2000s than the 2010s, fans clearly haven’t forgotten about the band, which now features Sick Puppies’ Emma Anzai on bass.
EVANESCENCE SET LIST: “Broken Pieces Shine,” “Made of Stone,” “Take Cover,” “Going Under,” “The Game Is Over,” “Lithium,” “Wasted on You,” “Weight of the World,” “End of the Dream,” “Better Without You,” “Call Me When You’re Sober,” “Imaginary,” “Use My Voice,” “My Immortal,” “Bring Me to Life”
9:30 P.M. – SPACE ZEBRA STAGE – BREAKING BENJAMIN
Breaking Benjamin has taken an interesting career path: big in the 2000s, on hiatus from 2010 to 2014, then returning with frontman Benjamin Burnley and an entirely new lineup, becoming bigger than ever and, now, ascending to festival headliner status. They certainly give the fans here a lot of bang for their buck, cramming 18 songs plus a drum solo into their set, which, as usual, is played in mostly dark, red lighting that obscures the band members to all but those who have fought their way to the front of the crowd. Saint Asonia’s Adam Gontier joins for “Dance with the Devil.”
BREAKING BENJAMIN SET LIST: “Blow Me Away,” “Follow,” “Angels Fall,” “Firefly,” “Sooner or Later,” “So Cold,” “Failure,” “Until the End,” “Red Cold River,” “Breath,” “Dance with the Devil” (with Adam Gontier), drum solo, “Break My Fall,” “Polyamorous,” “Give Me a Sign,” “Evil Angel,” “Believe,” “I Will Not Bow,” “The Diary of Jane”