Story and Photos by Chris Schwegler /

Debut of the 1st annual ‘Rock On The Range’ festival went off like dynamite. ZZ Top headlines along with Evanescence, Velvet Revolver, Chevelle and many others to help sell out Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH. With a sell out crowd come the classic festival atmosphere; expensive food, over abundance of security and the long waits for the bathroom. But this isn’t anything new.

Some new comers open the festival; Whitestarr, 2 Cents, and Operator, which seems too early for garbage like this. Nothing really special here, keep walking kind of stuff. But there was one band that did stand out from the rest and could have been put on the main stage, Black Stone Cherry. Good old southern rock. Catchy and powerful riffs by Ben Wells, grooving bass lines from Jon Lawhon, and electrifying vocals from Chris Robertson, really pull you in.

Closing out the 2nd stage was a couple of veterans. Puddle Of Mudd played a whole set of radio hits which the crowd sang along to. After the majority of the hits were played, it seemed that the crowd just wanted to just chill and take a rest from the heat. People were lying on the grass passed out, burned to the bone, but there was one problem, Papa Roach. Jacoby Shaddix erupts from the back of the stage with crazy energy waking up the crowd and stirring them into a frenzy. Before you can blink, Jacoby is launching himself into the crowd, to get a closer look at everyone. You would think after this, who would come close to matching this energy.

After a blistering set by Papa Roach to close out the 2nd stage, everyone wondered over to the main stage to catch Hinder’s set. Everyone was going crazy over Hinder, which is basically a bad Aerosmith cover band. The songs really lack substance and originality. Of course there isn’t really anything called originality now –a-days, but at least put your own spin on it. If the festival ended there, there would be plenty of people asking for a refund.

Cigarette, aviator sunglasses, and fur coat that would make PETA scream, Scott Weiland of Velvet Revolver mesmerized the crowd with James Brown-esc moves and captivating vocals. The guitar shredding of Slash really makes it worth the wait of sitting out all day. A very quick 1 hour set from the veteran lineup of Velvet Revolver, but amazing to say the least.

As the sun settles and the moon comes out and the fog machine flooding the stage, Evanescence emerges to deliver a strong performance. Amy Lee delivers a flawless vocals display once again and the rest of the band is right on key for being the first time together live with a new drummer, Will Hunt, and new guitarist, Troy McLawhorn, from Dark New Day.

Long beards and trench coats can only describe one band, ZZ Top. These rock icons still have what it takes to put on a good rock ‘n’ roll show. Not only do they have a top notch stage setup, which includes a wall of led lights that change color and chromed upped mic stands. But these guys still have what it takes to bust a move and show the crowd a good time.

People came and left early. From a full crowd during Evanescence, to a little under half for ZZ Top. Maybe next years ‘Rock On The Range’ will have people staying around for the head liners.

Rock On The Range 2007 Lineup:

Main Stage:
Breaking Benjamin
Three Days Grace
Velvet Revolver
ZZ Top

“Mad Packers” Second Stage:
2 Cents
Black Stone Cherry
Puddle Of Mudd
Papa Roach

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