More than 7,000 Lazer hellraisers donned their best black concert Ts for a Sunday metal mass known as LazerFest. They came together on this cool and cloudy day to rock, abandoning the Iowa State Fair and its lineup of tired retreads (REO Speedwagon, Styx, Journey) country crooners (Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn) and pop flashes (Alicia Keys).
There was plenty of beer drinking and turkey leg chomping, mechanical bull riding and inflatable mountain climbing, pot smoking and fist fighting, the latter not as prevalent but impressionable nonetheless.
Turd and Freak from Mancow's Morning Madhouse were there to introduce a few bands, pay tribute to Drowning Pool's late frontman Dave Williams and yuk it up with the locals. Though not the most enticing mix of metal and rock, LazerFest proved satisfying.
The day began with local rockers River Bottom Nightmare on the second stage, followed by Indianola's Index Case on the main stage. Up-and-comers Lost Prophets shone on the main stage as a potential breakout band. While lumped into the nu metal mess, they displayed a vocal range that can't be found in an Adema or Epidemic, which were both on the bill. They kept the crowd moving to the end, body surfing and mosh pitting, closing with "Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja" and leaving a solid impression on the metal heads.
Rearview Mirror's second stage set was passionate and energetic, blistering through song after song. The metal crowd seemed to be digging the more mainstream style of rock by the time the foursome launched into "Blown Up."
Van Halen tribute band, the Atomic Punks, proved to be the surprise of the main stage. Whipping out VH classics like "Panama" and "Running with the Devil," the Punks had the crowd singing in unison. The mastery of David Lee Roth-era VH was impressive, from the lead guitarist's rendition of "Eruption" to the singer's mimicry of Diamond Dave's mannerisms (i.e. trademark squealing, crotch grabbing, thrusting, gyrating, high kicking). The crowd sang along as the salute culminated with "Hot for Teacher."
Stone Sour's arrival on the main stage was a welcome sight. As they tore into show opener "Get Inside," Corey Taylor, Jim Root, Shawn Economaki, Joel Ekman and Josh Rand incited a mass of moshing and crowd surfing. Taylor and co. dedicated "Blotter" to the fallen Williams and slapped the crowd into a frenzy. A lengthy rant against the city council by Taylor was a little hometown "Rock the Vote," telling the crowd that if they want more shows they should "get involved."
By the end of his rant, Taylor noticed a number of women sitting atop men's shoulders and insisted, "Hey, you. Pull your fking titties out." And like a "Girls Gone Wild" video, women began to bare their breasts. Taylor didn't care about the consequences, noting, "I don't care if I go to jail or not." He then suggested "Idle Hands" be known as the "Titty Song."
After a racuous set of Stone Sour tunes, Taylor ranted once more about the city council and launched into "Tumult."
LazerFest went into lull for the next two hours while Adema and Seether played. It was the master of prop rock Rob Zombie who awoke them from their early slumber. Sans giant robot, Zombie kicked into his set with "Demon Speeding." The fist pumping and body bumping didn't stop as Zombie roared through "Devil Man," running across the stage and whipping his dreads into a frenzy.
Favorites such as "More Human Than Human" and "Thunder Kiss '65," which featured special guest and Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde, highlighted the horror-movie-freaks crowd-pleasing set.
Hatebreed closed the second stage with an angry hard-core set. Good for what it was, the performance was loud, pounding and a little trying after a full day of acts.
As the rain began to fall, headliners P.O.D. took the stage and rocked the crowd with "Set it Off" and "Boom." Waterlogged, most of the crowd stuck it out for P.O.D.'s close.
LazerFest proved long at times, but entertaining overall for a day of 13 rock bands. Plus, it was cheaper than seeing Cher.