Peninsular Place

The Magazine

June 12, 2013

Orion Music + More Festival [Review]


The Metallica curated festival arrived in Detroit’s Belle Isle for the first time this past weekend. Major acts like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, BASSNECTAR and Rise Against made an appearance. The festival ran smoothly within the camp grounds. It featured five stages, food from various Detroit eateries such as Slows, an autograph tent and various exhibits such as Kirk Hammet’s Crypt, which was filled with props, posters and life size monsters from various horror films, and Metallica frontman James Hetfield’s private car and motorcycle collection. Another interesting attraction was the Vans Vert ramp situated next to the Damage, Inc. stage which featured mostly hardcore metal/punk bands such as The Trujillo Trio and FU MANCHU. The combination of pro skateboarding and metal music worked well.

Metallica One of the biggest surprises of the weekend came in the form of the unknown band dehaan who were introduced by James Hetfield. The band turned out to be Metallica, who were celebrating the 30th year anniversary of their 1983 debut album “Kill ‘Em All.” Metallica made an excellent move with the Sanitarium stage which was packed to the brim both days of the festival. BASSNECTAR, Borgore and Datsik entertained the thousands of EDM loving fans. Including EDM in a mostly metal/rock festival was a risky gamble, but it paid off. The variety of music genres was one of the biggest highlights of Orion. English band Foals played various numbers from their 2013 release “Holy Fire” such as “Late Night” and “Inhaler.” The Dropkick Murphys riled up the crowd in the main stage with their Celtic punk. The band was responsible for providing the title track for Martin Scorsese’ 2006 Academy Award winning film, “The Departed.” Chicago natives Rise Against displayed their love for the Motor City by giving the most energetic performance up to that point in the day. They encouraged the crowd to “Leave all their anger and frustrations on the island — that’s what music is for.”

Saturday came to a close with a two-hour set by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was a career spanning set list with songs from 2012’s “I’m With You” and 1991’s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik.”The band also incorporated various jams between songs. Halfway through the set Flea recited William Blake’s “The Tyger” — not something you would expect from a band with songs such as “Breaking the Girl.” It was a pleasant surprise. Saturday came to an end with Flea telling Orion fans to “Live the rest of their days in peace and harmony.” At that point, everyone’s attention shifted to getting off the island. No traffic was allowed near the island. Festival goers had to rely on a shuttle system provided by the festival.

While everything went smoothly on the island, picking up tickets at Cobo had been a nightmare for some people waiting upwards of three hours. Front Gate Tickets issued an apology to festival goers and proceeded to add more personnel to the Will Call booths. Another problem plaguing the festival was the shuttle system. Lines to get to the festival were about five blocks long with around an hour wait.

Sunday was a much smoother affair, which shows that festival promoters are most likely also working hard to create a smoother experience for next year. Sunday’s highlights were The Dillinger Escape Plan, who even though were missing a guitar player due to injury, put on a great heavy metal show that even had lead singer Greg Puciato climb onto the stage scaffolding. Two hours later, Japandroids took the stage. The indie rock duo from Vancouver got the crowd riled up by making fun of the Chicago Blackhawks but also pointing out that if Detroit played Vancouver, we would be dead meat. Hockey aside, Japandroids delighted the crowd with their indie punk rock. The most eccentric and energetic performance of the weekend came through with Gogol Bordello. Their use of the violin and the accordion mixed with traditional rock instruments worked wonderfully. The crowd went absolutely ballistic went the band played “Wonderlust King” and their biggest hit, “Start Wearing Purple.” The festival came to an end with a set from Metallica. They played a very varied set from obscure tracks such as “Carpe Diem Baby” to staples such as “Master Of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman.” Overall, the Orion Music + More festival was a success even with all its flaws. James Hetfield promised the crowd that they’ll be back next year and told them to make sure they brought their friends. If Metallica and concert promoters C3 Presents honor their contract to the city of Detroit, they’ll be bringing back the festival for two more years.

Review by Piero Postigo

Photos by Bruno Postigo

Together they are Wild Stallions [insert guitar riff here]

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