Five bands to see at Rock on the Range
Soundgarden (9:30 p.m. Sunday, Monster Main Stage)
The grunge gods returned to the stage three years ago and released surprisingly solid comeback LP King Animal last fall, but ROTR marks their first Ohio show in two decades. You’ve waited a long time to hear Chris Cornell’s nasal cavity unsullied by all that Audioslave nonsense and reunited with Thayil guitar theatrics.
Ghost B.C. (2:45 p.m. Sunday, PBR Stage)
Lead singer Papa Emeritus II dresses up like a demonic pope, and the rest of his robed bandmates are Nameless Ghouls. The band sells a merch pack including a gold-embossed red velvet Bible case, a bronze metal butt plug, a divorce paper scroll and a black dildo in the shape of Papa Emeritus. Oh, the music? It’s as cartoonishly theatrical faux-Satanic as the shtick suggests. Maybe not a band you would blast in the car, but definitely one to see live.
The Sword (4:15 p.m. Saturday, Jagermeister Stage)
Austin’s doomy, thrashy, bluesy riffmeisters are as sharp as ever on the new Apocryphon. It’s barebones, ball-busting old-school heavy metal. Sabbath fans apply within.
Smashing Pumpkins (9:30 p.m. Saturday, Monster Main Stage)
Yeah, they were just here in December, but they couldn’t fit their gargantuan stage setup to the Newport, and you know it’s going to look as pretty as “1979” sounds.
Bush (6:05 p.m. Sunday, Monster Main Stage)
Maybe you think of these guys as a punchline or just insufferable Nirvana biters, but how many of those Sixteen Stone singles still bang almost 20 years later? That’s right, they all do. Shoot, we’d even be down for some “Greedy Fly” or “The Chemicals Between Us,” but maybe that’s just us.