Preview: Five acts to see at Sonic Temple

Brad Keefe

The inaugural Sonic Temple festival comes to Mapfre Stadium this weekend, but, yes, it will look a bit familiar.

The festival was launched by Danny Wimmer, one of the co-founders of the late Rock on the Range (and resulted in a lawsuit from his former ROTR partner).

At a glance, it remains a rock-heavy, three-day festival with some overlap, but it's worth noting that the spectrum of rock represented is thankfully casting a wider net — even if it is a little less distinct since the death of singer Keith Flint lead to the Prodigy being replaced on the bill with… Papa Roach.

Sonic Temple also is introducing a vaguely defined art element, but I can't imagine Pussy Riot on a ROTR lineup. Or a spoken word tent that on Friday, May 17, will feature Nadya of Pussy Riot, Tom Morello and Henry Rollins.

Thanks in part to a late push of discounted one-day tickets, Sonic Temple has sold out Mapfre Stadium for the weekend (although I suspect resale passes could be had at a reasonable cost).

The weekend will culminate with the first Columbus appearance by Foo Fighters in about a decade (a true headline-worthy get for the fest), but here are five other acts that you won't want to miss.

System of a Down

Yes, I'm telling you to see one of the headliners, but this is a rare experience. SOAD rarely tours, and it doesn't seem to have any plans to release new music any time soon. But the band's politically charged, weirdo metal will bring the energy. The last chance I got to see them was at Riot Fest in 2015 for a set that the band had to stop several times in order to calm the crowd. Be nice to people out there.

Zeal & Ardor

One tough schedule conflict is this going up against industrial-tinged hip-hop group HO99O9, both of which will provide a sonic mashup you won't hear elsewhere this weekend. Zeal & Ardor is an experiment that shouldn't work, combining elements of African-American spirituals and black metal. The end result is strangely haunting, and something I can't wait to see live.

The Distillers

Icon alert: You clearly don't want to miss Joan Jett & the Blackhearts this weekend, but another bucket-list for me is seeing Brody Dalle reunited with the punk band that brought her to prominence in the 1990s.


This is the one I've waited for since 1998's aptly named The Shape of Punk to Come. Dennis Lyxzen and company have reunited several times, but this is, to my knowledge, the first time the band has ever played Columbus. Oh, and speaking of Swedish post-punk reunions, the Hives will be at Mapfre this weekend, too.

Mark Lanegan Band

The former Screaming Trees frontman is a generational vocalist, and this set stands as another rarity to see live. Lanegan's voice blends buttery and raspy in a way that recalls Tom Waits, and his lane of rock, which combines elements of folk and blues, makes for a perfect midday set.

Friday-Sunday, May 17-19

1 Black and Gold Blvd., North Side

Mapfre Stadium