Chicago Open Air melts faces two years in a row

Robin Bridges, Editor in Chief

For the second year in a row, Chicago Open Air Festival has brought together fans and their bands for a face-melting weekend of metal. In 2016, Chicago Open Air brought bands who had not been seen in many years. Performers like Marilyn Manson, Korn and Disturbed shared the same stage for a weekend last July. This year they did it again.

Headliners included metal veterans like Anthrax, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and Kiss. The weekend also featured newcomers like Black Map, Whores and Berkley’s Popular Music Institute band Aversed.  

The festival featured more than just bands.

It included Gourmet Man Food, craft beer, a sideshow and more band tee-shirts than any one needs. GMF featured menu items like “The Tenderizer” from local bar and grill Cheesie’s Pub and Grub. “The Tenderizer” is a grilled cheese featuring bacon, fried chicken tenders, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce and hot sauce on two slices of Texas Toast.

GMF also included band themed burgers like the “Black Sabbath” burger from local Kuma’s Corner. The “Black Sabbath” featured a pretzel bun with onion, pepper jack cheese, and blackening spice.

There were also lots of craft beers on tap from local breweries like Half Acre, Goose Island and Lagunitas. Beer is essential at a metal show because you need something to throw before you dive into a mosh pit.

Also on site was national cancer organization F*CK Cancer raising funds for their Dying2Live program. The booth sold everything from bandanas to hoodies for prices from five dollars to 65 dollars.

Open Air staggered bands on two stages. This allowed fans to flood in and out from the stadium to the retrofitted parking lot and watch both bands without missing anything. The main stage acts included bands like Steel Panther and Korn. While the Blackcraft stage featured a range of bands like Ice-T’s band Body Count and metal veteran’s Slayer.

Metal fans get a bad reputation.

We’ve usually got a lot of tattoos, piercings and like a little growl in our music. These are hard to find in a city as diverse as Chicago. There are the occasional shows at smaller venues that sell out really quickly or aren’t really equipped for these types of bands. This festival provided a spectacular gathering of fans who wouldn’t normally meet.

The complaints from fans were minor but included the small screens on the main stage and the brief acoustic fails during a couple of the performances. In general, the warped acoustics of a soccer stadium are bound to get a couple of knocks from music fans.

As a weekend though Chicago Open Air melts my black heart and I hope it continues to do so for years to come.