This is the first year of the Orion Music + Much More Festival, created and headlined by Metallica. The festival featured over 30 bands on 4 stages in 2 days including Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, Cage the Elephant, Ghost, Baroness, Red Fang, Gaslight Anthem and more. So many bands and varieties of rock, pop, country, metal, and punk it was impossible to see it all. The “+ More” part of the festival features the members of Metallica’s personal hobbies. Kirk Hammett, guitarist, had a display of his horror memorabilia collection called Kirk’s Krypt, for which the line was incredibly long. If they have that next year, they better get a bigger tent. Kirk also hosted a surf competition about a mile away at the beach along with bassist Robert Trujillo. Robert also skateboarded on a halfpipe in the middle of the festival along side various skateboarding stars. Lars Ulrich, drummer, had a mini movie theater for fans that enjoy cinema as much as he does and featured a new release screening of “Mission to Lars” which documents the life of an individual with a rare learning disability whom is Lars’ biggest fan. It seemed that the most popular of the “lifestyle exhibits” was lead singer James Hetfield’s car and motorcycle show, which included an onsite Hot Rod build. The car show was set up well in that you didn’t have to wait in a line to get in, you could just wander around in the shade of the tent, which many people did probably more then once. There was also a Metallica museum featuring memorabilia from the 30 year history of the band, for which the line was almost as long as the one for Kirk’s Krypt.
The line up was amazing, it was very diverse, which I had my doubts about at first, but all the different types of music just seemed to blend very well. There were old heavy favorites like Suicidal Tendencies and Sepultura along with plenty of newer metal acts like Baroness, The Sword, Kyng and Torche. Though the festival was not all metal since it also featured acts like Best Coast, Gary Clark Jr, Eric Church, Modest Mouse and Arctic Monkeys even a brass band from New Orleans called the Soul Rebels. It also featured comedy acts in the middle of both days staring Jim Breuer, the go to guy for heavy metal related comedy. He was accompanied by Don Jamieson, Jim Florentine, and Shuli Egar. It gave people a chance to hang out in the shade of the “Frantic” stage and laugh a little. The four stages were all named after Metallica songs (“Frantic”, “Damage Inc.”, “Fuel”, and the main stage “Orion”). The festival rules allowed each person to bring in up to two 1 liter bottles of water and they had refilling stations, which was awesome. I only saw a couple people all weekend get sick from the heat. Normally at a festival I would see a lot of people pass out or throw up at some point. The only thing I really didn’t like about Orion was that there were all different types of passes and wrist bands. Half of my friends could get in everywhere and half of my friends couldn’t get in anywhere but the field. I didn’t find out until the second day that I was allowed in front of the Orion stage until 5pm, the day before I had been told by the same security guard that I wasn’t allowed in that section. So even the security guards were confused.
Metallica headlined both nights, playing Ride the Lightning in its entirety on Saturday night and Metallica aka “The Black Album” Sunday night. Both nights the aforementioned albums were book-ended by hits like “Hit the Lights”, “Master of Puppets”, “One” and “Battery”. Stage effects really fired up the crowd during the encore which featured lasers lighting up the sky and an impressive pyro display during the intro to “One” and with a finishing touch of the high energy “Seek and Destroy” which an explosion of black beach balls emblazoned with the Metallica logo bouncing over the crowd. Metallica said several times they were already planning to come back to Atlantic City next summer and we can’t wait to have them back again!