Hard rock and rock n’ roll naturally go hand in hand with the most haunted prison in the country, though one might stop to consider which hand has the stronger grip. Regardless of the two making loud and spooky bedfellows as the rusty bars slam shut, over the past several years the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield has hosted several weekends of loud, heavy music which reverberates off the outer and inner walls, strong enough to wake spirits and rattle a few tin cups of their own.
Day two of the 2019 Inkcarceration Festival started at 12:30 showcasing a unique spread of talent on each stage with the Monster Dolls dancing to diabolic sounds and creating stories and routines with movement, masks and props for the reaping. The inner walls came alive with the buzzing machines of 70 tattoo artists as patrons came to get lasting memories, walking out with prison ink street cred.
Whether it was their first time or a repeat sentence, visitors walked the self-guided Shawshank Trail, touring tiers, seeing movie history and the Reformatory museum. As if the place needed more frantic running, screaming and blood on the walls, the seasonal haunt, Blood Prison, set up body parts and shop in the dark corridors below to scare the shit out of concert goers taking a break from the crowds, noise and sun.
Saturday the 13th arguably held the most diverse lineup of the weekend with Live and Godsmack finishing the main stage. It was a return to prison for Sully Erna and company coming back to the place where the video for Awake was filmed.
Stage two offered Impending Lies, Monster Dolls, Raven Black, Eyes Set to Kill, Stabbing Westward and Andrew W.K, with the main stage showing Titans in Time, Light the Torch, Buckcherry, Red Sun Rising and Motionless in White.
Impending Lies started the afternoon flexing the 24’ pythons as Real American introduced the Cleveland bred boys. The sharp guitar crunch of Shine reflected the burning noon sun as the day’s first chords and riffs reverberated off the Reformatory’s rigid stone walls. They honored the ‘80s playing some Journey, and new tune Rise Up.
The Monster Dolls performed set two on day two. What happens when you smash industrial, hard rock, rap, hip hop, death metal and dance together? You get what Frankie Von Doll created in 2006 and her loyal, devoted horde of brooding, masked babes. It’s a classic horror, slasher come to life. Think Flash Dance with masks and murderous props. Misery Creeps, ScarrieAnne Stalker, Zelda Hex, Bellatrix Blade and Angelique Graves each seduced the crowd with their own demented dance work and bedazzlements. Mr. Bungles ran the Carousel while Hanzel und Gretyl supplied the Uber Death Party.
Raven Black welcomed everyone to the 13th hour and the dark metal carnival as vocalist Raven and part marionette stuck a black nailed finger out, beckoning one and all to come as close as they could. With Muppet, The Doctor and Stitches handling the noise, Raven took care of the deadly nursery rhymes waving everything from a dark umbrella to ball and chain and jester cane. Even a huge teddy bear can be menacing if used the right way, and she knew how. The growled and clean delivery of 13 brought the show’s hostess and guests together in close bodied merriment and cheer. Twinkle Twinkle Little Scars spun its sweet song with symbolic blood and bones flaying round. The rapid punk pogo pace of Sticks and Stones celebrated the inner freak in everyone there while Carnival brought out the inner demons to burn and play with under the blazing sun. Earning a one more song chant, the crowd was genuinely sad to see them leave.
All eyes fixed on Eyes Set to Kill for 30 minutes as Alexia Rodriguez brought the infection to Mansfield, offering no apologies. The gloves and masks were off. They covered the emotionally bare Charlie Puth’s Attention digging back a few years for Broken Frames.
Many club goers in the ‘90s shed sweat and dance floor time moving to Stabbing Westward. The Darkest Days returned with open scripts and doors to the Drug Store as everything still Falls Apart with the Blister Burn and Peel. They managed to create a club, dance floor vibe in the great outdoors with the opening keyboard claws of What Do I Have to Do as Save Yourself left another reminder of dance floor decadence. It was a low down stalking Shame they had to stop.
Andrew W.K., the ultimate party animal and human toga party came on stage ready to rave and rage. Playing and plowing through the keyboard like a high octane Jerry Lee Lewis on Music is Worth Living For. He stretched the microphone to its limit on She is Beautiful. The crowd had plenty of juice left to party, anytime, anywhere as the prolonged countdown signaled the set’s and weekend’s running anthem Party Hard.
Cleveland’s Titans in Time opened the main stage with the slow emotional churn of Control by Fire, the young blood worked the crowd as vocalist Vince Gillman said this was a really big deal for them. Incorporating Greek mythology into their music and personal mantras, they’ve earned notoriety on the East Coast and The Rust Belt Chronicles, sharing new tune Lie to Me.
Light the Torch appeared bringing The Calm before the Storm and rest of the day’s chaos. Certain things were forever Lost in the Fire though some things are best burnt and turned to ash. Howard Jones’ clean vocals ruled on Safety of Disbelief. Jones said they’d just toured with Sevendust and In This Moment and are writing a new record. The clouds remained high hovering over Die Alone.
The audience-approved and parentally unapproved Buck Cherry started in industrial style with Head like a Hole while the dirty little secrets on Porno opened closed doors. The irresponsible irresistible anthem of white powder Lit Up the crowd with that oh so special feeling. Vocalist Josh Todd said his first night with the snow was on an Ouija board. The sweat and Warpaint flew on Right Now. The days message was pretty clear, don’t fuck with them. Too Drunk To Fuck rocked and grooved its way too many bladders and southern regions. The crowd still loved, rocked with and worshipped that damn Crazy Bitch while the band did some slide and shuffle action.
Red Sun Rising opened shop with Vein; it was a retro trip to the ‘70s and ‘80s for some forgotten Amnesia while the Alice in Chains dipped The Otherside brought back the best sounds of grunge and the ‘90s. Evil like You sang the abuse of the deranged and demented lounge tune, used and misused, signing off with a well-intentioned Death Wish.
The pit opened including a crowd surfing Santa and set-long, mid-crowd grappling matches as Motionless in White hit the stage as the heavens above opened and angelic guardians stood steadfast on stage. Disguise introduced new tunes while the retro edge of Necessary Evil brought out the symbolic birthday cake and ‘80s vibe bringing the ‘60s to 2019 open air Mansfield. With a group rebel yell of “You’re my motherfucker” they dug deep into hallowed ground pulling out Soft. They told everyone to jump, bang and earn that hangover tomorrow, going back celebrating Devils Night. It was their first show back this summer and if you didn’t know them you might know Voices. Music is the new revenge and emotional healing according to new song New Numb while Generation Lost sang and screamed the battle cry of the disenfranchised and alienated youth of each generation. The set ended with the coffin kissed goodbye of Eternally Yours.
Live started with All Over Me, with a show of drama, going the unexpected route early covering an idol influence with mandolin strings on Losing My Religion. After giving their home town a real left handed shitty tribute, they made The Dolphins Cry. The Stones got some love on Paint it Black, as Lakinis Juice was shared and spread crowd wide. Crowd pleaser I Alone prepped for the next discussion with Lightning Crashes ending their evening.
The voice of Michael Buffer got everyone ready to rumble. Queen and Areosmith hyped the crowd as the crazy train began. Pits opened, fans surfed, beach balls flew and one large inflatable killer doughnut made the rounds.
Legends rose, burning up the highway and stage with 1000HP as flames licked the air. Erna said it’d been 19 some years since they’d been there and were gonna play music from all their records as long as the audience hung out, starting with Say My Name. It was a history pleasing set playing what the crowd wanted to hear. Erna asked all the guys to hoist the women in the air and turn Inkcarceration into an ’80s Bon Jovi show. For a brief moment, the Ohio State Reformatory faded to black and for one song everything was about the music and fans. The crowd went Firefly with only lighters and phone lights for Something Different.
Smoke crawled onstage as flames hissed their spell on Voodoo, Batalla De Los Tambores pounded skins honoring AC/DC, Aerosmith, Metallica and Rush among others. Whatever got the crowd involved chanting and Erna got a Cindy Crawford product plug in (you had to be there).
They’ve been around for almost 25 years, founding The Scars Foundation to help battle, depression, addiction, bullying, PST, suicide prevention, celebrating the cause in song with Under Your Scars.
The fab four were honored in encore as everyone came together for I Stand Alone.