The Ridglea Theater is alive and kicking!
On August 11th, 2018, metalheads descended upon the historic Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth, Texas for the Ridglea Metal Fest. Touting over 30 bands across three stages, all under the same roof, the festival is the longest running hard rock and metal event in Dallas-Fort Worth.
The School of Rock kicked things off around noon with covers of great rock and roll classics. I honestly can’t tell you the total number of kids involved, but each one of them was incredibly talented at what they were doing and most of them changed between multiple instruments. Music is definitely alive in the youth. With the main stage kicking off every hour, and each side room kicking off on every half hour, it was easy to slide between the three stages and catch every act of the day. Even with hiccups present, the crew putting on the festival took it all in stride and rolled with the punches, putting on a seamless event. A food truck was on site for convenience, but the venue is set in an area full of food options to cure the hunger pangs of a long day of music.
Several bands stuck out throughout the day and the first one was Not My Master from El Paso, Texas. They are a chaotic, but polished blend of metal that has a lot of influence across many genres – and it shows in the music they create. Personally, my favorite stage was the Ridglea Room. It seemed to have a heavier overall theme for the day. Under Oblivion was the first band to take that stage and had me moving and jamming throughout their set. They are on the heavier side, but are able to pull in a broad audience due to the diverse vocal styles. Dispositions was heavily talked about among the crowd. I conversed with several bands who mentioned catching their set and how heavy they were. These Fort Worth locals are taking the deathcore scene by force and they’re someone y’all should definitely check out.
Black Star Republic took the main stage to a very welcoming crowd that had really filled in and were excited for the rest of the evening. No matter which room you walked into throughout the day, the crowd was always buzzing with excitement. DFW longtime locals Secret of Boris were on their A-game this evening and put on one of the best performances I’ve seen from them to date. With heavy crowd interaction and full-on entertainment these guys definitely brought it. The Marla Singer are coming in hot in the local scene – and rightfully so. This charismatic bunch have put a lot of time into their craft. They’re heavy and melodic, but also have a softer side. Get ready to hear about this group of individuals, because they are on their way up.
Outline in Color took the Ridglea Lounge stage as the first headliner of the night. Hailing from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, these guys are fantastic! Not too crazy heavy, but definitely not light by any means. This is my first time hearing anything from them and I’m now genuinely a fan. Primal Concrete Cowboys headlined the Ridglea Room stage with a massive following packing out the floor. These guys have been around for a long time and have never disappointed live. It’s rightfully so that they closed out the night in the Room.
The moment of anticipation was finally upon us. The massive crowd had finally started to funnel in and fill the theater floor after emptying out the Lounge and Room. Bury Your Dead was now up for a highly anticipated set. These guys never disappoint and needless to say, they still have it. People that I talked to after their performance were incredibly satisfied and I didn’t hear a bad thing about their sound or overall stage presence. I have never had the chance to see Bury Your Dead and now I’m pretty bummed that I hadn’t seen them before, because they are brutal. Lockjaw hit the stage around 9 p.m. with a classic metal sound with a heavy twist. They have a great following in the DFW scene and have perfected their sound over the years. I’ve seen them three times now and have yet to be let down by their energy and overall sound.
Everything from the extremely long day finally led up to Drowning Pool taking the stage. This was a big mama for me because I have also never had the chance to see them live. They sounded pretty much spot-on to recordings, which to me is the most important thing of a band – being able to translate your studio sound to your on stage sound. At this point, everyone at the show was in the theater and cheering loudly as they took the stage.
I’ve been to quite a few festivals this year and this is honestly one of the most smoothly run I’ve seen. The team that Jeff Ogle put together absolutely nailed the day from start to finish. There was not a point in the day that the staff seemed overwhelmed or the crowd out of control. I’m really looking forward to Ridglea Metal Fest 2019 and hope to see y’all out there. Thank you to everyone on staff for making an amazing day and night of metal.
– Brently Kirksey
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