Concert Review: Scars and Stripes Festival 2017

Written by Teri Wright
Eyes of Jade Photography/Contributing writer for Bangs Music & Entertainment Magazine.

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”  –Douglas MacArthur.

We must give thanks to where thanks are due. A soldier sacrifices every ounce of themselves for one thing and that is your freedom. Some come home, many do not. Those who do, come home to open arms and silently bear the scars and stripes they respectively earned.

We left hot muggy Phoenix, to arrive into a very hot 'Viva Las Vegas.' The parking was not an easy thing to maneuver around Fremont Street. After an hour of finally finding out where to go and park, we followed the music to the venue. Our first pit-stop after obtaining our wristbands for the event was the merchandise table. (I had promised myself I would own a Scars and Stripes T-shirt.) I proudly purchased it and we missed a few of the opener bands due to the parking issue however after making our way along the hot pavement towards the stage and media pit our cameras were out and on stage was SHAMAN’S HARVEST, Nathan Hunt took the stage preceding the rest of his bandmates – Josh Hamler on Guitar/Vocals, Matt Fisher on Bass/Vocals, Adam Zemanek on Drums/Vocals, and Derrick Shipp as Lead Guitarist/Vocals.

As hot as it was outside (105 degrees to be exact) with the sun blaring down on everyone. SHAMAN’S HARVEST kicked it off with “Blood In The Water,” rolling right into the next song after song, take a break here and there rightfully so. That didn’t stop fans still cheering their boys on and SHAMAN’S HARVEST gave it all with “Dangerous,” “Country As F*ck,” ending the set out with “Dragonfly.”  Dressed in their blue jean cut-off vests and the country harvester’s hat adorned by Josh Hamler. You could tell the guys were pushing through with the sun beating down on them to make sure everyone had a good time. Sound quality was solid, even though the acoustics would bounce off the surrounding hotel walls. This seemed to be a problem with all the bands, and sound. A little bit over the top, however, I imagine it was to compensate for the venue openness.

This was the inaugural of the Scars and Stripes Festival. June 3rd, 2017 in Las Vegas to pay tribute to the Veterans and Active duty members of our military forces.  Pets for Vets along with others received proceeds to help their organizations in continuation of support for our veterans who come back with the deep scars we cannot see. They received these proceeds from ticket sales.

So Thank You fans for supporting our Vets and Active Duty U.S. Military Members.

In between the changes of bands and their set-ups, I was able to watch how the crowd changed from a more mellower crowd to one that was coming together and the ambiance just shifted. More fans showed up once the sun started to go down, But now until DEVOUR THE DAY took the stage. Blake Allison belted out his signature songs from their album Time & Pressure and their newest album S.O.A.R. Highlight of DEVOUR THE DAY’s set was when Blake called over the crowd to come closer and that he wanted to crowd surf. That takes not only a lot of courage but a lot of trust in people. I commend Blake for that. He was able to sing even while he was being pushed from one side of the stage to the other.  Joey ‘Chicago’ Walser was having fun with strumming along with his bass as I’ve seen him many times do before. Ronnie Farris on Percussion was getting in on the action as well. David Hoffman, Lead Guitarist, and backup vocals have always been a fun one to watch.
Flipping his long black curly hair, and his facial expressions are just well, they are David. You have to experience them in person to understand.

I admire DEVOUR THE DAY, not just because I have met them several times and talked to them, But they are a foursome that has depth, character and really a bunch of great guys who really love their fans, and passion for music.

BLACK STONE CHERRY took control of the stage next. There was a stage to the West and the Main stage to the East. These ran consecutively so there was no real lag time between bands. This made it hard to interview band members and do the meet and greet unless you chose to not watch one of the other bands. Having the good ole boys from Kentucky on stage ripping it up with songs such as “Devil's Queen,” “Me and Mary Jane.” Even though it was 105 outside, these Kentucky blooded boys sure know how to bring Southern Rock into the desert. Chris Robertson - Lead Vocalist, Lead Guitarist sure has that twang on the tip of his tongue that slides off like a snake’s hiss. BLACK STONE CHERRY brought down the house. Switching it up from Alternative to Southern Rock is quite the cocktail mixture. Personally, That southern gritty rock sound is sure hard to beat.

The sun started to drop into the horizon as OTHERWISE took over the stage as Adrian Patrick full of energy and commanded the presence of the fans. Being a Las Vegas native, Adrian Patrick produces magic the moment he opened his mouth and let the lyrics fly. He has such an ease and flow that shows he can control his pitch and along with his band mates. OTHERWISE sure puts on a show that is hypnotic. Adrian Patrick did a Chris Cornell tribute with tears in his eyes. It showed a side of many artists we as fan’s don’t see. The tender-hearted side, where they appreciate other artist’s work and aren’t afraid to show their emotions. This in my eyes was one of the best bands that night at SCARS and STRIPES.  True to form, all class, and the sound is hard to beat.

With so many bands alternating between the two stages,  My mind was boggled as this was my first music festival to cover. ADAM GONTIER formerly from THREE DAYS GRACE was doing an acoustic set. Bringing some of his own original work into play along with a couple of songs from THREE DAYS GRACE into the mix.  He thanked his fans and went on to do his meet and greet.

10 YEARS moved onto the western stage and started out with “Empires,” moving into “Now Is The Time (Ravenous)” flipping over to their popular song for their set list  “Shoot It Out.” Sound quality and performance were excellent.

The set change occurred so quickly that I barely had enough time to run back and take a breather between sets. How do these guys do this?

POP EVIL proceeded to make their way onto the stage with the hot desert breeze flowing. Leigh Kakaty embraced the crowd with a very warm welcome.  Leigh broke into his popular motivating song “Trenches,”  along with the cover of “Eye Of The Tiger,” along with his many well-known songs “Footsteps.” The band bowed to their newest drummer Hayley Cramer in admiration. She is quite a beautiful lady and very talented behind a kit as well.

Darkness was falling quickly upon us all, which only meant one thing, We hoped for cooler temps, unfortunately, being in a parking lot full of asphalt the heat only perspired and rose.

HELLYEAH was taking the stage next after the last few set changes. My heart pounded as I adore HELLYEAH and Chad Gray, Vinnie Paul, and the entire crew that this supergroup is made of. Chad is the former singer of Mudvayne has always carried his own tune. Being that Hellyeah has a pedal to the metal form, You can’t deny the familiar sound that Chad possesses. Coming out to face the fans Chad Gray had his face in a blood red theatrics. Belting out several songs from the album Sangre for Sangre.    The sound is undeniable and energy is even more undeniable. It’s pretty impressive. Chad Gray took a moment out to thank the veterans and promoters of SCARS AND STRIPES.  Thanking our military members really shows how much class Chad Gray embraces.  Vinnie Paul on drums smiling is a pleasurable sight as always. Hellyeah brought it and the fan’s said it. You can’t deny their uniqueness.

We ended up leaving after Hellyeah. We worked so hard in sun it took a toll on us all.

For being the first time for Scars and Stripes, This was an excellent turnout. Sure things may need to be tweaked here and there,  But what venue has a non-problematic event?

My dear friends, This event was put together for a great cause, and I hope to see you all next year for the SECOND round of SCARS AND STRIPES.

Until Next time, This redhead is off to go find another great adventure to bring to you all.

Keep Metal Alive and Support Our Military Members Past and Present.  Without them, None of this would happen. Please continue to support our U.S. Military Members as they have fought or are fighting for your freedom. You are all loved and respected.

Pets for Vets is a second chance animal shelter that adopts dogs from different shelters and trains them to be partners to our service members and help to provide them a companion animal for support and as a friend. It’s a beautiful cause.

For all information on these bands and their future tour dates please visit them online :