Have you ever been to Rockfest in Kansas City, MO? If the answer is yes, we’re already on the same page. If the answer is no, you’re severely missing out. Imagine 55,000 pumped up rock fans, 15 awesome bands, and 12 hours of musical madness.

The description can’t compare to the experience, but I’m hoping this review will be enough to get you to Kansas City for the next Rockfest, because this hardcore music festival never disappoints. 2013 presented a great weather forecast (not always the case, although Rockfest goes on, rain or shine) and an equally stellar lineup. I was pumped to be taking pictures of some incredible musicians.

One of the excellent rockers I couldn’t wait to photograph was David Draiman. Draiman is well known among rock and metal fans as the frontman of the band Disturbed. However, in 2012 Draiman announced a new side project, the band Device, which he co-founded with Filter’s former guitarist, Geno Lenardo. In 2013 Device released their self-titled debut album, and their track “Vilify” became a number one hit. The band chose to include several talented musicians in their first album including Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Black Country Communion), M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold), Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), and Lzzy Hale (Halestorm). Draiman and Lzzy sing a great cover of “Close My Eyes Forever,” a song originally performed by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne.

I was pumped to hear this music live, and the band didn’t disappoint. When Device first took the stage, the absence of a bass player caught my attention. This didn’t bring the performance down, though. While I wouldn’t call Draiman a high intensity rocker at shows, his subtler stage presence is still very powerful, and his vocals were very good live. I was blown away by Will Hunt’s proficiency on the drums; it seemed like Hunt didn’t give his sticks a break even once. He hammered his way through the whole set, and I feel confident saying he’s one of the best drummers currently on the scene. Virus, the guitarist for the band Dope, rounded out the touring trio with some mad skills of his own. For me, the highlight of Device’s set was the “Close My Eyes Forever” duet. Lzzy Hale from Halestorm, who also performed at Rockfest that day, joined Draiman on stage, and together they took the show. It was an obvious crowd-pleaser and balanced the rest of the songs really well. It was a pleasure and a blast to capture images of Device’s live show at Rockfest 2013!

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