Lazerfest 2014 moves indoors, weather causes lineup changes

Theory of a Deadman performs at Lazerfest on May 11 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Celeste Welshhons

This year’s Lazerfest was moved from its original location to Wells Fargo Arena for an indoor/outdoor show. Two of the bands were unable to play, the show was delayed and the set times of four of the bands overlapped.

The line was not as long as it usually is two hours before the doors open, likely because of the occasional pouring rain. Concertgoers were pretty miserable until some of the event staff handed out Kum & Go-branded rain ponchos, but even then, it was still not a fun experience.

As the noon hour approached, people were told to have their tickets ready and be prepared to go inside for the bag check. Once we were let inside, I spoke to one of the security guards and learned that we would be staying inside until the lightning stopped. Everybody was herded into Veterans Memorial Auditorium to wait it out.

By the time we were let outside, it was late enough that Green Death, the opening band and battle of the bands winner, would not be able to play. Chelsea Wolfe became the opener and began her set pretty close to the original time she was slated to play. The crowd was not too receptive to her, and she didn’t look like she was having a good time at all. It appeared that she might have been having trouble with both the volume of her guitar and mic.

I arrived to the show early enough that I never heard the announcement that Escape the Fate had pulled out of the show. Due to this, Powerman 5000 was the next band up, and all of the other outdoor bands moved up one time slot, causing confusion among the fans. Powerman 5000’s set was a huge hit. Fans went crazy from the front of the stage to at least 15 rows back, and it was only the second band.

The amount of vendors this year was minimal. In past years there were tents with unofficial merchandise, food, free samples and plenty of other little trinkets. This year there was the Lazerfest tent with its official shirts, the big tent with the merchandise of all of the bands, plenty of beer, a tent with beef jerky samples, a piercing tent and a couple of others.

J. Roddy Walston & the Business was the next band up, and after them was another crowd favorite, We Came as Romans. Due to the aforementioned set overlapping, Thousand Foot Krutch was playing on the outdoor stage at the same time as The Pretty Reckless was playing the first set indoors. These were two of the bands with a bigger draw for the show, so again, many fans were peeved that they would have to watch one set or the other.

Once people went to the indoor portion of the show, it is unclear whether or not they were allowed to go back to watch the other set outside or go back outside at all. The only other band playing outside was Machine Head, and it played at the same time as Pop Evil played inside. The rest of the bands played inside. As Machine Head’s set concluded, everybody that was still outside came inside to see the rest of the show.

Despite many negative comments about the show being moved to an indoor venue, it appeared that a majority of the concertgoers were happy that there were seats available and that they were out of the pouring rain. It seemed like more people were actually sitting up in the level above the floor than were on the floor battling for the best spot.

The rest of the show seemed to go off without a hitch. The bands took the stage at the time they were supposed to and finished on time. One rather odd thing about the sets was the lack of encores. Fans were more than willing to stay and watch an extra song for headliners Queens of the Stone Age and The Offspring, which had not played a show in central Iowa since 1997.

All in all, the show was pretty awesome, and it will be interesting to see what Lazerfest 2015 will be like now that fans and staff have gotten a taste for a comfortable indoor venue.