For the first show of the 2015 season of the Machias Savings Bank concert series at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, there were lots of people in the audience for whom the event held special meaning. Rise Above Fest, held Saturday, May 9, featured an array of headlining rock and metal bands bands, including Godsmack, Seether, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, and Papa Roach.
Whether it was for the charity the day-long concert raised money for — Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, SAVE, a suicide prevention organization — or for the fact that Waterfront Concerts partnered with the Maine Military and Community Network to offer free tickets to veterans, there were a number of folks in the audience that were there to rock, and to remember.
Father and son duo Carl and Ricky Winchester of Orrington jumped at the chance to receive free admission to the concert. The veterans — Ricky, the son, served for years in the Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan, while Carl, the dad, served for much of the 1980s in the Navy — were big fans of most of the bands featured at the show.
“Today, you don’t really see a lot of stuff that’s supposed to help veterans, so it was really awesome that they did this to support vets,” Ricky Winchester said. “And we both are huge fans of everybody [playing tonight], so it’s just great.”
The concert started early in the afternoon, with metal bands All That Remains, Butcher Babies, Unlocking the Truth, Nonpoint, Tremonti, In Flames and Uncle Jack. Papa Roach performed their late 1990s hit “Last Resort” and more during their late afternoon set.
Legendary Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash featuring former Alter Bridge guitarist Myles Kennedy and their band, the Conspirators, kicked off their set at 7 p.m., playing a combination of songs from their albums “Apocalyptic Love” and “World on Fire” and Guns n’ Roses hits, from “You Could Be Mine” and “Night Train” to “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Paradise City.”
If there was a person at the show that didn’t know all the words to all those songs, they certainly weren’t showing it.
Seether, the founders of the Rise Above Fest, performed next. The band’s lead singer, Shaun Morgan, started Rise Above Fest as a way to raise money for SAVE after his brother committed suicide in 2007. Now in its third year in Bangor, Rise Above Fest has raised more than $100,000 for suicide prevention.
Closing out the night was local favorite Godsmack, in their third performance on the Bangor Waterfront. The Massachusetts-based band, which formed 20 years ago, has released three albums that debuted at number one on the Billboard charts.