For one of the first times ever, the metal and electronic dance music worlds collided at Metallica’s 2nd annual Orion Music + More Festival. This was a weekend full of heavy hitting bass and head banging beats. My journey started in Chicago, and it took a little over 5 hours to get to our final destination, which was the downtown area of Detroit.  The Motorcity Hotel and Casino was where my boyfriend and I decided to stay, which we booked through the festival’s partner, Hotels For Hope.  Hotels For Hope is a charity that joins forces with a variety of hotels. For each customer the hotel donates $1 and the charity, Hotel For Hope, also donates $1 for every night a customer stays. For future reference I would highly suggest booking with the festival’s partner because the hotel was beautiful and it had great service. The festival even offered a complimentary shuttle system to get to and from Belle Isle, which was the island where the festival took place located in the Detroit River. As we walked up to the Cobo Center to board the bus, I noticed the line was wrapped around four city blocks. This made a lot of the fans worried that they wouldn’t be able to attend their planned shows; however, this was not the case.  The shuttle system had over 200 buses, which were circling the route to and from the festival. This system was one of the most efficient shuttle systems I have ever seen.  After only waiting in line for 10 minutes, we boarded a school buss filled with rowdy fans, and altogether we headed over the bridge to the festival.  The driver dropped us off a couple of blocks from the entrance where we followed the massive group of music lovers to the gates.  When we finally arrived at the entrance the festival employees greeted us warmly all saying something along the line of, “Welcome to Orion! Have fun!”

Once we got settled in at Belle Isle around 3 p.m. we noticed an odd name on the schedule that was set to play at 3:45 p.m. at the smallest stage. It was a group called Deehan.  We decided we would check them out after we explored the clean and green festival grounds. As we were soaking in the experience we continued to overhear a lot of other festival goers asking the same question, “Who is Deehan?” As the question lingered the sounds of Moombahton rang in the air as Dillon Francis started his set in the Sanitarium (EDM) tent. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts we had to make our way over to the FYE tent to meet the bass god himself, Bassnectar.  Suddenly, we could see the smallest stage across the field where “Deehan” was scheduled to be playing. To our surprise, and everyone else at the festivals it was actually all four members of Metallica. They opened by playing the intro of the first song, from their first album, “Hit The Lights.”  Hundreds of screaming fans sprinted across the field to the tiny stage,  which left the main stage, where Dropkick Murphys were playing, relatively empty.  Metallica unleashed a metal-tastic banner behind them crossing out Deehan with the words “Metal Up Your Ass” across the top. The titans of metal then did something they have never done once in their historic career.  They played their first album, Kill’em All, in it’s entirety. This was 55 minutes of pure bliss for the die hard fans and this was only the beginning of day one.



dehaanPhoto Credit: Dave Mead 

bass godPhoto Credit: Jack Edinger

After all the commotion and waiting in line, it was now time to meet Bassnectar.  We approached the table and quickly introduced ourselves and explained how much we respect his work over here at The Dankles.  Bassnectar instantly knew of the blog and responded with, “I know The Dankles, I love that shit!”  We handed him a sticker and went our own ways.  The line cleared up and Lorin took off to the Sanitarium stage to play his set.  We followed and luckily got a spot right up front to enjoy the madness that we were about to ensue.  Being that it was Orion Music + More Festival put on by Metallica, we had a feeling that this could one of his most intense sets to date, and we were right.  He blasted our faces with bass of all shapes and sizes as we went through his catalog of pure bass laced gold.  Some highlights were, “Freestyle,” “100” and ”Prince” by Deftones (Bassnectar Remix) and closing the set with none other then his own remix of Motorhead’s classic song, “Ace Of Spades.”  Between the packed tent of bass heads and Lorin’s aggressive set, it might have been one of the best head banging experiences at the festival.  That really says a lot for a Metallica hosted event.

rhcp orionPhoto Credit: Cambria Harkey

rhcp crowdPhoto Credit: Dave Rodriguez

To end the night, we ventured over to the main stage to close out the day with the one and only, Red Hot Chili Peppers.  It was a picture perfect night. The weather was beautiful, the sun was setting and the crowd was filled with every walk of life. The great thing about this show is that the performance was so raw and beautiful. The band didn’t have a fancy stage set up, just the guys, their instruments and pure talent. The set list went as follows:

  1. Monarchy of Roses
  2. Dani California
  3. Scar Tissue
  4. (Especially In Michigan tease)
  5. Can’t Stop
  6. (Enter Sandman tease)
  7. Look Around
  8. Snow ((Hey Oh))
  9. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
  10. Higher Ground
  11. (Stevie Wonder cover)
  12. Hard to Concentrate
  13. Me & My Friends
  14. Under the Bridge
  15. (preceeded by The Unforgiven tease)
  16. Suck My Kiss
  17. Ethiopia
  18. Californication
  19. By the Way
  20. Chad & Mauro & Josh Jam
  21. (Especially in Michigan tease followed by Sunday Bloody Sunday tease)
  22. Around the World
  23. Soul to Squeeze
  24. Give It Away

orion installation


adventure club

After the long day on Saturday we woke up around 11 a.m. on Sunday, and hurried to make our way over to the shuttles. Even though it was Sunday, that didn’t mean we weren’t partying. The school bus full of fans seemed even more energetic and excited to be on their way to the magical isle than they were on day one.  As we made our way to the entrance, an older crossing guard gave out high fives and “Wooohs!” to all the people passing by.  It was great to see that even the workers were excited to be there.  We started this day in the Sanitarium tent with Adventure Club.  If you aren’t familiar with Adventure Club, their sound is filled with dreamy vocals and heavy bass.  Usually, Adventure Club has two members on stage bringing the bass, but unfortunately for this show we were missing one. During Adventure Club’s set,  I noticed a lot of unfamiliar metal fans walk into the EDM tent with a confused expression on their face. This had me extremely interested in seeing what their reaction would be to the music. As the set went on, I checked up on my friends from a far. It was no surprise when I realized they were getting down just as hard as all the electronic dance veterans at the festival.  Adventure Club must have been doing something right that afternoon because the hair was flying everywhere.


The great thing about this festival is that the stages were in close proximity to each other making it easy to walk back in forth between them.  This gave us a chance to quickly check out Deftones on the main stage before heading back to the Sanitarium tent for Destroid.  This super group consisting of ExcisionDownlink and KJ Sawka of Conspirator created the live dubstep concept back in 2009. After several years of not performing, they finally had their first show May 31, 2013 at The Warfield in San Francisco. This was their second show ever, and man am I glad I saw it.   They walked on stage with futuristic costumes that could be compared to something you would see in video games such as Halo or Call Of Duty, but theirs were covered in multicolored changing lights.  The awesome thing about this act was, they used MIDI guitars and drums while producing all their music live.  The stage had large, rock like decorations that were displayed in front of Excision and Downlink. I’m assuming those were there to block the “pedal boards” down at their feet that are attached to their MIDI guitars.  They played many songs off their new album Invasion, including “Raise Your Fist,” “Activation” and “Put It Down.” Some of my favorite remixes played were “Bricksquad Anthem” by Mayhem x Antiserum, “Ratchet Bitch” by Brillz and a mash up of “I’m A Fuckin’ Head Banger” by Excision with “Buckwild” by Brillz. This show brought electronic dance music to the next level by creating a live experience that was truly unforgettable.

metallica far

metallica 1Photo Credit: Cambria Harkey

As the night sky began to settle in, everyone started making the short journey to the massive main stage where the creators of this incredible festival were about to take the stage for the second time this weekend. Metallica kept everyone on their toes for almost 10 minutes past their scheduled start time and in typical fashion, the heavy hitting titans came on to the stage with the roar of the crowd being so loud that all of Detroit knew what was about to go down. They surprised some people by opening with the first track, off the fourth album, “Blackened” AKA one hell of an opener. As the band played through their own punishing tracks and their fans loving every second of it, some people had to wonder if they still had anything up their sleeves after yesterday’s amazing secret set. They played through five of their heaviest tracks knowing they always have something special for their fans.  James Hetfield then took the microphone and asked the crowd, “Lets see if you know this one, I bet you’ve never seen us play it, haha!”  The song “Carpe Diem Baby,” off their very unpopular, but well respected album, “Reload,” had only been played once before today.  This was something truly special for the fans to hear this rare gem.  The heavy metal pioneers played their asses off for the entire 80 minute show closing out Orion Music + More Festival with some serious pyro and fireworks.  My favorite part of the show was when I got to hear the household classic “One.”  The band goes all out for this track, while the fans old and new screamed the lyrics as loud as they could and rocked out their air guitars.  As the pyro shot 20 feet in the air and the fireworks exploded across the sky, the band showed the crowd, Detroit and the rest of the world why after 30 years they are STILL on top. The set list went as follows:

  1. Blackened
  2. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  3. Disposable Heroes
  4. Harvester of Sorrow
  5. The Day That Never Comes
  6. Carpe Diem Baby
  7. I Disappear
  8. Sad but True
  9. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
  10. Orion
  11. One
  12. Master of Puppets
  13. Battery
  14. Nothing Else Matters
  15. Enter Sandman
  16. Encore:
  17. Turn the Page (Bob Seger cover)
  18. Creeping Death
  19. Seek & Destroy

metallica firePhoto Credit: Cambria Harkey

For a festival only in its sophomore year, I believe Metallica did an outstanding job of bringing together two music genres that are not always associated with each other.  The festival was near perfection; thanks to the friendly and hardworking staff, the carefully selected artist lineup, the amazing BBQ served at the festival, and the beautiful venue.  Orion Music + More Festival has a way of making you feel like you belong; a home away from home.  I can only hope that Metallica decides to make the festival a permanent stay in Detroit, and if that’s the case you better believe The Dankles will be in attendance.

metallica goodbyePhoto Credit: Cambria Harkey  


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About Amelia Waters