WOUB’s Nicholas Kobe fills us in on his must-sees at Sonic Temple 2023

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOUB) – Sonic Temple 2023 happens at the Crew Historic Stadium (1 Black and Gold Blvd) May 25 through May 28. Below, WOUB’s Nicholas Kobe provides his thoughts on the acts you shouldn’t miss. 

A promotional image for the 2023 Sonic Temple Music Festival.

Thursday (5/25): The first day of the festival may not have the most exciting headliners, but some really interesting bands are slated to perform, regardless. Tool and Godsmack are the Thursday headliners — which is cool if you’re into that, personally I think Tool is more interesting.

Some modern metal breakouts take the stage Thursday, such as Beartooth and Bad Omens. Bullet for my Valentine is also a pretty well known group performing the first day of the festival. Joey Vallence is another interesting name, having the TikTok hit “PUNK TACTICS”, a song that blends rock and hip-hop in a way that feels directly derived from bands like The Beastie Boys. Speaking of more traditional “punk tactics,” Anti-Flag is the type of politically active punk band that is a really nice addition to this lineup. Check out WOUB’s interview with Anti-Flag’s Pat Thetic here.

Friday (5/26): I think the headliners for Friday are much more attractive. Queens of the Stone Age is a phenomenal band. I maintain that Songs for the Deaf is a classic, and I’ve pretty much enjoyed everything I’ve ever heard from the band. Avenged Sevenfold is a band I am admittedly less familiar with. I’ve enjoyed some of their work, however I was disappointed by their most recent single, “We Love You,” released earlier this month. If you like your breakdowns heavy and juxtaposed against catchy hooks, you’ll want to check out Still I Prevail, Knocked Loose, and Sleeping with Sirens.

Saturday (5/27): Saturday is a huge day all around. Rob Zombie is a very multifaceted figure, and while he’s done more than just music, you wouldn’t want to miss this set. KISS is probably the biggest“ must see” of the whole festival, mainly due to this being THE LAST TIME KISS will perform in Ohio before retiring. Falling and Reverse and Black Veil Brides are very well known bands that have attracted a lot of attention in the metal world. My personal favorite sub-headliner is Trivium. Considering their backlog of hits and how solid their most recent release (In the Court of the Dragon) was, I have no fear this set will be incredible. Listen to WOUB’s interview with Trivium’s Paolo Gregoletto at this link.

Sunday (5/28): Another killer day of headliners finishes off Sonic Temple 2023. The Foo Fighters speak for themselves. So many iconic tracks and so good on stage, you wouldn’t want to miss this one. While I am curious to see how the band is following the tragic death of drummer Taylor Hawkins, I feel like Grohl and company will deliver a set to remember. The Deftones are probably my favorite nu-metal band and have earned themselves a lot of acclaim. Even if nu-metal isn’t your thing (it’s not really mine either), Deftones are so good that any rock or metal fan would have a blast at their set.

Overall: Sonic Temple 2023 is looking to be a really exciting festival. Legends all across the rock and metal world will draw you in, but there’s plenty of smaller bands that you, and I, may not know who are bound to surprise. The variety of genres in the headliners and supporting acts make it difficult to nail down what the exact genre and style Sonic Temple is going for, but over the course of a four-day festival, I’m sure that variety will be welcome.

Considering the vibe of this festival I would have liked to see the inclusion of bands such as Ice Nine Kills, Bring Me The Horizon or Ghost personally. While there are active bands I would rather see replace some of the headliners, on a more objective level, I think Sonic Temple is really well balanced. If there are enough bands on this list you’d be interested in seeing, I’d say go for it. Despite my personal taste clashing with some of the lineup there’s certainly enough here to peak my interest, plus plenty of bands I’ve never heard of who will hopefully become new favorites.