There's a whole lot going on besides Metallica

Posted: June 23, 2012

There's a whole lot going on besides Metallica at the Orion Music + More festival in Atlantic City.

That would include a Custom Car show featuring James Hetfield's 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, a Lars Ulrich selection of movies including Derek Cianfrance's 2010 Blue Valentine, a tent with Kirk Hammett's collection of horror movie and comics memorabilia, and a skateboard ramp and surfing competition that's the brainchild of bassist Robert Trujillo. Get more information at

But never mind the more. Let's focus on the music-makers, such as the Arctic Monkeys and the others.

There will be plenty of head-banging going on at Orion - which takes its name from a Metallica instrumental on 1986's Master of Puppets.

Here are five notable picks from the four-stage bill.

Baroness. The Savannah, Ga., hard rock band's highly ambitious double album Yellow & Green is due July 17. On Saturday afternoon at 1, the quartet founded by singer (and painter!) John Baizley leads off an impressive lineup on the main Orion stage. It includes Memphis roots-rockers Lucero, Jersey Springsteen acolytes Gaslight Anthem, Pacific Northwest alt-rock heroes Modest Mouse, and Metallica, doing a two-hour set that will include Ride the Lightning, performed in its entirety for the first time. Saturday at 1 p.m. on the Orion stage.

Roky Erickson. With his band the 13th Floor Elevators in the mid-1960s, Roger Kynard "Roky" Erickson established himself as a psychedelic rock pioneer with wailing cuts such as "You're Gonna Miss Me," before later suffering the effects of excessive drug use, being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, and being treated with electroshock therapy. His mental decline and subsequent recovery - he released the return-to-form True Love Cast Out All Evil in 2010 - is one of the most heartening stories in rock. Saturday at 2:45 p.m. on the Frantic stage.

Gary Clark Jr. There hasn't been as much to-do about an Austin, Texas, blues guitar slinger since Stevie Ray Vaughn. And for good reason: Gary Clark Jr. is a blazing player who is about substance as well as style, and he can growl gruffly or move into a feathery Al Green-ish upper register. He's got at least a handful of instantly memorable songs such as "Bright Lights" to boot. Sunday at 3 p.m. on the Fuel stage.

Damage Inc. stage. If you're really only interested in metal - or if you're not interested in it at all, and want to know what stage to stay away from - Orion's Damage Inc. stage is the place to be, or not to be. Saturday's lineup includes Red Fang, Black Tusk, and hardcore punk stalwarts Suicidal Tendencies; Sunday's schedule features Arizona death-metal quintet Landmine Marathon, the Black Dahlia Murder, and Brazilian metal behemoths Sepultura.

Best Coast / Eric Church / Titus Andronicus. Orion's range is well-represented by this Sunday troika, with the California fuzz-pop of Bethany Cosentino's Best Coast followed by Eric Church, a country tough guy who pays attention to songcraft on the Orion stage, leading into Patrick Stickles' fiercely rocking history-obsessed New Jersey punk band Titus Andronicus, whose set will lead into Metallica's backward Black Album finale. Sunday at 4 and 6 p.m. on the Orion stage, and Sunday at 7 p.m. on the Frantic stage.

   - Dan DeLuca

Orion Music + More is noon-11 p.m. Saturday and noon-10 p.m. Sunday at Bader Field, 501 N. Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City. Tickets: $90 per day or $150 for a two-day pass. For the complete schedule and information, call 1-888-512-7469 or go to

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