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Another Lazerfest is in the books

May 13, 2014 - Andy Heintz
I think I have attended Lazerfest at least five times. This year was the first that involved a portion of the show that was indoors.

Here are a few of my opinions on how it worked it out from someone attending.


* I like having a seat available to me if I need a break from the music. I certainly enjoyed this when the band on stage wasn’t too good, and that applied to a few, most notably Queens of the Stone Age, who disappointed as a co-headliner.

* The biggest positive for everyone involved was that the roof of Wells Fargo Arena – and the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center – helped the fans stay dry and out of danger when the bad weather hit. The early portion of the day was cut short because of a weather delay right off the bat and then the evening portion of the event was filled with heavy rain and high winds. No one wants to be outside in that stuff.

* The food inside Wells Fargo Arena was not too expensive. There is nothing wrong with a cheeseburger and French fries meal costing me $7.

* Parking in the Wells Fargo Arena lot was free. That’s always a plus. I do know others who parked in other lots for $5. That is not too bad if you have to pay for being somewhere all day.


* The fact that most of the workers on site had no idea what was going on was discouraging. I was told right off the bat that you couldn’t leave the fenced in area (the outside part of the venue) once you entered. The only way to enter Wells Fargo Arena for the indoor stuff was through one specific area that they funnel you through at. The main problem was that several of the workers had no idea where that area was. My group specifically was told several different options as to where the area was and we went back and forth trying to get in line to enter.

* When you read through how things will work between stages, the website makes it clear that it will be easy to get from one to the other but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. As I said before, the only way into Wells Fargo was through one door. It would have been much easier to get to the outdoor stage if you allowed the fans to walk out the Wells Fargo North doors and into the north entrance to the outside venue.

* The bands not named Skillet, Queens of the Stone Age and The Offspring only got 30 minutes to play their sets. That’s just not enough time. My suggestion in the future would be to have less bands and more time on stage for each band. I would rather see 10 bands that play for 45 minutes or more each than 14 bands that mostly get 30 minutes. I honestly hadn’t heard of a few bands during the early stages of the show and didn’t show up until around 2. Powerman 5000 was supposed to be on at 2:40, which is who I first wanted to see. He got on stage 40 minutes early because of one bump and another cancellation so that wasn’t too positive for me as a fan. Next time, just give us less bands that play longer.

* Beer is $8. Enough said.

* My burger basket meal was $7 and the Red Bull I drank with it was $5. And they had to dump into a tiny cup because they didn’t want me or anyone else throwing the metal can at the artists.

The Best

1a. Skillet – They never disappoint me. They have a pretty cool blend of artistic talent that includes the lead guitarist playing keyboards and a few violinists as well. They are very theatrical with their set, which impresses the heck out of me. They had me jumping around like I was on a constant pogo stick for their entire 40 minutes.

1b. The Offspring – In their first appearance in Des Moines since 1997, the old punk rockers where pretty legit. I love Noodles. He was featured a lot and with good reason. He and the lead singer did a good job of keeping the crowd entertained while playing their favorite hits from when I was in high school. It made me feel like I was in high school again and simply rocked.

2a. Pop Evil – I love this new band. They are finally getting the love they deserve in Central Iowa. They hammered away at their 30 minutes with great energy.

2b. Theory of a Deadman – They were much better than I remembered a few years back. They have so many hit songs that we all know the words too, also.

3. Powerman 5000 – They rocked the outside portion of the show despite following a few duds early on. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a band I only really knew one song from but they kept me interested throughout.

4. Adelita’s Way – They were better than I expected. I even told my brother that I was going to use the restroom during their set because I didn’t HAVE to see them. I am glad I got to see all but one song because they impressed me a lot.

5. Pretty Reckless – This band is really new to me but they rocked. The one song I know that gets plenty of air time is a slow ballad-type song, but the rest of their set was hard, heavy metal rock. Love it. The only negative was that 30 minutes just wasn’t enough time for Taylor Momsen’s wardrobe malfunction to take effect. She is still a very good leading lady though. And a far cry to the little girl that starred with Jim Carrey in the Grinch.

The Worst

1. Queens of the Stone Age – I have never been a huge QOTSA fan but after last night, I really don’t care if I ever see them again. I like the artistic and personal side of the show as well as the music and they didn’t say a word to us – except for telling us what song they were playing – until like their fourth or fifth song. The music outweighed the singer’s microphone and the lights were hard on the eyes. Overall, could have played at 2 p.m. and for only 30 minutes and I would have been just fine with that.

2. Chelsea Wolfe – I was not around for her show, but my brother said no one in the audience enjoyed her set. She barely spoke when she wasn’t singing and the words coming out of her mouth were unimpressive. I will leave it up to anyone else who actually saw her to form an opinion. I am putting her on the list because of what I heard.

The Unfortunate

Green Death, the local band that won the Battle of the Bands, got bumped from their opening act because an early weather delay forced fans indoors while severe weather passed. They were bumped to get back on schedule, but then Escape the Fate did not play because of a family emergency.

Will I Be Back?

A lot has to happen for me not to return. I tried to go into the show as positive as I could be with the venue change. I didn’t mind the change, but more people “in the know” need to actually know what is going on next year if the venue were to change again. I am not too keen on this yearly event being on Mother’s Day darn near every year, but unless my wife has a super issue being on her day moving forward, I will likely be back. I do hope it returns to the Central Iowa Expo next year though. It just feels like a rock festival in a place like that.


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