RSVPs for the free festival were due a few weeks back, but you can still sign up for last-minute ticket releases at scion.com/rock. Once you've secured a wristband, there are three ways to approach Scion Rock Fest:
(1) Wing it. As Deadsea guitarist Adam Smith advised via e-mail, "Instead of singling out certain bands, just get out and check it out." With 24 bands across four venues, there's a good chance you'll find something you dig.
(2) Stick to one venue. Entry is not guaranteed, so the safest way to see something sweet is to arrive early at your venue of choice and set up camp for the day.
Skully's boasts the strongest lineup, including Georgia thrashers Black Tusk; Alive Band to Watch Struck By Lightning; Iraqi refugee rockers Accrassicauida; Chicago instrumentalists Pelican; and the booming psychedelic doom of Yob. They've also got stoner metal supergroup Shrinebuilder, featuring Scott "Wino" Weinrich (The Obsessed, Saint Vitus), Dale Crover (Melvins), Scott Kelly (Neurosis) and Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om).
(3) Make an agenda. Making moves could be tricky, but you should be able to bounce between clubs in the same neighborhood - Circus and Skully's in the Short North and Bernie's and the Newport on Campus - on foot, at least until they reach capacity.
To facilitate club-hopping, Scion will be running free shuttles every 15 minutes from Bernie's to Will Call at High Street and Fifth Avenue.
For those planning to jump around, we asked local metalheads Matt Bailey (EYE, Teeth of the Hydra), Greg Lahm (Struck By Lightning) and Brian Carnahan (Churches Burn) for recommendations:
Deadsea (5:10 p.m., Circus)
Bailey: "Facemelting prog metal is as genuine as it is masterfully crafted."
Struck by Lightning (6:20 p.m., Skully's)
Bailey: "The pummeling guitars and galloping rhythm section crush hardcore punk head-on into Celtic Frost-inspired riffs with depraved precision."
Liturgy (7 p.m., Bernie's)
Carnahan: "Their most recent album, 'Renihilation,' sounds like it was produced by Kevin Shields and is about as lush and full as black metal gets."
Acrassicauda (7:30 p.m., Skully's)
Carnahan: "Their story is told in the Vice documentary 'Heavy Metal Baghdad,' available on YouTube. Their struggle to simply play the music they love should be an inspiration to musicians everywhere."
Trap Them (7:50 p.m., Circus)
Lahm: "Trap Them combine grind, hardcore and punk fury all seamlessly into one massive force to be reckoned with."
D.R.I. (8:30 p.m., Newport)
Lahm: "The thrash legends surfaced in 1982 and are still f---ing s--- up to this day! Circle pit!"
Yob (9:55 p.m., Skully's)
Bailey: "Yob is heavy, and I mean really heavy. They've turned up the sprawling, bleak psychedelic doom into what I can only imagine is a must-see, punishing live show."
Absu (10:30 p.m., Bernie's)
Lahm: "Blackened thrash from Texas. Very technical and fierce, and will without a doubt lay waste to Bernie's on Saturday!"
Shrinebuilder (11:30 p.m., Skully's)
Carnahan: "Basically the band's lineup is exactly what would happen if a bunch of stoner metalheads got together to come up with the band of their dreams."
Lahm: "Aural devastation of gargantuan proportions!"