Rock on the Range: The good, the bad and the deathly intriguing

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From the May 17, 2012 edition

FIVE TO SEE:

Qualitatively speaking, these are probably the best five bands at Rock on the Range.

Foxy Shazam (8:30 p.m. Friday, Second Stage)

Ballsy, melodic, shameless glam from Freddie Mercury’s long-lost sons

Cypress Hill (5:55 p.m. Saturday, Second Stage)

West Coast hip-hop that’s hard and heavy enough to fit in the burliest of rock fests. I’m even kind of feeling their recent dalliance with dubstep.

The Darkness (2:30 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage)

The British arena rockers’ appeal goes way beyond “I Believe In a Thing Called Love”; great songwriting transcends irony.

Down (4:35 p.m. Sunday, Second Stage)

Pantera’s Phil Anselmo fronts this long-running supergroup; his howl may very well drown out the main stage performers.

Megadeth (6:45 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage)

Mustaine’s boys edge out Anthrax as the thrash legends of the day, but only barely.

FIVE TO SKIP:

If we had to guess, we’d guess these sets will be disappointing.

Falling In Reverse (1:45 p.m. Saturday, Second Stage)

Motley Crue, The Offspring and All-American Rejects all have their merits, but mixing them is at least as disgusting as the “potion” I made from various liquids and seasonings in my parents’ kitchen when I was eight.

Slash (5 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage)

I know what you’re thinking. Slash rules! And while I wouldn’t begrudge anyone the chance to see him play the solo from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” like I did at last month’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, I also wouldn’t willingly subject anyone to Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy, who’s doing a tepid Axl impersonation for Slash these days.

Incubus (9:45 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage)

These guys were my favorite band for most of tenth grade, but their set last summer at the LC was like one elongated snore.

Redlight King (12:30 p.m. Sunday, Second Stage)

Of all the people to rip off, why choose Everlast?

James Durbin (3:15 p.m. Sunday, Jagermeister stage)

This is no anti-“Idol” bias; I’d just prefer to see Adam Lambert.

FIVE TO PIQUE YOUR INTEREST:

Come on, you’re curious.

Hairball (9:30 p.m. Friday, Second Stage)

A rotating cast of lead singers recreate the most recognizable sounds of the hair-metal era. (And sights — oh yes, there are costumes.)

Attack Attack (3:15 p.m. Sunday, Second Stage)

If you’ve never seen the polarizing Columbus outfit live, it’s quite the spectacle.

Volbeat (3:50 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage)

Danish dudes channeling old-time rockabilly, thrash and Misfits. As Santa Claus might say upon encountering anthropomorphic M&M’s: They do exist!

Mastodon (5:10 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage)

This is more of a case study on the fans: How does this hipster-approved metal behemoth go over at Rock on the Range?

Marilyn Manson (8:15 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage)

His duet with Johnny Depp did little to dispel the notion that he’s washed up, but who isn’t wondering what the former parent-scarer will have in store?