Rocklahoma 2012: Rewind

On June 29, 2012, in Concert Reviews, by admin

It has been over a month since the festival grounds in nowhere Prior Oklahoma have been cleared of empty vodka bottles, beer cans, and used condoms. All the RVs have left, makeshift stripper poles taken down, Karaoke set ups packed back into their boxes, and the makeshift stages in the VIP camping area have been dismantled.  Every year during memorial  day, Rocklahoma is held in this in this hot and quiet community in in northwest Oklahoma.  What started as a country festival in 2003, and run by a local company with the vision to build such a facility such as this, I am happy to say the country festival fell by the wayside in 2010, but the rock festival added in 2007 lives on.  Not bad in the heartbeat of country music Oklahoma.

Main Stage of Rocklahoma

So very memorial day weekend, beginning with pre-parties on Thursday, scores of rock fans filter into these grounds with their rented RVs, tents and such to stay in the usually hot, dry and sunny weather to listen to over 70 bands play over the three day weekend.  Of course, it really is more of an excuse to drink and drug heavily for three days.  All this under the watchful eye of the Mayes County sheriff department, with the help of many other sheriff departments. Interestingly, most of the workers here are local people who donate their time in assisting running the event. They get paid an hourly wage by Live Nation, and their pay is donated to whatever cause the Chamber of Commerce determines.  Quite a trip.

Second stage....all GA

The two levels of ticketing includes the regular three day pass, or VIP.  The VIP includes a air conditioned tent (or at least a try at air conditioning), catered lunch and dinner, and all the Bud Light you can choke back…..all included in the ticket price of $350.  The VIP section seating is that closest to the main stage. The GA area is behind the VIP section.  So the three day party begins, with main stage bands starting at 4p and going to short of mid night. After the music on the two main stages, there are usually several stages set up in the VIP camping area where upcoming bands play well into the morning, usually knocking off around 4a.

This year’s line up was, in my opinion, a little weaker than last. Headliners included Rob Zombie, Chickenfoot and Creed. Other headliners were Megadeath, Queensryche, which would prove to be the last show together before Geoff Tate getting the boot from the band, and others. Of the above, Rob Zombie was his typical show, it has not changed a whole lot in the last few years. The crowd reception was expectantly good….personally, I enjoy Zombie in smaller venues where the focus is more on the songs and more personalized show than the robots, fire and movie clips.  Of course, Zombie did not miss an opportunity to tout his upcoming latest installment of distorted film making…..a movie I quickly forgot the title of. Chickenfoot is a supergroup consisting of Sammy Hagar, Micheal Anthony of Van Halen fame, and Joe Satriani….who if you live in Austin Texas over the last 15 years, you cannot avoid him. No Van Halen or Sammy Hagar songs were played, with one exception…..Sammy dug deep to Montrose days to play a spirited rendition of Rock Candy.  Michael Anthony takes a more prominent role in this band than when he is touring just with Sammy.  Michael is the distinctive harmonizing background voice you heard on all VH records, whether Sammy or Dave the punk was singing lead.  In the Sammy split over Eddie’s out of control drinking, clearly Anthony went with Sammy, and Chickenfoot benefits.  The music is good. There is more jamming in this band than the normal group these days.  Less corporate rock, if you will. Despite the lack of any material that gets seriously airplay, Chickfoot was well received overall.  The one that surprised me was Creed.  This is the fourth time seeing them.  Scott Stapp was back with Creed for this tour, and Mark Tremoni is taking a break from Alter Bridge to tour with Creed. I generally have not liked Creed in the past. While I like their recorded music just fine, it did not translate well live.  However, this time, whether it is because they had not been together for a long time or what, there was indeed a vigor in their performance.  This was by far the best headlining band. The largely christian messaged music was played with a more determined rock sound.  No question Stapp was into, and his voice was strong. They truly looked like they were happy to be back on stage together and the music reflected it.

Queensryche was Queensryche.  This is think tank music that is more difficult to wrap your head into live. Megadeath, as well, was Megadeath.  The long red hair locked Mustane was his typical broody self….launching into long solos.  While he has very little interaction with the audience, he once again, seemed truly thankful to the fans for their continued support.

What interested me most for this year’s line up was the grouping of up and coming bands that receive a lot of airplay on Sirrius/XM…..Octane channel.  Bands like Red Light Kings, Cavo, New Medicine,  Otherwise, Rains, Blackstone Cherry, 10 Years, Volbeat……the list goes on.  You can still go to the website rocklahoma.com to get the line up.  The bad was that I missed some of these I wanted to see.  I only heard Rains from afar. I missed Trivium, Janus, Adelita’s Way and Charm City Devils.  I purposely missed Theory of A Deadman and The Darkness.  Of the new bands, Volbeat stole the show. The energy and unique sound of the group took the crowd to a spectacular energetic level.  Others of note were Red Light Kings and Pop Evil.  I love the Pop Evil sound.  Disappointsments were Cavo and 10 Years.  I love 10 Year’s music, but for some reason I cannot determine, they just came off as flat and unconcerned.  The band that gets the fun award is Black Stone Cherry.  In this ode to Wouthern Rockers, their sound is frolicking and good times, and their personality matches.

There was way too much music to give a detailed review of all.  I will return next year, as overall, I have to say, no matter what the line up (which they try to mix between older and newer rock acts to draw a more diverse crowd) this event is a great time as it is well managed and a great way to spend memorial day weekend

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