|Rocklahoma 2012 - Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Rock|
[CLICK ON PHOTO TO VIEW SLIDESHOW OF ROCKLAHOMA DAY 1]
Rocklahoma 2012 took place over Memorial Day weekend May 25-27 in Pryor, Oklahoma. Thousands of people made the most of the experience by camping out on the grounds, just outside the concert area. The party started Thursday night at the official Axis Campground stage, as well as the unofficial VIP campground stage, and didn't stop until sometime early Monday morning. The festival area features a massive main stage, with a small pit area and tons of VIP bench seating, surrounded by acres of general admission grass areas. To keep the lawn seaters from feeling left out, the center of the seating area allows all fans to stream up and spend a couple of minutes up close seeing the bands and snapping a few photos. For a more intimate and infinitely more moshable/surfable experience, the side stage is where it's at. Finally, for an even cozier show, there is a tent where up and coming metal bands performed into the early morning hours.
Friday featured Slash & Myles Kennedy opening up for Creed, which provided for a backstage Alter Bridge reunion where Myles and Scott Stapp actually met for the first time. Both bands put on killer shows, chock full of fan favorites. Earlier in the day fans were treated to the entertaining and talented Adelitas Way, Cavo and Chevelle. After midnight, the true magic of Rocklahoma became evident. If you are going to go, you have to camp out. How else will you be able to rock the wee hours of the morning in the tent with bands like Wildstreet and Black Tora? Where else can you catch a campground set at 3 AM and see an unknown band like Obsidian blow you away? To me, the point of a festival is not just to see the big name bands you already know, it is to discover and fall in love with a band like Hessler - who quite simply put on the most energetic, exciting set of the entire day.
[CLICK ON PHOTO TO VIEW SLIDESHOW OF ROCKLAHOMA DAY 2]
Saturday at Rocklahoma had plenty of big names on the main stage - Pop Evil, 10 Years, Theory Of A Deadman, Megadeth and Rob Zombie. The Zombie Party was in full effect, as no band puts more into the stage production than Mr. Zombie - multiple video walls, robots, monsters, soldiers, lots of fire, and endless videos of beasties, sea creatures, anime and other pornographic delights. However, the Hard Rock second stage was clearly the place to be on this day. All 6 bands gave their all as fans kept coming over throughout the set to be part of the magic. Newcomers Anti-Mortem and Otherwise opened and closed the stage, and both gave powerful performances that you should check out when you can. New Medicine and Trivium showed why many fans are devoted to them, and certainly gained new followers after this day. The Darkness was a tour de force of maniacal playing and stage antics - an absolutely brilliant set. The performance of the entire day was the brutal assault that is Volbeat. Volbeat is blowing up and you had better go see them when they come near you. They opened up with their mega-hit 'A Warrior's Call' and somehow just kept getting better from there.
[CLICK ON PHOTO TO VIEW SLIDESHOW OF ROCKLAHOMA DAY 3]
Sunday was a day for primarily laid-back southern style rock and roll, a fitting ending for a three day constant binge. The side stage once again delivered the goods, with bands like Charm City Devils, Art Of Dying and Hellyeah leading the charge. Oklahoma's own Aranda put on the day's most creative and inspiring show, featuring brothers Gabe and Dameon Aranda and their legendary set-closing two-man/one guitar and a boot solo. The show that was the most enjoyable to long-time fans, and pleasantly surprising to new ones, was the tent stage show by Lynam. Lynam just may be the best band that you don't (yet) know. They have the total package - catchy music, funny/sad/profound lyrics, full glam outfits, immense talent and the willingness to give it all for entertainment. The main stage opened with a bang - Black Stone Cherry playing a string of hits while working the entire stage. It also closed with a bang - Chickenfoot, featuring Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Joe Satriani and Kenny Aronoff bringing the jam and showing off their musical prowess and flawless teamwork through a set that just had jaws dropped the entire time.