The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

ROCKLAHOMA 2011

FEATURING:

WHITESNAKE, STAIND & MOTLEY CRUE

WITH:

POISON, SEBASTIAN BACH, HINDER, SKILLET

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, PAPA ROACH, SEETHER

DROWNING POOL, ALL THAT REMAINS, SAVING ABEL

SICK PUPPIES, REV THEORY, GYPSY PISTOLEROS

THE GRACIOUS FEW, SEETHER

AND MANY MORE...

 

 

WORDS BY MICHAEL D'AVIGNON

(WITH COMMENTS by MARK DIGGINS)

IMAGES BY STEVE LAMB

 

LET'S ROCK!

 

ITS THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN when the mind turns to rocking and the coming Northern Summer. When it comes to Memorial Day weekend there's no place better to be in the world than the usually sleepy town of Pryor Oklahoma where the masses descend upon Pryor Creek to witness a mixture of the best new and classic rock around!

 

This years headliners: Whitesnake, Staind and Motley Crue put on a great show, ably supported by the likes of Poison, Sebastian Bach, Hinder, Skillet, Papa Roach and so many more. The sidestages too were packed with old favourites and new. Bands like our old mates Gypsy Pistoleros, the always imposing Black Label Society and All That Remains all delivered...

 

Many thanks to our friends at AEG Live for the invite!

 

Mark Rockpit

 

 

 

 

DAY ONE: FRIDAY MAY 27th

 

Main Stage


My Darkest Days
Sick Puppies
Skillet
Hinder
Whitesnake

 

HARD ROCK STAGE

 

KMOD Battle of the Bands
New Medicine
Texas Hippie Coalition
Johnathon Tyler & TNL
All That Remains

 

RETROSPECT RECORDS STAGE

 

Pretty Little Suicide
Black Tora
Firstryke
Blue Tiger
Alias
D’Molls
Loveblast
Wildstreet
Bad Things

 

 

 

 

WELCOME TO ROCKLAHOMA 2011

 

For those that have never ventured to Rocklahoma (or ROK as us veterans often call it) it’s an experience, nestled in Pryor Creek it’s a remote site that brings rock fans together in its camp grounds from all over the country and the world. Once you’ve made it there you know you are miles from anywhere and that of course is all part of the fun. Eddie Trunk served again as the master of ceremonies. Eddie knows his rock backwards: star of The 'Boneyard show' and VH1 ‘That Metal Show’ when you see him onstage you know it’s begun. Trunk is just one of those guys that can instantly connect with an audience and he’s called upon this year to crown the annual Miss Rocklahoma, and also to auction a signed guitar from Whitesnake.

 

 

 

Eddie Trunk and Miss ROK 2011, the Whitesnake Guitar and the Day 1 Crowds

 

 

 

The festival grounds themselves are nestled inside the larger camping grounds and laid out like a State Fair with all the usual trappings of corndogs, hotdogs, and the food items that most scare our overseas visitors: funnel cakes! There are also a heap of concessions offering everything from t-shirts to hats.

 

 

With over 50 bands again this year just choosing who to see is all part of the experience. Again there was a VIP package that offered great access to a reserved seating area and catered food, with the usual all you can drink alcohol and soft drink. Hard Rock Cafe, also came to the party with their special package shuttling the faithful back to the nearby Hard Rock Hotel along with huge bonuses like access to many of the bands that stayed there.  

 

 

We know only to well here at the Rockpit how many great friends you make camping and would recommend the trip to anyone! Add it to that bucket list people!

 

 

So here we go (AGAIN)...

 

Skillet - impressed a lot of us this year

 

 

As a ROK veteran of the first few years this is my first time back after the format change and the first thing I can say is whilst the atmosphere is a little different, those guys at AEG know how to put on a festival. Everything runs so smooth and everyone is catered for very well. I do like the fact that the show has been moved to May instead of July, as it wasn't nearly as hot.  It’s a great way to spend a Memorial Day weekend and those of us that made it were all here to have a great time and support what has become over the years a great and globally recognised festival! One of the things we particularly love is that they have brought back the larger side stage similar to those that were here in 2008.  This was definitely a plus, as 2 of the best performances of the weekend were to be on the 'Hard Rock' stage.

 

 

Friday I arrived a little later than I had hoped, as I missed my friends in Pretty Little Suicide's first set on the 'Retrospect Stage'.  Fortunately they also played on Sunday so we got to catch them later on.  The weather was fantastic today, very overcast, which made it very cool and enjoyable and there was no chance of the sort of weather we saw in July in 2008.  The crowd initially seemed to be a little smaller than the crowd in 2009, but the ones who made it here today were focused on the performances. 

 

 

 

 

The first band I was able to really watch and focus on was Skillet on the main stage.  Skillet is a band that I have never really been into, but after seeing them live, I may have to re-evaluate my opinion.  This band puts on an incredible live show.  They were definitely the surprise and a top performer of the weekend.  The stage show was top notch, worthy of a headliner slot!  The band was very tight and energetic, and had a great sound. Above all they really energised the crowd. Talking to people later on in the weekend, there seemed to be an overwhelming consensus that Skillet was one of, if not the best act of the festival.  They definitely should have been on after the next mainstage band, Hinder.

 

 

Hinder - Back home to ROK!

 

 

 

Hinder is a band that I haven't heard much from, but what I've heard, I really don't care for.  That being said, I wanted to watch them with an open mind to review them fairly.  After a few songs, I realized they sound just like Buckcherry, only maybe slightly better and they are not really for me, though I can clearly see I'm in the minority!  Being from Oklahoma, they got a great crowd response.  They were very tight musically, and sounded pretty much like the CDs, but I thought the overall stage presence was a little lacking, and to me they sounded like many other modern bands, nothing really stood out.  Not the worst I've seen, but certainly far from the best. Of course there were plenty here who would disagree and many of them put me right! Hinder to some here were clearly one of the highlights of Friday if not the Festival as a whole, and I know the crew downunder really rate the band, but they also love Buckcherry! 'Lips of an Angel' and 'Homecoming Queen' still steal the show and you can't help but realise that these guys are here to stay.

 

 

WHITESNAKE: DAY ONE HEADLINERS

SETLIST:

 

Best Years, Gimme All Your Love, Love Ain't No Stranger, Is This Love, Steal Your Heart Away, Forevermore, Love Will Set You Free, Guitar solos, My Evil Ways, Fool For Your Lovin', Slide It In, Here I Go Again, Still Of The Night

 

Trademark Dave: You have to love this band and the new CD is amazing!

 

Friday evening brought to the stage the band I was at Rocklahoma to see, Whitesnake.  I'm a big fan, and I love the new CD, and since I've never seen them before, I was really looking forward to this.  The boys did not disappoint.  The band sounded great.  Doug Aldrich is a guitar god, and as my good friend Pete Fry from Farcry once said, when Reb Beach is your rhythm guitar player, you know all is good.  The new drummer, Brian Tichy, has to be one of the best out there.  I've not seen a drummer that hits harder than he does, and, he knows how to entertain.  Knowing David Coverdale has had vocal problems in the past, I wasn't sure what to expect.  He sounded good, but not great.  There were flashes of his previous brilliance, but it's quite obvious he has wear on his vocal chords.  That being said, the man is still one of the best frontmen in the business, and put on a great show.  The fact that the other 5 band members can all sing, really helped to carry the songs at times.  Overall, I can't wait to see them again in August when they're back in OKC.

 

With a setlist containing all the old faviourites but where the tracks from the new album FOREVERMORE (Click for review) sat comfortably it shows that there's plenty of life in the 'Snake yet. For those of you who get the chance to catch these guys on tour please take the opportunity to see one of the greats with what is undoubtedly one of their best line-ups. If a shortened Festival set is just a taster of what they will be delivering in Europe and the US this year they will take some beating. Highlights were many but 'Best Years' and 'Firevermore' really stood out from the newer vintage and of course the classics were executed beautufully.

 

 

 

 

MAIN STAGE HIGHLIGHTS: The day was stolen by an excellent set from Skillet and whilst Hinder fueled many festival goers fires, we loved the class of Whitesnake. Our photographer also thought that Sick Puppies tore it up on the day!

 

HARD ROCK STAGE ONES TO WATCH: Festival favourites Texas Hippie Coalition pleased ther fans with a heavier brand of trouble, whilst All That Remains went down well with the masses.

 

RETROSPECT RAVES: Black Tora seriously impressed with their brand of rock and roll mayhem - definitely a band to catch! For some though it was the ROK/RNA veterans that drew them to the smaller stage: bands like Firststryke, Blue Tiger, Wildstreet and Bad Things all had there followers and a few more converts by the end of the day!

 

 

ALSO LOOK OUT FOR OUR EXPANDED PHOTOGALLERY THIS WEEKEND - THERE'S SO MANY GREAT SHOTS THEY NEEDED A FEATURE OF THEIR OWN!

 

ROCKLAHOMA DAY TWO LINK

 

ROCKLAHOMA DAY THREE LINK

 

By Michael D'Avignon with notes by Mark Diggins

Photography by Steve Lamb