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


Main stage:-
Great White
Skid Row
Twisted Sister




The heat, lack of sleep and general energy required to rock hard for 3 full days meant there were a lot of tired people as Day Four kicked off, but there was a renewed sense of excitement as not only was it the final day and most would return to their “normal” lives tomorrow, but this day also had the strongest lineup for many of the crowd.


– Shane Rockpit





Opening the main stage at 12:45pm, Vixen have some good songs and despite being down to one original member put on a nice set. They took to the stage looking far more country than rock, ‘Edge of a Broken Heart’ remains a great song that has stood the test of time.




Bonfire are one of the true greats of melodic hard rock. This year it was twenty years since I had last seen them on their Knockout tour and just as I hoped, their set was slanted toward the classics from the early days, especially Fireworks. I wasn’t disappointed and the German band - for my money at least - put on what was one of the most enjoyable main stage sets of ROK. In fact if it hadn’t been for the ramblings before they played the somewhat inferior ‘Proud of My Country’ they could have stolen it for me. The band belie their years, Claus’ voice is strong as ever and wonderful songs like ‘Sweet Obsession’, ‘Sword And the Stone’, ‘Don’t Touch The Light’ and ‘American Nights’ confirm my belief that we who love to rock have all the best music.

Over on the Retro Stage at 3:35pm The Glitter Boys show the nearly worn out crowd some New York styled spandex rock and impressed again in the sweltering heat.


Nelson were much maligned on the forums before ROK kicked off this year but to be honest I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the brothers, even though they are certainly on the light side. As if to counter these criticisms they open with a guitar solo, and it’s great to see the original band back on the same stage - including Bobby Rock behind the drums.


They play all the greats from the first album and intersperse it nicely with newer stuff, some of which I’m not sure has even been released in the States. ‘Can’t Live Without Your Love And Affection’ and ‘After The Rain’ went down especially well. I’m happy and those who gave them a chance rather than headed off to the beer tent at the very mention of the name Nelson seemed happy to.


We got a chance to chat with Matthew on our Monday flight from Tulsa to Dallas and he was the prefect gentleman with his stories about staying in Yorkshire and what the boys were up to. Put your preconceptions behind you when they release their new album in the New Year.



Over on the Funhouse stage Vougan put on a solid rocking set and despite the heat and intensity of four long hot rocking days, people are actually getting MORE pumped up and excited as the day goes on due to all the world class rock on display.



At the same time on The Retro Stage, HEARTLESS put in a solid and fun set of old school glam metal, good enough for me to invest in their EP, originally released in the heady days of 1990. One of the highlights of Rocklahoma is to see some little-known bands who maybe deserved a bigger break back in the day. Nice one guys!



You can look at Great White’s 6:15pm set in two ways: either Jack Russel is a legend for actually making it up on stage to perform despite his injuries [Editor’s note – Russell was limping heavily, using a cane backstage, and announced onstage that he had “a bunch of broken bones”. It was pretty obvious he was medicated during their set] or that the band never should have taken the stage. Jack is clearly doped up to the eyeballs and the set suffers hugely for it. Great White is a fine band, but a severely incapacitated Jack Russel on prescribed medication doesn’t cut it. Shame a suitable replacement act couldn’t have been found, as apart from anything else it must have been hard as hell for him up there, trying to sing in 100 degree heat with broken ribs!


Great White


D’Molls singer Desi Rexx must either be in league with the devil or married to a plastic surgeon – he doesn’t seem to have aged in 20 years! I had always wanted to see D’Molls play live. There may only be two originals left in the band but I’ll take guitarist S.S. Priest and singer Desi any day. Live they put on a great show, the only issue I ever had was that at times their glam level could be cranked up into cringe territory, but live they are a dirtier animal and whilst they still glam it up, it just works better. No 777 or Hi ‘n’ Lo though meant that the crowd missed out on two classics. Great stuff.




This is the first time I’ve seen a Sebastian Bach-less Skid Row and after seeing Seb on this stage with his solo band last year I knew it would be interesting. To be honest I’ve been looking forward to this and Johnny Solinger does an amiable job. He’s no Seb vocally that’s for sure, but he’s a great front man and the band pull it off. I’m still out on the ‘who was best’ debate. So I’ll take either anytime if it means we get to hear these great songs live again!


At 9:20pm we had another of those scheduling clashes on the side stages. This time around Mark had seen LA Guns many times and would be seeing them later in the month in Phoenix, so checked out Baton Rouge and was glad I did. These guys rocked and were one of the highlights of ROK this year for me.


Singer Kelly Keeling has a wonderful voice and has lost nothing over the years whilst guitar ace Tony Palmucci put on a most impressive and seemingly effortless performance. The rest of the band were no slouches either – it is almost incomprehensible that they did this off the back of almost no rehearsal.


The only flaw was perhaps the risky game-plan of playing an extended cover of ‘Born on the Bayou’ rather than what many would argue is their best song ‘The Price of Love’. It left a few disappointed and some confused but it was a minor quibble for what was a memorable set.


Jizzy Pearl of L.A. Guns


Meanwhile Shane ventured to the Hill Stage along with a chock-a-block crowd to see LA Guns featuring Love/Hate’s Jizzy Pearl. I had heard some bad reviews about Tracii’s version of the band in the past year or so, but there was absolutely no evidence to support that here tonight.



Tracii played fantastically and looked to be having a great old time, the band were rock solid and Jizzy is a great fit for these sleazy anthems. It was still hot as hell even at 9:30pm, and this tent was absolutely full with sweat dripping from the roof! The Guns finish their set with a blistering take on ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’, and Rocklahoma is almost over for 2009.

At 10:15pm the final main stage band entered with an explosion of lights and sound - Twisted Sister were determined to take this show home with a bang! The whole band are consummate performers and Dee Snider is one of the very best Rock front men to ever work a stage.


Twisted Sister’s set is great but I’m a little disappointed that they are playing Stay Hungry in it’s entirety - I’m a much bigger fan of their earlier work, especially that first album. Aftetr running through the whole of Stay Hungry they played a few other songs from their earlier albums, with Under The Blade being one highlight, and S.M.F. another great one, with crowd participation galore.



As they said at one point: How many bands are together with all the original members 25 years on? Sure bassist Mark The Animal Mendoza might have brought a gun to their first rehearsal after regrouping a few years ago, but for a group of 50-something heavy metal transvestites, these guys seem to get along great on stage and they sure know how to rock!


Jay Jay French introduced the band members one by one, culminating in quoting Dee Snider as looking like “Sarah Jessica Parker dipped in acid”. This last night seemed to have the biggest crowd of the weekend, from where I was standing, and TS were a true highlight - there’s not a person in the crowd who doesn’t seem to be enjoying this.


What a great way to end a great festival – going out on such a high note!


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All text and photos by Mark & Shane Rockpit

Additional photos by Todd Jolicoeur