Rock outfit The Bangkok Five opens this year’s Rockfest, as the Dew Action Sports Tour riders pulled impressive stunts, catching major air to the delight of an adoring crowd. Auralust takes the live and local stage next which is tucked into a back corner of the meadow. The Bangkok Five is still on stage and to my dismay they spend their between-song banter talking about body excretions and telling people to wash their privates. I don’t dish out bad reviews often but I have one word for this band…NEXT! What a relief it is when Evans Blue takes the stage with a hard rock edge and soulful lyrics. The vocalist really stands out above all else, they get an energy going in the crowd that is much needed for this slow starting afternoon.
Shifft rocks the local stage next, obviously a crowd favorite as they inspire the first real pit of the day, an energetic performance and constant interaction with the crowd are some of the things that make this band magnificent. They stole all the love at the local stage today. Floater is up next on the main stage and this is true stoner rock at its best. Funky bass lines and catchy tunes are their signature sound. Floater is groovy, funk laden fun which soon changes into deep sludgy grooves. This band is amazing and would turn out to be my favorite of the day, they positively ROCK.
Velabonz rocks the local stage next, definitely talented musicians with creative songwriting skills and a lively frontman who delivers some alternative punk tinged rock with a hint of the past and a dose of glam. The spiky-haired leather-jacketed frontman is a true rockstar. Buckcherry graces the main stage next and they are loud, abrasive and full of rock and roll swagger. They get the crowd participating and perform their current radio hit “Crazy Bitch.” Next on the main stage is Seether and the vibe of the crowd turns into a humming vibration, body surfers tumbling end over end around the pit before being shoved violently over the rails to be caught in the capable hands of Bravo Security. Seether plays tonight minus guitar player Pat Callahan but with a sound that is still rich and full of depth. The night is bittersweet as singer Shaun Morgan will enter rehab tomorrow, he plays tonight as if it were straight from his heart, never addressing the crowd just focusing on the music and playing an unrelenting set of older songs and newer favorites off the more recently released Karma and Effect. The crowd is thickening, the sun is setting and the band dedicates a song to the late Dave Williams and Dimebag Darrell before their triumphant finish.
Alice in Chains is up next, and an apprehensive hush falls over the crowd before they take the stage. People loved Layne Staley so much that they want to hate this new line up, but thirty seconds into the first tune Jerry Cantrell and new frontman William Duvall win them over. It’s interesting to see the band play in this setting, deepening night surrounded by hills and trees and five thousand AIC loving fans. I recently saw them in Europe at Download and it was a different vibe, it was daytime and it was a powerful performance. This has its own surreal quality and the band does all the old songs justice as bodies surf towards the front and the crowd sings along echoing through the night. It was an amazing finish to a great day full of all the things rock shows are famous for.