2010年5月17日星期一

Rockfest at Penn Valley Park

"Rockfest at Penn Valley Park | GoRockfest.Com - The Latest Rockfest, Artist's Live News"
BILL BROWNLEE
Rockfest at Penn Valley ParkLong after ears cease ringing and souvenir T-shirts have faded, the 2010 edition of Rockfest will be remembered for mud. Rain let up only momentarily during the annual hard rock and heavy metal blowout Saturday at Penn Valley Park.

The muck was 2 inches deep in the area surrounding the main stage. Conditions were marginally less precarious near the second stage. Some fans delighted in the messy environment, playfully sliding down hills and artfully applying mud as body paint. Others reacted adversely to the sodden grounds. The handful of hooligans that hurled sod and instigated brawls made the sloppy surroundings even more treacherous.

Billed as "the biggest one-day festival in America," Rockfest reportedly had more than 50,000 tickets sold. It's unlikely that more than 35,000 were on hand simultaneously. Cold and caked in mud, thousands of celebrants abandoned the event in the afternoon. Other fans chose to arrive in the evening.

Festival organizer KQRC-FM 98.9 The Rock shuttled bands on and off the two stages with impressive efficiency. Although all 15 bands were to be commended for their professionalism in difficult circumstances, most trafficked in what tastemakers deridingly characterize as corporate rock. It may not be innovative, but the formula has paid off handsomely for Godsmack. The new release by Saturday's headliner tops Billboard's album chart.

Even so, Godsmack's popularity failed to withstand the heavy toll exacted by the elements. Torrents of fans began streaming toward the exits a few songs into their eighty-minute set. By the time Godsmack closed near 11:00 p.m. with the appropriately titled "I Stand Alone," the majority of their original audience was gone.

Three Days Grace didn't fare much better. The pyrotechnics that provided the audience momentary flashes of warmth were the most pleasing aspect of their desultory showing. The leaden gloom of Seether also seemed to accentuate the day's frigidity. Just as Seether serves as a watered-down Nirvana, Airbourne is a third-generation version of AC/DC. Airbourne may not possess a single original idea, but its joyful noise and manic enthusiasm were infectious.

The sunny melodic rock of Papa Roach and Rev Theory also served as ideal anecdotes to the weather. Papa Roach's "Scars" provided the day's best singalong while Rev Theory's "Hell Yeah" is ideally suited to carefree festivals. The similar approach taken by Adelitas Way makes it a sort of promising farm team version of the two more established acts.

Efforts from the festival's two most extreme bands netted different results. Drowning Pool's mid-afternoon time slot didn't suit their dark sensibility. The Texans seemed uncharacteristically subdued. Five Finger Death Punch was electrifying. Headlining the second stage, the band's taut bursts of rage ignited Rockfest's most manic crowd surfing.

The artful leanings of two bands offered a welcome change of pace. A cover of A Perfect Circle's "Judith" revealed Veer Union's prog-rock leanings while Janus evoked the industrial rock of Ministry. Far less successful were the awfully anachronistic Halestorm and a disappointing appearance by Burn Halo, a band more adept at posing than at rocking.

Missouri-based band Shaman's Harvest acquitted themselves admirably. And retro boogie band Taddy Porter kicked off the festival at noon with a satisfyingly hopeful set.

"The rain can't keep you down," marveled Taddy Porter vocalist Andy Brewer.

He failed to mention mud.

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