By Helen M. Orcutt
Local boys, Black Oxygen, started the day long festival in Kansas City on May 12,2012. The band played on the Jeremiah Weed Stage at Noon. There were more cameras on stage than there were photographers shooting the concert. I am unsure if they were personal or if they working for the festival? I have to admit that they sound better in concert. The thrill of being the first band to perform may have added to their set too. Drummer Nick Lyle had a smile on his face the entire time that he was on stage, which is a sign he is doing what he loves to do, play music.
Adelitas Way was first on the Monster Energy Stage. It is amazing to see how they have grown as a band. I interviewed them after Theory Of A Dead Man played. They just ended their tour with TODAM and cannot say enough good things about them. They are now on tour with Shinedown.
Helen: Life on the road?
Rick: It’s fun! We been very blessed to come out and do these festivals. You see all of your friends. When you go out on the road, your band and the other bands are you friends. It’s like you are a group of people that you hang out with when you are on the road and it’s kind of cool that I get to come see Shinedown, Slash, and TOADM. It just a bunch of friends coming in to play rock music and we’re going to cause some trouble and I feel good.
Helen: So is it like a big jam session to you?
Rick: I think it’s more than that. I don’t want to say what’s going on out there is special, but this is Rockest, come on!
Helen: Where is your favorite festival?
Entire band: Carolina Rebellion.
Helen: Are you doing Rock On The Range?
Rick: Yes, then Rocklahoma, and then we have UPROAR with Shinedown, Godsmack and Papa Roach.
Helen: You’ve got the right connected with the right bands. This is the third time I’ve seen you with TOADM.
Rick: It’s management. We have the same managers. We have become so close with some of these bands; they are our kind of people. We like them, they like us and at the end of the day there are bands that are bigger than us come up to us and tell “we like your music”. Bands that we are on tour with, I’m listening to and still buying the cd’s, it’s kind of cool.
Helen: Who would be the ultimate band to tour with?
Rick: We’ve kind of dabbled into that. We did a tour with Guns N Roses and that was very special. I want to go out with Metallica. They all agreed that Metallica was the ULTIMATE choice of a band to tour with.
Helen: I’m all about the photos, but what pieces of your world makes a difference to how we see your music and how we see you.
Rick: We’re fortunate and at the end of the day, every guy, in every band works his ass off. People think its all glitzes and glam and yeah, sometimes cool shit happens (free haircuts and shit like that), but at the end of the day people still have to support the music and support the bands. I want the fans to come out and have a good time. My goal is to make records that even if they were free people would still buy them because they are so freaking good! And our live show is so good that people have no choice but to come. We have got to keep getting better. We want to continue to grow and to continue to get better. We’re dropping some singles. It’s going to be an awesome year!
Rev Theory had an amazing set. I remember the first time I saw them at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa,OK. The tattoo of lips on Rich Luzzi’s neck and me being the nosey person that I am, I asked whose lips they belonged to. The smile in his eyes when he told me, “my wife’s”, shows how much he loves her. The passion for his music has a fire that could not be extinguished easily, even in the rain that they played in.
Theory Of A Dead Man (TOADM) has proved themselves numerous times, but their performance at Rockfest was the best I’ve seen yet! The bands that tour with TOADM say they are amazing and take care of them. They all stared at the bottom, but if you can make the ride a little easier for those just starting out, it shows good character.
The next band to play on the Monster Stage, played well, until the sound system stopped working. Unsure if it was because of the rain causing the difficulties, Chevelle had an attitude whit being told no light show, since they were on generator. They left without fulfilling their contractual obligation, leaving 55,000 paying fans standing in the rain, waiting for them to finish their set.
Slash on the other hand announced, “ You paid to hear me sing, so with or without lights, you will hear me sing! Boy did he ever sing! The emotion that he puts into the music while he is singing is unreal. And yes, Slash did play with a light show, because his fans are more important!
Five Finger Death Punch had been on my bad side for two years. Ivan opened an ice-cold bottle of water and threw it on me and my camera. I did’t even stay for their entire show or edit any images from that show. When Ivan saw all of the little kids getting swashed in the crowd, just to hear them play. Ivan had the stage covered with little kids that got to sing and dance with Five Finger Death Punch and they got goodies too. Ivan redeemed himself to me, through his act of kindness to those children. Hell, they got to go to school on Monday and tell everyone they danced on stage with Five Finger Death Punch!
The final band was Shinedown. Their light show was out of this world! I have seen them four times now. The third was their acoustic show and we were given insight to four of the songs they performed that night. I have a whole new respect for Brent Smith and I see the songs for how they are written from his battle with drug addiction, but as he told us at the 2010 concert, “my wife called and told me she was pregnant, my son gave me second chance.” Through his music we hear about his demons and the fun things too.
With the large area at Liberty Memorial Park and 55,000 people, it was impossible to get through the people and get to the Jeremiah Weed Stage, except for the opening band, Black Oxygen. I took approximately 2,500 images. The bands have their own folder, there are a few vendor images, overall photos, and I had to add the freaks folder too! What young man, in his right mind, would wear a hot pink gorilla outfit all day.
I was told that Rockfest was a mini Rocklahoma. Only in the aspect that it was one day and not three days like Rocklahoma.
Chamie McCurry & Kirstyn Schwartz of AEG Live did an amazing job at putting this together and for staying calm with all of the chaos going on. As a photographer and music listener, THANK YOU ladies!