Rocklahoma! It’s the festival where “life, liberty, and the pursuit of rock” takes place every year in Pryor, Oklahoma. Since 2010, the festival has taken place on Memorial Day weekend. Ever since their inaugural line-up in 2007, Rocklahoma has maintained a solid line-up of 80’s hair metal and hard rocks bands and interspersed them with more contemporary artists. My personal first experience with Rocklahoma was last year, with Rob Zombie taking the cake with the best performance. This year’s festival takes place on May 24-26.
But this year should feature a slew of contenders to take the crown. Guns N’ Roses, Alice In Chains, and Korn are headlining this year’s festival. Guns N’ Roses is still without their original members, save W. Axl Rose. And everyone knows Axl’s personality. I can’t help but be dreadful of his performance, if he makes it to the stage – given his track record. But Guns N’ Roses are the ideal band to headline Rocklahoma, given its past. Alice In Chains are without their charismatic and talented Layne Staley, but this should not be a deterrent. Their fantastic album Black Gives Way To Blue was without Staley, and was a near-masterpiece. It featured William DuVall on split lead vocals with (previously) back-up vocalist and lead guitarist, Jerry Cantrell. If there’s anything to note of Cantrell, it’s that he’s the most proficient and talented guitarist in 90’s-era alternative rock/grunge. Alice In Chains are set to release a new album, The Devils Put Dinosaurs Here, on May 28, featuring already released singles “Hollow” and “Stone.” Korn is without their original drummer, but now with their rhythm guitarist, Brian “Head” Welch, which has been out of the band for more than a decade. Many older fans are glad to have him back on board, since his departure had Korn exploring different territories, including the macabre Untitled and the “non-conforming” dubstep The Path of Totality.
Bush, Cheap Trick, Bullet For My Valentine, Papa Roach, Skillet, Steel Panther, Hollywood Undead, Asking Alexandria, Ratt, Halestorm, Device, All That Remains, Dokken, Clutch, Motionless In White, Big Wreck, The Sword, Young Guns, Thousand Foot Krutch, Otherwise, Red Line Chemistry, Mindset Evolution, Heaven’s Basement, and many, many more artists are set up to perform at this year’s festival. Personally, I’m excited to see Bush and The Sword. Bush is famous for hits like “Comedown” and “Machinehead.” Bush is also famous for the frontman’s (Gavin Rossdale) marriage to Gwen Stefani for her solo career and being No Doubt’s frontwoman. They are a conundrum, being the one band that actually did a lot of press, promotion, and photo shoots, unlike the rest of the 90’s post-grunge scene, like Stone Temple Pilots or Chevelle (who was at last year’s Rocklahoma – had an excellent set of tunes, including their new [at the time] single, “Hats Off To The Bull”). The Sword have always done a great job revitalizing old sounds with new twists. Blending Black Sabbath’s proto-metal moods with Metallica’s furious waves of sound, The Sword really do show their love for classic metal by branding their own. Fantastic albums like Warp Riders and Age of Winters show off their tenacity and brilliant story-telling. With great tracks like “Maiden, Mother, and Crone” and “Freya,” I can only expect a hell of a show from them.
This is just a preview of many things to come. Stay tuned to OurVinyl in the upcoming days for a review of the entire festival and who was good and who was bad. Note: the festival is donating funds from ticket sales and asking for donations to help the damage and destruction of the massive tornado that leveled Moore, Oklahoma.
Written by Dylan Tracy
OurVinyl | Contributor