Rock And Shock 2015: at The Worcester Palladium

rock and shock 2016 first band announcement

Another year, another Rock and Shock Festival arrived on the scene to get us even more in the Halloween mood. A terrific lineup of iconic personalities, and amazing vendors at the DCU Center along with a strong lineup of music titans over at The Worcester Palladium made this a year to remember. I have been to eight of the eleven years of this great festival and it gets better and better every year. This was one of the years where the convention ran slightly ahead of the show for me in terms of love, but that is less about the bands and some the horror giants that were in attendance, among my favorites in the genre, ever.

Friday was marred slightly by the typically shitty I -90 traffic heading out to the venue, taking almost 2.5 hours to arrive from Boston. Not only did we miss a tight group of local bands, I missed some of the bands I really wanted to see like Brick By Brick and Shattered Sun. Getting there in time to catch some of Soilwork at least made up for it. Not only did they play some more recent tracks from The Ride Majestic (Nuclear Blast), they played the throwback classic cut ‘Bastard Chain’ which was amazing.

Sanctuary, by Meg Loyal Photography

Sanctuary, by Meg Loyal Photography

Following Soilwork it was time for some more old-school jams with Sanctuary and Soulfly. The reactivated power metal/thrashers Sanctuary were super tight and sounded great. Better than I expected or remember. Soulfly also put on a great show. Max Cavalera and crew played a lot of hits as well as Sepultura classics and even a little Nailbomb jam. Maybe about the best Soulfly set I’ve ever seen. Max is just really great at extolling the crowd to move: screaming, rapping, or playing some percussion instruments, the guy does it all.

Soulfly, by Meg Loyal Photography

Soulfly, by Meg Loyal Photography

As expected Hatebreed’s career spanning, 20th anniversary set was as great as could be. Jamey Jasta and his crew have boundless energy and played an almost two-hour set. Track after track of classic beat-down songs and deep cuts from every era of the band rained down from the speakers. Many times Jamey jumped into the barricade and had fans screaming along with him. It was epic feeling and people were just throwing down all over the venue. It was a pretty amazing time and Jamey made sure everyone new Hatebreed is coming back with a new album in 2016.

Getting up early on Saturday, we made sure to spend a lot of time at the convention at the DCU center and really get to see and do everything over there. There were many awesome vendors, specifically a lot of local businesses, which was great to see. There were also several dog rescues and pet adoption tables with people doing great work to find some puppies and kitties new homes in the middle of all this metal and horror greatness. While I was only able to get glimpse of George A. Romero, some of the movie personalities I got to chat with made up for it such as Doug Bradley (Hellrazor), William Sanderson, Bill Mosley, Traci Lords, and especially Stephen Macht and Michael Mackay from Monster Squad. Most of the band signings were happening here, with the longest line I saw being for Superjoint.

Saturday’s lineup was a little deeper and more eclectic than most years too. The second stage had an array of diverging styles represented by The Relapse Symphony, Byzantine, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein with his solo band, and Eyes Set To Kill among others. The main stage was led off by doom masters Witch Mountain. New singer Kayla Dixon has a tall order to fill replacing the much adored Uta Plotkin, but Kayla has amazing pipes and stage presence. She does justice to all of Uta’s material, the other past material of the band, and definitely brings her own style to the table too. I am so looking forward to a new WM album with her at the mic.

For a bit of consistency, the next three bands had a common thread in Wednesday 13, New Year’s Day and The Rocking Dead, all bringing an old/new take on horror punk, glam rock and metal. Wednesday performed the best, NYD had the most fans in the house, and The Rocking Dead was beautiful wreck. Both the later two performed with The Rocking Dead, an all-star collection of talented folks playing all covers. It was exciting to see and hear Doyle and Taime Downe of Faster Pussycat jam out to some great songs, but the band hadn’t rehearsed at all and the sloppy performance was not amusing.

Prong, by Meg Loyal Photography

Prong, by Meg Loyal Photography

Prong was up next and were one of the best bands of the weekend. The band seems reinvigorated by some new blood in the band and performed a mix of old-school (‘Beg to Differ’, ‘Unconditional’) and new-ish (‘Revenge Best Served Cold’) tracks. Props to Tommy Victor for pulling double-duty this tour with Danzig. I’m waiting patiently on that new Prong album in early 2016 too.

Veil of Maya, by Meg Loyal Photography

Veil of Maya, by Meg Loyal Photography

After catching a little bit of Veil of Maya’s performance, we had to grab some provisions (beers and food) and do a final sweep of the band merch for the weekend. Then it was time for Superjoint to open up a total can of whup-ass on The Palladium. Easily the most brutal set and pits of the entire weekend by far. Between Phil Anselmo’s between song levity, the amped up playing it was a really fun time. With an excellent blend of hardcore, doom riffs and heaviness, the band was actually tighter and better than they were back in the day to me.

Superjoint, by Meg Loyal Photography

Superjoint, by Meg Loyal Photography


Superjoint, by Meg Loyal Photography

Superjoint, by Meg Loyal Photography

Finally the set changed over for Danzig. As always he had an impressive stage set up and props, with the ominous “Skull Horns” mascot emblazoned on everything. The backdrop and stage were definitely the best of the entire weekend in contrast to the other bands except for maybe Soulfly. The band came out strong with ‘Skin Carver’ and ‘Hammer of The Gods’. Glenn still has a mighty voice live after all these years. The good thing about being an enigmatic artist and not touring all the time is that people are not burned out on seeing you. Even the songs you have heard a million times on record sounded good live. Feeling every note and dramatic beat, the front man flung himself around the stage like a much younger man. While this challenged him to keep his breath and tone steady, he held up well. The set list was also pretty eclectic with three new cover songs from his new Skeletons album (Evilive/Nuclear Blast).

One thing that was a bummer was the much talked about photo policy. As everyone now knows, Danzig hates photographers; professional or otherwise. I saw at least 25 people kicked out of the show by security for taking pics or videos, and that number may have been 3-4 times that number from what I have been told. Although I admit this policy is extreme, Danzig has a point. Everybody put your phone down and watch the goddamn show! Plus there were signs everywhere and it wasn’t exactly a secret since security guys were warning people all night and stopping the from filming.

Overall Danzig’s set was pretty sweet, although some people I talked to after quibbled with the song choices. He did mix it up well with 15 tracks spread across 7 albums. And I might have chosen a different closer than ‘Brand New God’ from Danzig 4P (American), but no matter. If it’s the last time I ever see the guy live, it’s all good to me.

See you next year Rock and Shock!

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Festival Preview: Rock And Shock Festival 2015

rock and shock 2016 first band announcement

Once again it’s on at the annual Rock And Shock Festival at Worcester MA this weekend, October 16th, 17th and 18th. The amazing horror convention slash- music concerts is one of the best combo experiences and certainly one of the dominant concert events on the east coast yearly. Bands now route their tours just to align with the festival and this years biggies are Hatebreed, performing a special 20th anniversary show, Danzig’s Blackest of The Black Tour, and the We Sold Our Souls To Metal Tour featuring Soulfly and Soilwork. Ticket information can be found at this link:


Many people come to Rock and Shock just for the horror convention element, one of the best organized and heavily attended of its kind. The collection of talent, vendors, and films premiering on display are enough to satisfy the most discerning gore-obsessed fan. While there is a big presence of major stars and mainstream film coverage, it is the chance to meet (or is it meat?) the biggest names in celluloid axeman-ship and scream queens galore that will keep you coming back. Luminaries of the bloody sliver screen such as Tobin Bell (Saw), industry legend George A. Romero, director Adam Green, Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), Samantha Mathis (The Strain, American Psycho), William Sanderson (Blade Runner, True Blood), Bill Mosley (The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween) Derek Mears Friday The 13th) Doug Bradley (Hellraiser), and Traci Lords (Blade) are just the tip of the iceberg.  Many will be meeting fans, taking pictures and signing autographs most of the weekend. There are costume contests, tattooing, discounted entry for America’s Armed Forces servicemen and women and much more.


Friday night is the a fore mentioned Hatebreed retrospective set. The Palladium is basically a hometown type show every time the band plays there, so expect chaos. Following right behind are Soulfly, Sanctuary, Soilwork, Decapitated, Shattered Sun, and Brick By Brick. They will be joined by a host of local bands on the Upstairs stage.

Saturday is the day of Danzig’s Blackest of the Black tour with Superjoint, Veil of Maya, Prong, Jeremy Saffer’s The Rocking Dead all-star jam (Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein–The Misfits/Doyle, Alex Story–Doyle/Cancerslug, Wednesday 13–Murderdolls, Kyle Castronovo–Wednesday 13, Ace Von Johnson–Faster Pussycat, Taime Downe–Faster Pussycat, Ash Costello–New Years Day, Nikki Misery–New Years Day, Mike D’Antonio–Killswitch Engage, Acey Slade–Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, and Bret Von Dehl–The Relapse Symphony), New Year’s Day, Wednesday 13, and Witch Mountain on the Main stage. Upstairs features Get Scared, Eyes Set To Kill, Doyle, Hatchet, Byzantine, and The Relapse Symphony.


Sunday features horrorcore rappers such as Twiztid, Blaze, Boondox, Prozak, Wolf Pac, Scum, Kissing Candice and many more. There is also an after party performance too.

Recap: The 5th Annual GWAR BQ – Hadad’s Park Richmond, VA

Gwar BQ one qtr page

This year’s pilgrimage to Richmond, VA was full of a lot of strong and, at times, conflicting emotions. I didn’t make this trip as a writer. I did it as a Bohab and a human being who just wanted a chance to pay her respects to someone who had shown her kindness and had a profound effect on her life and to celebrate his life as well as grieve with some of the incredible people that make up an extensive hab family.

We arrived Friday morning and had breakfast with some of our bohab brethren staying at the same hotel before taking a nap and heading out for Hadad’s Lake and Dave Brockie/Oderus’ viking funeral. It was strange seeing the costume laid out in such a way, it was all very peaceful for a blood thirsty alien. I saw many habs sitting by the shore, some in quiet reflection, while others had their own conversations with our beloved monster.

The official memorial service featured eulogies by Jello Biafra, Randy Blythe, Adam Green, Michael Bishop,and others. There were a lot of tears but there was also a lot of laughter as jokes and stories about Brockie’s antics were shared. There was singing and the entire crowd let out a primal scream in his honor. Green played a voice mail that Brockie had left him. I had listened to it several months before but hearing his voice was still difficult.


The actual send off itself was beautiful and included an archer launching a flaming arrow onto the small ship and Danielle Stampe a.k.a. Slymenstra Hymen tossing a flaming torch into the water as bagpipes continued to play in the background. There were a number of different chants going around the crowd but it was very quiet until the firefighters showed up – after the flames and smoke had nearly completely died out. We have no idea if a neighbor called them but it gave us all a good laugh and seemed like a fitting way to end Brockie’s public memorial service.

Cut to the next day’s GWAR-B-QUE back at Hadad’s. There were a number of hiccups with regards to the event’s planning such as VIP ticket holders (myself included) not getting their lanyards, some people getting two of them in their bags, and some premium ticket holders winding up with them instead. Tents were not labeled properly and we wasted a lot of time in line at the GWAR merch booth before being told that we had to go to another line to start all over again just to be told that they were out of lanyards and to come back in an hour. We had already missed a number of bands and signings by this point and by the time we got our VIP stickers, the GWAR signing was well underway. I decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle of waiting around for a few hours in yet another line just to be rushed through the meet & greet and spent some time by the lake with some habs while listening to the festivities behind us.

There was quite a bit going on apart from the music as well. There were the mandatory band merch booths, the pool was open, there were a number of food vendors, a jewelry tent, tattooing, and a cigar truck selling CiGWARS. And that, kids, is how I had my first cigar. There were more bathrooms than last year but the lines were horrendous. You were looking at a minimum of a half hour wait for everything.


Unfortunately, I missed a number of bands due to being stuck in line hell but at least I had seen Bishop’s Kepone and Iron Reagan in recent months and they always shred. Revocation had to drop off the bill and, as far as I know, Goatwhore just didn’t show up. I can’t complain about the line for those delicious pulled pork sandwiches because that’s where I was watching Body Count from. They were fantastic! Ice-T and crew looked right at home among us and I saw more than my fair share of reciting every song word for word.


What about GWAR? They shared vocal duties with Bishop’s new character, Blothar, Slymenstra, and Don Drakulich’s Sleazy P. Martini. Blothar looked interesting, like some kind of weird wizard with antlers on his back. I’m sure the costume will have been changed and refined a bit by the time the fall tour comes through town. Slymenstra did some of her fire dancing but I would have liked to have seen more. Singe off my eyebrows! I hadn’t seen Sleazy since 2008/9 but it was nice to have him back on stage, even if he was, understandably, less energetic than usual.

Sleezy and Hippie-1

I had a difficult time watching the performance. This is not by any means a reflection on the band, they were incredible, it was simply hard for me personally. There were people climbing on top of the smaller buildings to get a good view of the stage. I hung around the back of the crowd and caught maybe a minute of ‘The Years Without Light’ before my emotions got the best of me and I had to retreat back to the safety of our bohab base camp. I was content with staying behind and merely listening…Until those first few notes of ‘Gor-Gor’ hit my ear holes and I ran back into the middle of the crowd with Mama Hab. That Gor-Gor puppet is the beautiful demented dinosaur that I’ve ever seen. The song had been on my bucket list of songs that I wanted to see performed live but I just wish that it had been under better circumstances. There were more tears following its end than at any other time the entire weekend. ‘The Road Behind’ was played as expected and while my mind will always associate it with Cory Smoot first, I think there’s a little room in there for Dave too. GWAR & Company wrapped things up with a ‘Slaughterama’ that felt a bit rushed.


I know that there are going to be people criticizing the event and I know that with better planning, the problems of this year’s event can be minimized the next time around. With regards to GWAR’s performance after losing such an electric front man, all I ask is that you give them a chance. GWAR is more than just any one person and they’ve suffered a heavy loss, not of a musician, but that of a friend and family member. Picking up the pieces is no easy task but I think that they’re up to the challenge and I am optimistic about what the future holds for them and all of us.


For me, the main event of this weekend was the funeral and I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to grieve and celebrate with me, even if we did almost get the cops called on us. There will always be a cuttlefish shaped hole in our hearts but good friends and good music work wonders.

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