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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Rock N Shock Announces Hatebreed, Soulfly, Sanctuary and Soilwork

rock and shock 2016 first band announcement

The 12th edition of the annual Rock and Shock Festival has announced its first wave of musical acts for 2015, taking the stage at The Worcester Palladium in Worcester MA. Hatebreed will be the headliner, performing a special 20th anniversary, retrospective set. They will be joined by Soulfly, Sanctuary, Soilwork, Decapitated, Shattered Sun, Brick By Brick, Crumbsuckers, Get Scared, Eyes Set To Kill, The Rocking Dead, New Volume, Twiztid, Blaze, Boondox, Prozak, Wolfpac, Scum, Kissing Candice, and more bands tbd. This is added to the acclaimed horror convention portion of the event taking place at the DCU Center next door, headlined by film legend George A. Romero, actor Doug Bradley, American Horror Story actress Naomi Grossman, WWF Wrestling legend Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and more.



From Facebook :

SPOILER ALERT! After providing you with a handful of the talented guests that will be appearing at the convention at the DCU Center, we are giving YOU a sneak peak of a portion of our music lineup for the Rock and Shock concert at the Worcester Palladium! Some of the bands that will be performing this year include: Hatebreed (playing their 20th anniversary set), Soulfly, Sanctuary, Soilwork, Decapitated, Shattered Sun, Brick By Brick, Crumbsuckers, Get Scared, Eyes Set To Kill, The Rocking Dead, New Volume, Twiztid, Blaze, Boondox, Prozak, Wolfpac, Scum, Kissing Candice, and many more to be announced!! Stay tuned for more exciting news coming your way!

SPOILER ALERT! After providing you with a handful of the talented guests that will be appearing at the convention at the…

Posted by Rock And Shock on Friday, June 26, 2015


Rock And Shock Part II: Live at The Palladium, Worcester MA

rock and shock poster

Day 1 of Rock and Shock 2014 had many doubters after Machine Head had canceled their tour which was to make their stop in Worcester, Massachusetts on this day. Children of Bodom and Epica were on this tour but were not able to make it out after the tour was canceled. Having said that, we were still offered a great day with Overkill taking over the headlining spot, Doyle from The Misfits and his “Rocking Dead” band playing a one off show filled with Misfits covers, as well as Battlecross who even after the MH tour was caput, still found a way to play for us. There were also a great list of opening acts before the day officially started with Swedish group, Avatar, and a sweet dose of technical death metal from Arsis. I wish I had more time to catch the local openers, but unfortunately the convention down the street at the DCU center sucked up a lot of time (fortunately not money).

In the small stage upstairs, the freak show look-a-likes in Avatar brought their unique personality and stage presence to a larger than expected crowd. Lead man, Johannes Eckerström, truly set the mood with his odd on stage antics including swinging his cane around and drinking straight from a gasoline container (please note: I am positive that he was not actually drinking gasoline). Fan favorites seemed to be ‘Let It Burn’ and ‘Smells like a Freakshow.’ This having been my first time seeing Avatar live, I am looking forward to my next experience. Possibly a headlining show with a bigger stage show perhaps?


Moving downstairs after a quick bite to eat, I put myself right on the barricade for tech death stars, Arsis. Lead guitarist and vocalist, James Malone, was on fire as per the usual. This was also my first time finally seeing Arsis (very delayed I know) so most of my time was spent staring in amazement at the fancy fretwork being displayed in front of me. However, crowd favorite ‘We Are the Nightmare’ hit towards the end of the set and that got my head banging the hardest it had all day. As if that wasn’t enough, we also got a cover song, ‘Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)’ by W.A.S.P. which certainly got the fans engaged with Arsis. I am certainly looking forward to seeing these Virginia Beach natives again with a longer set time of course.


Easily my favorite band to come out in the last 5 or so years hit the stage next, Battlecross. Unfortunate for this Michigan five piece not having their tour with Machine Head to go on, they made sure that they could still make it to R&S. The Worcester audience was treated to two songs off the previous album (‘Push Pull Destroy’ and ‘Kaleb’) while getting a steady dose of the latest material as well (‘Ghost Alive’, ‘Never Coming Back’, ‘My Vaccine’, ‘Beast, Flesh & Bone’). To close out the set, Battlecross made sure to go out with a bang with their cover of arguably Slayer’s greatest song, ‘War Ensemble.’ The pit grew into hysterics and ended the set chanting Battlecross. Before the band took their leave, lead singer Kyle Gunther (aka Gumby), reminded the Worcester crowd that they will return for a headlining show in December on a tour with the likes of Wretched. Also, Gumby may have spit out some news as he confirmed that after this late 2014 tour ends, the boys will be heading back into the studio to write their third album to follow up War of Will (Metal Blade).

The Rocking Dead

Next up was Doyle of The Misfits with the “Rocking Dead” band behind him, playing Misfits tunes. The rest of the Rocking Dead consisted of Wednesday 13 (Murderdolls), Ace Von Johnson (Faster Pussycat), Kriz DK (Deadstar Assembly, Genitorturers), Alan Robert (Life of Agony) and Virus (Device, Dope, Lords of Acid) for this one time live show. Unfortunately I never got into the Misfits outside of a handful of tracks so I couldn’t be certain as to which songs they actually played. I did recognize singles such as ‘Last Caress’ and ‘Die, Die My Darling’ which got me to sing the vocals triumphantly. At one point in the set, Lamb of God vocalist, Randy Blythe, took the microphone for a song that he stated “is about being locked up in an international prison” which certainly is a statement in and of itself. Overall it was cool to know I was one of only a few people who actually saw this one time only performance.



Closing out Day 1 of Rock and Shock was thrash legends, Overkill. Having just released their newest album, White Devil Armory (eOne), I expected a heavy selection of new material. To my surprise, there were 3 selections off of the new album (‘Armorist’, ‘Pig’, ‘Bitter Pill’) and at least one selection off of 8 other previous albums! Fans of all ages enjoyed classics such as ‘Wrecking Crew’, ‘Hello From the Gutter’, ‘End of the Line’, and ‘Rotten to the Core’, while also digging newer tracks such as ‘Electric Rattlesnake’ and ‘Ironbound’. The in between songs banter from front man Bobby Blitz was at its best as per the usual, calling out Boston sports fans due to his love of all things New York and the rivalry between the cities. Bobby was also very active on stage running around like it was still 1986 which is always a delight to see as there is no one else like Mr. Blitz. Closing out the show saw typical closers with ‘Elimination’ and their ever popular Subhumans cover, properly titled ‘Fuck You!’, bring the audience at the Palladium to the climax of their day.

Having been to a few of these convention/festival weekends now over the past few years, I still cannot seem to get all the timing down to ensure I get to all of the bands and cover the convention. Having said that, I am glad I got to see the bands involved on this day of Rock and Shock. Overkill and Battlecross continue to put on some of the most energetic live shows today, I got to see Arsis and Avatar for the first times, and I was also lucky to catch the one time only show of The Rocking Dead super group. Even with Machine Head deciding to kick their tour to the curb, I firmly believe that this day worked out for the better anyways and it will be hard for future R&S band day lineups to beat this one.

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