Gonna break down the whole Rock On The Range 2011 experience into a series of posts rather than one mammoth blathering, with an eye towards the noteworthy (IMHO, of course) as well as the up & coming. Or in some cases – the “not so much”.
The 5th anniversary ‘preshow’ bash was a free ticket for those who had bought the weekend package (i.e. both days of the official Rock On The Range lineup).Â That being said, the expectation by promoters was that there would be about 6,000 in attendance.Â The reality was closer to 13,000 – maybe more!Â Very crowded, but the vibe was magical and it was great to meet people from all over the country.
When I arrived Red Line Chemistry was finishing their second to last song, so not really fair for me to comment other than to say the crowd seemed to be responding to them nicely.
Next up was the all-girl Led Zeppelin tribute band humorously named Lez Zeppelin.Â I’ve been wanting to see these gals for quite some time and found their performance energetic, but ultimately lacking.Â First, the bass and guitar parts were often out of sync, which I assume to be due to acoustics & the band performing to a significantly larger audience than normal.Â Additionally, their entire show just seemed a little ‘off’, as ifÂ too much pre-show partying might have taken it’s toll.Â I did like the song choices (that is, NO ‘STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN’) and do hope to catch them again at a more intimate venue.Â Too much potential here to be ignored.
Danko Jones were next & even more disappointing.Â With a lot of lip service given during their show to “playing music too hard for the radio”, their own songs weren’t even Ramones level heavy.Â Very catchy riffs and strong vocals by Danko himself ultimately suffered from a severe need of distortion and increase in tempo.Â Bonus points go for a mid-set homage where Danko listed off a series of recently deceased metal greats. . . until he omitted Peter Steele.Â Sorry, just didn’t care for their performance.
80’s parody band Steel Panther closed out, and saved, the evening for me.Â Charismatic, well rehearsed and completely at ease on stage, these glamsters plowed through an excellent set of their best material including ‘Asian Hooker’, ‘Eyes of a Panther’, ‘Party All Day (**** All Night)’, ‘Shocker’, ‘Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)’, ‘Community Property’ and of course the anthemic ‘Death To All But Metal’.Â The irreverent on-stage dialogue & blatantly stolen hair band moves were hysterically funny, taking what could’ve been an awkward grasp at spandex resurrection and showcasing a talented albeit foul mouthed ensemble of performers.Â Â One example that keeps coming to mind (with a grin each time) is guitarist Satchel introducing vocalist Michael Starr with the typical ‘And here’s the best lead vocalist. . . ” intro-schtick but quickly adding “we could find.Â .Â . on short notice”.Â A completely entertaining show that I highly recommend.
Great start to an amazing weekend!Â My next post will detail Day 1 including Korn and Avenged Sevenfold just as soon as I find my car.Â Stay tuned but in the meantime check out photographer Chris Schwegler‘s fine gallery of photos from the show!