Written by Jim Campbell Friday, 20 July 2007 08:29One of the most solid performances of the day, Skid Row could have challenged some of the bigger bands for their slots in the show.
Warrant, photo Jim Cambell
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The second day of the Rocklahoma festival boasted a much heavier lineup that proved to be both disappointing and spectacular. I was particularly excited to see Bang Tango, Skid Row, and Warrant, but I was only impressed by one of them. Read on to see who showed up to rock and who just showed up.
Back when Headbangers Ball ruled MTV's airwaves, I was blown away by the video for Bang Tango's hit song, "Someone like You." It had amazing energy and Joe Lesté's vocals were both gravelly and soaring at the same time. So it goes without saying that I was stoked to see them - until they bored me to tears. Lesté and company came out on stage and had minimal to no energy. While they did some of their minor hits, they played too many cover tunes and ran out of time so no big finish number. They do get props for bringing out Guns N' Roses' Steven Adler to play on their cover of "Welcome to the Jungle." D
Key Tracks Performed: "Love Injection"; "Dancin' on Coals"
In addition to rocking the sun-baked crowd, Bulletboys lead singer, Marq Torien injected the crowd with an impressive amount of energy. Making the most of their short set, Bulletboys managed to kick out several of their best jams while showcasing some tracks from their new album. The thing that impressed me most about Bulletboys is how unpretentious they were - straightforward rock and intense energy made their set one of the best of the day. A
Key Tracks Performed: "Hard as a Rock"; "Talk to Your Daughter"; "Smooth Up in Ya"
Faster Pussycat is one of those rare bands that appear to be image obsessed but have the goods to back up the glitz. Donning black suits and Goth makeup, Faster Pussycat looks like a band I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley - they scared me. However, once the rock started, it is easy to look past the exterior and appreciate the fact that these boys flat out rock. Despite the drama that constantly surrounds the band regarding legal issues, Faster Pussycat did a decent job with their set. B-
Key Tracks Performed: "House of Pain"; "Don't Change that Song"
I am confused on why Chip Z'Nuff even got out of bed to come to Rocklahoma. Literally, the boys came out on stage, stood behind the mics, and played their songs with no energy or life. Being a fan of the band, I was disappointed and angered by their lack of enthusiasm that I left their set to go get some Indian tacos and ribbon fries. I figured if they were not going to care neither would I. F
Key Tracks Performed: None
Where Enuff Z'Nuff lacked energy, Firehouse turned up the heat a few thousand degrees. From their opening number to their closing jam, Firehouse never sounded better. Even though lead singer C.J. Snare cut his curly locks and opted for an updated modern look, the passion and talent was still there in his voice. Their short set seemed to be overstuffed with many of the band's biggest hits, which in turn gave the crowd what they came for - great rock music. Firehouse's set was entertaining, energetic and full of rock n' roll spirit. A-
Key Tracks Performed: "Overnight Sensation"; "Love of a Lifetime"; "Don't Treat Me Bad"
I have mixed feelings about Warrant's set. While the band did a decent job in giving each song the necessary kick in the pants, lead singer Jamie St. James bored me to tears. The fact of the matter is St. James is no Jani Lane. He neither hit the high notes nor gave the lyrics the same feeling that Lane managed to do. That said, the band's passion for hard rock was undeniable and the music sounded just as good as it did when it first debuted. So putting aside St. James lackluster performance, it was great to see how well Warrant's music has stood the test of time. C
Key Tracks Performed: "Sure Feels Good to Me"; "Sometimes She Cries"; "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
You might think I am going to wine about Skid Row's lead singer not being Sebastian Bach but au contraire. Unlike with St. James in Warrant, Johnny Solinger did an excellent job in the vocal department for Skid Row. His energy was amazing and his vocals are good enough to win over the most dedicated "Baz" fans. Not to mention, guitarist Scottie Hill's manic antics on reminded me of why I fell in love with Skid Row in the first place - they just flat out rock. One of the most solid performances of the day, Skid Row could have challenged some of the bigger bands for their slots in the show. They should have been given more time to play - the crowd ate them up and so did I. A+
Key Tracks Performed: "Monkey Business"; "18 & Life"; "Slave to the Grind"
Say what you want about Winger - and I know some of you already have snarky comments waiting - the fact is that Kip Winger and company are a solid musical outfit. Yes, they may have over stylized their look and used a bit too much mousse, but their songs were heartfelt and well crafted. The Rocklahoma crowd seemed to be able to put aside the fact that the band was one of the most maligned bands in the ‘80s and responded quite well to the band's excellent musicianship. While not my favorite set of the day, Winger was the perfect band to get the crowd amped up for Dokken.
Key Tracks Performed: "Easy Come, Easy Go"; "Can't Get Enuff"; "Seventeen"
Legendary 80's rockers, Dokken, took the stage and all was right in the world of rock. Don Dokken is - and always will be - the consummate front man. His commanding stage presence was complimented by the heavy wall of sound his band kicked out. The thing I was most impressed about was how Dokken's music is dark and brooding, but Don Dokken's doesn't have to shout or overpower his vocals to get his point across. Dokken's whole set was heavy metal bliss as rocked the eager crowd their entire set. Truth be told, Dokken should have closed the second night rather than Vince Neil - read on to see what I mean. A
Key Tracks Performed: "Dream Warriors"; "Breaking the Chains"; "It's Not Love"
Vince Neil closing day two of Rocklahoma seemed like a good idea seeing how the legendary front man was going to play several Mötley Crüe songs. It would have been nice to have all four boys there, but Neil should have sufficed. Besides, there were the persistent rumors of Nikki Sixx and/or Tommy Lee making an appearance. After an excruciatingly long time to wait for the set change, Neil stormed the stage with "Livewire" from the Crüe's early days.
Neil looked good and was sounding great; but after the first song, it was all downhill, with quickness. It became apparent that Neil blew his wad on the first song as was struggling for oxygen as he sang almost every third word in subsequent songs. He was holding up the mic for the audience to sing, but they weren't. In essence, they were saying to Neil, "We came to see you sing, not to hear us sing your songs!"
Then there were the long trips behind the amps while the guitar player played extended solos. Then, for a three song set of classic rock covers, Neil turned the vocals over to his guitarist - whose vocals were far superior - as he left the stage for an extended period of time. Hordes of fans left the stage area in droves as they headed home or to the camping grounds. They were angry that Neil let them down and so was I. Throw in the fact that both Sixx and Lee never showed up and you can understand that Neil was a big giant disappointment for a closer. Dokken should have closed the second day and Neil should have been left off the bill completely. I would give the set an F, but Neil did a good job on "Livewire" so I can't completely fail him. D-
Key Tracks Performed: "Livewire"; "Red Hot"; "Dr. Feelgood"
| Jim Campbell
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