Story and Photos by Tom Collins
Interviews and Editing by Scotty J
Just a year ago ROCK ALLEGIANCE stormed the field of the Philadelphia Union. This year there was a change of venue just across the river to the BB&T Pavilion. A gathering of Rock’s best, both old and new came together like a perfect storm for ROCK ALLEGIANCE 2017, Camden, New Jersey! Another phenomenal Danny Wimmer Presents event featured 3 stages going virtually nonstop through the day with Rock’s elite and upcoming bands. Most acts were nicely timed as to not overlap each other, so you could get to see the majority of most every band you wanted to see on the schedule. I however, running to do my photographic work, did not catch every single band. But, let’s talk about the ones I did cover.
There’s nothing like starting your early afternoon off at the Main Stage with a dose of Steel Panther! No matter how many times you’ve seen these guys, they’ll still make you howl with laughter. Their profane banter between each other, and even the audience, just never gets old. Though they’ve been tagged a “parody” 80’s Metal band, they can play some great Rock & Roll.
After Steel Panther’s set, I decided to stay close to the Main Stage for 2 very good reasons. First, it was a short turnaround time before the next Main Stage act which I didn’t want to miss. Second, I had an appendix that was about to burst resulting in serious pain. I was scheduled for surgery the next day. At least the hospital I was going to was literally right down the road from the BB&T Pavilion. Hey! It’s only Rock & Roll. Right?
It was now time to be In This Moment! This is a great band lead by singer Maria Brink. Their performances are very theatrical. Maria Brink and her identical minions, who are always at her side, often have a costume change between each song. Unfortunately, their lighting and excessive amounts of fog make it hard to see much of the actual performance. That being said, they still sounded incredible and had a fantastic set!
Feeling as lousy as I did, I still had to venture over to the Second Stage for one band in particular. Greta Van Fleet! I had never heard of this band until earlier this past year when I saw them open for The Struts. This young band blew me away! When I say young, they are only 18 and 21yrs old! Josh Kiszka’s vocals have been heavily compared to that of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. Not a bad comparison for a young rock vocalist to have? Greta Van Fleet is made up of 3 brothers Josh, Sam, and Jake Kiszka, and childhood friend Danny Wagner. Incredibly, they have caught fire on the music scene from a 4 song EP! That’s it! Rock Titan had the pleasure of interviewing members of the band leading up to and at Rock Allegiance.
Having lost Marilyn Manson on the lineup, due to a streak of bad injuries sustained at recent concerts, there was a fear that another headliner might drop off the ticket as well. Lzzy Hale of Halestorm had to cancel their show the day prior to Rock Allegiance after taking ill. Rumors circulated early that they may not perform. As the day went on, we heard that they were indeed here and were going to perform! I don’t know if I have ever seen or heard Lzzy put on a finer performance! The crowd acknowledged and appreciated every bit of Hale’s commitment and passions, as they roared with approval! Halestorm even took the time for a “Meet & Greet” with hundreds of fans right after their set. That’s what Rock & Roll is all about!
Another co-headliner, Five Finger Death Punch, was an uncertain participant in the lineup. Singer Ivan Moody has been struggling recently with some demons, that have had him abruptly leave the band a few times. I’m extremely happy to say that he came out looking healthy, happy, and displaying a certain humility towards his fans that have stuck by him. Ivan was even in awe of a young boy with a red hand print painted on his face, sitting on his fathers shoulders at the front of the stage. Moody stopped and asked the young boy how old he was? The boy held up 6 fingers. Ivan was blown away! He then signed and handed the kid a small baseball bat that Ivan used as a prop. Moody apologized for using so much profanity in the show, but quickly admitted that he does it all the time. The Rock Allegiance audience cheered with adoration!
The long day was nearly over, and the time had arrived for Rob Zombie! Known for sets comprised of many props and gizmo’s, this stage setup was a bit more stripped down. Instead, several large LED screens served up plenty of horror based imagery for the crowd to feast upon. There was no shortage of pyrotechnics! Rob, along with his 6 string gun slinger John 5, packed the setlist with a collection of gems from Rob’s solo career and White Zombie. It was a great act to wrap up a very successful day of Rock Allegiance, 2017.