Story and Photos by Tom Collins
The Philadelphia, Rock concert season kicked off with the 2018 edition of 93.3 WMMR’s, MMRBQ! The long running, day long festival brought familiar bands AND rain as well as some new acts to the stage. Returning headline acts, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots were just as thrilled as the fans to be back Rocking this event. Perhaps though, a different and bitter-sweet occasion for STP. The last time they played the MMRBQ was with Linkin Park vocalist, Chester Bennington singing. He of course was filling the vocal position for the late Scott Weiland. Now taking on the daunting task of being the 3rd singer in the band was former X-Factor contestant, Jeff Gutt. Fans typically don’t take well to a replacement singer, let alone a unprecedented 3rd.
STP took to the stage with confidence and a renewed energy that was felt immediately. Jeff Gutt was sporting a familiar look that was reminiscent of Scott Weiland, yet still his own. His vocals were also strong and a perfect fit for the STP sound. Anyone who had doubts or was skeptical if STP could still bring it, they were now cheering and clapping fiercely after every song! You couldn’t help but sing along to both the classic hits and even the bands newest releases with Jeff.
Alice In Chains had played the MMRBQ several times with William Duvall doing a stellar job at vocals and guitar. This year was no different. Guitarist, Jerry Cantrell had grown his hair long again and a bit of facial hair that made him look much like the guitar wizard he is! The band capped off the evening with a blistering set that was louder than any thunder that rolled through the skies earlier in the day. Again, it was one great Rock classic after another that had everyone singing word for word!
The day also featured Jonathan Davis of KORN with is first solo effort. It was definitely a different sound for him as his band consisted of a violinist and a bassist using a acoustic, stand up bass. KORN drummer, Ray Luzier was also in this band, which is always a treat to watch him play with such expert precision. Also hitting the stage were RBQ first timers, Dorothy and The Record Company. Both bands brought their best to Wow the crowd and get them fired up for the headliners. The band that many people had heard about and were anxious to see was the mysterious band called GHOST. Though very new to the MMR playlist, they had a huge fan base that was there to see them. The stage was completely transformed into a gothic cathedral with massive stained glass windows depicting the bands “former” singer, Papa Emeritus.
There’s a long story behind the story of GHOST that we’ll save for another time. Now leading the band was a new character called Cardinal Copia. Tall and slender with piercing mismatched eyes and dress like a cross between Fred Astaire and Dracula, he lead his Nameless Ghouls into their new hit single, RATS!
Much of the crowd were not sure what to make of the sensory overload of theatrics before them, but they were definitely captivated to say the least! The Cardinal pranced about the stage and brought this audience a show they didn’t expect but for many, was the highlight of the entire day! In all, it was another very successful RBQ for Philadelphia’s top Rock station, WMMR! Fans were thrilled with the music and getting to spend some face time with their favorite On Air personalities.
All Photos by Rock Titan’s Tom Collins