Central New York was rockin’ Saturday afternoon and into the night as KRockathon 19 took over the Chevy Court at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The hot sizzling sun didn’t stop music fans from crowd surfing, fist pumping, horn raising or just bouncing up and down to all of their favorite artists that took the stage during the annual summer event.
Though this was an awesome rock festival with a killer lineup – sadly, the music was an afterthought for most as it was overshadowed by a lot of, no actually a ton of, overly obnoxious drunken and impaired fans. Concert goer’s who walked into the venue were greeted by staff who were giving out free KRock koozie’s, sunglasses and KRock Elite passes for the first two-thousand fans who came through the door for random meet and greets with various bands. The venue had its usual set up, with two stage’s side by side. The standout performers of the day were: We As Human, Fozzy and Pop Evil. Blacklite District, Black Stone Cherry and A Day To Remember were really good as well. KRock Dj’s Rainman, Griffin and Cody came out, welcomed fans to the show and kicked things off by introducing the first band.
Blacklite District kicked the show off and got the fans that were actually in the venue – and not in the parking lot still pre-gaming, pumped up and did their job to get the crowd psyched for the rest of the show. Starset was good but they had some technical difficulties at times. Singer Dustin Bates seems to get a little bit distracted with all the technology they use during their set. He cut his mic out when using his emulator screen. He also uses two microphones at once for most of his performance. One mic for regular vocals and one for voice distortion. Still a great performance by the band and when they work the kinks out they will be fine. We As Human came out and just kicked ass. Singer Justin Cordle stood on the security wall and grabbed the hands of fans during the song “Zombie”. Cordle then thanked Lacy Sturm (former Flyleaf singer) for performing on the next track they were going to perform and played “Take the Bullets Away”. Justin then dedicated the next song “I Stand” to the Armed Forces; in a funny moment after the song, Cordle said to the crowd joking “as you can see two people are missing to my left. Our guitarist and our bass player said they needed a vacation. I said, ‘dude you’re a rock star, your life is a vacation.’ ”
Framing Hanley put in a good set for the fans, vocalist Kenneth Nixon said they took a long drive just to be at KRockathon today, then went on to say how they love performing in Syracuse. Nixon went over two lines of the song “Simple Life” with the fans in the crowd so when he held the mic out during the song, he wanted the crowd to sing it back to him. Nixon also noticed a blown-up condom bouncing around the crowd and said “looks like the dude said f^@# it and gave up already.” They then played “Lollipop” and ended with “Stupid Girl”. Halestorm came out and turned the place into a nut house literally, I have never witnessed so much crowd surfing in my life. Lzzy Hale’s mic was drowned out and you could barely hear her sing. Hale told the crowd that she just took two shots of Jameson before she came out. Arejay did his usual drum solo and brought out his oversized drum sticks, this also marked the spot where people started to act ridiculous for the rest of the show. During the mid way point of their set, a woman whom was crowd surfing was targeting other fan’s heads and blatantly trying to kick people in the face. Fozzy surprised me at this show, they really brought it to the Syracuse fans. Chris Jericho in my eyes finally made himself a true rock star and not a WWE superstar trying to sing. From start to finish, “Sandpaper, Enemy, Lights Go Out” and every hit in between. Jericho also went back to his wrestling roots and rhymed a bunch of words building up his band before ending with “you can go home and tell everybody you just got your assess kicked by Fozzy.”
Saliva was another band that the mic was way too low, they still put on a good show and sang every hit from the Josey Scott days’. Surprisingly, they didn’t sing any of their new tracks with new front man Bobby Amaru. Instead of doing an AC/DC cover, they should have played their current single “Rise Up”. Black Stone Cherry just kept the vibe going. They played all their singles and had the crowd singing along to “Blame it on the Boom Boom”. Unfortunately, I had to witness a guy get his lights punched out while his wife frantically looked for help as no EMT’s nor security were anywhere to be found. This was the first of many fights during the day. All That Remains played their usual set of radio singles. Before they played “What If I Was Nothing” – vocalist Philip Labonte said “we’re supposed to be a metal band. Two years ago we came out with our latest album A War You Cannot Win. We made a ballad. We like to break the f^@#ing rules sometimes.” Pop Evil was the best of the night. What an awesome set. This is one of the best live bands to watch. The crowd was absolutely insane for Pop Evil which prompted singer Leigh Kakaty to say “sick of people saying rock is dead. Tell that mother^@#&! to come to Syracuse N.Y.” Before the band played the song “Torn To Pieces” Kakaty said “put your horns and drinks in the air and let’s make a toast.” As the band was getting ready to play “Trenches” Leigh gave a shout out to all the bands that performed on the show. He also said to the crowd “every band on this show would be $#!% without the fans.” Then he dedicated the song to the Red, White and Blue.
Some fans headed out of the show after this. It seemed like the hardcore outfit, A Day To Remember and Seether fans, were the majority that were left. A Day To Remember had tons of fans there, fans were bouncing up and down and crowd surfing everywhere. The crowd nearly got out of control when the band played “Right Back At It Again”. Some fans were by now, passed out sleeping on the ground in some areas from being overly intoxicated in the heat. Seether headlined the event. The band started with “Gasoline” then they played hit after hit including “Fine Again, Rise Above This and Fake It”. They also played new songs “Weak and Words As Weapons”. What could have been the highlight of the night, kind of turned into a little snafu – the vocalist for Seether Shaun Morgan brought out Lzzy Hale from Halestorm to sing the song “Broken” with him. When it was time for Hale to sing the first line of the second verse she paused in confusion, looked to her side and pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. Morgan look on in amazement then laughed as other band members looked on with ‘what the hell is she doing’ look on their faceS. Hale then looked down at the screen of her phone and must have had the lyrics set as she picked up and started singing from the third line of the second verse. After the song was over, Lzzy went over to Morgan and hugged him and said something to him hopefully apologizing to him. He then said into the mic “it’s a learning curve.” Seether ended the night with “Remedy”. This was a really good show soley based on the performances of all the bands. Every band did their best to give the fans a great show. The lineup was excellent. The organization of the event as a whole is another story.
So many things were wrong again this year at KRockathon. Mostly the drunken violent fans and lack of security. Security just fully and totally dropped the ball. I don’t know how much Police or security were on hand but it did not seem like much at all. The venue could have really benefited from another food tent, lines for a burger could have lasted you up to an hour. The venue could have probably used more garbage cans, but that really didn’t matter because all the cans were half empty because everyone decided to just throw their trash on the ground between all the puke piles. Buying water was also a joke as you needed to buy beer tickets to get a water. A $7 beer ticket was good for two waters but the vendors would take the caps off and keep them. So I guess they expected you to just down your drinks in one minute. They took the caps for whatever beverage you bought – Ridicules.