On Saturday, October 10, metal-heads from all over the Northeast made PPL Park in Chester, Pa., its final destination. PPL Park was host of this year’s Rock Allegiance festival which was sponsored by Monster Energy. Since the festival only lasted one day, it needed to have a lineup that would draw fans from all across the Northeast. The festival promoters couldn’t have done a better job at putting the lineup together because weeks before the event, PPL Park was sold out. With a lineup consisting of numerous bands that could have headlined, Rock Allegiance was set to be a success from the start.
Saturday’s forecast was perfect for the event, consisting of warm weather and sunshine. The beautiful day definitely helped fans get to the stadium early to get things started right after 11 a.m. With three stages going all day, there was something for everyone. The bands that opened the morning and early afternoon were no amateurs. Bands such as Unlocking The Truth who are still in their teens, took the Rock Allegiance Tent Stage and immediately demanded the circle pits to be started. That type of crowd control and confidence will definitely keep those youngsters going for a long time. Other bands such as Devour The Day and Red Sun Rising, kept the early afternoon rocking on the two stages set up inside the stadium.
The 3rd band of the day to take the Tent Stage was From Ashes To New. This band has been on the road with Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach and In This Moment, all who were also at the festival. From Ashes To New drew a huge crowd for their set time and they were phenomenal. It’s no surprise now why they were on the road with those other bands. The energy and style this rap-rock band was very refreshing because many new bands today go toward the scream vocals and heavy riffs.
Shifting to the main stages afterward, The Glorious Sons took the stage for a quick set of hard-rocking blues rock. They were definitely the band that stuck out the most, but not in a bad way. Although many fans weren’t there to see them specifically, The Glorious Sons got love from the respectful crowd. After they were done, all the attention shifted to Stage East for Nothing More. At this point, if someone hasn’t heard of Nothing More or hasn’t at least heard “Jenny” or “Mr. MTV”, they’re living under a rock. There hasn’t been a band moving up the ladder this fast in quite a long time. Lead singer Jonny Hawkins and the rest of the band put on one of the best live performances today. They’ve been on the road for quite some time now and are taking cities by storm. The crowd at PPL Park definitely could have gone for a longer set because 30 minutes was certainly not enough. The next band that played inside on Stage West was Atreyu, who just released Long Live on September, 18. This was their first album in six years and these guys got a huge welcome. This band may have been overlooked on the lineup due to all of the other big names, but Atreyu proved they still have what it takes to be on the main stage. Lead singer Alex Varkatzas spent most of the set down in the crowd getting up close and personal with people in the front row.
In the meantime while Nothing More and Atreyu were rocking the main stages inside, the Charm City Devils and Superheaven were playing over in the Tent Stage. After their short sets were done, Pop Evil took over back inside the stadium. Touring on behalf of their recent album Up, Pop Evil played a mix of material from their newest album and Onyx. Pop Evil is a band that works off of the crowds energy and they shined on Saturday. The band looked like they were having fun on stage and they sounded great. As soon as Pop Evil ended, the crowd ran over to the Tent Stage to catch a set from the Butcher Babies. The Butcher Babies are a heavy metal band fronted by Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, two of the most metal chicks in the music industry today. These two ladies take control of the stage and put on an unforgettable performance. The girls jump all over the stage and get down on the crowd to sing with the audience. Anyone who decided to skip out on seeing their set missed an awesome show, but luckily the Butcher Babies are always on the road. Their newest release Take It Like A Man will surely keep them on the road for some time. Speaking of girls in metal, right after the Butcher Babies were done, In This Moment took over PPL Park. With a full stage production with costume changes, choreography and more, Maria Brink and the rest of the band proved why they are one of the top metal bands in the scene today. Although the band has a handful of albums now, their two most recent releases Blood and Black Widow have given them radio play and mainstream success. The crowd sang every word with Maria throughout the entire set. In This Moment seem to get better and better every time around and their performance at Rock Allegiance is proof.
One of the craziest crowds of the day had to be for Bring Me The Horizon. Even with a throat infection, singer Oliver Sykes made sure the crowd was left bloody with broken bones just as he demanded. The infection didn’t seem to affect Oliver one bit. The band was spot on and had the crowd in their control before they even took the stage. The fans waiting in front of the East Stage were definitely waiting for BMTH all afternoon. Touring in support of their latest release That’s The Spirit, Bring Me The Horizon has been packing venues left and right the last few weeks in the States. All of the momentum they’ve gained at the smaller shows seemed to explode at Rock Allegiance on Saturday. While Bring Me The Horizon played, new “supergroup” Saint Asonia played over in the tent. Fans of Three Days Grace and Staind were surely over in the tent watching Adam Gontier and Mike Mushok. Their self-titled album has been all over the radio since the announcement of the group and debut at Rock on the Range earlier this year. The original voice of Three Days Grace and axe man of Staind seem to blend perfectly together and have created something nobody expected. Their setlist was mixed with singles off their album and covers of Three Days Grace and Staind.
Even with all of the bands mentioned so far, Rock Allegiance was not even half over. After Saint Asonia, Jacoby Shaddix and the rest of Papa Roach took over PPL Park. There’s never a Papa Roach show were Jacoby leaves the crowd disappointed. The crowd for Papa Roach was definitely the most so far out of the day. The highlight of the set was when singer Maria Brink of In This Moment came on stage to join Jacoby in singing “Gravity”. Fans who caught the tour with FFDP, Papa Roach, In This Moment and From Ashes To Knew were definitely expecting this duet because they have been doing it nightly. Watching Jacoby and Maria sing the song together was one of the top moments of the day. During Papa Roach’s set, Hollywood Undead competed for audience in the Tent Stage. It was a hard decision to make for fans to pick one or the other. Papa Roach easily had the majority of the crowd, but the tent was still packed for the rap-rock band. The guys came out in their signature masks and carried on their performance like they weren’t competing with anyone.
As the sun went down and the night grew cold, Five Finger Death Punch took the East Stage and got the crowd on their feet and moving. Even with a shorter then normal set, Ivan and the rest of FFDP put on a great performance with a mix of material from their catalog. Unfortunately, the band only played 2 new songs off their latest album, Got Your Six which were “Got Your Six” and “Jekyll and Hyde”. With such success on the charts, many fans were hoping for more of the new material then some of the older. FFDP has always been a band that supported the country’s armed forces and they showed their appreciation Saturday night. Ivan took one fan’s sign that read he had been deployed and had the entire band sign it. As usual, Ivan invited some youngsters on stage to rock out to their song “Burn MF.” During the song, Ivan high-fived the kids and gave them energy drinks, guitar picks and arm bands. What Five Finger Death Punch does for their fans and the troops is a prime example of how every band should be.
One of the best crowds of the day, hands down, belonged to Boston rockers Godsmack. Sully Erna is one of the best in the business when it comes to putting on a rock show. Sully makes sure the crowd is into the performance and if they’re not, he’s going to change that. The band recorded the song “Something Different” which is going to be used for a new documentary. During the song the crowd reaction was amazing to watch from the stands. Every person was jumping up and down singing along with Sully. Another highlight of the set was the usual “Batalla de los Tambores” with Sully and Shannon. For those unfamiliar with that song, it’s the dual drum instrumental where Sully and Shannon both play on their own drum kits and Robbie and Tony rock the bass and guitar. They play their own song while mixing in riffs from Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Rush, AC/DC and more. The night was closed out with a cover of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and then their classic hit, “I Stand Alone”. Godsmack could have easily closed out the entire night, but there were still two more bands to go.
While Godsmack was rocking the stage on the right, the stage on the left was empty with the iconic Korn album backdrop from 1994. With the 20th anniversary shows being common recently, many fans were expecting Korn to play the entire debut album. The set started off in that direction with “Blind”, “Ball Tongue”, “Need To”, “Clown” and “Faget”. But once the band dove into the riff for “Here To Stay”, the crowd knew they weren’t getting the full album. Which for many seemed okay because at a festival there’s typically a mix of fans who want to hear more of the hits. Korn seemed to put on the best setlist of the night. The material they picked kept the crowd moving and it didn’t let up. The highlight was when “Shoots and Ladders” went into the ending for “Somebody Someone” and the crowd went absolutely nuts. Surprisingly Korn ended the night with “Freak On A Leash” and then announced that was their last song instead of announcing it ahead of time. Ending the set like that left fans begging for more as Jonathan Davis brought his wife on stage sharing with the crowd that it was their anniversary.
Once Korn ended, the entire Stage East crowd shifted to the right to be in front of the stage for Rob Zombie. Even though it was apparent some of the crowd had filed out after Korn, Zombie still had a huge crowd. Unfortunately due to smaller main stages, Zombie didn’t have the stage production some people expected. Even without his signature stage production, Rob Zombie and his band put on a hell of a show. The band came out with different costumes and instruments all night long. Guitarist John 5 was a crowd favorite because of his costumes and unique guitars.The night opened up with a White Zombie cover of “More Human Than Human”, which set the pace for the night. During the song “Sick Bubble-Gum” the band had huge balloons for the crowd to amuse themselves with while they chose sides with either Piggy D. or John 5 by chanting “Rock” or “Mother Fucker”. Rob Zombie always has and will continue to be one of the best entertainers in the music industry. Fortunately for fans in Chester, they got to see one of Rob Zombie’s last shows for a while. The band has been on the road for quite some time now and are ready to take a break from the road. Fans ended the night in Zombie style with fan-favorite “Dragula”.
Just as fans thought the night was over with a closing fireworks display alongside the Delaware River, Steel Panther was ready for the after-party under the tent. Three albums in, Steel Panther continue to have success with their parody style 80s hair metal. Not only did fans stick around for the after party, but many band members came out to watch Steel Panther. Watching side stage were members of Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, Nothing More, From Ashes To New and even more. Unfortunately, none of those guys got on stage to do any covers, which was surprising due to all of the guest musicians they usually get on stage. Regardless of whether they had guests on stage, Steel Panther put on a show that was perfect to end the day. The band had the entire tent rockin’ and laughing for the entire hour.
Not only did Rock Allegiance have an awesome day of music, it had some great choices for food and drink. Labeled as having “Gourmet Man Food” and craft beers on top of that, PPL Park had it all on Saturday. Throughout the stadium, there were your basic food vendors as there would be at any event there. On top of that were all the food trucks that the festival brought in. The best part about all of the options was that none of the lines got ridiculously long like they do at other festivals. The prices for everything were fair which helped keep concert goers wallet’s happy. Most of all, having options besides your typical hot dogs, hamburgers, etc was a relief. The same goes for the basic festival overpriced beer, Rock Allegiance made sure there were plenty of options. The festival was filled with plastic canning jars which were being used for a variance of alcoholic beverages. Considering the price of tickets and the experience festival attendees got in return, Rock Allegiance was an absolute steal. It was no surprise at all that this event sold out ahead of time and hopefully it will return again next year.