2013’s Rock Fest is incredibly popular this year, pulling in a number of must see acts. Even on Wednesday night a day prior to the first concert, people are lined up to get into the campgrounds. The beer tents are filled with bands such as Vaudville, Consult the Briefcase, Gravel Switch, Bumblefist, 4th Floor, and many more to entertain in between and after sets. Rock Fest is interesting in that it pulls in several generations with their different types of acts.
The festival gets started on a very hot Thursday afternoon with Aranda, to be followed by All That Remains, Halestorm, and Seether. All That Remains runs through a variety of their hits, including “Forever in Your Hands”, “For We Are Many”, and more. Halestorm is a hit, as both the men and women love Lzzy Hale. They perform numerous tracks, including their own “I Get Off”, “Love Bite (So Do I)”, among Dio and Skid Row covers, much to the delight of the audience. As the sun begins to set and the temperature drops to a comfortable level, Seether entertains the crowd with songs like, “Country Song”, “Broken” and more. The night is closed out by Three Days Grace with the new lead singer, Matt Walst.
Friday is another warm day, with temperatures in the nineties. People are keeping themselves immensely hydrated to keep the fun going. Nonpoint gets things started in a very heavy fashion in the early afternoon beneath the blazing sun. They perform numerous songs, such as “Victim” and “That Day”. Friday is starting off as one of the more heavy metal days of the weekend. It continues with the band Pop Evil and moves onto Theory of a Deadman. As the grounds begin to darken and people are able to enjoy the show without sweating themselves thin, Offspring sets in motion memories of nineties concerts. The band puts on an excellent stage show with numerous hits from over the years, including, “Bad Habit”, “Self Esteem”, “Come Out and Play”, and much more.
Korn is one of the bands that people specifically came to Rock Fest to see. There are people at the show that die hard Korn fans and a darkening feeling engulfs the festival as Korn emerges. They begin their show in a different form, opening with “Blind”, a song usually reserved for later in the listing. One of the major aspects of the show is that Head is back with the band, playing guitar like back in the old days of the band. They continue with many other songs from various years. They include titles such as, “Y’All Want a Single”, “Dead Bodies Everywhere”, “Shoots and Ladders” and more. They also cover Pink Floyd’s hit, “Another Brick in the Wall”.
Friday is a mix of several types of acts, but Kiss ultimately rule the day. There are Kiss fans everywhere, identifiable by their makeup and outfits. The line for Kiss merchandise is the longest in years, selling shirts, shorts, and more. They are not the only performers of the day, however. Fans are treated to artists such as Warrant, Hellyeah, Slash, and Megadeth as well. Hellyeah is as loud as possible, with the legendary Vinnie Paul on drums. Slash needs no real introduction, playing original songs, as well as those from Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver. Megadeth has an amazing stage show and Dave Mustaine puts on a great show.
Regardless of how long Kiss has been touring, they still know how to put on the type of concert that feels like a party. They have the stage set up like their current tour, however they are unable to use the entire stage. In place, the audience is entertained with fire, video screens, incredible amounts of confetti, and fun music. A large selection of their catalog is played, including, “God of Thunder”, “War Machine”, “Love Gun”, “Psycho Circus”, and more. They end the night on an extremely pleasurable note, including introducing a wounded veteran on stage. During the introduction, they present him with a mortgage free home in Milwaukee, which then causes the audience to erupt into the pledge of allegiance, followed by “Rock and Roll All Nite”.
After the eventful Kiss show, a large part of the audience is exhausted come Sunday morning. The morning begins with a large shower, only to be followed with a mild day to end the weekend in a relaxed nature. Sunday is another day with a very interesting line up. Included are bands such as Device, Skillet, Otherwise, Whitesnake, and Motley Crue. Device is the new band by the lead singer of Disturbed, David Draiman. He makes a point of going out and speaking with the fans on the grounds, many of who are very pleased to meet him. Skillet, a Rock Fest veteran, plays several of their favorites, including “Sick of It”, “Monster” and more.
As the sun sets, Whitesnake takes the stage. They open with “Give Me All Your Love”. It feels like the eighties all over again with performances of “Is This Love”, “Slide It In”, “Here I Go Again”, and more. David Coverdale is clearly enjoying the show and the band plays a dueling of guitars that amazes the audience. They end their set with a rendition of “Still of the Night”, much to the delight of the onlookers.
Motley Crue finishes off the weekend as only Motley Crue can. The band is known for being either very diverse when it comes to their performances and people were wondering all day, and possibly all weekend, what they would come to expect. They were not disappointed. The set opens with the newer song, “Saints of Los Angeles” and they then slide into a large variety of classic tracks. Some of their old favorites include “Wild Side”, “Same Ol’ Situation”, “Live Wire”, “Too Fast for Love” and several others. Vince Neil is great vocally and Niki Sixxi is clearly having a lot of fun on stage. For the first time in years, Mick Mars come from the back of the stage to perform several solos. It is a real treat for those that have never seen him play so personally. The only real subtraction from the show is Tommy Lee, who is hiding behind darker lights and his drum set. He takes to not being included in bow at the end of the show, opting to instead leave the stage at the immediate end.
Overall, Rock Fest is a lot of fun. It’s an out of the ordinary sort of festival in that there are several types of bands. They have bands such as Kiss and Korn in the same place, which is hard to find. It draws people of all ages and demographics, including children, their parents, teenagers, and more. People come to see classic rock as well as heavy metal and are able to find new friends while enjoying shows with those they came to the concert with. In a field in the middle of Wisconsin, there isn’t a better way to enjoy a summer weekend.