Rocktember – Grand Casino Hinckley MN – 9 / 11 & 12 / 2015

What else can be said about Rocktember that wasn’t said about its amazing counterpart, Rocktober, last year? Aside from the different acts, the show was still as much fun.

Spanning two days of a varied mix of rock and roll, Rocktember entertained a huge audience at Grand Casino Hinckley in Minnesota. There was a great mix of entertainment over both days. The first day included Steelheart, Jack Russell’s Great White, Skid Row, Candlebox, and Bret Michaels. The second was Scrap Metal, Saliva, Eric Martin, LA Guns, Ace Frehley, and Twisted Sister. It was easy to see why the crowd was incredibly diverse with such a lineup. The bands ranged in popularity from various decades and were each perfect in their own way for the weekend.

Major highlights from the first day included Steelheart, Candlebox, and Bret Michaels. For those unaware of Steelheart, the easy way to remember them is that they actually sang everything that came out of Mark Whalberg’s mouth in the film, “Rock Star”. They were so fun and one of the main reasons I attended the show. Candlebox did a great job, redeeming themselves heavily from the last show I saw of theirs. They still sound fantastic and the audience absolutely loved them.

By the time Skid Row took the stage, it was beginning to get very cold out and many people went to take refuge in their cars before Bret Michaels. Skid Row is simply not the same without Sebastian Bach. It’s not as if Tony Harnell is a bad vocalist (because he certainly is not), but his voice doesn’t resonate that same feel as Sebastian’s. Bret Michaels stole the show, of course, with his legions of female fans that were all there. He’s a great performer, but I will still never understand the draw of Bret Michaels or Poison. Nonetheless, he put on an awesome show.

Day two pulled in more of a crowd. I don’t feel this was due to the bands, rather the fact that it was Saturday. More people had the day off and could get out there in time to see everyone. It was just a nonstop party. The main draws of the day were Ace Frehley and Twisted Sister, both of whom played fantastically. Ace always is a crowd pleaser with his own songs, as well as a large amount of Kiss tunes. Saliva did a great job at pulling in the younger crowds that some of the older ones couldn’t muster. The night ended with Twisted Sister’s last performance, which included a heartfelt dedication to their recently deceased drummer, AJ Pero.

All in all, the weekend was a hit. I’m looking forward to another next year, so here’s hoping that they do it again. The bands were a wonderful mix and the venue was an excellent host.