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07/19/2008 Krockathon 13: Seether, Shinedown, Sick Puppies, 12 Stones, Luna Halo, Black Stone Cherry, Safetysuit (Weedsport, NY @ Cayuga County Fairgrounds)

By Eric | July 19, 2008 11:10 pm

[Three Days Grace actually headlined this, but I wasn’t about to stick around for them.]

The infamous KRockathon. Year after year, this brings out the best and brightest that Syracuse and Utica have to offer, and I don’t mean the bands. Much like any festival or carnival, you wonder what hole a lot of these people crawled out of. And since it’s hot, and there’s alcohol involved, they end up wearing far less clothes than they should, and start way more fights. Anyway, the sideshow notwithstanding, there was music to be heard! I left the house at 10, got there by 11:15, got in line and was in the park by 11:45. Milled around and found a spot reasonably up front. Safetysuit went on at 12:30, and they were alright. I’d never heard of them before, I probably won’t bother to check them out now either, but they were passable as openers. They just sounded like every other generic post-grunge-lite band out there, which is to say they captured my attention for a half hour.

Next was one of the bands I really wanted to see, Black Stone Cherry. The four dudes from Kentucky ripped through their half-hour set with a ton of intensity, and had the crowd going nuts with their hard rocking, the wild solos, and the couple songs that had gotten radio airplay. While entirely too short (why didn’t they get 45 minutes instead of Sick Puppies or 12 Stones? Anyone?), they did mangage to fit in Rain Wizard, Backwoods Gold, Blind Man, Hell and High Water, Lonely Train, Maybe Someday (just as the rain stared to come down), and closed with a crazy take on Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile, which included lead singer/guitarist Chris Robertson coming down into the security pit, right up to the crowd to play the guitar behind his head. At one point the other band members were joining him in the behind-the-head maneuver, which looked pretty awesome.

After their set, I escaped to the FYE booth and bought the BSC CD, which put me in the express line for the autograph tent. Finally used that one to my advantage! So I got the CD and a small poster signed, and then foraged for some food while Luna Halo was on.

While I freely admit I wasn’t paying too much attention to them, Luna Halo didn’t sound all that interesting to me. I caught a seat in the grandstand for 12 Stones, as I know a couple of their tunes, and I wasn’t terribly impressed with them either. The lead singer had a I-wanna-be-Jacoby-Shaddix (from Papa Roach) thing going on, as far as his running around the stage and trying to jack the crowd up, and he tried every lame rock gimmick he could think of on the crowd, including one of the worst “wall of death” attempts I’ve ever seen. The band sounded okay, but the singer couldn’t really sing, the songs I knew didn’t sound that great, and the ones I didn’t know weren’t performed in any manner where I’d want to check them out. Off to the left side beer stand, and that was my spot for most of Sick Puppies, who I’d seen before (opening for Finger Eleven). They were okay, the crowd was eating them up, but I’m still not convinced they deserved a 45 minute slot. Just like last year, they’re competent at what they do, but I don’t feel like anything sets them apart. They did the Say My Name/Brain Stew mash-up again.

Time for Shinedown. I made my way into the back center of the “floor”, and had a pretty good vantage point, and pretty decent people around me. The guys came out, and launched into Devour, and from there had a nice high and low flow to the set. Lead singer Brent Smith sounded good, was hitting notes, and the band sounded good too. Brent sold out far less notes this time around. They played Devour, Heroes, Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide, I Dare You (dedicated to the troops), Cry For Help, If You Only Knew (about Brent’s fiancee), Left Out, Burning Bright, The Sound Of Madness, Save Me, 45, and the set closed with Fly From The Inside. Hearing the whole crowd sing along with 45 was pretty cool, and pretty much the whole place was into their set.

I wandered up closer through the mass of people to get about 5 rows back from the front, on the left side (stage right) for Seether. Again, I was around some pretty cool people, and once the band started everyone was in tune to the crowd surfers going overhead and acting accordingly, so there weren’t any surprises as far as people landing on someones head. Always a good thing! Seether picked up Troy McLawhorn (of Doubledrive and Dark New Day fame) as 2nd guitarist, so it was nice to see him rockin out with the guys. The set was surprisingly very sparse on songs from the new “Finding Beauty…” album, thus being slanted more towards the first two discs. They did a lot of improvising within the songs, and even managed to make Fine Again sound somewhat new, with a couple of different wrinkles in the performance. They seemed to be having a ton of fun up on stage also, laughing and joking around while doing their thing. The band opened with Because Of You, and again, the order is probably screwed up, but they also played Rise Above This, Truth, Needles, Fine Again, Gasoline, Burrito, Broken (acoustically) Fake It, and Remedy. I was very happy with their performance, and I’m glad I’m seeing them later in the week in Buffalo, with them headlining, so hopefully we’ll get more new songs this time out.

Regardless, I had a good time, and was able to get out of the place with no delay, thanks to the majority of people staying for Three Days Grace. One change into dry clothes later, I was on the road back home. Another fun and successful KRockathon!

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