Despite the best efforts of the retirees, baby boomers and what our friend calls the ‘hippy dippy trippy’ lovers, Rock and Roll was front and centre in the (lower) Okanagan this weekend! Penticton’s amazing South Okanagan Events Centre was host to not one, not two, but FOUR incredibly popular, incredibly talented and incredibly loud rock/metal bands!
Don’t be late for the openers! Newcomers From Ashes to New tried to blow the roof off , and set the bar pretty high for the remaining evening! Powerful hooky tunes and an energetic stage presence had the audience in an uproar from the get go. From Ashes to New might be new but they use the entire big stage like pros and it will be interesting to see where this band goes in the future.
Short break between bands – enough to hit the merch booth downstairs or grab a beer, and next up is Sixx Am! Most know Sixx Am via Nikki Sixx, but the band also boasts singer James Michael and DJ Ashba on bass. Sixx-A-M is an amalgamation of all three band member’s last names/initials. Sixx was on top of his game, Michael’s vocals were crisp and clear and DJ Ashba was a pleasure to watch! Looking like Rock Stars, sounding like rock stars, this band is a tight unit. Near the end of their set they asked for the house lights to be turned on, and addressed the crowd, speaking about how their songs deal with heavy subject matters, important subject matters – and how they always try to have Hope instilled in the song in some form. Seeing the entire audience sing, ‘open your eyes and you will find that Life is Beautiful,’ in a lit venue rather than the pitch black, really was a moving experience.
Next up – Papa Roach! With a new album coming out, the big question was, “will they perform any new tunes tonight?” The answer was no (according to drummer Tony Palermo during a radio interview earlier). With that out of the way, let’s just enjoy the great tunes, and the insane antics of front man Jacoby Shaddix! By the third song in, security was pulling girls out of the front crush, over the rail to walk back to the sound board and jump back in the fray. By the 5th song, Shaddix jumped off the stage with spotlight in tow, clambered up to the lower level seats and told them ‘get up! this is a fucking rock show, get off your asses‘ and they did! Once back on stage at the end of the song, Shaddix introduced the ‘Wall of Death’ instructing the floor audience to split down the middle and for the ‘good’ side to charge at the ‘evil’ side, and “if someone falls, PICK THEM UP! and do it again!” wow! The audience did exactly what it was told – such is the power of a passionate honest performer! The wall of death was followed by the audience pogo-ing, Shaddix crowd surfing, a circle mosh pit, and Shaddix and guitarist Jerry Horton leaving the stage to head to the back, performing an acoustic duo at the sound board. Those fans at the very back, suddenly had front row centre for an up close personal experience.. something we though was incredibly cool. The set ended with a thunderous conclusion, guitar picks and water bottles tossed from stage, and a crowd shot with the band as a memento (see below for highlight reel). Papa Roach gave everything they had and then some… so incredible to be part of this energy in this concert experience.
With a longer break between bands, we headed upstairs to the main merch table – and found that the line up snaked almost around the entire upper deck! Sparked in part perhaps by the fact that at least one band member from each band so far had worn their own band tee to perform in? Used to be taboo but kinda liked seeing it! Nearly time for the last band, and something I’ve never seen before! Venue security brought out a case of bottled water, and cracking a few open, they walked up and down the barricade, pouring water into the mouths of the sweaty heaving mass of ecstatic fans to keep them hydrated. Security in general were fantastic.. no fights broke out even with all the moshing, security never over reacted to the exuberance, and everyone just had a great time!
Five Finger Death Punch… first time experience and what intensity! Their drummer wore a skeleton mask the entire show, front man Ivan had the coolest mic stand ever, and bassist Chris mugged for the cameras, tossed so many guitar picks to fans it must cost him a fortune! Like the three bands before them, every ounce of energy was expended, they connected with the audience without having to force it! An acoustic song mid set was cool.. some people think it might slow down a performance but fans really do need a lull to catch their breath and keep going! Near the end, singer Ivan brought about 10 people up on stage saying, “there are only two ways on stage – if you’re under 13 yrs old, and if you’re wearing a hand print like mine.” (red paint on the face). The fellow who was pulled on stage was the biggest 5FDP fan who was also first in line, first in the building, and first at the rail… and he was in his glory. The band finished off their set by telling us (and after tonight I believe them!) that we were the best audience they’ve ever had.. the best. And they’ll be back!
You know how sometimes the way the bands are paired up gives you a so-so opener with a good band and a great headliner? Well tonight wasn’t like that in the least.. EVERY band was as good as the others. All four bands shone with equal passion, energy, and rock n roll charisma! So cool to see stage wear! Makeup! Rock n roll hair and gear hell yeah. And even cooler; they support each other even when they don’t think people notice – many of them were in the shadows watching the other bands performance just like the rest of us fans. Now that’s Rock n Roll.
Check out our full photo gallery HERE
Papa Roach Penticton Highlight Reel
— Papa Roach (@paparoach) September 11, 2016
all rights reserved
all photos nightMair Creative/photography