Rocklahoma (ROK) is part of a series of multi-day Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music festivals planned by AEG and billed as the World’s Loudest Month from late April to early June. This eleventh edition of ROK features AEG’s emerging Active Rock talent mixed with Traditional Heavy Metal and Hard Rock bands. Organizers are optimistic the weather for this year’s Memorial Day Weekend festival will be more cooperative than the past two years when thunderstorms shut down the festival for safety issues caused by lightning in the area.
No weather woes for the first day. Under blue skies, sparse clouds and temperature in the upper 80’s, Trivium open the festival’s main stage. Fans were not pleased with the early 30 minute time slot. Niether was the band who commented they were used to a longer set time. Playing the main stage can be seen as an “honor”, but there are disadvantages such as earlier time slots, lack of stage lighting and shorter set times. Regardless, Trivium soldiered on culminating their set with a blistering rendition of “In Waves”. Andrew W.K. followed with a well received set on the Second Stage complete with a half dozen jumbo beach balls ricocheting through the crowd. ROK runs two other stages besides the main stage. The River Spirit Casino Second Stage and the D&B Retrospect Records Stage which play simultaneously between main stage acts. The music never stops from mid afternoon until well after midnight. Unfortunately, both secondary stages playing at the same time make it impossible to see all the bands. Travelling through the crowds from one stage to another is challenging as well, particularly after the sunset.
SOiL followed on the second stage after Sevendust delivered their set on the main stage. Trivium and SOiL were the bands to see for fans of heavier metal. Both SOiL and a fired up crowd enjoyed their high energy set concluding with an impressive cover of Ram Jam’s 1977 hit “Black Betty”. Quite a treat to hear that song played at high volume by a band who could give it such an aggressive treatment. The best song of the day by any band.
The remaining highlights of the day were professional performances by The Cult on the main stage and enthusiastic sets by area favorites Firststryke (Tulsa, OK) and ASKA (Dallas, TX) on the D&B stage. The biggest disappointment on the day was the Stone Temple Pilots. The consensus of fans within earshot was that cover bands perform STP music better than the imposters on stage.