In the name of Rock, hardcore fans paced around for months on end, shivering through winter, eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival. Finally, in late Spring, early Summer, media outlets began reporting the fourth annual Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival would once again emanate from the BB&T Pavilion & Wiggins Waterfront Park in Camden, New Jersey, Saturday, October 6, 2018.
Alongside the scheduled date and venue, the lineup for this year’s festival left Rock fans buzzing on the edge of their seats. Capped by an immense lineup of Rock greatness, the 2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival would be headlined by a three-headed monster, pun intended, showcasing two of Rap Rock’s most legendary names, Papa Roach and Limp Bizkit, plus, Metal giants Avenged Sevenfold. Even better, the festival’s undercard would prominently hold several names about as huge as the three headliners.
Offering a tempting array of genres, the 2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival lineup was slated to gift big-time acts Fozzy, Of Mice & Men, Insane Clown Posse, GWAR, Bullet For My Valentine, Beartooth, and Skillet. Along with these notable, well-known names, Rock fans would have the opportunity to get to know some talented emerging acts in From Ashes to New, Stone Broken, Bad Omens, BlackTop Mojo, Knocked Loose, BadFlower, Devour The Day, Siravo, The Fever 333, and Sylar. Twenty bands on three stages, whether you are a fan of Heavy Metal, Hardcore, Rap Rock, Rap, Gothic Metal, or Hard Rock, the 2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival has something for every appetite.
Speaking of hunger, fans would be treated to a dizzying display of foods ranging from Chickies & Pete’s Crab-fries to Baby Blues BBQ, pizza, sausage, and more. On top of this, fans thirsty from moshing can take a break for copious amounts of Monster Energy Drinks or a cold beer from any one of fifteen breweries on hand including Sierra Nevada, Troegs, Dogfish Head, Blue Point Brewing Company, and more.
As the summer kick-started, fans waited in anticipation for the fall, and the 2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival. Then, in July, to everyone’s surprise, Avenged Sevenfold vocalist, M. Shadows, was diagnosed with a viral infection and blood blister on his vocal chords, inhibiting his ability to sing. Sadly, Avenged Sevenfold had to cancel the remaining dates on their 2018 End Of The World Tour, including the band’s scheduled performance at the 2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival. Wishing Shadows a speedy recovery, fans were disappointed but know the resilient front-man and Avenged Sevenfold will be back and better than ever. That said, festival organizers quickly combed the earth for a replacement and booked one of the biggest bands in Modern Metal, Motionless In White, finalizing the festival’s line-up.
Primed to pledge their Rock Allegiance, the morning of October 6th finally at hand, scores of fans gathered around the venue, lined up everywhere, looking forward to a full day, and over eleven hours of non-stop Rock decadence. All this in mind, let’s experience the 2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival.
The very first act of the day, Stone Broken officially kicked off the 2018 Rock Allegiance Festival on the Wiggins Stage overlooking the Delaware River. From across the pond, the United Kingdom’s most up-and-coming Hard Rock band, Stone Broken – Rich Moss (vocals/guitar), Robyn Haycock (drums), Chris Davis (guitar), and Kieron Conroy (bass) – are a humble group who have spent 2018 making quite the name for themselves here on American soil. Supporting their sophomore album, Ain’t Always Easy, Stone Broken just wrapped up their first U.S. tour, a big one, opening up sold out shows for Fozzy.
New to The States, Stone Broken has seen a series of firsts with nearly every U.S. show this year. Having said that, this day was no exception, marking the band’s first ever major U.S. festival performance. In front of excited Rock fans, Stone Broken hit the stage to a cast of cheers from folks craving to see the band as well as well as curious Rock fans who wished to see what the buzz was all about. Ready to go, Stone Broken showed Camden what they are made of, tearing it up on songs like “Heartbeat Away,” “Doesn’t Matter,” and “I Believe.”
To raised fists, Koch expressed the band’s gratitude for all the unwavering support Stone Broken has received here in America. As he introduced the next number, Koch says it happened to be a popular hit in strip clubs lately, “Let Me See It All.” In amazement of the great reception offered by the engaged crowd, Stone Broken rocked out on the final two numbers, “Worth Fighting For” and “Not Your Enemy,” before thanking New Jersey, and saying goodbye until next time while tossing out some guitar picks and drum sticks.
From Ashes to New:
Taking a big step, Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s own, From Ashes to New are a young and talented Rap Rock ensemble who only just formed five short years ago. Having said that, the band made up of dual Vocalists Matt Brandyberry and Danny Case, Guitarist Lance Dowdle, and Drummer Mat Madiro have already achieved such a buzz they were granted the opening slot on the BB&T Pavilion’s main stage. Predicting success, From Ashes to New released their sophomore album, The Future, back in February of this year. To smoke and flashing lights, From Ashes to New hit the stage like pros and received a rousing ovation from a nice-sized crowd.
Blending a compelling combination of Rap and Rock, From Ashes to New brought a heartfelt set of music to the day which included emotional performances of songs like “The Future,” “Broken,” and “My Name.” Speaking to their own, the guys expressed to fans that they will never be alone because the band’s music will always be there for them no matter what they are going through. If anyone new to the band thought they heard influences of Linkin Park, the band showed this was true by covering Linkin Park with a recipe of “Heavy” and “Papercut.” Lastly, From Ashes to New closed out a memorable set via the heavily stirring “Through It All,” ending a set that left fans elated, and gained the band new supporters along the way.
Flying high, elated fans piled back in front of the main stage for one of the most anticipated events of the day, a performance by the one, the only, the ever so pleasing, Fozzy. Another year, another hit, supporting possibly the band’s most praised album, 2017’s Judas, Fozzy has utterly rocked the face off 2018 on a sold out Judas Rising Tour.
With that, merciless roars took over the pavilion as Rich Ward (lead guitar), Frank Fontsere (drums), Billy Grey (rhythm guitar), and Paul Di Leo (bass) climbed aboard the stage. As if things couldn’t get louder, the entrance of Vocalist Chris Jericho drew massive cheers from fans. One amazing thing about Jericho, the great showman is never too shy to show how he is just as ecstatic to see his audience as they are to see him. With the crowd in the palm of his hand, Jericho asked the people if they were ready for Fozzy, and the response was electric.
Wasting no time, Fozzy detonated into “Judas” and “Drinkin With Jesus,” setting the place on fire. Running from one end of the stage to another, Jericho was graced with devil horns and raised fists as the band kicked into the blissful “Burn Me Out.” It was here where Jericho performed the catchy tune in the audience, jumping up-and-down with fans who were thrilled to be so close to this true Rock star. Hoping back on stage, Jericho and Fozzy made the day “Painless” before asking the crowd “Do You Wanna Start a War.” Simply amazing, Fozzy got everyone moving for “Lights Go Out” and closed via “Sandpaper.” Not at a loss for enthusiasm, Jericho declared “Camden, you’ve just seen the band of the hour!” as Fozzy took a bow after a show stealing performance.
Dishing out arguably the main stage’s heaviest set of the day, rural America’s Beartooth are comprised of Vocalist Caleb Shomo, Lead Guitarist Zach Huston, Drummer Connor Denis, Rhythm Guitarist Kamron Bradbury, and Drummer Oshie Bichar. Together, these five young men produce an obliterating array of Hardcore Punk Rock/Metal and are fresh off the release of their third full length album, Disease, which just dropped on September 28, 2018.
For those unaware, the last few songs played over the P.A. before a band steps on stage, especially the final song, are usually chosen by the band to get themselves and the crowd riled-up. With that, following Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Beartooth emerged from the shadows looking to take some names, and help fans blow off a little steam. That said, the opening notes of “Bad Listener” sent mosh pits ablaze as the burning Metal sounds created a bonded and fearless atmosphere amongst the crowd.
The insatiable ride continued, as Beartooth ripped through “Aggressive,” “The Lines,” and “You Never Know.” Next, for “Hated” and “Disease,” Shomo became one of many artists of the day to address mental health and depression during their set. Essentially, the front-man let his fans know that even if you are feeling down, you should never ever give-up. Moving along, Beartooth dug right into commanding performances of “Body Bag” and “In Between” to conclude the band’s set. Overall, Beartooth sure as hell raised the bar for the rest of the bands on the main stage.
One of the most shocking, and, to say the least, different acts to ever don the Heavy Metal stage, GWAR is like a twisted Horror movie come to life. The cast of GWAR incorporate some of the most captivating and grotesque personas Metal has ever seen with Blothar (vocals), Balsac the Jaws of Death (rhythm guitar), Jizmak Da Gusha (drums), Sawborg Destructo (backing vocals), Beefcake the Mighty (bass), Pustulus Maximus (guitar), Bonesnapper (backing vocals), and Sleazy P. Martini (backing vocals). In 2017, GWAR released their unprecedented fourteenth studio album, The Blood of Gods, another crude reminder of the depths GWAR will go to shock the system, never conforming to trends nor changing to please anyone.
Ready for anything, a massive crowd gathered at the Plaza Stage to catch GWAR’s must-see performance. Decked out in the most freakish and extreme costumes, GWAR left the Camden crowd in awe with the sight of their surreal presence. Spewing political, sexual, and disturbing innuendos, GWAR garnered nothing short of unbridled hysteria during performances of the band’s most heinous material including “El Presidente,” “Maggots,” “Viking Death Machine,” and “I’ll Be Your Monster.” After dousing the rabid crowd in fake blood, which fans loved, GWAR winded down the madness with the candor of “Fuck This Place,” closing a performance which blissful fans will ever be able to unsee.
As evening set into motion, whether it was the inside seating or the lawn area, more and more fans made a home of the main stage area, where, at 6:10 PM, they could check out the next band, Skillet. Considered a veteran Hard Rock band, Skillet has been around for over twenty years, since their debut album, Skillet. Over the last two decades, Skillet has achieved platinum-selling success with 2006’s Comatose and 2009’s Awake. On top of this, Skillet has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards, along with having their music featured in video games and WWE Pay-Per-Views.
On this night, fans cheered as Skillet took the stage, the band made-up of Vocalist/Bassist John Cooper along with John’s wife, Rhythm Guitarist Korey Cooper, Lead Guitarist Seth Morrison, and Drummer Jen Ledger. Shining from the start, Skillet kicked-off their set with “Feel Invincible,” virtually wowing everyone in attendance with their sharp, hard-rocking skills. For the course of forty-five minutes, Skillet rocked the confines of the pavilion with performances of tunes like “Awake and Alive” and “Hero.” Offering the band’s most daunting hit, Skillet unleashed the “Monster” upon Camden and closed by breaking down barriers via “The Resistance.” Showing supreme talent, Skillet wowed the stunned crowd and proved that more Rock fans need to experience Skillet’s powerful music, and imperative message.
Motionless in White:
One of the most coveted bands in Alternative/Gothic Metal nowadays, Motionless In White hail from Scranton, Pennsylvania, a bit more than a stones throw away from the Rock Allegiance fairgrounds; 129 miles to be exact. Taking on the world following the 2010 debut LP, Creatures, Motionless In White’s core sound embodies a mixture of influences that range from the likes of Marilyn Manson to Slipknot.
Now a pitch black night, Motionless In White members Chris “Motionless” Cerulli (vocals), Ryan Sitkowski (guitar), Ricky “Horror” Olson (guitar), Vinny Mauro (drums), and current fill-in Bassist Justin Morrow (of Ice Nine Kills) surfaced out of the darkness into a packed house of screaming fanatics. Preying on the damned, Motionless In White arrived to ignite a new fire, different from prior bands who rocked the Main Stage earlier in the day. In a synth symphony, Motionless In White kicked-off their set with the coercing gloom of “Rats” off the band’s 2017 No. 1 album Graveyard Shift. Ready to be metalized, Motionless In White’s loyal fans praised the band as Cerulli lead the shriek of “Necessary Evil,” defiant to run this party on his own terms.
In sheer defiance, Cerulli engaged the crowd all night and several times required an answer to the question, “Where are my Metal-heads at?” Amongst the madness and smoke, fans howled as Motionless In White’s set was only gaining momentum, and getting heavier. Defiant numbers “Soft,” “Generation Lost,” and the siren “Loud (Fuck It),” blew the speakers in a thunderous site. In burning Metal, Motionless In White’s onslaught carried on through “A-m-e-r-i-c-a,” “570,” and the turbulent confusion of “Voices.” Bidding farewell, Motionless In White left Rock Allegiance with “Eternally Yours” after devoting black hearts and silent screams to a euphoric crowd of rabid fans.
Next on the bill, virtual co-headliners, Papa Roach was set to storm the Main Stage, and at this point, the lawn area and pavilion were packed to the brim. What seems like yesterday, Papa Roach stood at the forefront of the Rap-Rock movement in the early 2000’s. Seriously, what Rock fan doesn’t know the opening line to “Last Resort?” Vocalist Jacoby Shaddix is one of the most highly recognizable voices of the era, and alongside Guitarist Jerry Horton, Drummer Tony Palermo, and Bassist Tobin Esperance, Papa Roach remain a highly motivated act, dedicated to rocking audiences from near and far.
Bursting into Camden, Papa Roach leaped into action, delivering irresistible energy with show opener “Renegade Music.” For anyone in attendance seeing Papa Roach live for the first time, these fans were about to be treated to a fun and emotional, highly dynamic, and spirited Rock show. Moving right along, Papa Roach cut deep into a crowd thirsty for an impassioned connection via “Between Angels and Insects.” Next, Papa Roach refused to give up as they encouraged all to “Face Everything and Rise,” bragged to be “Getting Away With Murder,” spread love on “Forever,” and lit-up the house in “American Dreams.”
As the crowd ate-up the Papa Roach excitement, a performance of “…To Be Loved” brought some fans back to when it was the theme song to Monday Night Raw. Then, a rousing rendition of the bleeding Papa Roach anthem “Scars” sent chills amongst the crowd who sang at the top of their lungs. Throwing in a cover, Papa Roach put their stamp on Blur’s “Song 2” before pleading for “Help,” the first single off their latest LP, Crooked Teeth. As the set came to a head, Papa Roach were standing tall on “Born for Greatness,” but the climax took place on the band’s final showdown, “Last Resort.” Seizing the moment, Papa Roach, and the dynamic fans, made this a paramount moment in the night, letting it all go in one big outpouring of amazing enthusiasm. Put them on your list of band’s to see live, Papa Roach left it all on the stage in arguably the best performance of the day.
Back when Rap Rock and Nu-Metal were at the top of the mountain, from 1998-2001, two bands ruled all; one was Korn, and the other, well the other, was Limp Bizkit. Taking Rock radio by the horns, with a certain George Michael cover off 1997’s Three Dollar Bill, Ya’ll$, charismatic Lead Singer Fred Durst, shock rocker Guitarist Wes Borland, Bassist Sam Rivers, Drummer John Otto, and the fine malt flavor of DJ Lethal, were an instant hit among Rock fans who just wanted to party hard. The Limp Bizkit craze hit its boiling point with the highly anticipated release of the band’s second album, Significant Other. An irresistible collection of high energy Rap Rock, Significant Other exploded all over the mainstream, selling a staggering 16 million copies. Just over a year later, Limp Bizkit released their third LP, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, debuting at No. 1. Though the band’s mainstream popularity waned, Limp Bizkit stuck it out until going on hiatus in 2004. Thankfully, fans were elated to see Limp Bizkit return in 2009, touring and recording new music.
As the crowd heated-up for the main event, the air in the night felt like a Limp Bizkit show back in 1999; unpredictable and happily out of control. To a cavalry of cheers, Limp Bizkit took the stage to Prince’s “Purple Rain,” and, as the appearance of the old-school rockers carried a sense of nostalgia, Borland’s black and white face paint was haunting alongside Fred Durst who sported a camouflage fisherman’s hat, baggy pants, and a Bo Jackson football jersey.
From the start, as the band played slight background effects, Durst taunted the crowd, commanding the people get on their feet, and get loud. A knock-out, Limp Bizkit would pummel all with the opening “Full Nelson” and a cover of Ministry’s “Thieves.” Not getting enough, Durst entered the crowd and made his way to the middle, standing upon the railing, as he had everyone in the palm of his hand during “Hot Dog,” sounding as good screaming the lyrics as he did back in 2000.
Back on stage, Durst continued to fire-up the crowd as Limp Bizkit hit the mark with “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle),” “Nookie,” and “My Generation.” At one point, Durst invited members of the audience on-stage to rock out with the band and most of the fans behaved themselves. Moving along, as covered on social media, a WTF moment took place at the end of an exhilarating performance of “Faith” when Shaggy 2 Dope of Insane Clown Posse, who performed earlier in the day, ran out from backstage and tried to dropkick Durst from behind, but barely missed the back of the singer’s head. Naturally, Shaggy 2 Dope was tackled by security and dragged off stage never to be seen again.
Paying tribute to one of the best bands of the 1990’s, Limp Bizkit tore it up with current Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name,” before a pleasing “My Way.” Finally answering chants for the song, Limp Bizkit delivered the goods with “Break Stuff” before culminating the festival, rejecting jealousy on “Take A Look Around.” For just over an hour, Limp Bizkit gave fans what they waited for all day long, a brash, rocking set of songs they grew-up with, and showed one thing, that Limp Bizkit has still got it.
A hell of a day, the 2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival successfully gave Camden, NJ a great day of music, food, drinks, and a sense of community for Rock fans. As music lovers left the venue, nothing but positivity and good feels shined from the faces of fans who are already looking forward to next year’s festival extravaganza.
Purchase Ain’t Always Easy:
[amazon_link asins=’B077ZTXM8T’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’crypticrock-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5eaf49ce-cc86-11e8-8e68-efaca1c03a6e’]
[amazon_link asins=’B075B1FNH1′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’crypticrock-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’67d50e18-cc86-11e8-acd0-7350e8bb4720′]
[amazon_link asins=’B07F7NZYPT’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’crypticrock-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’71565feb-cc86-11e8-bf34-51cac2570f39′]
Purchase The Blood of Gods:
[amazon_link asins=’B0744XTZF1′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’crypticrock-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bed516fd-cc86-11e8-824c-e16de3e3d8e6′]
[amazon_link asins=’B01FN74ZKU’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’crypticrock-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c72d7861-cc86-11e8-a674-9db1a4b60bce’]
Purchase Graveyard Shift:
[amazon_link asins=’B06X9LY1CW’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’crypticrock-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d363ff0a-cc86-11e8-98c4-d3eca4ea85e2′]
Purchase Crooked Teeth:
[amazon_link asins=’B06XH296G9′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’crypticrock-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e02c17e4-cc86-11e8-a14b-7f17d1035c9c’]
Photo credit: Andrew Fiero Photography