The Rock Carnival Closes Out With A Bang Lakewood, NJ 10-2-16

After two days of wild weather and even wilder Rock-n-Roll music, the bar was set high for the final day of 2016’s Rock Carnival on Sunday, October 2nd. Unlike the first two  days, the full roster for Sunday was left largely a mystery, with many acts not being revealed until a couple weeks before the actual event. While Day One and Two had been headlined by more legendary and iconic names in Rock music, Sunday looked more to the present and future with headliners such as The Used and Halestorm. That said, the day was not without some classic veteran rockers such as Sebastian Bach and Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, to name a few on the bill. With the weather actually looking a little bit better, more vendors were on hand, giving fans some extra options for picking up some great items while they waited in between each act spread out over the three stages of the Rock Carnival.

River Monsters 

With he main stages ready, it would be local act River Monsters taking the first nod on the WRAT Stage around 2 PM. A new Rock band consisting of Dominick Sangillo (vocals), Joe Birardi (lead guitar), Bill Tuohy (rhythm guitar), Kevin Losardo (rhythm guitar), Rich Riley (synth guitar), Matt Smith (bass), and Gerry Fortus (drums). River Monsters are not just big on members, but talent as well.  With a healthy dose of guitar solos greeting fans entering the field, the group gladly played in front of an ever-growing crowd offering original songs such as “Understand.” With more shows surely on the way, a visit to their website can give fans a sample of their music worth coming to see live.

Common Wealth 

Heading over to the WDHA Stage, Common Wealth was ready for action around 2:30 PM. For Christian “CJ” Carson (vocals), Charlie Wealth (bass), Vinnie Black (guitar), Giovanni St. James (guitar), and Joe Capasso (drums), Common Wealth is more than just a band, but a way of life, a movement. Another band native to New Jersey, Common Wealth came to the stage, faces painted, ready to show off their debut single, “Cut This Deep,” among other tracks. With the day still young, the group attracted a sizable crowd, closing out their set with a cover of Slipknot’s “Duality.” Continuing to tear up the New Jersey Metal scene, do not be surprised to see their live shows spreading out throughout The States and beyond.

Matt O’Ree 

Over at the WRAT Stage, it was time for Matt O’Ree just after 3 PM. A touring member of Bon Jovi since 2015, O’Ree has quite the resume, including being a five time Asbury Park Music Award Winner along with taking the 2006 King of the Blues Award. Set to release his new studio album with his band consisting of Scott Bennert on bass and John Hummel on drums, Matt O’Ree Band is Blues Rock perfection. Complemented by backup singers Eryn Shewell and Layonne Holmes, on stage, O’Ree and his band treated fans to an amazing set of Blues Rock originals. Bending strings with ease and providing feel good vibes, it is easy to see why O’Ree is a New Jersey Rock hero. Those interested, the new album, entitled Brotherhood, will feature Bruce Springsteen on a song, and on November 23rd, the band will be celebrating the release with some special guest performances not yet disclosed.

Citizen Zero 

Directly following, around 3:30 PM over at WDHA Stage was Detroit, Michigan’s Citizen Zero. A four-piece Rock band consisting of Josh LeMay (Vocals, Guitar), Sammy Boller (Lead Guitar), John Dudley (Drums), and Sam Collins (Bass), the group combines Blues, Alternative, Grunge, and other genres to create a sound distinctly their own. Touring with the likes of Highly Suspect and P.O.D., among others, many in attendance gathered around the stage to catch the set. Playing songs such as “What a Feeling” and “Lure and Persuade” off their debut album, State of Mind, Citizen Zero’s music immediately became very addictive. Absolutely worth check out, they will be on the road with Vamps in November and Scott Stapp come December.

Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy 

Back at the WRAT Stage at around 4:20 PM, it was time for Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy. Known for his time on Saturday Night Live, starring in films such as 1998’s Half Baked, and of course his Stand Up Comedy, Breuer’s exploration into Rock-n-Roll should come as no surprise. In fact, the funny man has always had a tremendous love and respect for Metal music, and to little’s knowledge, actually has talents to sing himself. Making his Rock dreams come true, he recently released his debut album, Songs From The Garage, via Metal Blade records, and now brings the music on the road. While paying tribute to some of Metal’s finest the only way he knows how, Breuer and Guitarist Mike Tichy, Bassist Joe Vigliotti, and Drummer Eric See kicked into some hard-hitting original jams including “Thrash,” “Family Warrior,” and “Old School .” Showing he has what it takes to hang with the big boys, Breuer wrapped up the set duetting with Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale on AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill” for a jaw-dropping rendition. Do not mistake Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy as a passing phase, they are the real deal and offer some quality Rock-n-Roll.

10 Years 

Returning to the WDHA Stage around the 5 PM hour, veteran Hard Rock band 10 Years were prepared to take the New Jersey crowd by storm. A well-respected name on the Rock scene since the release of their 2005 album, The Autumn Effect, 10 Years is a band that continues to evolve since, and evidence of such can be found on last two records, 2012’s Minus the Machine and 2015’s From Birth to Burial. Doing things their own way, Jesse Hasek (lead vocals), Matt Wantland (guitar), Chad Huff (bass), and Kyle Mayer (drums) delivered a killer set including “From Birth to Burial,” “Beautiful,” and “Fix Me” early on. Wasting little time, they blasted into “Now Is The Time (Ravenous)” and “Waking Up” before closing out with “Shoot It Out.” Hasek’s voice shined bright the entire time. Currently working on new music, it will be exciting to see what 10 Years offers up when releasing their eighth studio album.

Four By Fate 

Much like the day prior, the two main stages were not the only ones giving Rock Carnival attendees their money’s worth. That said, The Birch Hill Stage was at it once again just before 5 PM when Four By Fate were ready to go. Coming together in recent years, the musicians that make up Four By Fate are far from new to the scene. With Vocalist/Guitarist Tod Howarth (Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, and Frehley’s Comet), Grammy Award winning Bassist John Regan (Frehley’s Comet), Drummer Rob Affuso (Skid Row), and Guitarist Patrick James Gasperini (Pound, Flywheel), Four By Fate is nowhere near short on talent. Nearly thirty years in the making, the group treated fans to incredible Rock-n-Roll including tracks off their 2016 album, Relentless, such as “Follow Me.” A monstrous collaboration, do not miss a chance to see them live.

Atomic Beauty 

Over at the GameLoud Stage at around 5:30 PM, between a wrestling act, Atomic Beauty showed off their skills. Earning their spot via a Battle of the Bands, Vanessa Milanesi (vocals), Nick Vallese (guitars), Nick Van Leer (drums), and Jake Miller (bass) proved why they were named 2016’s Stone Pony Rock To the Top Champions with songs worthy of rocking an arena. New to the scene, but old school in nature, expect a lot out of Atomic Beauty in the future.

Sebastian Bach 

Back inside the home of the Blue Claws, it was time for none other than Sebastian Bach to take over the WRAT Stage just before 6 PM. The Canadian Rock star best known as the original voice of Skid Row has built an impressive solo career since his exit from the band two decades ago. Last releasing a studio album in 2014 with Give ‘Em Hell, Bach is still as energetic as ever, recklessly flailing the microphone in the air while bringing Skid Row classics such as “Slave to the Grind,” “18 And Life,” and “Piece of Me” to life in front of a large crowd. Complemented by bandmates Brent Woods (guitar), Rob De Luca (bass), and Bobby Jarzombek (drums), the group plowed through “I Remember You” and “Monkey Business.” An extra treat, they performed a fantastic cover of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” with Bach matching Geddy Lee’s powerful vocals before wrapping up with “Youth Gone Wild.” Currently on tour through November 27th, Bach is still one hell of a voice to hear live.

Life of Agony 

The second to last act at the WDHA Stage, Life of Agony was ready and able to take on the New Jersey crowd just after 6:30 PM.  Active on and off in recent years, Life of Agony have been one of the most important Alternative Metal acts over the past two decades. Making a big impact with their 1995 album, Ugly, the band are now set to release A Place Where There’s No More Pain, their first studio album in over ten years. Raising a ton of excitement inside their dedicated fanbase, Mina Caputo (vocals), Alan Robert (bass), Joey Z (guitar), and Sal Abruscato (drums) were greeted by a massive crowd. With many cheering very loudly, the band went into a mix of older and newer songs including “River Runs Red,” “Weeds,” and”Underground.” Taking their show overseas for a European tour through early December, hopefully they will be back for a full blown North American tour come 2017 when A Place Where There’s No Pain drops


Meanwhile, closing out The GameLoud Stage at 7 PM was local act Strive. Out of nearby Clifton, New Jersey, the band is comprised of Vocalist/Guitarist Ryan Flannery, Drummer Chris Reynolds, Guitarist Sean Hagerty, and Bassist Chuck Buxbaum. Taking over the small stage with big style, Strive treated fans to a great set including songs from their latest EP, Something in the Water. Consistently performing shows around the New Jersey area, Strive has plenty of promise to break into the national Rock scene.

Tom Keifer 

Getting down to the nitty gritty of the festival, Tom Keifer was direct support for Halestorm at the WRAT Stage at around 7:30 PM. Affectionately known as the unmistakable voice of Cinderella, Keifer has successfully battled back from partially paralyzed vocal cords that have plagued him through the years. Not an easy road, it took, and still takes, Kiefer a ton of preparation to perform each night, but he will not be denied. All this hard work led to his 2013 solo album, The Way Life Goes, one which was many years in the making.

Since touring in its support to packed crowds, Keifer came to New Jersey ready for a night of fun. Opening up with “Solid Group,” Keifer soon after invited his wife, Savannah Snow, on stage to join him in Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”. A duet leaving fans speechless, Snow took over on piano as Keifer invited Lzzy Hale on stage to join him in performing “Nobody’s Fool.” Another wonderful surprise, the remainder of the set saw fans enjoying a combination of Cinderella and Keifer’s originals including songs that blended together smoothly. Taking a much deserved break from touring, Keifer will be a part of the Monsters of Rock Cruise come February, so get tickets now and get on board.

The Used 

Returning to the WDHA Stage, The Used were ready to tear it up at around 8:15 PM. A band some may think was out of place at The Rock Carnival, The Used thrive off being different, and different is sometimes very good. Established since their 2002 debut, self-titled album, Vocalist Bert McCracken and the band have been going strong with one chart-topping record after another since. Joined by longtime members Jeph Howard (bass) and Dan Whitesides (drums) along with Justin Shekoski (guitar), The Used set out to deliver a set worth remembering.

After opening with “Take it Away” and “I Caught Fire,” McCracken greeted the crowd and talked up the crowd the entire festival. After cursing the weather, he stated despite them not “fitting in” with the lineup, the show was about music and the love for it. Continuing with the love motif, the frontman asked everyone to all put their arms around one another. He then went on to say if they really liked one another, give the person next to them a kiss on the cheek. Surprisingly, he then jumped off stage and took his own advice, planting a kiss on a surprised photographer’s cheek. All in good fun, the music continued with “The Taste of Ink,” “All That I’ve Got,” and “A Box Full of Sharp Objects.” All tracks spotlighting the band’s diverse talents, they concluded with “Pretty Handsome Awkward” as everyone sung along. Perhaps not as out of place as one would think, The Used brought everything they had to the table and hit it out of the park. Setting their sights on touring Australia through December, 2017 is bound to be another crazy year for the band.


In the end, there were two bands left, leaving Rock Carnival concert goers with a tough choice to end their time at the festival. The WRAT Stage saw Halestorm primed and ready to go at 9:15 PM, but due to some technical issues, over at The Birch Hill stage, Germany’s Doro was set back to start around the same time. Originally on schedule for an 8:25 PM start time, Doro and Halestorm were now performing at nearly the same time. Nonetheless, each band had their respective audiences on hand.

Doro, known as The Queen of Metal, is celebrating over three decades on the scene, showing no signs of slowing down. For intensive purposes devoting her life to Heavy Metal, Doro and her band of Nick Douglas (bass), Johnny Dee (drums), Bas Maas (guitars), and Luca Princiotta (guitars, keyboards) were ready to raise hell.

Opening their set with a list of Warlock tunes including “I Rule the Ruins,” “Burning the Witches,” “Fight for Rock,” and “East Meets West,” everyone had their Metal horns in the air. Keeping it going, newer song “Raise Your Fist in the Air” had fans doing just that as Doro pumped up the crowd every way she could. Showing athleticism and a youthful exuberance, Doro climbed on the shoulders of one press photographer to get closer to the fans.

The Metal fury continued with Skyline’s “Wacken Hymne (We are Metalheads)” and Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” before closing with Warlock’s “All We Are.” Aside from the perfect tracks they play, Doro knew exactly how to take over the crowd with a live show that would even enthrall the most casual of fans. Continuing to show dedication to Metal, Doro will be on tour in Europe through the end of 2016.


As stated, performing simultaneously as Doro, Halestorm was conjuring their own fire over at the WRAT Stage. Out of Red Lion, Pennsylvania, Halestorm has built a reputation that precedes them in the Rock-n-Roll community. Begun at a very young age by Lzzy and her brother Arejay (drums), together with Joe Hottinger (guitar) as well as Josh Smith (bass), they have become a household name. First grabbing attention with their 2009 self-titled album, then winning a Grammy at the hands of 2012’s The Strange Case Of.., 2015’s Into The Wild is the record which will truly separate them from the pack. While Lzzy Hale surprised fans earlier in the day, collaborating with Jim Breuer and Tom Keifer, it was time for the band she calls her own to enjoy some time in front of the still-rowdy New Jersey crowd.

Soaking up the cheers they opened up with “Love Bites (So Do I)” as Lzzy offered up jaw-dropping notes on vocals. Keeping the adrenaline flowing, “It’s Not You” and “Sick Individual” came before Lzzy displayed her tremendous range with an a cappella version of “Amen.” Quite emotional, Lzzy and company did not let up, and songs like “Apocalyptic,” the touching “Dear Daughter,” and smooth “New Modern Love” came thereafter. Letting her voice stand alone again, an a cappella introduction to “I Like It Heavy” gave way to a ruckus unleashing, followed by an extensive drum solo from Arejay. With everyone but Arejay removed from the stay, the drummer psyched up the crowd, effortlessly twirling and throwing the drum sticks around.

With the whole team rejoining him back on stage, they broke into “I Am the Fire” and older favorite “I Get Off” before kicking into anthem-like “Freak Like Me.” After the beer mug raising “Here’s to Us,” Halestorm completed the show with “Mayhem.” Unwilling to accept this was the end, cheers ushered in Halestorm’s return for “I Miss The Misery.” A massive conclusion to the night, lights flashed on stage as each member raised their instrument in triumph before thanking the crowd.

Just like that, the 2016 Rock Carnival was in the books. While the weather surely tested the dedication of the massive crowd, muddying up the field and being a general nuisance, it never detracted from what was three days of exhilarating fun. As fans took to the parking lot, satisfied with a healthy serving of Rock music and food truck delicacies, many were already thinking about what 2017’s edition of The Rock Carnival will have in store.



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