ROCK FEST PRE PARTY ROCKS!
Date: July 12, 2017
Location: Cadott, Wisconsin, USA
Reviewer: Metal Headz Media
Photos: Metal Headz Media
Cadott, Wisconsin held its 24th annual Rock Fest Festival from July 12th to 15th. This would be my first time experiencing Rock Fest, so I really had no idea what to expect when I showed up. I must say that my experience was beyond my expectations. The main reason for that was from the hospitality that Metal Headz Media received from Viking Rocker Productions (John) and his wife (Tiffany). Those two made this event one I will never forget. I want to thank them again for all that they have done for Metal Headz Media.
This review will focus on the bands that we saw on Wednesday, July 12th, as the other bands that performed for the rest of the weekend really don’t fall under the “Sleaze Roxx” genre. Wednesday night was the Pre-Party for Rock Fest and the only ones that could attend that night were guests who bought tickets for all three days. As I was walking in, one of the attendants mentioned to us that this is the most people she has seen, in all her years working the event, attend the pre-party. That was great news to hear as I know John worked hard to book the right bands for that night.
Rock Fest had a total of four stages: The Main Stage, Who’s On Top Stage, This Buds For You Stage, and Loud and Local Stage. The only two stages that were used Wednesday night were the Who’s On Top Stage and This Buds For You Stage. I spent the majority of the time at the Who’s On Top Stage because that was the stage where Faster Pussycat, Jack Russell’s Great White and Ratt were performing. I did run down to This Buds For You Stage to catch a little bit of Seasons After and Bobaflex, but not enough to review their shows.
When I did finally arrive at Rock Fest, Minneapolis, Minnesota based punk n’ rollers The Goodbars were on stage performing a killer set to the people who were arriving at This Buds For You Stage. I did not get enough time to catch their set as I was walking around trying to connect with the people who could tell me what we were allowed to do for the night, but from what I did hear, they sounded great and were getting the crowd set for one heck of a party.
Faster Pussycat kicked things off with a bang! The intro “Pussy Is A Powerful Thing” was blaring through the PA system, and one by one, each of the band members took their rightfully owned spot on the stage. When the intro was over, they went right into “Jack The Bastard” and that is when Taime Downe took the stage. I was curious to find out how Downe would sound and present himself on stage, as I know he just went through some major health issues. To my surprise, he sounded good and had the same stage presence as he always does. Another thing I noticed is that he was not chain smoking like he used too, and I am sure that is due to his recent health scare.
“Cathouse” kept the energy going and got the crowd more involved, as most of them probably wanted to hear the classics. The crowd favorites did fill most of Faster Pussycat‘s set, but they also played a few tracks from their 2006 album The Power And The Glory Hole. During “House of Pain,” Downe did have the light up cross come out on stage and sat on it while singing to the crowd. This has been a staple in his show for the past few years. Since they were an opening act, they didn’t have time for an encore, so they closed out their set with “Babylon.” I thought Downe sounded better than the last time I saw them, and I am sure that is due to the fact he has drastically cut back his smoking. Faster Pussycat do put on a good show and if you can ever get a chance to see them live, I think you would be thoroughly entertained and have a great time.
Faster Pussycat’s setlist:
01. Jack The Bastard
03. Slip Of The Tongue
04. Number 1 With A Bullet
05. The Power And The Glory Hole
06. Don’t Change That Song
07. House Of Pain
08. You’re So Vain
09. Bathroom Wall
10. Pretty Fucked Up
11. Shut Up And Fuck
Jack Russell’s Great White:
It was not that long ago I saw Jack Russell’s Great White at the Medina Ballroom with Warrant, so I was excited to see them perform again since I know they put on a good show. The band started its set with “All Over Now” and Jack Russell still sounds amazing. I know I might be repeating myself from my previous review I wrote a few months back, but he has a group of talented musicians with him that makes their performance one to never forget. Russell has a strong stage presence and makes sure that the crowd is engaged during the entire set. He loves to reminisce and joke about the ’80s, as those were some good times for him and Great White. Russell also mentioned that his band is going to be doing a tour to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Once Bitten album, and wanted to play a deep cut from it, so they played “Fast Road.” This was about the only surprise song to make the set, otherwise it was filled with hits from Russell’s past, with the exception of the newer track “My Addiction.” Guitarist Robby Lochner had a moment to shine when he did a phenomenal guitar solo halfway through the show. Lochner is a very talented guitar player, and it’s great to watch him play on stage.
I will admit that I was really never a huge fan of Great White, but after seeing Jack Russell’s Great White twice in the last few months, I have started to appreciate them a lot more. Russell is the voice of Great White and I am glad to see that he is still passionate about the music and his fans. We may never get to see Russell with Mark Kendall and Great White again, but that will be fine with me as this line-up Russell has sounds just as good. I know I have mentioned this before in my previous review, but if you want to see any version of Great White live, you have to check out Jack Russell’s Great White. You will not be disappointed.
Jack Russell’s Great White’s setlist:
01. All Over Now
02. Call It Rock N Roll
03. Lady Red Light
04. Fast Road
05. Save All My Love
06. Guitar Solo
07. My Addiction
08. Desert Moon
09. Mista Bone
10. Rock And Roll (Led Zeppelin cover)
11. Once Bitten Twice Shy
Jack Russell’s Great White playing “Rock Me” at Rock Fest Pre-Party in Cadott, Wisconsin, USA on July 12, 2017:
Jack Russel – Rock Me – Rock Fest – Cadott WI. 7/12/2017
The crowd and stage were all set for the headliners of the night — Ratt. I was excited to see their performance, because this would be the first time I would see Juan Croucier reunited with Stephen Pearcy and Warren DeMartini. I have read a lot of mixed reviews of their show, but I was excited to see it for myself.
“Wanted Man” kicked off their show, and Ratt kept on delivering the hits one after the other. They also threw in a few deep tracks to please the die-hard fans that just don’t want to hear the hits all the time. Out of The Cellar was favored heavily tonight, and the second song of the night was “I’m Insane.” Croucier was a mad man on stage as he was always moving around and using his bass as a stage prop during most of the songs. You can tell that he thoroughly enjoys being up on that stage performing for his fans. Pearcy, on the other hand, kept his movements to a minimal as I heard him mention earlier in the day that he has to have knee surgery very soon, because of the damage that he has done to it. DeMartini pretty much stayed on his side of the stage while he was showing off his phenomenal guitar skills. He is truly a talented guitarist and I was in awe most of the night just watching him. Rythym guitarist Carlos Cavazo did the same as DeMartini and stayed on his side of the stage as well. Cavazo is of course best known as the guitar player for Quiet Riot during their heyday. It has been well publicized that Bobby Blotzer is no longer the drummer for Ratt, so the boys hired Jimmy DeGrasso to fill in behind the kit. DeGrasso has been part of many bands, and most notably with stints in White Lion, Megadeth and Black Star Riders.
Pearcy’s voice was strong during most of the set, but there were times when it wasn’t as powerful as it once was in the past. One can’t deny that Pearcy is the voice of Ratt, so it is hard to replace him. I know Ratt had a stint with Jizzy Pearl from Love/Hate, but it was just not the same without Pearcy fronting the band.
“Walking The Dog” was one of those deep cuts that made it to the set list that catered to the fans that have been there since the beginning. After that, the set consisted of all the hits that the crowd sang word for word. The songs that stood out for me and are some of my favorite tracks are “Nobody Rides For Free,” “Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job,” “Lack Of Communication” and “Body Talk.” I know Dancing Undercover is not a fan favorite, but that was the album that introduced me to Ratt. So that album does have a special place in my heart, and I always love to hear songs from that album.
Ratt blew the roof off the Who’s On Top Stage and they got the party started for Rock Fest. I do not regret driving over two hours each way and only getting four hours of sleep before I had to go to work the next day, to see all these bands perform that night. It was well worth it and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these bands. There has been talks of Ratt writing some new songs, and with the stellar reviews of their last album, Infestation, I can’t wait to see what they will come up with next.
01. Wanted Man
02. I’m Insane
03. Dangerous But Worth The Risk
04. Walkin’ The Dog
05. You Think You’re Tough
06. Way Cool Jr
07. In Your Direction
08. Lovin You’s A Dirty Job
09. Slip Of The Lip
10. Nobody Rides For Free
11. Lack Of Communication
12. Lay It Down
13. You’re In Love
14. Body Talk
15. Back For More
16. Round And Round
Ratt performing “Lay It Down” at Rock Fest Pre-Party in Cadott, Wisconsin, USA on July 12, 2017:
Pre-party show with Ratt