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Festival Recap: Rock Allegiance’s Debut in Chester, PA

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Alex Varkatzas of Atreyu | Photo by Ana Santos

A sold out crowd of 50,000 fans filled Philadelphia’s PPL Park this past Saturday, October 10th at the inaugural Monster Energy Rock Allegiance. Boasting a lineup with some of the biggest names in rock like Rob ZombieKornFive Finger Death PunchGodsmackPapa Roach and Bring Me The Horizon, the festival was not only a huge success—it was evidence that the Northeast is thirsty for a rock event of this magnitude.

Rock Allegiance featured a tent stage on the lawn for smaller, up-and-coming bands and two main stages inside the stadium, where the headliners alternated with relatively little downtime between sets. Fans volleyed among the stages throughout the day, dispersing across the grounds where a plethora of food trucks served gourmet “man food” and craft beer. Merch tents lined the lawn with ample space for the long queues that developed early on. There was also an autograph area for fans to meet their favorite bands.

But the lineup was the real draw. It reads like a rock and roll wet dream, the music kicking off before noon—energy like a crescendo through a slew of dynamic openers. With young heavy-hitters like Red Sun Rising taking the main stages early in the afternoon, it was great to see that thousands of rock aficionados had already stationed themselves on the stadium floor. These guys were a complete pleasure to watch, and a perfect example why skipping out on the opening bands is a habit best left to a bygone era. The Glorious Sons, like Red Sun Rising, dished out an energetic performance coupled with ridiculously catchy hooks sure to enthuse the early crowd.

Fronted by ex-Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier, newcomers Saint Asonia, who rocked the tent stage, (though arguably should have been featured on the main stage considering their crowd-draw) were one of the fan-favorites of the day. Also on the tent stage were heavy metal knockouts Butcher Babies, rap-rockers From Ashes To New, teenage metal wonders Unlocking The Truth, and headliners Hollywood Undead.

On the main stage, Nothing More‘s high-octane performance wowed the growing crowd under the afternoon sun. The Texas-based prog-alt rock band has been steadily gathering followers with each festival appearance, and there’s a good reason for that. With an album jam-packed with emotive songwriting and interesting hooks, Nothing More puts on a raw performance you can’t help but watch. I saw several people stop in their tracks to point at the stage during the band’s impressive three-man bass solo.

Similarly, In This Moment‘s captivating theatrics played out like a rock opera with metal powerhouse Maria Brink at its center. Decked out in horror-inspired stage garb, the band riled up the crowd through their solid 45-minute set. Despite several of Brink’s wardrobe and set changes, the downtime was minimal and the show was certainly worth the short pauses.

Having just made their comeback after a four year hiatus, Atreyu was naturally a big draw and fans pushed in tight to grab frontman Alex Varkatzas every time he made it down to the barricade. UK’s Bring Me The Horizon just released their first major-label album That’s The Spirit, and while the band is also currently touring North America, getting to see them in a festival setting was one hell of a treat.

Also touring with a new album, F.E.A.R., Papa Roach effortlessly swept up the crowd in the energy of classic hits. By the time tour-mate Maria Brink returned to the stage, this time joining frontman Jacoby Shaddix for a haunting duet of “Gravity”, the sun was going down and Philly’s PPL Park had packed in tight. Five Finger Death Punch rocked a badass set, riling the audience into several enthusiastic moshpits. Godsmack wrapped up their set with a dynamic solo between frontman Sully Erna and drummer Shannon Larkinas as they battled it out on dueling mobile drum kits.

It was pretty clear from the buzzing anticipation in those dark moments before Korn took the stage toward the end of the night, that the band had been one of the festival’s biggest draws. Deep into their 20th anniversary tour, Korn changed up their setlist a bit to better cater to the festival crow. They hammered out a supercharged performance packed with classic songs that have made Korn a household name among rock and metal fans.

Metal legend and horror aficionado, Rob Zombie hit the stage with a non-stop intensity sure to melt the faces off everyone in those first few rows. Flanked by a backdrop of larger-than-life classic horror monster portraits, Rob Zombie brought the show to a truly explosive climax. Literally—with a thundering display of fireworks fired over the river as “Dragula” boomed off the stadium’s sound system.

It was roughly midnight by the time the main stage went dark, but the music didn’t stop there as Steel Panther led an afterparty at the tent stage for a couple more hours of rock n’ roll.

With this kind of first-year success, Monster Energy Rock Allegiance is set to return to PPL Park next year. We can only hope that Rock Allegiance will join the ranks of fellow Monster festivals by becoming a multi-day event. Until then, visit the festival website for this year’s official merch and further information.

Check out some of our photos from the festival below and take a look at galleries by our photographer Luke Spencer for more!

 

About Ana Santos

Photographer, explorer, music lover, writer, coffee addict and slave to three cats.

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