Shinedown, Skillet, Papa Roach converge on Rock USA

The opening day of Rock USA marked the second anniversary of the all rock festival in Oshkosh, WI. As the sister festival of Country USA, Rock USA has an equally as large draw as Country USA, but the crowds couldn’t be further from similar. [photos at bottom]

Following the two weekends of Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI, Rock USA kicked off on Thursday, July 12th with some good momentum built up from the previous year’s headliners Daughtry, Journey, and KISS. Most everyone was excited to arrive at Ford Festival Park this year for the amazing new lineup featuring headliners Shinedown, Mötley Crüe, and Kid Rock.

Opening night was somewhat of a good start to Rock USA. There were more fans in attendance opening night of 2012 than there were the previous year, and it was a pretty good size for a Thursday night. I’d expect more for Friday when Mötley Crüe takes over Oshkosh. That show is going to be pretty big.

illuminoise caught Papa Roach’s performance at 6:30 just as the sun was setting behind the stage. Blinding some of the crowd for a couple minutes, the sun made it hard to focus on the stage, but that didn’t stop the packed VIP area from throwing up the horns and rocking out with Papa Roach.

Jacoby Shaddix with his slicked up Mohawk and fully tattooed arms was a pretty good entertainer. Venturing out into the crowd a few times to see the crowd he stirred up quite a ruckus as he took pictures and antagonized many of his fans in the nicely populated VIP section.

I enjoyed the California rocker’s show a lot. As a moderate listener from a couple years ago I was curious to see how they performed live. I was pleasantly surprised.

Following Papa Roach came the band with the name of a frying pan. Skillet. Lead singer and bassist John Cooper joked about how his band’s name was one of the worst ever and how it in face was named after a frying pan. “I don’t care! Get over it!” he yelled at the crowd. Obviously the name hasn’t been much trouble if they’ve been nominated for Grammy’s in the past.

An elaborate stage setup and eyebrow cinching pyrotechnics dominated Skillet’s head turning set. The show started with two masked musicians playing a violin and stand up bass, instruments that are incorporated into Skillet’s music, but don’t dominate their image. Following their little intro the other members of Skillet took the stage quickly starting into “Whispers”.

A quick one-hour set breezed by and was the most Rock USA got out of Skillet. It was a good run with some of their best songs, but I think it should’ve been longer especially for this festival.

Shinedown was what most everybody was waiting for the Thursday night of Rock USA. Some recall seeing them at the Eagles Ballroom earlier in the year, and for some this was their first time. Newbies were in for a treat as Shinedown has perfected their stage act and is extremely entertaining.

Looking a little scruffy, Brent Smith fronted the stage as Shinedown started off with one of their best songs “Sound of Madness.” Between radio, the internet, and TV there are a lot of people who’ve heard the smash hit.

Smith was having a hard time getting the crowd to rev up in the beginning of Shinedown’s set. After awhile though he got them going and made the remark that “in all of the United States, Wisconsin has the loudest crowds.” That compliment was to everyone’s liking and instantly turned into a noisemaking powerhouse for the rest of Shinedown’s rather conservative set. They played some awesome songs, but I thought they were a little skimpy on material, especially for a headliner.

The first night of Rock USA was definitely a success. I’d say it was better than last year, but that’s a given. This year combined with more time to market and the success of last year thanks to some very good headliners gave Rock USA some momentum.

Check back for updates from the rest of the festival including Mötley Crüe, Kid Rock, Tesla, Filter, Drowning Pool, Seether, Hollywood Undead, and many more.

Papa Roach Setlist: Getting Away With Murder – …To Be Loved – Burn – Forever – Kick in the Teeth – Scars – Lifeline – One Track Mind – *Beat Drop* – Blood Brothers – Hollywood  – Dead Cell – Last Resort – Between Angels and Insects

Skillet Setlist: Intro – Whispers – Better Than Drugs – Hero – Comatose – Awake and Alive – Those Nights – It’s Not Me – The Last Night – Monster – Rebirthing

Shinedown Setlist: Sound of Madness – Diamond Eyes – Enemies – If You Only Knew – I’ll Follow You – Crow – Unity – Amaryllis – Devour – 45 – Bully – Simple Man – Second Chance – Fly – Outro



Papa Roach

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