Nov 9, 2013

Rock Harvest 2013 - HOR

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

Rock Harvest

11/08/13 & 11/09/13

White Marsh, MD

H.O.R.

Sadly this 3 day festival was plagued by “issues” since it’s beginnings and a certain act (Tuff) did their best to mess with the show after they had a falling out with the promoter. The 3 day show DID go off without a hitch despite all the pitfalls and obstacles which “tried” to stop the show.

I missed Night #1 of Rock Harvest 2013 but I caught the headliners for night #2 on November 8, 2013 after I covered the Dir En Grey show. Rob Duke’s Generation Kill were onstage when I arrived and they sounded really good but they looked like the dudes in the crowd which basically means no one dressed up nor looked clean. Generation Kill’s set closed with a cover of “Supernaut” by Black Sabbath which rocked hard & a cover of “Disposable Heroes” by Metallica which was dead on & sounded identical to the original. Rob commented that there would be a new Exodus record at some point but while Gary was busy with Slayer he was doing Generation Kill.

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The nights headliner was Raven and they were funny with their stage banter & appearance which was the same as it was in the 80’s which added to the bands “Spinal Tap” quality. What I don’t understand though is WHY Raven were using a Fender Squire & a Gibson Epiphone from the “cheap” line on stage when the band should have had decent high end gear. The Squire didn’t sound amazing in my opinion & it was clearly a stage worn/used guitar because it was beat up which makes me wonder, didn’t Raven make enough $$ to afford good guitars?

Raven’s set was actually cut short because they played till almost 2 AM and the club’s manager was upset that the band played so long & had told them they had to cut power. When Raven were informed of this issue they didn’t seem to want to stop playing & they continued a non-stop jam which literally ran till the 2 AM mark where they cut the power & you could hear the band saying “You should have told us”. By that point the bar stools were stacked on the bar and the club wanted to close.

Night #2 ended ironically after 2 AM and the small crowd cleared out fast. The running joke throughout the club on both nights were the “metal sludge” rants and most of the bands made little quips regarding the matter because despite all the pit falls & cancellations the 3 day fest DID happen and day #3 was the climax for the event with the headliner being White Trash.

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Day #3 was initially featuring Tuff & Love/Hate but due to “situations” those 2 acts as well as numerous others were no longer on the bill and I read all the shit talking Stevie (Tuff) did on his site Metal Sludge and while I don’t care to get into the business end of the show what I will say for the record is that even if Tuff were still on the bill for night #3 the attendance would have been low because even with the initial billing there was just no “major” draw for any of the nights and it cracked me up reading various rants from bands that dropped off the bill because NONE of those bands could single-handedly draw a large enough crowd to make any particular night a sell out regardless!

I’ve attended most of the rock shows that the House of Rock have hosted and the 2 biggest shows that place ever had in recent years was Tom Keifer & Funk Junkies which were both sold out shows. Geoff Tate, Faster Pussycat, (Phil Lewis) LA Guns & (Jack Russell) Great White all did decent business BUT it’s rare for that club to sell out a rock show because what most people don’t care to admit is that these bands are no longer relative or big in this era! Sure, they all had their moment in the spotlight BUT they just don’t have a draw in 2013 like they might have in say 1988 when their style of music could actually draw in a big crowd. Some will dispute me on this BUT from a business standpoint anyone in the business of music will know I am 100% correct.

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On Night #3 the time’s were changed slightly and I arrived just before New York’s own Spread Eagle took the stage. The crowd was small and when Spread Eagle took the stage many of the patrons were hanging at the bar or looked like they were ready to leave which was sad because Spread Eagle delivered a high energy rock show which was flavored with a few rare tracks that the band played by request on this night.

Spread Eagle were the highlight of Night #3 for me personally and they sounded kick ass from start to finish!

Michael Angelo followed Spread Eagle and this was the part of the night that was interesting because Michael Angelo had no backing band...he played guitar to an MP3 player with backing tracks he’d previously recorded and he did a Led Zeppelin medley which was followed by a long speech he gave about how he’d influenced Dimebag Darrel and as a tribute Michael Angelo did a Pantera medley that included “Cemetery Gates” & “Cowboys From Hell”. There was a wounded vet who met Michael Angelo the day prior at a guitar clinic & the old man travel something like 10 hours to get there to jam with Mr. Angelo....what happened next was comical & sad. The wounded vet was introduced & brought onstage BUT his guitar was turned totally off & he essentially was up there for 15 minutes just looking around, wondering WHY he had no sound from his guitar & what happened was Angelo told the soundman to turn the vet totally off because he couldn’t play. The embarrassing moment came when Angelo walked off stage & told the vet to solo.....the poor old man was up there “Trying” to play but there was no sound...he looked at the soundman & turned all the knobs on his guitar but NOTHING came out sound wise...it was funny as hell yet sad because Angelo should never have allowed him to get onstage in the first place.....I suppose Angelo’s wig gave him that bad idea?

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The next act was a prog metal band who seemed to play forever & the only shining moment in their set was a killer cover of “Wasted Years” by Iron Maiden.

White Trash closed the show and they sounded damn good but I had to really remember what their hits were because they were here & gone so fast that I didn’t totally remember their “hits” until I heard them played.

White Trash joked onstage by saying, “We’re sorry that Tuff couldn’t be here but.....” and the same issue plagued White Trash that plagued Raven the night prior....the set times ran off schedule & White Trash had to cut their set short.

Say what you want about Rock Harvest but just remember it DID happen despite all the “issues” surrounding this fest.

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