The WCCC Big Gig took place at Hartford's Comcast Theater on May 19, 2012. The following is my personal take on the main stage acts.
Black Stone Cherry – Only played 20 minutes, which is almost a waste of time. Sadly I did not hear one of my top five favorite songs from them. Not many people in their pavilion seats at this point. I suppose this could be due in some part to the band Hell Yeah closing the small festival stage at the same time Black Stone started.
It was great to have Black Stone Cherry on the bill, but if the downside to having 12 bands play the festival is short set times like this, then reduce it to 10 bands and let somebody like BSC play a lousy 30 minutes, at least.
Steel Panther – We spent the whole time they were on stage outside for dinner and drinks. So glad my party was in agreement to not bother with these clowns.
Volbeat – Much more people in their seats at this point. Started off with "A Warrior's Call" and it was obvious the level of professionalism had jumped up several notches. They crushed it with a great set and great energy. Did a Johnny Cash cover, which was very cool.
I knew five of the nine songs in their set but loved everything they played. At the very end of their set they did a teaser, a "Raining Blood" riff from Slayer. Seriously. Definitely going to see them again.
Dead Sara – The best performance of the night, period. Emily Armstrong was the best singer of the night and all the vocalists were on their games. They played much heavier than anything I have ever heard from them.
Not sure if they were bringing it harder for this show or what, but it was insane. Emily has more energy on stage than a 1970s Steven Tyler – her screaming was amazing. They were easily as loud as any band. Everyone was floored with how well and how hardcore they played.
Staind – Never expected the killer show they put on. Personally, I was not really excited to hear Staind. Heard the radio hits and they are pretty cool in a mellow way but I was not jacked for them.
They were definitely the tightest band of the night and played all their heavy material, new and old. I am now a much bigger Staind fan then I would have believed. Aaron did his solo tune, "Country Boy," in the middle of the set and it was great, but not nearly the highlight of the show which was hearing them tear up heavy tunes I had not previously heard! These guys are a ton heavier live than on CD.
Godsmack – Set started at 11:30 p.m. but as soon as the first notes of "Awake" started, for the first time everyone was up on their feet. It was a good but uneven performance. They tore it up on the first three songs and I was very pleased with vocalist Sully sounding mint. They then hit a bit of a rut in the middle of the set with some so-so song choices, including a long instrumental.
"Keep Away," (sadly not performed during last year's Mayhem Festival show) played in the middle of their set, was a personal highlight of the night with an awesome extended jam in the middle. Then they drifted into a couple newer, not-so-good tracks again. They finally got the energy back during the drum duel which was pretty much the same thing we saw last year, but every bit as impressive.
This woke up a lot of people who were quite mellow or tired at this point, well after midnight. Godsmack ended strong with "Whatever" and "I Stand Alone." The Godsmack show from last year was definitely better, but Saturday's show did have its moments.
I'd love to hear from you if you were at the show or if you have any questions. Post them in the comments section below.