Cruefest: Even Better the Second Time Around

Cruefest: Even Better the Second Time Around

Well, Cruefest 2 came and it went, but it was not without its charm, certainly. The much hyped festival was truly all that and more, even though it didn’t really have much going on besides the two stages of bands. Even without the presence of a sideshow, the Cruefest 2 lineup was more than able, more than strong enough to keep the interest of concert-goers all day long.

Charm City Devils kicked things off on the main stage, and although there weren’t that many asses in the seats at that time of day, the boys from Baltimore made the best of things, which they have been doing their whole careers. Kicking things off with ‘Burn, Burn’ CCD moved fluidly from track to track, rocking out with songs like ‘Let’s Rock and Roll.’ Their energy set the stage for the rest of the show for sure, and actually was a band I overheard people talking about later on in the day. Nice work gentlemen.

Drowning Pool and Theory of a Deadman were the next two on the main stage, and both were really underwhelming. DP did play three songs from their debut record ‘Sinner’ (‘Sinner,’ ‘Tear Away’ Bodies’), as well as other hits like ‘Step Up’ and ’37 Stitches,’ but mostly they were forgettable. They weren’t terrible by any means, but it wasn’t really anything to write home about. I have seen them a handful times, and this was the worst so far. And as for TOAD, they played. That’s about all I can say.

The second stage, the Monster Energy Stage, offered glimpses at some relative unknowns, including Buffalo’s own Sixpin, as well as other touring acts like 16 Second Stare, Shram, Automatic Fire, and of course, the stages’ headliner, Rev Theory. Unfortunately for the Darien Lake crowd, Cavo did not play that day. Rev Theory was borderline brilliant, and has been getting better live steadily throughout their career. Their energy makes up for the fact that the bands movements are pretty cliché, but what are you going to do. Their set was great starting with their introduction – ‘Stand Up and Shout,’ a song made popular by the Mark Walberg movie Rock Stage (originally sang by Steelheart), and their opener, ‘Wanted Man.’ The band blazed through the majority of their latest disc ‘Light It Up,’ featuring tracks like ‘My Favorite Disease,’ ‘Light It Up,’ ‘Far From Over,’ and the eventual closer, ‘Hell Yeah.’ The band even tossed in an impromptu cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Head like a Hole’ for good measure. I would have liked to see them jam ‘Broken Bones’ or even their excellent cover of Temple of the Dog’s ‘Hunger Strike,’ but I guess the set was good for what it was. It was built for a rock festival, and so was Rev Theory.

The Rev Theory set ran over into the beginning of the Godsmack set, something most everyone in attendance was pumped for. Godsmack was Godsmack, plain and simple, and if these guys never changed their set list or live show in any way, I’m pretty sure no one would care. They kicked things off with ‘Re-Align’ then moved into classics like ‘The Enemy,’ ‘Voodoo,’ ‘Whiskey Hangover,’ and an extended version of ‘Keep Away.’ The band eventually ended their set predictably (would we have it any other way?) with ‘Whatever’ but along the way in typical Godsmack fashion, stunned the crowd with brief covers of Pantera’s ‘Walk’ and Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs,’ just to name a few. They also busted out the Sully Erna-Shannon Larkin dueling drums, which never gets old. All in all, it wasn’t the best time I had ever seen the boys live, and it surely won’t be the last. Sure, I have seen them eight times so far, and hopefully that number goes nowhere but up.

After a couple of minutes of waiting, the immortal Motley Crue took to the stage in typical carnival flair. Performing their entire ‘Dr. Feelgood’ album for the first time ever live, the boys kicked things off with the title track from that record. Dressed in hospital attire and playing in a padded room (literally), the boys shredded the track, and then moved onto others like ‘Rattlesnake Shake,’ ‘Kickstart My Heart,’ ‘Without You’ and ‘Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.).’ The fun continued after they wrapped up their seminal work, belting out favorites like ‘Wildside,’ ‘Saints of Los Angeles,’ ‘Girls Girls Girls’ and ‘Shout at the Devil.’ They even tossed in both acoustic and electric guitar solos and a guitar driven cover of Jimi Henrdrix’s ‘Voodoo Child.’ Crue wasn’t the best, and I didn’t understand why Vince Neil was singing along to a tape, but still, it’s Motley Crue. Motley f#$%ing Crue. I was awe-inspired. Unfortunately they had to end their show, and that was it. Their set left me wanting more, and left me hoping they have a lot of gas left in the tank and have already started planning Cruefest 3.