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After attending the WMMR-B-Q in Camden, New Jersey on Sunday, I feel like I need a day off! As always, it was the famous Philly rock radio station drew a terrific lineup of bands. The bands were all flying in from other festivals like Rock on the Range in Ohio and the WCCC Big Gig in Hartford. The concert was a can't miss but some of the bands disappointed with abbreviated setlists and perhaps a little jet lag.
Adelita's Way started off with a energetic set. Vocalist Rick Dejesus grew up in nearby Philadelphia and was a charismatic frontman. The vocals had a low volume and he could have done a better job of hitting the notes. The backing vocals actually sounded stronger. They really are a Linkin Park clone with the two singers sound. The crowd, ready to start the party, really got into the recognizable "Sick" and WWE theme song "Invincible".
We went in the pit to see Pop Evil, from Muskegon, MI. Most of the guys looked like they could have been in Soundgarden during the Badmotorfinger days, but one of the guitarist looked like a clean cut lot attendant at Home Depot. The really seem to follow the Shinedown formula, alternating simple but heavy arena riffs you might hear at a hockey game and admittedly catchy ballads that sound like the band Train. You'd be surprised how many songs you know from this band. I can't really fault them too much for following this formula, plus they evidently have a single about the Michigan Wolverines called "In the Big House". Go Blue! "100 in a 55" and "Last Man Standing" (another WWE anthem?) were my favorites.
Halestorm was up next and I took a little breather but caught the last few songs. Lizzy Hale, from York, PA (about 45 minutes from where I live) sounded better than any vocalist. It kind of makes me wonder if there was something wrong with the sound for Pop Evil and Adelita's Way. Can I recommend an update of Lita/Ozzy classic "Close My Eyes Forever" with Slash/Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy? They are definitely an Evanescence clone and I haven't really loved any of their hits. She had some kind of makeover, went blonde, and dressed like Femme Fatale from the 1980's. This band might get pretty big with her looking and sounding like that. "Familiar Taste of Poison" and "I Get Off" were very good.
I was probably looking forward to seeing Steel Panther more than anyone else. I hadn't seen them since they were the up and coming band "Metal Skool" in 2006 at the Key Club on the Sunset Strip. If you like crass humor, Spinal Tap or making fun of hair bands, then you have to check out "Stripper Girl", "Fat Girl" and "Weenie Ride" from Steel Panther. Unfortunately, the abbreviated set kept them from playing these classics. They did make people laugh out loud with their obscene lyrics, zebra spandex, vanity mirrors and hairspray. "Community Property" and "Death to All But Metal" were the best of the wayyyy too short seven song set. They are a joke, but Michael Starr and Satchel, with no disrespect to Slash or Myles Kennedy, may have been the most talented musicians at the festival. Drummer Stix Zadinia (had to get that name in here) was awesome too. Fun Fact: Singer Ralph Saenz (AKA Michael Starr) once recorded and album and toured with LA Guns, was the singer of the Atomic Punks (famous Van Halen cover band) and appeared in the movie "Rock Star" with Mark Wahlberg.