In the midst of a sickening tragedy here in Connecticut, it was difficult to drive through memorials on the way to Wallingford's Oakdale Theater and continue everyday life while knowing that we lost 27 wonderful souls so close to home. The Rock WCCC's Christmas concert allowed us to celebrate the lives of those we lost, and honor their memory. The Rock set up a Sandy Hook donation fund at the concert to raise money for the victim's families. For those that attended the show and live in Connecticut, or simply would like to help out, you can donate whatever you are able to here.
The night of rock began with Las Vegas' quintet Otherwise. Named by Fox News last year as the best unsigned band in the nation, and seemingly appearing on every major rock tour in the last few months, these talented guys were dangerously close to giving up on their dreams. Singer Adrian Patrick discussed how he began searching for a day job just before their hit 'Soldiers' took off at radio stations across the country.
Their set included the first two singles off of their debut album, "True Love Never Dies" as well as a perfect balance of light and heavy tracks. The band's energy on stage is contagious, and by the end of the set, the arena was nearly empty as everyone flocked to meet them.
Fresh off of an acoustic tour in support of their fourth studio album, "Welcome to the Freakshow," Hinder had their amps up high and were ready to rock. They rolled out hit after hit, including "Up All Night," "All American Nightmare," "Lips of an Angel," and of course, "Get Stoned." Before the show the guys discussed the new album, noting that it was a completely different style for them. The new songs were received well by fans regardless, a welcome treat for the majority of us that had not yet heard the new stuff live.
From right up I-91 in Springfield, All That Remains brought their heavier sound to The Rock. Despite how different they are from the rest of the bands on the bill, their following in this area is huge. After wrapping up a tour with metal bands Machinehad and Dethklok, All That Remains seemed happy to switch up their set a bit and play a few of their 'lighter' songs. The chest pounding guitar was like a shot of adrenaline, and had everyone up in the air surfing their way towards the barrier. Not much for talking, it seemed, the band packed in as many songs as they could into the shorter festival set, including "Two Weeks" as well as several songs from last month's release, "A War You Cannot Win."
Before headliners Three Days Grace took the stage, the DJ's and staff from WCCC were joined on stage by all of the bands for a moment of silence. WCCC's Carroli urged everyone in the theater to hug their loved ones before asking that we bow our heads in silence.
Three Days Grace came out a few minutes later, starting out with several tracks from their new album "Transit of Venus." The newest member of the band, Dani, added to the sound, allowing the guys to play the songs just as they'd recorded them.
As midnight closed in, the theater remained packed full of fans screaming along to "Pain" and "I Hate Everything About You" and going crazy for a cover of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" in the middle of "Home". Their supposed last song, "Riot," had more people on top of the crowd than in it, going insane while singer Adam Gontier shouted "Let's start a riot."
The band's encore was a perect end to an amazing night of music, consisting of a mellow duet with Dani and Adam as they played "Jar of Hearts." Of course, the show wrapped up with "Animal I Have Become," which seemed to be over within seconds.