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Rock Allegiance Brings Killer Sets From Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Puddle of Mudd

Anne Erickson

Hard rock enthusiasts endured the unseasonably sweltering, 90-plus degree weather to jam out to the 2011 Rock Allegiance Tour on Friday (Sept. 2) at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

By the time Drive A took the stage around 4:30 p.m., the lawn was concealed with fist-pumping fans, primed to take in pure rock ‘n’ roll and metal. Heat or no heat, it was time to rock.

​Crossfade’s abbreviated set showed they’re back in the game, with a strong hard rock sound and lead singer Ed Sloan’s angst-y vocals. They played cuts off their third studio album, this year’s ‘We All Bleed,’ and made sure to pull out memorable hits ‘So Cold’ and ‘Colors,’ which had the crowd chanting along.

RED were up next, enticing the audience with sky-high energy and a never-let-up approach to their live set. RED are favorites in the Christian metal and rock scene, but they likely picked up hoards of mainstream fans after this stint on Rock Allegiance, thanks to an ear-catching blend of sweeping guitar power chords and an aggressive, relentless delivery.

P.O.D., another Christian rock icon, are making Rock Allegiance their ‘we’re back’ tour, at least when it comes to homeland shows. The San Diego guys captivated the crowd from the second they walked onstage with their signature, just-right blend of rap-metal and reggae-rock. P.O.D. have been away for a while, and they look a bit different (as in frontman Sonny Sadoval’s missing dreadlocks), but boy, they haven’t lost their talent or edge. They attacked the 30-minute set with songs about love, peace and faith, inside groovy, head-bouncing rhythms and beats. ‘Boom,’ ‘Southtown,’ ‘Alive,’ ‘Youth of the Nation’– they were all in there.

It’s easy to forget how many hits Puddle of Mudd have until the guys are in action. ‘Blurry,’ ‘Control,’ ‘She Hates Me,’ ‘Psycho’– the list goes on and on. Regardless of how many times the tracks have played on the radio dial, the songs took on fresh life on stage, and clearly, the audience was completely and utterly engaged, mouthing along the lyrics to every verse. Wes Sclantin and company seemed to just plain have fun up there, whether playing classics off ‘Come Clean’ or jamming to covers off their just-released ‘Re:(disc)overed,’ such as the Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ and Neil Young’s ‘Old Man.’

Sporting jet-black hair and a gazillion tattoos, Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix stepped onto the stage platform with charisma and force, ready to lead an army of soldiers in one metallic attack. He’s an upbeat dude, too, and brought cheeky humor and a positive feel to hits such as ‘Kick in the Teeth,’ ‘Scars,’ ‘Lifeline,’ ‘Burn’ and — who could forget? — ‘Last Resort.’ Papa Roach are hitting the studio following a break after Rock Allegiance, and the band’s strong performance and commitment to get the crowd participating (Shaddix got the audience to chant along as much as possible) ensures that fans will anxiously await the new tracks.

Rounding out the night, Los Angeles hard rockers Buckcherry are known in the industry as road warriors, and they brought that presentation to Rock Allegiance in full force. These guys pride themselves on keeping it real and delivering the rawest, crudest form of rock ‘n’ roll. Singer Josh Todd’s vocals were strong, with just the right touch of gruff, and Keith Nelson’s pure guitars finished off the sound. They played everything from lavish power ballads (‘Sorry’) to party-happy anthems (‘All Night Long’) with a down-and-dirty vibe, and that’s a very good thing.

Each band gave their fullest performance, and each had a solid number of radio hits, making Rock Allegiance a memorable trek that gives fans a major bang for the roughly $25 ticket.

Check Out a Gallery of Pictures From the Michigan Rock Allegiance Tour Stop

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