CONCERT REVIEW: The Orange Loop Festival 2022 Live at the Showboat Atlantic City

“Starting to feel normal again, feels good.” These words were spoken by Pete Loeffler, the front man for Chevelle, during their set at the Orange Loop Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He is right in that people are attending festivals again but this is a new one.

Named for a section of Atlantic City that loops the orange properties on a Monopoly board, The Orange Loop Festival was scheduled to take place at the Showboat Fairgrounds at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City New Jersey. Featuring 80’s Hair Bands, 90’s New Metal, and even Midget Wrestling, it should have pretty broad appeal. Food trucks, a vendor village, and access to the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk steps from the Steel Pier are the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, the weather drove everyone into the hotel.


The Showboat is no longer operating as a casino, closed in 2014 and reopened as a family venue in 2016, it features a massive arcade filled with crane games and an indoor go-kart track. The hotel is very pet friendly and it was common to see people walking their dogs through the hallways and lobby. Studio, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments with ocean views are available for weekly rental well as regular rooms.

Being forced inside wasn’t all bad because the Showboat has one more hidden gem. When it was operating as a casino, it also was home to The House Of Blues and it is all still there minus the name. A cavernous space with a large open floor and a balcony with seating above it still has a great sound system and lighting. Multiple bars on each floor meant that there was never too much effort involved in getting a drink, and large restrooms eliminated lines at the other end of the process. Every band that played in this room was much better for it and they all sounded great. The second stage was the next room over and was one of the large ballrooms with a small riser/stage on the side. Certainly a more intimate setting it still had a good sound and decent but scaled-back lighting. The biggest benefit to this move was something no outdoor festival will ever have, air conditioning.

The three-day event started on Friday evening. It was a low-key night as people are arriving for the festival and getting settled in. Only the main stage was used and three cover bands were playing. First up was Southside Stephen And The Asbury Jacks. They were followed by a pretty good Metallica tribute band called The Four Horsemen.

The highlight of the evening was an Ozzy tribute band called Ozzmosis whose lead singer looked a lot like a young Ozzy and copied his mannerisms pretty well. The set opened with Black Sabbath’s ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ and progressed through most of his catalog. It was noted by the lead singer in between songs that they had the longest set time of any band that weekend and a good thing too. There is a lot of music to choose from and ‘Diary Of A Madman’ took up a big chunk of time. The evening wraps up to a cheering crowd that has grown considerably since the first act.


Day two begins a little after three PM (very nice of the organizers to consider the late-night everyone had) and both stages are in full swing now. Looking over the list of bands it becomes difficult to decide how to split time between the two stages as each has some great offerings.


Can’t miss, in between bands, four times during the weekend on the second stage was Midgets With Attitude Wrestling. Not the most politically correct of acts but everyone on and off the stage was having fun so why judge. The main stage continues with Doro, Slaughter, Great White, Stephen Pearcy-The Voice Of Ratt, Hinder, and Chevelle.

Each act draws your attention differently. Great White does a traditional set of favorites; Stephen Pearcy of RATT fame interacts with the audience and is having a good time; happy to be performing and getting a positive response. For a while, it seems like 80’s power ballads will rule the night and then comes Hinder. Hinder bounces around the stage all dressed in white, contrasting with the traditional rock star black. They look like a Heavy Metal boy band, much more pop than anger and grit; but they deftly warm up the crowd for the night’s main event.

If a band is headlining a night at a festival there should be a reason and for Chevelle, the reason was that they earned a top spot. No other band could have capped off the night as they did. Chevelle is a three-piece consisting of two brothers Pete (guitar/vocals) and Sam (drums) Loeffler and Kemble Walters (also of Aeges) on bass. Their music hints at Tool but is also uniquely theirs. Taking the stage like they were shot out of a cannon, Chevelle tears through their set barely pausing between songs. It is hard to believe that so much sound can come from three people, but they get the crowd on their feet with an amazing performance. Closing out with ‘Send the Pain Below’ – they have taken full advantage of the sound and lights leaving everyone wanting for more.

Day three again begins mercifully later in the day with the first band Corvid Corpus taking the second stage at 2:15. Other bands appearing on the second stage in addition to the Wrestlers are Dangerous Toys and L.A Guns. With names like that relegated to the festival equivalent of the kid’s table one can only imagine what awaits on the main stage.

First up is Second Skyn who preps the crowd for what’s to come with an energetic set ending in a guitar heavy version of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4.”

Following them is John 5 who turns out to be one of the great surprises of the day. The former guitar player for David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson now plays behind Rob Zombie and tours solo when the opportunity arises. With a style reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen, John 5 put on a 45 minute clinic on how to play just about anything with strings. Switching from guitar to mandolin to ukulele to banjo and switching styles from Rock to Jazz to Bluegrass it was like watching a Heavy Metal version of Buddy Guy who can emulate anyone’s style without any effort. To prove that point he ended his set with a 10 minute medley of the greatest guitar riffs ever. Open mouthed and jaws on the floor the crowd erupted in applause. What could possibly top that?

Well if the schedule is any indicator, Puddle Of Mudd can. Unfortunately, the changeover took a little long and some of the momentum was lost. Lead singer, and only remaining original member Wes Scantlin, took a couple of songs before he really hit his stride and then it was off to the races, tuning in a strong performance and getting the crowd back on their feet.

Every good festival should push the envelope a bit and maybe try to expose the audience to something they might not otherwise see. In this case being in Atlantic City, they went with Anthony Criss AKA Treach of Naughty By Nature. A quick twenty-minute set became an impressive display of the abilities of an elite rapper. It may not have been the Grunge we had been watching all weekend, but it was immensely entertaining and a joy to watch.

The crowd was milling about and needed to be grounded again and Hoobastank is just the band to do it. Almost in contrast to the flash we have been watching up to this point, Hoobastank is a no nonsense straight forward Rock act. Playing a tight controlled set it is clear why they have been chosen to set up the main act of the weekend.


All weekend has been building to the main attraction of Stone Temple Pilots and while that moment has finally come it also means that the festival is about over. It is very difficult for a band to overcome the loss of a lead singer but a couple have managed. (Editor’s note, STP has lost 2 lead singers, counting Chester Bennington). Journey and Alice In Chains come to mind immediately. Both of those bands found someone who sounds almost exactly like the original lead. STP has enlisted the talents of Jeff Gutt as a new lead singer and refreshingly, he is not the vocal clone of Scott Weiland. He has a similar range and hits the same notes with a slightly different timbre to his voice. This helps make the songs his own and gives them a different flavor so they don’t end up looking like a tribute band.

As the set begins, it becomes clear just how many hits STP has had over their near 30 year career. From ‘Wicked Garden’ to ‘Vaseline’ to ‘Interstate Love Song’ and on and on. Each song comes with immediate recognition and brings memories of when it was first heard. During a brief pause, Jeff Gutt explains how a few years ago he was driving home listening to STP on the radio as a fan and now he is living a dream as their singer. It is quite apparent in the performance that all of the members of the band are living their dream and reveling in every second of it.

All too soon, the show comes to an end as Sunday night is upon us. Back to work tomorrow, time to head home. Hopefully this festival comes back next year and becomes part of our new normal.