Food Truck and Rock Carnival: Day 2 – Live in Clark NJ

Food Truck and Rock Carnival 2015 full lineup poster

We arrived at Day Two of the Food Truck and Rock Carnival a bit tired, but amped up for a full day of bands. With more time to explore the fest this day, we checked out the awesome fair food in the main concert area such as corn dogs and deep-fried Oreo’s as well as some of more interesting choices on the Food Truck side too.

Like A Storm, by Keith Chachkes

Like A Storm, by Keith Chachkes

Doing a reverse of yesterday, we took in the bands first, followed by some Carnie fun, and then more bands. Up and coming New Zealand rockers Like A Storm were the first band we saw and they were insanely good. With several rock hits at satellite radio, they had their own fans in the house. They seemed to make a lot of new converts too with a fiery show. Crobot was next on the other main stage. If you have never seen them, they are a fierce piece of psych rock explosiveness! They whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their over the top antics.

Crobot, by Keith Chachkes

Crobot, by Keith Chachkes


Anthrax, by Keith Chachkes

Anthrax, by Keith Chachkes

After I headed back stage to conduct some band interviews we headed back out the now full festival grounds. It was really impressive to see this for a first time fest. Especially after the performance of the next band I caught: Anthrax. The band has been touring like crazy leading up to their new album For All Kings (Megaforce) due this winter. The band had a short set so they dispensed with the pleasantries and commenced the ass kicking. In addition to their typical hits, they played the rarely ever heard live ‘Lone Justice’ as a tribute to Eddie Trunk. The band was on fire too, especially drummer Charlie Benante and singer Joey Belladonna.


Nighttime fell on the fest and lights from the stages and the carnival lit up the sky and you just felt everyone’s collective energy was high. Following the model of some European fests the two areas in front of the main stages was cut into a big “Y” shape with an enormous VIP area. This also helped security with crowd control, but at the same time made it a chore to see both stages easily. This was the only weakness of the weekend to me. At the same time the two stages also created an awesome VIP Cabana area between them, that for the came with tons of amenities including private wait staff services, a private viewing area of the stage, a private VIP meet and greet sesh, free beers and up close access to the bands and the main stages other fans did not have. The fan in me was a little bit jelly and some of the patrons I talked to were over the moon about the experience.

Clutch, by Keith Chachkes

Clutch, by Keith Chachkes

The perfect band to bring in the spirit of rock revivalism to the darkened skies was Clutch who happened to be up next. They played a lot of songs from their new album ‘Psychic Warfare’ (Weathermaker Music) and no one complained. Neil Fallon gesticulated wildly all over the stage, tending to his flock. The band was tight as hell and just jammed it out for an hour straight. Late in the set brought the hits fans wanted to hear like ‘Spacegrass’ and ‘The Mob Goes Wild’.

Schism, by Keith Chachkes

Schism, by Keith Chachkes

Tucked away in the far corner of the fest, the carnival area was the last stage, and by all accounts had been decently attended all day with locals and some bands paying tribute to rock and metal heroes. Two of the most prominent tribute bands in the nation closed the stage each night: RATM2, he Rage Against the Machine Tribute and Schism, the première Tool tribute band. I managed to catch some of Schism’s set, and having been a Tool-o-phile from back n the day and seeing the band as many times as I have, they are the real deal. If you have never seen the enigmatic gods of art rock, Schism is a fair stand in both sonically and visually. Next year this stage ought to be closer to the main stages.

Chester Bennington with Stone Temple Pilots, by Keith Chachkes

Chester Bennington with Stone Temple Pilots, by Keith Chachkes

Godsmack and Stone Temple Pilots closed the main stages respectively on this night with a lots of bravado from each. STP featuring Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) for one of the last times, played all the songs that made them of the première alt rock bands of the 90s. Chester is spot on vocally, and a star in every way imaginable. Fans have commented that his copying Scott Weiland is unflattering to the band and off-putting, and I have to say it isn’t necessary at all. Chester can hang with anyone vocally and to me was a great fit with STP, end of story.

Crowd at The Rock Carnival, by Keith Chachkes

Crowd at The Rock Carnival, by Keith Chachkes

Godsmack opened up with a montage film that recapped their last few years touring and intercut shots of iconic Boston sports people such as Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, members of the Boston Bruins and David Ortiz. Curious choices in New Jersey, the land of many Jets and Yankees fans, but oh well. The band came out fired up and played all their big radio friendly tracks. They were a worthy closer on this night. Drummer Shannon Larkin always stands out a lot to me. He is one of the most talented drummers you will ever see live worth watching. Sully Erna flipped back and forth between playing guitar and running around with a wireless microphone, and seemed to really relish performing for such an enthusiastic crowd.

Godsmack, by Keith Chachkes

Godsmack, by Keith Chachkes



Godsmack, by Keith Chachkes

Godsmack, by Keith Chachkes


Godsmack, by Keith Chachkes

Godsmack, by Keith Chachkes

I made it a point each day to hang a lot at the Birch Hill Stage towards the end of each day. It seemed that a lot of industry types were gathering there, and it was awesome to see my brethren from the world of music journalism and publicity. Plus the beer garden was right there. The final bands trifecta of LA Guns, Lita Ford, and Slaughter was a great way to cap off the weekend. LA Guns was solid, Lita was excellent, but Slaughter was downright special. After all these years it’s a amazing how little Slaughter has changed. They were a thing to behold, especial Mark Slaughter’s stratospheric singing voice. Of course they closed the weekend with ‘Fly To The Angels’ and ‘Up All Night’ performed to a crowd feeling a mix of jubilation and satisfaction that comes from a having a great time. I held my BFF tight and raised up those horns one last time for the night. Food Truck and Rock Carnival, do us a solid and comeback next year twice as baddass!

Slaughter, by Keith Chachkes

Slaughter, by Keith Chachkes


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Food Truck and Rock Carnival: Day 1 – Live in Clark, NJ

Food Truck and Rock Carnival 2015 full lineup poster

Throngs of people descended on Southern New Jersey for the first annual Food Truck and Rock Carnival to enjoy the sites, tastes and sounds that they had to offer. Although New Jersey may not be the first place you think of for a destination music festival, to paraphrase a line from the movie Dogma: never underestimate the staggering appeal of “The Garden State”. In the post Hurricane Sandy reality for residents here, including many of the vendors I spoke with, it was great is spend some time and money down here and support this community.


The lay of the land was on the vast side: with two main stages, plus several smaller stages, one hosting a lot of glam rock notables and another with local bands and tribute acts. One entire area was scoped out for the free carnival full of rides, traditional attractions, wrestling matches, notable entertainment personalities speaking, music industry lecturers, comedy shows, merch and a bunch of amazing food trucks. The rides and games were non-stop Some had the typical fair food while others were unique and were like catnip to the foodie souls. Although it was impossible to try them all as the formed a perimeter around the entire carnival area, we did sample a few. Among the best were my personal favorites Fork in The Road, followed by The Angry Crab, Amanda Banana, Dark Side of The Moo, Empanada Guy, Nooch’s Mac Truck, and So Jersey.

Then there was the music. Day 1 featured a bevy of cool bands from across the rock and metal world. Early day entrants from the rock world such as Bad Case For Big Mouth, Fit For Rivals, Otherwise and rising superstars Pop Evil were greeted to a large early crowd and enthusiastic fans. Their recent new album Up (eOne) they are supporting, and the bands high-profile tours and car commercials are starting to bear fruit that can be seen in their sizzling live performances.


Sevendust, by OJC Pics/OmarCordy

Skid Row continues to plow ahead with new singer Tony Harnell. They played a set heavy on the hits, and sounded refreshed. It’s been a minute since I heard this many people screaming along to ’18 And Life’, ‘Monkey Business’, and ‘Youth Gone Wild’. The world needs more of this on a regular basis. Puddle Of Mudd has been road tripping themselves ls a lot of late at similar festivals. Choppy at times as a live band, they leaned on their hits like ‘Blurry’ and their closer ‘She Hates Me’. Next Sevendust was bringing the crowd to their feet in praise for their about to be released (out now), album Kill The Flaw (7Bros) They played some heavy hits and one deep cut, ‘Shine’, that had me and other fans besides ourselves. This band always brings live.


Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society, by OJC Pics/OmarCordy

As the warm up to the headliners, Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society played a crushing set of heavy tracks. Wylde of course is the main attraction for shred nerds, Ozzy fanatics, MC crew types. Not only was the band tight, and he played his customary extended guitar solo in the set. Highlights for me included ‘The Beginning… At Last’, ‘Funeral Bell’, ‘Bleed For Me’, ‘Suicide Messiah’, and ‘Stillborn’.


Eddie Trunk of That Metal Show introduces King’s X, by OJC Pics/OmarCordy

In between bands all day I tried to catch some of the talent at the Birch Hill Stage, named for the old Birch Hill Nightclub, the stuff of Jersey legend and special venue to me. Among the acts we caught some or all of were Gilby Clarke (Gun ‘N Roses), Faster Pussycat, Stephen Percy of Ratt fame and King’s X. We saw all of their set and it was terrific. Hanging out with fans and singing every word in the set from the crowd was LaJon of Sevendust, who also gave the band a shout out earlier in the day too.


Three Days Grace, by OJC Pics/OmarCordy



Three Days Grace, by OJC Pics/OmarCordy

Back to the main stage, it has been a big year for Three Days Grace and Ghost Cult has been there for a lot of it. Playing the fest in a run of headline dates, the band leaned heavily on their greatest hits and their new album Human (RCA). Lead singer Matt Walst has won over most of the hold out fans who wanted Adam Gontier (Saint Asonia) back and he is a great replacement for Adam.

Slash closed out night one with his mates Miles Kennedy And The Conspirators and just blazed through a set of his own material and of course, a lot of GNR stuff too. It felt like an epic happening, as Slash is a one of a kind showman, beloved blues jammer and icon. Myles and crew are total pros and deliver song after song all night. It was a fine end to a long day of fun.

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TNT Releasing 30th Anniversary Album via Indie Recordings



Veteran Norwegian hard rockers TNT has issued their 30th Anniversary 1982-2012 Live In Concert With Trondheim Symphony Orchestra release in the United States via Indie Recordings.

The performance was filmed on June 2, 2012 at the Clarion Hotel in Trondheim, Norway, with the band performing with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra (Trondheim Symfoniorkester), and special appearances by Hank Von Helvete (Turbonegro), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), and original TNT vocalist Dag Ingebrigtsen and returning vocalist Tony Harnell (replacing Tony Mills).

30th Anniversary 1982-2012 Live In Concert With Trondheim Symphony Orchestra Track Listing:
01. Fanfare For The Common Man.
02. Invisible Noise
03. Substitute
04. Refugee
05. As Far As The Eye Can See
06. Downhill Racer
07. Intuition
08. Northern Lights
09. Tekrø solo
10. Magica Lanterna
11. Sabre Dance
12. Harley Davidson
13. USA
14. Eddie
15. June
16. My Religion
17. Everyone’s A Star
18. 10.000 Lovers (In One)
19. Seven Seas

TNT on Facebook
Official TNT Website
Indie Recordings Official Website
Indie Recordings on Merchnow

The Winery Dogs – Tony Harnell: Live at BB Kings, New York NY


Starting off their current tour with not one, but two New York City shows, The Winery Dogs backed up their bite with a huge bark. Their brand of hard rock is so full of energy you couldn’t help but get drawn into the hype Opening the night was an acoustic set from Tony Harnell of TNT and his guitarist Virus, of Device fame. They belted out songs from his solo career as well as Westworld. Singer Rachel Lorin joined them for the final three songs of the set including a cover of the Nazareth song ‘Love Hurts’. Tony did reveal there will be some TNT shows in the US to mark their upcoming anniversary.


The Winery Dogs fans are surprisingly vocal. For a band with only one album there was a sing-a-long for almost every song. From opening songs ‘Elevate’ and ‘We are One’ the crowd nearly eclipsed the bands’ harmonies. Maybe it has something to do with the musicians themselves being killer players. It was a pick-less night between the bass behemoth of Billy Sheehan and singer/guitarist, Richie Kotzen they both displayed insane finger playing. Seeing a bassist in rock without a pick is normal, but for a guitarist, rare. During ‘Six Feet Deeper’, they leaped into part of Jimi Hendrix staple ‘Hey Joe’ before diving head first into a dizzying drum solo by the mighty Mike Portnoy. Following that up, Billy blurring goodness filled ‘The Other Side’. With only an hours worth of material on their debut album, they treated the crowd to a brand new song. As they were wrapping up they went into my personal favorite, ‘The Dying’. It is one of those great, moody songs can stay on repeat forever.


They returned to the stage for the encore, a massive rocking rendition of The Four Tops, ‘Reach Out (I’ll be There)’. Before closing the night off they Richie made his way over to the church organ for rendition of “Regret”. Instead of lighters, there were cell phone lights shining as the ballad carried on. To wrap up the first night of a two night stand, they knocked out ‘Shy Boy’ by Sheehan’s old band Talas. The Winery Dogs are a rocking groove machine of fun that I’d encourage anyone to check out when they hit your area.


Set List:



We are One

Time Machine


Six Feet Deeper

Drum Solo

The Other Side

Bass Solo

You Saved Me

Not Hopeless

I’m No Angel

Untilttled New Song

The Dying



Reach Out (I’ll Be There) (The Four Top cover)


Shy Boy (Talas cover)

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The Winery Dogs on Facebook

Tony Harnell on Facebook

Words and Photos by Omar Cordy