Do you like horror? How about some Heavy Metal? Do you like getting fake blood sprayed all over you? Does Halloween make you giddy? Well if you said yes to any of those questions and you were in New England from October 16th through October 19th then the place to be was at Worcester’s own Palladium and DCU Center for the 11th annual Rock and Shock 2014 festival where creatures from all over the metal and horror worlds converged for a weekend chock full of head banging, shopping, movies, celebrity panels and meet and greets.
Thursday is strictly a metal day, known as the “pre-party” for Rock and Shock, with nothing happening conference wise and this year it was all about King Diamond. King fucking Diamond!! The faithful came from all points in New England to catch this show and sold out the big, historic Worcester Palladium to the tune of something like 3000 tickets. (I don’t have exact figures here.) This did not surprise anyone since it’s King Diamond but what was surprising was how many people waited to get tickets at the door, drove for hours to get there, just to be turned away 45 minutes before he hit the stage. To those sad sacks, all I can say is there is this thing called the internet where you can buy advance tickets. Technology is amazing. In all seriousness though I did feel bad for those who didn’t get in, especially for this father with his pre-teen son that seemed to be pretty bummed out about it.
Not to rub it in but the show was pretty outstanding and definitely the ultimate highlight of Rock and Shock 2014.
Day two was all about the finger, specifically the middle one of course, and how many times you gave it or gotthe it.
Day two was all about the finger, specifically the middle one of course, and how many times you gave it or got it. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my prowess in the use of this little gesture and every band but one was happy to share their own digit dexterity with my lens.
The always punishing and never compromising Overkill headlined the night and put on an extra long but no less brutal set. Even with multiple sound problems and all the microphone deaths they encountered, this band, not surprisingly, didn’t disappoint. Loud, brash, in your face and insanely tight from start to finish, exactly as I had anticipated it would be.
Just before Overkill was an odd but really fun one time only collaboration of multiple musicians including Doyle from The Misfits, and members from Faster Pussycat, Life of Agony, Genitorturers, Dope, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God among others, playing a set of Misfits songs.
If that wasn’t enough, Saturday it was time to get into the slave pit and bathe in blood. After solid sets from bands like Life of Agony with newest/oldest member Mina Caputo, it was time for the new incarnation of GWAR. Donning what can only be described as a shit load of garbage bags and a handy pair of safety glasses, I patiently waited with the screaming fans for the beginning of the blood bath. Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay for the entire set and missed the new singer for the band, Vulvatron, who didn’t come out on stage until well after the first handful of songs. The set started out with a video tribute/story about Oderus Urungus, the sadly late Dave Brockie, explaining the characters absence. Although seemingly a bit lost without the driving force of Brockie, the usual mayhem and spurting fluid filled stage antics kept the crowd anticipating every step.
The conference at the DCU Center is so much fun and even very kid friendly. It’s full of things to do and see with merchants selling wares, movies to see, celebrity panels and Q & A’s, meet and greet opportunities with the bands that played as well as some of your favorite horror movie actors. This year you could spend time yapping with such greats as Sid Haig, Jeffery Combs, Derek Mears, Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder, Tom Savini, Roddy Piper, Brad Dourif, John Ratzenberger, Ogre from Skinny Puppy, and so many more. So much was going on that it kind of made my head spin trying to see everything.
There were some new vendors this year and by far my favorite was Pandora’s Box. If you are into oddities, old medical instruments, beautifully preserved and ethically sourced animal remains, skulls, claws, horns and the like, then this place is for you.
Back again was another favorite vendor of mine, VHSPS, where you can find all of those movies you already have on VHS that aren’t on modern media yet, on DVD’s. I always find something to buy from them and yeah it’s usually some B movie that I have no idea why I love but I do.
If you went to Rock and Shock 2014 then you know how much fun it is but if you haven’t, you should really consider making a pit stop next year. I’m sure they are already planning the event for 2015 and for my money, it the most fun thing going on in New England in October.
–Full photo gallery / King Diamond / Jess and the Ancient Ones
–Full Photo Gallery / Overkill / The Rocking Dead w/ Doyle / Battlecross / Arsis / Jasta
–Full Photo Gallery / GWAR / Life of Agony / Unearth / Dying Fetus / Decapitated / The Rock and Shock Conference
–Rock and Shock website