Rocklahoma kicks off Friday with Godsmack

Northeastern Oklahoma, at least for this weekend, will be the concert capital of the area. Country music fans will be flocking to the BOK Center Friday night for Brooks and Dunn, but for rock-n-roll fans suchalt as myself, the place to be this weekend is just a short drive away in Pryor. Rocklahoma 2010 kicks off on Memorial Day weekend for the first time after taking place later in the summer months in it’s previous editions.

The festival, with the motto of "life, liberty and the pursuit of rock!" boasts a lineup of bands from several genres and eras of rock. ZZ Top, Cinderella, Tesla, Chevelle, Saliva, Fuel, Theory of a Deadman and Sevendust will all be making appearances. Area bands are also well represented with Shaman’s Harvest (Jefferson City, MO), Firstryke (Tulsa), and Taddy Porter (Stillwater) all set to take the stage.

If you don’t have an all-session pass yet, it looks like Friday night will give you the best bang for your buck. 17 bands will span three stages on the day, including up and coming acts Adelita’s Way (3:30 p.m.) and Saving Abel (5 p.m.) starting things off on the main stage. From there, the main stage will see the likes of Buckcherry (6:30 p.m.), Three Days Grace (8:15 p.m.) and Godsmack (10:30 p.m.).

Buckcherry, fronted by Josh Todd, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1995. After a seven year run the band dissolved in 2002 until Todd and lead guitarist Keith Nelson got things going once again in 2005. In 2006 they released the album 15 which included the widely popular hit "Crazy Bitch" and Billboard Hot 100 top ten hit "Sorry."

On their most recent tour the band opened for rock legends Kiss on select dates of their "Alive 35" Tour. Buckcherry is getting set to release their fifth studio album, All Night Long, in August. The first single, "All Night Long" was recently released to rock radio.

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Three Days Grace is comprised of Adam Gontier (guitarist/ lead vocalist), Neil Sanderson (drums), Brad Walst (bass) and Barry Stock (lead guitar). Billboard’s 2007 number one rock artist of the year, Three Days Grace has sold over six million albums worldwide with their first two albums, Three Days Grace (2003) and One-X (2006). Their third album, Life Starts Now, released in September, 2009 debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 list with songs "Break" reaching number one on the Billboard Rock Songs Chart and "The Good Life" reaching 85 on the Canadian Hot 100.

The Canadian group’s debut album peaked at number on the Billborad 200 and included their breakout hit "I hate Everything About You." One-X produced hit songs "Animal I Have Become", "Pain", "Riot", and "Never Too Late." The album reached number two on the 2009 Billboard Top Rock Albums chart.

The headliner for the night is the always pleasing, hard-hitting, heavy-playing Godsmack. Formed in 1995 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Godsmack is the brain-child of front-man Sully Erna. Tony Rombola (guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass) and Shannon Larkin (drums) round out this band that has sold over 19 million records worldwide. When Boston radio station WAAF started playing "Keep Away" in the late 90’s, the song quickly became the number one song played, and eventually led to Universal/ Republic Records singing the band.

Self titled debut album, Godmsack, including songs "Keep Away", "Whatever", "Bad Religion" and "Voodoo" sold over four million copies. Godsmack’s follow-up effort, Awake, debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 while the song "Awake" reached number one on the Billboard Rock Singles chart. The band went on to release Faceless (2003) and IV (2006) before taking a break from their nearly non-stop touring schedule.

In 2008 they reunited to begin work on the recently released album, The Oracle. Released May 3, the album was an immediate hit, reaching number one less than 24-hours after it’s release on Amazon and iTunes. The Oracle went on to sell 117,000 copies in it’s first week, making it number one on Billboard 200 and Godsmack’s third-straight album to reach the spot. 

If you’ve been waiting for a hard rock show worth attending, this is the one. But hey, if you’ve got a few more bucks to spend, why not pay a little extra and hang around for the entire weekend? For more information on tickets and lineups for Rocklahoma 2010 check out their website.