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Rock into Spring Festival DAY 1: Buckcherry, 9Electric, Alien Ant Farm and more!!

How do you spend your nights? Scary Monsters Music spent three music filled days and nights at Rock Into Spring at The M Spa Resort and Casino in April with Buckcherry, Art of Anarchy, and Sick Puppies and many more! The Gangster Audio and Heineken presented event not only featured fantastic headliners, but also included two dozen supporting bands from across the country, who converged upon the city for twenty-eight hours of musical mayhem.

The venue, eleven miles south of the famous Las Vegas sign, is a fabulous setting for the days and nights to follow. Friday’s revelment began as people watched the massive center stage from the huge poolside area with VIP cabanas as rapper Chino XL and Rama Duke opened the festival. This duo recently released a rather interesting hip-hop/rock infused version of Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under The Bridge", and most definitely a fantastic start for the three day event.

State of Mine, a five piece band from Michigan, brought the first taste of metal for the weekend. If you could mix 5FDP, Linkin Park with a hint of Disturbed and Slipknot, this is the sound you’re looking for. Loud, proud and full of energy, the day started with a boom!

In the weeks prior to this event, Gangster and Rock Into Spring hosted a Battle Of The Bands for the chance for one local band to play, and N.E. Last Words took that title head on! The Las Vegas band of six have an extreme sound and a dominant stage presence: metal-meets-rap-meets-punk. This being the first festival experience for them, they took the stage and never looked back. Fast, direct and furious they got the crowd going for the day with their spin on "Killing In The Name" by Rage Against the Machine.

Reclaim The Sky was the first female fronted band to command the stage and the audience. Another six piece band based out of Southern California, lead singer Giuliana Caporale has fantastic strong vocals. She and bandmates captivated the audience with their high energy, jumps, and Caporales voice had everyone mesmerized. It’s always great to see a female take the lead and command the crowd and just rock!

Day 1 of Rock Into Spring and we were really just getting started! A DJ set was up next with a guest that left a few raised eyebrows - was this was who they thought it was? Yes it was DJ Lethal who is best known for his 15 year span with Limp Bizkit and House Of Pain spinning his tunes, he was joined on stage by a couple of the Gangster Gurls while the crowd danced poolside.

DJ Josh Todd/Photo Jo Anna Jackson

One of the most interesting surprise moments of the evening, other than the cool windy temperatures, was a DJ set by Josh Todd of Buckcherry. The lead singer-turned-DJ for a set was a treat in itself. Todd’s set up was on the corner of the stage where he spun some tunes as fans stood below, no spoken words, just the man and his tunes.

As the sun is went down, the winds got stronger, the temperatures got lower and the spectators changed from pool wear to sweats and jackets. Never Say Die took the stage, and members of this new band may look and sound a bit familiar, as they begin where My Darkest Days left off (as MDD singer Matt Walst left to join Three Days Grace), Reid Henry and Brendan McMillan of MDD joined forces with Mike Langford and Dane Hartsell (Age Of Days) for the lineup for this Toronto based band. The band's debut cd (Destroy + Rebuild) is out now and the band played new single "Like A Nightmare" as well as the Crowd pleaser "Pornstar Dancing" to close out their set.

Never Say Die Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos

As night started to fall what better band to light up the stage than 9Electric from Los Angeles, California. The electronic rock by the 4 member group was a complete turn-about from the prior bands, with an intense mix of rock with electronic vibes. Lead singer Ron Underwood had nonstop jumps and leaps throughout their set, as well as amazing team work of the bands' musicians. In the midst of the set Underwood (a/k/a Thunderwood) announced the arrival of their newest member, and first female Electric member Ginny Eck on bass. This band is unmistakably an electric force to be reckoned with and set the tone for the headlining sets.

9Electric Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos

The buzz among the crowd was anticipation of Alien Ant Farm hitting the stage next, another Southern California band and festival favorite. After a few technical difficulties, Alien Ant Farm got underway and played several fan favorite tunes and kicked out beach balls for the end with their set with "Smooth Criminal". In a closing comment by lead singer Dryden Mitchell, he jokingly stated he drove six hours to have his set cut short, but thanked everyone for coming to the show.

Alien Ant Farm Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos

It is finally time for headliners Buckcherry, and Rock into Spring marked the debut of the bands' new lineup since the departure of drummer Xavier Muriel and guitarist Keith Nelson. Sean Winchester (Josh Todd & the Conflict) joined the band on drums and longtime friend of the band Kevin Roentgen (American Pearl) was added on guitar.

Kicking off their 13 song set with "Ridin’" from their 2001 album, Time Bomb, Josh Todd got the crowd on their feet and fired up, and the party really got moving with "Lit Up" from Buckcherry's self-titled debut album. It seems that Todd enjoys telling a tidbit of the story behind the song prior to the song, and he elaborated that "Lit Up" is story about him going to "TJ" (Tijuana) to do some under-age boozing, and getting caught with cocaine by the Federales. I guess he got off with a warning... Great sound, great vocals and great energy from the new lineup, and Buckcherry finished with "Crazy Bitch", it’s the cats' meow of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Buckcherry Photos: Jo Anna Jackson/Stardogphotos

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