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For several years the 5,000 townspeople of Montevideo, Minnesota have been hosting one of the greatest rock events of the summer. If you are thinking of such awesome tours as Ozzfest or Moondance Jam, then think again as Monty one-ups them with “Rock the Park,” an all day long tribute band show! Up in my area of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota we obviously do not get that many big acts touring that frequently (though we do have Brittany Spears performing soon, but c’mon now), so in their place we have tribute bands to fill their shoes! My sister lives in Montevideo and invited me down for the event, and I had a fantastic time, so fantastic that I had to go again this year. I attended Rock the Park last weekend, and like the year prior was not disappointed.
Say what you will about tributes and how nothing is as good as the real thing, but the people who put this together did a damn fine job of picking out some quality tribute bands. And after guzzling down countless brews all day it felt like I was at the real thing anyways. Another positive about this being a tribute show meant affordable admission, which meant using those savings on the amazing yet overpriced live event food like Hobo Tacos and Cheese Curds!!
The show kicked off at 1pm with a local cover band, Kill Baxter performing a variety of pop/punk songs from the past two decades to warm up the 1,000+ crowd in Montevideo’s Lagoon Park. They only played for about a half hour and then they and their Kurt Cobain look-a-like front man jammed out with the crowd for the rest of the show.
After Kill Baxter, the first tribute took the stage with Vicious Cycle, a Leonard Skynyrd tribute. Naturally, they closed out with an awesome rendition of “Free Bird” that left many great memories of Guitar Hero II. Following the southern rock beats of Skynyrd, Bad Animals took the stage, a Heart tribute. Being the passionate gamer that I am, I automatically associate Heart with 2K’s Prey from a few years ago and popped huge when they belted out “Barracuda.”
When Bad Animals wrapped up, the Led Zeppelin tribute band, the aptly titled Zed Leppelin took the stage. I never really got into Led Zeppelin, but for some reason as Zed Leppelin was winding down their set list I found myself out of my and jamming out with a steadily growing crowd around the stage area. The crowd was so into them that we got them to come back out for an encore, a first for the one of several tribute concerts I have attended. The final tribute to take the stage was Atomic Punks, a Van Halen cover band, whose lead man was quite flamboyant and encouraged the ladies to continue to throw as many bras on stage throughout their set as possible.
By the time Atomic Punks wrapped up and the show was over it was approaching 1am. At that point I was feeling pretty good from plenty of alcohol throughout the day which prolonged me from noticing my sore neck until morning from 12 hours of headbanging. And since I cannot of a better way to wrap up this article, check out these quick little snippets of amateur footage I shot from my digicam.