Music — Sky Show soaks up the rain

Sky Show soaks up the rain


By Dan Goodhue


Rock fans turn out in droves in spite of stormy weather

Manchester loves its veterans and its rock. Throw games, carnival food, beer and fireworks into the mix, and it is no wonder The Rock 101 Sky Show on Sunday, May  29 was such a success.

All ages were present at this year’s event, from families with toddlers to high school teens to senior citizens. One silver-haired Queen City resident bobbed his head to Slaughter, while a nearby 10-year-old head-banged and stomped her foot.

The threat of rain did little to dampen the crowd’s or the bands’ spirits. Black-make-up-clad teens sang along to the younger acts. Theory of a Deadman gave the most exuberant performance of the new bands, vacillating from pop tunes to hard rock to power ballads.

Slaughter’s drummer set the pace with a double bass beat that reverberated in attendants’ chests 150 feet from the stage. Crowd surfers wore sheepish grins as they simultaneously pumped one fist in the air, while the other clutched a loose sneaker. During Slaughter’s set, I noticed my water bottle was missing only to see it moments later flying through the air, still full.

Frontman Mark Slaughter remained cognizant of Memorial Day as he asked the audience to make some noise for the people who have lost their lives defending us.

Between sets, a young man at the front “flashed” the spectators from a friend’s shoulders to resounding cheers. As night fell, many women followed his lead. Other debauchery included mosh pits, groping, airborne objects, and even a bizarrely vicious head-butting in which the woman responsible shook the hand of the man who would later sport a black eye.

By the time Skid Row came on, no one at the front of the crowd was standing on their own. They were merely swaying as one big sweaty unit, held upright in a packed-sardine fashion. The guitarist’s animated facial expressions were almost amusing enough to warrant staying within 10 feet of the stage, but the high decibel level made the music unintelligible. In the back, middle-aged men in black tee shirts sang along.

The families, still in attendance, could be found at the northern edge of Arms Park awaiting the fireworks along with many couples and teenagers. The pyrotechnics started late, but were worth the wait. The immense volume of the finale caused scared screeches. But the show-stealer was the fireworks waterfall. White sparks dropped straight from the bridge, forming a flashing, electric wall. The only thing missing was a stiff breeze to blow away the smoke cloud as it obstructed the view. One Manchester woman remarked, “They need to invest in a big fan.”

- Dan Goodhue

2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH