In the town of Enfield, CT, on 9 July 2022, a hot and sunny Saturday, rock fans of all ages made their way down to the Fourth of July Town Celebration for a day filled with loud rock ‘n’ roll. With an array of tribute bands and ’80s favourites, horns were raised in the air from start to finish.
Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration
Words and Photography: Taylor Cameron (Autograph Photos: Jody Wilk)
Kicking off the day at 1 pm was Knucklehead, a cover band with an eclectic setlist filled with a wide range of rock and Metal songs. From Godsmack to Led Zeppelin and Paramore, Knucklehead brought something to the table that everyone could enjoy.
Up next were the local favourites, King Kuel. Bringing a strong presence to the stage, Ray Wheaton (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar) had the crowd in the palm of his hands within minutes, a smile rarely leaving his face.
Replacing his white Les Paul-styled LTD Deluxe for a chainsaw, King Kuel surprised the audience. Bringing out a red SG-styled guitar, Wheaton carves a few lines in the body of the guitar before handing it over to a lucky fan in the audience, the band never failing to entertain the enthusiastic crowd.
Beyond Purple (Deep Purple/Richie Blackmore/Whitesnake Tribute), Last Child (Aerosmith Tribute) and Black in Black (AC/DC Tribute), follow up King Kuel and bring a fun experience to the festival, doing justice to the bands they honour.
The rock fans who were gathered at the Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration jamming along to the classic tunes.
A wave of emotions floods over the crowd as Autograph takes the stage for one of the first times without founding member, the late Randy Rand.
In his place is Steve Unger (Metal Church), honouring Rand’s legacy along with his fellow bandmates, the band dedicating the set to their fallen brother.
The setlist is filled with some of the band’s classic tracks, such as Send Her To Me, All I’m Going To Take and Blondes In Black Cars, having the crowd singing along, helping the band pay homage to Rand.
“Give me all you got”, vocalist Simon Daniels says to the crowd before the band kick into Turn Up The Radio, everyone joining in on this ever-so-catchy classic.
Opening with the title track of their sophomore album, Rev It Up! Vixen energetically hit the stage. Lorraine Lewis (Vocals) immediately makes her way down the catwalk, getting the crowd to join in on the vocals, while Britt Lightning (Guitar), Julia Lage (Bass) and Roxy Petrucci (Drums) deliver top-notch musicianship to back up the song.
With fan favourites such as How Much Love and Cryin’, the ladies of Vixen keep the crowd’s attention completely. As Lighting rips into the iconic intro of Van Halen’s Runnin’ with The Devil, Lorraine invites myself and fellow MetalTalk writer Shannon Wilk onto the stage to rock out with the band during I Want You To Rock Me, singing backup vocals with Lage during the chorus.
Bringing a few more fans up on stage towards the end of the track, everyone cheered loudly as Lewis introduced everyone to the Metal fans present.
Closing the day of live music is none other than Slaughter. Red and blue lights flash as the band emerges onto the stage, opening with Mad About You. Mark Slaughter’s loud vocals soar across the crowd as Jeff Bland chugs through the catchy riff.
Playing tracks off their debut Stick It To Ya, such as Eye To Eye and Burning Bridges, the audience sing-along loudly with their horns raised high in the air.
The band left the stage, and Mark Slaughter played an acoustic version of the single Days Gone By, released off of their sophomore release, The Wild Life, which is celebrating 30 years this year. Mark Slaughter utilises his chest voice for the ballad.
Before the band plays their well-known hit Fly To The Angels, Mark Slaughter takes a moment to dedicate the track to Randy Rand of Autograph and their late former guitarist Tim Kelly, who passed away 24 years ago in February.
Closing the night with Up All Night, the crowd cheered loudly, not wanting the night to end. Slaughter’s set was energetically captivating from start to finish.
Not only did mother nature grant us a beautiful sunny day, but each band on the bill brought something special to the stage that made the day even more perfect. The crowd stayed enthused throughout the day, participating in each note sung.
The musicians who rocked the stage throughout the day all brought their A-game, playing sets that did not disappoint.