Knox Hamilton at The Big Orlando. Photo by

Big Orlando Bands Deliver For Orlando Rock Fans

The Hip Abduction at The Big Orlando. Photo by
The Hip Abduction at The Big Orlando. Photo by

Big Orlando Band Recaps

As soon as I saw Weezer and Fall Out Boy on the line-up, I knew that the first edition of The Big Orlando was going to kick ass. When the full line-up was fleshed out a month later, my expectations ratcheted up another notch, and I was not disappointed.

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For a glimpse of the Evening session reviews click here: Fall Out Boy, Weezer, New Politics, Young The Giant, Dirty Heads, J. Roddy Walston & The Business

I’ll share my thoughts on each band, in the order that I saw them; not a crappy act in the bunch, but a few really stood out above the others. As the festival began to resonate around the nickname The Big O (which I suggested many months ago), I thought about using some clever sexual-based rating system, but I’m much too mature for that. Well, maybe not, but let’s just go with some quick thoughts for each band. This is a two part series to be continued tomorrow – and we will also have many photos to share in the next week.

  • Knox Hamilton – “We Can Work It Out” is their signature single, and from what I heard at the show, there are a handful of other catchy pop rock singles on the way from this Arkansas-based trio.  They boasted two guitars and two lead vocalists who dished out laid-back, bouncy, feel good rock ‘n roll, which was a great way to open the Main Stage, and for me to start my day.
    Knox Hamilton at The Big Orlando. Photo by
    Knox Hamilton at The Big Orlando. Photo by
  • A Hero’s Fate – An unsigned Orlando quartet just filled with energy. They delivered a nice blend of pop punk, that was mainstream and edgy at the same time. They appeared to be having a great time on stage, led by frontman Brian Frank and guitarist Blake Murphey who bounced across the stage throughout.
  • The Hip Abduction – I listened to these guys before the event and their unique blend of music, that my wife astutely categorized as “reggaeish,” was captivating.  Their live set, was even better.  The six-piece from St. Pete calls their music “afropop.” The music, which featured a handful of unusual African instruments, a sweltering bass beat and sweet vocals, was an absolutely refreshing twist on surf music. All of their music was excellent, but I’d highly recommend their set-closer “Holiday” if you want to get a good feel for this talented band.  Buy their music, check them out live, get to know them – you won’t be disappointed.  They were the early highlight of the festival.
  • Bear Hands – Probably one of the more anticipated acts of the festival, as this Brookly foursome is riding the success of two huge Alt-Rock hits, “Giants” and “Agora.”  They sounded excellent and kept the cool afternoon groove going, even though they were one of the least animated acts of the day.
  • Crazy Carls – another Orlando-based band, and a great choice to close the Axis local stage.  Charismatic frontman, Alex Baugh  eschewed his guitar for this set, as the band relied on backing tracks, allowing Baugh total freedom to interact with the crowd, and he had them in the palm of his hand.  He’s a non-stop ball of energy, who moved around the stage constantly, belted out killer pop vocals, and seemingly connected with everyone in the large crowd.   He’s a consummate front man who demands attention. (Make sure you follow our site, as we’ll publish an interview with him shortly.)
  • Kasson – A trio from Orlando, who I believe won a contest to secure their spot on the Jagermeister stage.  Good indie rock that was easy to listen to. I need to check them out sometime in The City Beautiful, as I missed part of their set due to a conflict with Crazy Carls.
  • Big Data – I’ll admit, I was a little sceptical about this band, which is really the love child of producer Alan Wilkis. I had no idea how this would translate live, but was in for a nice surprise. The boy/girl vocals and interactions were excellent, and their waltz across the stage entertaining. I loved the bass throughout the entire set, but particularly on their megahit “Dangerous.”  The setlist boasted nice diversity, as well, and they offered the strangest cover choice of the festival – “Private Eyes” by Hall & Oates!
  • Sleeper Agent at The Big Orlando. Photo by
    Sleeper Agent at The Big Orlando. Photo by
  • Sleeper Agent – The one band I was most excited to see, and they were good, but not as fantastic as I had heard.  Another six-piece, these Kentuckians have a unique edgy rock sound. They offered “This is our last show of the year, we’re so happy to be spending it with you,” but unfortunately went out with a bit of a whimper.  Lead female singer Alex Kandel sounded good, but Tony Smith’s vocals seemed lost in the mix.  The band was energetic and the music sounded good, but I just felt like they were holding something back.

See a slew of our Big Orlando photos here.

Rock On!

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