Fall Out Boy and Weezer Headline Big Orlando Fest
As the temperatures dipped, the steady stream of alcohol began to take its toll on more than a handful of concert-goers and the drizzle started up, the action on the Big Orlando stages began to heat up.
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(For my afternoon session reviews click here: Sleeper Agent, Bear Hands, Big Data, Know Hamilton, Crazy Carls, The Hip Abduction, Kasson, A Hero’s Fate)
I covered the first eight Big Orlando Festival bands that I saw in my summary published yesterday (you can see it here), and today, I focus on the last six acts, which included three killer performances. Here they are in the order I saw them.
- Dirty Heads – Saw these Huntington Beach natives at last year’s Big Ticket in Jacksonville, and loved their unique blend of ska and hip hop. The band revolves around front men Jared (Dirty J) Watson and Dustin (Duddy B) Bushnell. In an interview before the show, Watson summed it up perfectly, “Nothing compares to live music. There’s something magical in the energy of a live show that I just love so much,” and it showed, as the band seemed to be having a blast from the first moments of “Franco Eyed” to the final notes of “My Sweet Summer,” and the crowd had just as much fun. Check out our interview with Watson here.
- J. Roddy Walston and The Business – Long hair and rugged-looking, they took the stage looking like a classic Southern Rock quartet spit out of the seventies. As it turned out, they were not exactly Southern rockers, but definitely boasted a cool, classic rock vibe. Walston deftly bounced between guitar and piano and ripped off impressive throaty vocals. Their set seemed to wrap up a bit more quickly than planned, but their closing offering, “Heavy Bells,” was one of the best songs we heard throughout the day.
- Young The Giant – Coming into the show, I suspected that I wouldn’t be crazy about this set, despite the fact that I really enjoy the band’s first two albums. Their music sounded good, the band was tight, and lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s voice was excellent, but their performance just didn’t impress me. It was a nice backdrop for chilling in the food tents, but not the kind of moving performance I hope for in a festival headliner.
- New Politics – Wow! One hell of an entertaining set. This Copenhagen trio stole the show with an extremely energetic, unpredictable set. Their set boasted half a dozen great songs, which had the crowd bouncing and singing along throughout. Drummer Louis Vecchio spent more time on his feet than on his stool, guitarist Soren Hansen flew around the stage with reckless abandon, and lead singer David Boyd was an acrobatic madman, back-flipping, break dancing, crowd surfing and doing headstands. He was an athletic freak, but also a fantastic singer and entertainer, and the entire crowd loved him and his mates. There were many highlights, but “Everywhere I Go,” “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” and “Harlem” ignited the crowd. My favorite was the Beastie Boys cover of “Sabotage.” Killer stuff!
- Weezer – Last time I saw this band, they were supporting their second album 18 years ago, and honestly, they did not impress me at the time. Fortunately, their live act is aging nicely. From the moment Rivers Cuomo grabbed his guitar and ripped into “Hash Pipe,” he seemed to be having a great time. Their set featured a killer mix of old and new and left the crowd thoroughly satisfied. Early in the set, Cuomo invited Sleeper Agent’s Alex Kandel to join him for a nice version of the new single “Go Away.” Deeper into the set, I loved the versions of “Say It Ain’t So” and “Pork and Beans,” but the highlight was a fantastic sing along version of “Undone.” Surprisingly, a good number of fans left after they closed with their encore “Buddy Holly,” apparently more intent on beating the rain and traffic than catching Fall Out Boy.
- Fall Out Boy – the thousand or so fans who split early missed a blistering set. From the minute they hit the stage, the crowd was totally engaged. I think the set started off good, but they kicked it into a frenzy with a tremendous four song stretch, that went like this: “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” “Centuries,” “Immortals” and “Dance, Dance.” It was the highlight of a fantastic set. Pete Wentz gets a ton of attention and soaks up the spotlight, but he was literally the least important performer on the stage. Andy Hurley’s hard driving drums powered the band and Joe Trohman’s guitars punctuated most of the selections, but lead singer Patrick Stump absolutely blew me away with his vocals and is clearly the heart of this band, and on this night was the most impressive performer to grace the main stage.
So, there you have it – I caught 14 very talented alt-rock bands in one incredible day in the fields of Orlando, spent the day with thousands of happy, satisfied fellow rockers and can’t wait to see what next year holds.
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