Earthday Birthday 22: Best Show in Central Florida
So last Sunday, my article “Earthday Birthday 22 Recap”, found here: Earthday Birthday Recap , covered the basics of what EDBD 22 was about. This week, I will be putting the show under a magnifying lens to bring out all the details.
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See our EDBD photos here and then Like our FB page. Earthday Birthday 22 Pictures
So there I was, having made it through the gates into Central Florida’s greatest festival, which at this moment was competing for all my senses’ attention, but my sense of hearing won the attention of my brain, and I followed the sweet sounds of rock music to the stage at the south end of the festival, sponsored by Full Sail University, where I discovered an act from Miami known as Message to Venus. The early crowd that gathered to take in their music was rewarded as singer Jandre Nadal peppered them with music off of their new, unreleased CD, featuring the song “Over and Done”, as well as tee shirts featuring their logo.
After they had finished their crowd-pleasing set, I made my way across the field to the Bud Light sponsored main stage, where local legends Soulswitch had begun their show. They were a hit with the audience, performing songs “Transmission’s Lost”, “Saving Me”, “Change”, and a cover of “It’s My Life”. I found bassist Matt Larsen’s antics very entertaining, as did the crowd, jumping in the air, and running around on stage like he did.
I walked back to the Full Sail stage to catch Bobaflex next. This quintet from West Virginia is led by brothers Shaun and Martin McCoy, of Hatfields vs, McCoys feud fame. Their music was dark, loud, and heavy, just my style. I know their tune, “I’m Glad You’re Dead”, thanks to WJRR playing it on the radio, but their other songs like “Bury Me With My Guns On” were equally impressive. They made a fan of me, and judging by the way the audience reacted, I could safely assume some of them as well.
I caught New Orleans’ 12 Stones. Their music is like heavy grunge, something like Alice In Chains, and we rocked to the sounds of “Bulletproof”, “Adrenaline”, and “Anthem for the Underdog”. Vocalist Paul McCoy seemed to be having a good time interacting with the crowd, even the really drunk guy that wanted a fight. Afterwards, I caught up with Message to Venus for an interview, missing Flyleaf in the process, but the way EDBD was set up, we could still hear them as we talked.
Next on my agenda was making sure I saw Leaving Haven, a local act that battled other local bands for a spot in the EDBD lineup. They played on the acoustic stage, hidden among the many art vendors on Mel’s Bad Girls Club Art Walk. They had a pretty big turnout, the lawn in front of the stage filling with people, playing songs like “”Johnny Greed”, and their newest “Drowning in the River.” I was unable to stay for their whole performance, as I had to hurry back to the Bud Light stage, where Buckcherry was about to put on a show.
As they took to the stage to deafening cheering from throngs of fans, Josh Todd and company treated us to all the hits. They played “Lit Up”, “Crazy B**ch”, “Say F*** It”, and others while the spectators became part of the show, crowdsurfing, and professing their adoration for the rock stars. I stuck around after Buckcherry was done to see All That Remains, a metalcore group from Massachusetts.
Frontman Phil Labonte was a sight to behold, his voice ranging from primal screams on tracks like “Not Alone”, to a more melodic style on “What if I Was Nothing?”, along with help from bassist and back-up vocalist Jeanne Sagan. I should also not fail to mention guitarist Oli Herbert, who nailed the breakdowns and solos that make up metal core’s distinctive sound.
EDBD veterans Sevendust made the festival, replacing Bush, who cancelled their entire North American tour. Singer Lajon Witherspoon announced his wife’s pregnancy and told the story of the call they got asking them to play, between songs. Nothing More performed their strange stage show with welded industrial props. Tremonti played their set during Hellyeah’s time slot because Hellyeah’s bus broke down in the panhandle that morning.
Slash, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators came on, and played some old G-n-R tunes, as well as their hit “Bent to Fly”. After paying to charge my dead cell phone battery, I rushed over to catch some Hellyeah, who had finally arrived, before making my way back to the Bud Light stage to see Rise Against. They were awesome. Singer Tim McIlrath left the stage and went into the crowd, causing complete chaos as everyone tried to touch him. It was great.
Afterwards, there were no other bands to go see, and everyone waited with baited breath to see the headliners, Five Finger Death Punch, who were greeted with a massive roar when they walked onstage. Vocalist Ivan Moody also left the stage, to travel along the edges of the audience, inviting members of the crowd to sing along with him. He invited children from the audience to bring their families on stage, so that they wouldn’t get hurt when the audience moshed to “Burn MF”. Ivan introduced the crowd to Jeff, a disabled veteran of Iraq before breaking into their version of “Bad Company”. FFDP left the crowd wanting more, but satisfied. Earthday Birthday 22 was finished. We were exhausted, sun burnt, some even passed out drunk, but happy to have experienced this one-of-a-kind rock festival. Can’t wait to do it again next year!
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