Smashing Day 1 at Welcome To Rockville
It’s the premiere hard rock event in the country, and yesterday, Welcome To Rockville thundered into Jacksonville for the first of two powerful days packed with explosive rock.
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Unfortunately for the local rock fans, they also had to endure a thunderous show from Mother Nature, but in the end the story was still all about the rock ‘n roll.
The key word for the 2015 version of Welcome To Rockville was “More.” More stages, more bands, more food trucks, more vendors, more space (a lot more space), more activities and more fans, and it all came together nicely.
For this year’s event, we were treated to four stages of music spread across the greatly expanded footprint. The set-up this year was perfect for the sound, with very little bleed over from one stage to the others. The Reverbnation and Jagermeister Stages were side by side and located in the shadows of Everbank Field, an entirely new area for 2015. In the slightly expanded original festival area, the Jack Daniels and Monster Energy Stages faced each other, but probably had an additional 100 feet or so of space, which came in handy for the headliners, Korn.
The first band we caught was Red Sun Rising, a quintet out of Akron, Ohio. they delivered an energetic entertaining set that proved to be one of the highlights of the day for us. They debuted “The Other Side,” the first single from their new album which will be released on June 9th. It’s a perfect fit for active rock radio stations that should be blasting through our speakers all summer. We chatted with the talented band after their set and will have the full interview on this site in the next few days.
We caught powerful sets from Sangre, Stars in Heaven and Sons Of Texas before the first alarm went off. Due to severe weather in the area, the crowd was asked to disperse back to their cars for about two hours while the storms cleared through the area. The organizers handled it well, and with calm, and did a nice thing when they opened the VIP areas under the overpass to all fans. It was a nice touch and the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, we missed a few bands due to the rain, including Fozzy, Hollywood Undead and Scott Weiland and The Walkabouts. But, we did get back underway in time to catch the full set from legendary progressive metal rockers Queensryche. With Todd La Torre manning the vocals in place of Geoff Tate, they sounded pristine and offered a great sampling of tracks from their fantastic thirty year career.
From there, we trekked across the field in time to hear the crowd chanting for Testament, a band I had never seen previously. And, they delivered a tremendous, fiery 30 minute set. All of the band members flew around the stage, constantly connecting with the crowd, defying their age as thirty year veterans of the heavy metal scene. Front man Chuck Billy stalked the stage constantly playing air guitar on his mic stand. It was a great surprise and the highlight of the day for me.
We then sat through another hour storm delay, but were excited to see that the festival was able to squeeze in a late performance from Halestorm who sounded great and dished out a fun and engaging set. We also saw Mike Muir and Suicidal Tendencies who dished out an equal serving of thrash metal and solid motivational life advice.
Marilyn Manson closed down the Jack Daniels Stage with an entertaining freak show. His mobscene sounded great, but the show seemed a little sloppy. I did, however enjoy his stories, particularly of the time he was arrested in Florida. From there, it was across the grounds to the fevered Monster Energy Stage, where Korn thundered through a set that had the remaining crowd headed to the streets extremely pleased with their fill of rock music.
It was a powerful ending to a turbulent day, but a day that ultimately was all about the rock ‘n roll, and a great way to kick off Rockville.
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