Bands That Shined at 2017’s Welcome To Rockville
The 2017 incarnation of Welcome To Rockville was another one for the ages. There was a bit of negative buzz about the lineup beforehand, but I suspect the great majority of fans who left Metropolitan Park on Sunday night, left the venue thoroughly satisfied. Like me…
Today, I’ll share my thoughts on the bands who shined this year. Just a few words on each act, and I’m only going to focus on the positives because there were so many strong bands on this year’s lineup.
You can check out my general thoughts on the festival here: 2017 Welcome To Rockville Thoughts.
Welcome To Rockville Day One – Saturday
Saturday was a pure gift to fans of guitar rock with thirty bands spread across three stages for twelve hours. It was a day filled with diverse acts but dominated by guys with a six string slung over their shoulder.
The first sounds I heard as I passed through the entrance and it was sweet soulful rock ‘n roll and music to my ears. These self-described rednecks feature a two-guitar approach and an excellent stage presence.
Alternative rockers from the UK who are much more rock than the typical alternative crap featured on the radio. Featuring talented singer guitarist Matt Bigland, they delivered a rousing early highlight with their fantastic “11:11.”
These four Swedes were the first true surprise of the event. They were dressed quite snappily and I had my doubts, but they immediately dispelled any fears and rocked their asses off. This was their first ever show in the States. If there’s anything true and just in this world, we will see much more of them in the future.
Lead singer – guitarist Johnny Stevens was decked out in a Cure t-shirt and straw hat, and he and his Brooklyn band mates proceeded to kick ass featuring several long, intricate guitar jams and a powerful version of “My Name Is Human.”
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Oh shit. My favorite band of the entire festival. Old school punk with the most charismatic performer we saw all weekend. Carter is a freak on stage and The Rattlesnakes are pretty damn talented. Do not miss this band. Ever.
The Pretty Reckless
Taylor Momsen dominates the band’s stage presence, but her band is quite tight, as well. I’ll be honest, the first time I saw them play a few years ago I enjoyed looking at Momsen a lot more than listening to her. She’s done a lot to change that impression since… and she’s still quite easy on the eyes.
Coheed and Cambria
My first time seeing them and I was not disappointed. It’s just straight-forward, old-school guitar rock that’s wonderful on the ears.
Pierce the Veil
I passed up Mastodon to see these Southern California post-hardcore rockers. I wasn’t sure I made the right decision but we had a photo pass for their stage and I heard they out on a dynamic stage show. They did indeed – one of the more animated bands from Day 1.
The Offspring set was a joyous romp down memory lane, and it was longtime guitarist Noodles who ruled the stage. He was also funny as hell, welcoming us all to The Catalina Wine Mixer and then later noticing the crowd was at the perfect mix of wide awake, yet totally fucked up. He was right…
Chris Cornell and the remainder of Soundgarden sounded perfect. Yeah, perfect. Pristine bass, drums and vocals paired with exceptional guitar from Kim Thayil carried he Seattle natives through a triumphant set highlighted by an amazing version of “Fell On Black Days.”
Welcome To Rockville Day Two – Sunday
Sunday was not quite as satisfying. The Day got off to a nice start with Rival Sons delivering a solid set on the Monster Energy Stage. They were followed by San Antonio, Texas rockers Nothing More who thoroughly impressed.
The quartet of hard rockers are on to something special. Each of the four times I’ve seen them, Nothing More has demonstrated significant growth. In their decade long career they have perfected a mix of guitar rock and hardcore and their dynamic stage show is exceptional – certainly one of the best performances of the entire festival.
Black Hole – None
But then we were sucked into a sweeping black hole of talent. For four hours, it was a continuous stream of dissonance delivered by cookie cutter hardcore bands. Mediocre drums, bass and guitar clobbered by nonstop screaming that generally included three terms: “Mother fuckers, Circle Pits and Jack-Son-Ville.” Yeah it got old. Fast. Of Mice and Men began to restore my interest in the line-up and then it really picked up.
Things started looking up when Mark Tremonti, Myles Kennedy and Alter Bridge dished out a solid set on the Metropolitan Stage. Kennedy’s voice is under-rated – perhaps one of the best in today’s rock ‘n roll universe, which make Creed, Part Deux one of the most talented bands touring today.
Three Days Grace
I think they got better when Matt Walst took over as vocalist a few years ago. They seem to be having a blast on stage and their new twist on metal music is damn good. They were Jackie’s favorite Rockville band.
I saw them a few years ago and was kind of unimpressed. This year – they blew me away. Perhaps, I was impaired the first time I saw them because their set was awesome. Shaun Morgan and crew sounded great and their setlist was perfect.
They were good. I’ve seen them better, though. I did enjoy In This Moment’s Maria Brink coming out for “Gravity.” She was scantily clad in a very revealing outfit, and I think she may have sang, too. They also dished out a fun version of Blur’s “Song 2.”
I liked them, the rest of the Welcome To Rockville crowd loved them. I’m pretty sure they had the largest crowd of any band all weekend. One of the highlight songs of the entire festival was their “Send the Pain Below.” I left right after the song, and it was a good thing because…
…Def Leppard started their set 13 minutes early – basically affording them the chance to squeeze in an additional three songs. Having first seen them 30 years ago, i honestly didn’t expect much, but they delivered a priceless set. Joe Elliott has lost a bit of his voice, but still sounds excellent and the rest of the band was near pristine. You pair that performance with the hit-filled set they delivered, and we had our legendary conclusion to a great weekend of rock on the river in Jacksonville.
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