Category Archives: Features

Orlando Hokie Grieves Again

In my life, I’ve made two life-altering decisions to relocate to a new area of our country and in both instances, after a hearty amount of research and a tremendous amount of reliance on my heart, I quickly grew to love my new homes.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Continue reading Orlando Hokie Grieves Again

My Bowie Life

There has been a flood of David Bowie everything this week, and rightfully so. His offering to the art world will be sorely missed.

David-Bowie-RIP

He transformed the cultural landscape musically, and dramatically, touching all aspects of culture, fashion, and art. Many artists become artists with the assistance of inspiration of the Bowie aesthetic.

Continue reading My Bowie Life

Thanksgiving Songs

    Thanksgiving Songs – Songs about “Thanks”

    thanksgiving songsIn honor of Thanksgiving, I started a list of great Thanksgiving songs.  I got to my top three and the creative juices stopped; Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” Poi Dog Pondering’s “Thanksgiving” and Stephen Kellogg’s anthemic “Thanksgiving” offering are all strong Thanksgiving songs, but other than those three, only Adam Sandler’s horrible “Thanksgiving” came to mind. So, I shifted my focus to the Best Songs with “Thank” in the title, and one of the aforementioned makes the list. They’re not all beautiful, and often have nothing to do with gratitude, in fact most of them are more on the bitter side…

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Rock And Roll Mecca Worth the Trip

Destination Cleveland: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

I recently decided to escape the sweltering summer heat of Orlando for… well, the sweltering summer heat of Cleveland and made my first pilgrimage to the mecca of rock music, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum. What an amazing journey…

Continue reading Rock And Roll Mecca Worth the Trip

American Idol Live Hits Florida


 

American Idols Live in Melbourne FLorida - rarasfarm.com
American Idols Live in Melbourne Florida – rarasfarm.com

American Idol Performers Wow Florida

After 14 seasons, American Idol Live has tweaked its approach and in this, their penultimate year, they’ve nailed down a formula that works exceptionally well.
 

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The uber-talented Top 5 rolled into Melbourne’s King Center For the Performing Arts in Melbourne, and enjoyed their increased time under the spotlights. This was the third show of the nascent tour, and by this night, everything was running smoothly.

This year for the first time in the tour’s history, they’ve whittled down the traveling contingent from the Top 10 to the Top 5 and it was a fantastic decision. As a result of the more concentrated line-up, we get a much better glimpse into the talents of each musician as well as a compelling look into their backstories, as each Idol took a few minutes to share their own personal journeys.

Each of this year’s Top 5, had their share of moments on this evening, led by 2015 winner, Nick Fradiani and the rest of the crew, Clark Beckham, Jax, Rayvon Owen and Tyanna Jones. Under the new format, each singer had a chance to deliver a handful of riveting solo performances. All five of this year’s Idols boasted fantastic vocal performances, confirming that these five were clearly very deserving of their lofty status.
 

American Idols' Jax in Melbourne Florida - rarasfarm.com
American Idols’ Jax in Melbourne Florida – rarasfarm.com

Our Facebook photo link: American Idol Concert Photos
 
The highlight of the night for me were the performances of the Top 3, particularly 2nd Place finisher Beckham and 3rd Place Jax.

Beckham has a personality built for the stage, and a voice beyond compare. He introduced himself with “I love singing for people, and I can’t ever remember music not being a part of my life,” and it showed. He delivered stunning versions of a Ray Charles inspired version of “Georgia On My Mind” and my favorite performance of the night, a killer version of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason.” As I listened to his voice, I couldn’t help wondering how he’d sound singing a Robert Plant song – yeah, he’s got a special gift.

He also displayed an affable fun side comfortably perched behind his piano, as he slickly weaved in a few classic TV and advertising jingles. At one point, he said “Hi” to his guitar tech Tim, then shared “Tim is a great guitar tech; well, he’s the only guitar tech I’ve ever had, but I’m pretty sure he’s the best ever.”

The performer I was most anxious to see was Jax, the creative 20 year-old from New Jersey. She’s a charismatic singer with a distinctive, captivating voice and a rare ability to connect with her audience. Her range is impressive, as well, one second flying around the stage tearing through a rollicking version of “My Generation,” then minutes later absolutely nailing a precise, compelling rendition of Dido’s “White Flag.” Great stuff.

She stated she was more comfortable being on stage than being alone in her own bedroom, and it showed. She raced across the stage, jumped into the crowd, high-fived fans, smiled incessantly, took selfies, and generally bonded with the crowd and members of her dedicated JaxPack.

While you are here, check out our recent Jax interview here: Jax Speaks…
 

American Idol's Nick Fradiani in Melbourne FLorida - rarasfarm.com
American Idol’s Nick Fradiani in Melbourne Florida – rarasfarm.com

 
Fradiani’s offerings were just as good. It’s easy to see why he won this year’s competition, as he’s got a polished stage presence, dynamic voice and a personality built to perform. The highlight of his set was an original song that he penned with his former band “Beach Avenue.” He mentioned the roll of the dice Idol performers endure with their first single selected by the Idol team, but how pleased he was to be gifted a song like “Beautiful Life” which he nailed.

Owen and the 16 year-old Jones (from nearby Jacksonville) also displayed their exquisite voices. Although they are not great fits for a rock music website such as ours, they both delivered engaging performances, and boast bright futures. It was refreshing listening to the two performers share how important their family was to them and to the development of their budding careers.

In general, I found that the group performances fell kinda flat, but there were two notable exceptions. Jax offered “Something beautiful can come from a broken road” and the group delivered a stirring version of Rascal Flatts’ “Broken Road,” and later in the evening, they delivered a tremendous version of Sia’s Chandelier,” highlighted by Owen’s dulcet voice.

Joey Cook, one of this year’s more compelling characters opened the show with a quick ten minute set, where she quickly bonded with the crowd, while dishing out three excellent songs, including one of her all-time favorites “Dream A Little Dream,” an apt way to start the journey for these future stars.

We will have a slew of photos from the show and all six performers over the next day forthcoming on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@rarasfarm). Here’s the Facebook photo link: American Idol Concert Photos

Upcoming Florida Dates:
7/11/15 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
7/12/15 Ft. Myers, FL Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
7/14/15 Fort Lauderdale, FL Parker Playhouse
7/15/15 Jacksonville, FL Florida Theater

See more at: http://www.americanidol.com/tour

Rock On!
Cretin
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Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a live music fanatic like all of us at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future photos, updates, rock news, etc… Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂

 

Interview with Message to Venus


 

Message To Venus Interview

The following is an interview that took place in the midst of Earthday Birthday 22, under a tent behind the Full Sail University stage. It was the best place we could find to escape the oppressive heat that lasted all day

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Message To Venus backstage Paul McCoy 12 Stones
The guys from Message To Venus backstage with Paul McCoy of 12 Stones – photo: Philip Snyder

The following is an interview that took place in the midst of Earthday Birthday 22, under a tent behind the Full Sail University stage. It was the best place we could find to escape the oppressive heat that lasted all day.

Philip Snyder (PS):   So, how did you like the crowd?

Message To Venus (M2V):  The crowd was awesome! Everybody seemed pretty pumped, especially for being 11 a.m. You know, so we’re the icebreakers, there’s always that little moment where everybody came up to the stage, straight up to us. We were surprised. It was pretty cool. We threw out some free merch as well. The album, the actual album, you cannot get that on Itunes or Amazon. It’s a full length album we spent a lot of money on, do-it-yourself, a little something for the crowd out there.

PS: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. So, are you going to see any of the other acts, mingle or anything like that?

M2V: Definitely, we just saw 12 Stones, our brothers over there. They always do a badass set. Pretty stoked Flyleaf is playing as we speak, Sevendust after them as well.

PS: You big Sevendust fans?

M2V: (Chorus of yeahs, and oh yeahs from all members) we love Sevendust! We are looking forward to seeing Tremonti, you know! Slash. Nothing More. Five Finger death Punch, the whole lineup!

PS: So, do you prefer this kind of a festival scene? Or do you like the club scene?

M2V: It’s a lot easier to play a stage at a club. Smaller stage, there’s a lot easier communication, less crew members, everything just flows easier. On big stages, bands like us, who are do it yourself, it’s a lot harder. We don’t have so many hands on deck. You know, it’s just the four of us orchestrating and giving the performance. It’s really difficult to have great communication onstage when there’s a crew of about twelve. Plus everything happens so fast, it’s like in and out, we really don’t have time for a sound check, everything is done during the performance. It becomes like it (the performance) is the sound check, it is heat of the moment. There’s no practice, we have to go, then get out, and that’s how it works during a festival. But we always have fun, it’s awesome!

PS: Okay, do you have any other Florida dates, so the fans who just discovered you can see you again?

M2V: We’re working on that. The next dates are in New York. We’re going up there, then coming back to Miami, so we might work something out for north Florida for May.

PS: That’s good, I think you got some fans today, if you make an Orlando date, I’m sure it will fill up.

M2V: Sure! Definitely!

PS: I was going to ask you, when is the new album available?

M2V: We actually have the album available on our website, messagetovenus.com, right now. We have our merch store, and you can buy it there, physical copy only. We are trying to do it old school, for a little more adventurous music lover. We wanted to take that whole initiative like when you used to have to stand in line at a Sam Goody store, back in the day, on a Tuesday morning. That was new release day. You are going to get something plastic to your doorstep, with real liners.

PS: So, you all are independent, right?

M2V: We are independent.

PS: Any record deals in the works? Anything lined up?

M2V: We have some communication with some guys, yeah. It’s all still negotiating talk, nothing physical, no written documents, nothing set up. We’re still freelance, but some things are starting to happen. We’re being selective, to be honest.

PS: That’s good. So, what is in store for Message to Venus? Do you have a bucket list? What do you want to accomplish?

M2V: Hadn’t really thought of a bucket list, but that’s pretty cool. But of course, we know what we want to do. We want to be an international touring band. We really want to get to that level. When you’re a do-it-yourself band, you are limited by do-it-yourself resources. It’s super hard to get to that level. That’s why we’ve had funds like indiegogo.com, which is backed by the fans, which is pretty awesome! We really want to get to Europe, which would be amazing. Definitely be able to get our music out, we got “Cold and Gray”, that’s hitting the charts right now, Over and Done right now is at #35 and climbing over at radiocontraband.com under the radar chart*, and also #48 on the BDS indicator. But you know, we’re getting some traction. There’s also a video coming out for “Over and Done”. It’s a video we shot in Miami.**

PS: Is there anything else you want our readers to know?

M2V: Keep discovering new music. Be open minded. Check us out. Get out of your comfort zone. Try to listen to new bands, and enjoy good music from Message to Venus, 21st century rock at messagetovenus.com!

PS: That’s all I have. Thanks for the time.

M2V: Alright, enjoy the rest of the bands!

*As of this publication, “Over and Done” has moved up the chart to #16. Congratulations, guys!

**The video has been released. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-mz6A415mE

Philip Snyder

Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂

 

This Summer’s Can’t Miss Rock Concerts

The Best Rock Bands Touring This Summer

A RARAsFarm look at a dozen “Can’t Miss” rock bands touring this summer.

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As we leap into June, and the dog days of summer, I took a look at the best live acts on the road today. There were many killer rock acts to choose from, including a few bands we have not previously seen, but we decided to limit the list to a dozen acts that we can personally vouch for as guaranteed to deliver a great rock ‘n roll music experience.

Here you go – twelve bands from very different rock music genres, but all twelve linked together as the top dozen live rock artists touring this summer; a dozen bands who put on a fantastic show every time they hit the stage.

I list them here in alphabetical order, but every one of these acts delivers a killer show every night, and they are all absolutely worth seeing.

Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees at HOB Orlando
Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees at HOB Orlando. Photo: rarasfarm.com

Frank Turner Concert photo Big Ticket
Frank Turner and the Tour Flag that traveled the country.

Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim at Coastline Festival
Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim at Coastline Festival
Neon Trees Photos Frank Turner Photos Matt & Kim Photos

 

Foo Fighters Dave Grohl is one of the most dynamic front men around, and he’s got one hell of a catalogue of songs to play. The Foo Fighters are playing a bunch of stadiums on this tour, but I’d recommend one of their more intimate arena stops if you can swing it Tour Dates  |
Frank Turner He just might be the best storyteller gracing the rock ‘n roll landscape today.  Every show is a diverse, eclectic collection of wonderful songs from the punk rock icon turned rock ‘n roll troubadour.  (Read our review) Tour Dates | Review
Matt And Kim Surely the most pop-infused artist on our list, but this talented couple dish out fun danceable rock music that is guaranteed to keep you moving. Matt Johnson on keys and drummer Kim Johnson are energetic, athletic, and fun to watch. Tour Dates  |  Review
Neon Trees They’ve had a few big hits, but these talented Alt-rockers truly shine during their killer stage shows, and the spotlight shines brightest on charismatic frontman Tyler Glenn who is one of the best live performers on the rock landscape today. Tour Dates  |  Review
New Politics Energetic Danish pop-punk that translates perfectly in their powerful live show.  Acrobatic lead singer David Boyd flies around the stage, often sings from amidst the crowd and is guaranteed to deliver at least one headstand each show. Tour Dates  |  Review
Nothing More Industrial hard rock out of Texas with a very unique twist. This quartet does a lot of fun and dishes out unique stuff on stage, always delivering an entertaining and loud show. As an added bonus, they are touring with another great live act, Shinedown Tour Dates  |  Review
Of Monsters And Men One of the more mellow rock acts on the list, but the folksy Icelandic quintet always deliver a tight performance and sound perfect. Their unique blend of Indie rock is a joy to listen to and they pour out creative boy/girl rock onstage. Tour Dates  |  Review
Paul McCartney Sir Paul does not tour much, but when he does, it’s “Can’t Miss” rock personified. He is rock ‘n roll royalty, and in his 70’s, still delivers an amazing show every night. Three plus hours of engaging music from the greatest catalog ever and he still glides effortlessly through all of the offerings. Tour Dates  |  Review
Radkey  Three young brothers who know how to rock. They’ve got a unique garage rock sound tinted with clear punk stylings. This trio is uber-talented despite the fact their average age is under twenty. Catch them now while they are still playing smaller venues. Tour Dates  |  Review
Rolling Stones  You may have heard of these young guns out of England? They’re celebrating 50+ years of touring together and still boast the same line-up that first appeared 40 years ago! These guys are timeless and still deliver a great rock ‘n roll experience every time they storm the stage. Tour Dates  |
Super Bob  This Virginia quartet work their asses off; touring constantly and pouring themselves into every show.  Frontman Matt Santoro is a fantastic entertainer, paired with three other maniacs who love playing live. Their blend of dancey hard rock is a guaranteed good time for any rock music fan. Tour Dates  |  Review
21 Pilots  Hip hop meets alt-rock, and this duo have created a fantastic niche in the rock landscape.  Aside from delivering catchy addictive music, these two guys fly around the stage and always deliver an engaging, interactive show. Tour Dates  |  Review

.

Tyler Joseph Twenty One Pilots Big Ticket
Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots at The Big Ticket
Matt Santoro of Super Bob in Orlando
Matt Santoro of Super Bob in Orlando
Nothing More at Welcome To Rockville
Nothing More at Welcome To Rockville
21 Pilots Photos Super Bob Photos Nothing More Photos

 

Rock On!
Cretin

Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂

 

The Maine Concert Review

John O'Callaghan of The Maine at The Beacham in Orlando
John O’Callaghan of The Maine at The Beacham in Orlando

 

Orlando Hosts Rousing Conclusion to The American Candy Tour

Florida often serves as the first stop on American tours for a plethora of artists. It’s rare that we have the opportunity to see a well honed, energetic conclusion to a tour, but as we saw last night at The Beacham, they can be nights to remember. The Maine threw a little party to honor the occasion with 1,000 or so of their closest Orlando friends.

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The Phoenix-based band wrapped up their Spring American Candy tour with an entertaining night full of surprises as they played to a packed house at The Beacham. On this night, the three opening bands, The Technicolors, Knuckle Puck and Real Friends were headed home, while the main act headed West to squeeze in a few last shows as they worked their way home to Arizona. But, first one more night of fun for the four acts who truly seemed to be real friends…

The Technicolors kicked off the night with an insanely early 5:40 start time. As a testament to the Orlando fans, the place was already packed as they took the stage. The band drips with potential, and they delivered a nice blend of pop rock and a polished stage show. As a sign of things to come, Kennedy Brock from The Maine came out and jammed with them for a song.

John O'Callaghan of The Maine at The Beacham in Orlando
Real Friend’s Dan Lambton onstage with Knuckle Puck

Chicago’s Knuckle Puck took the stage next and shook things up a bit with a powerful punk-infused set. They quickly had a mosh pit swirling and definitely brought a harder edge to the show. Dan Lambton, frontman for Real Friends, came out and sang a song with the quintet. Their own lead vocalist Joe Taylor flew around the stage and was an entertaining showman.

Real Friends, the third of the opening acts is another Chicago band with melancholy punk tendencies. They settled into a nice groove with a blend of music that was more pop than punk, and the perfect warm up for the headliners. Lambton, decked out in a “Fry Your Brain On The Maine” T-shirt asked the light technician if he could turn on the mirror balls for a ballad. When he complied, every member of all four bands snuck on stage and slow danced together, kicking the party into another gear. Fun stuff.

After a short break, The Maine took the stage to a fervid crowd and immediately jumped into rocking versions of “Miles Away,” “Run” and “Growing Up.” They churned through the three songs as the crowd sang along throughout, before frontman John O’Callaghan chatted with his guests for the first time. He grabbed the mic “Hi, how do you all feel about yourselves?” It started a theme that continued throughout the show, as he frequently checked to make sure everyone was in a good place, and it was clear from the crowd reactions that they were bought in.

John O'callaghan of The Maine
John O’callaghan of The Maine

O’Callaghan seemed to be a more chipper version of himself during the show; at one time offering “I used to be an Emo kid, but I’m not anymore, and I have never been so happy… If you want sadness, listen to Morrissey. There’s enough sadness in The Smiths songs for every fucking person on the whole planet.” And the party was in full swing. The Maine-iacs who filled the venue seem to feel like they’re part of a strong caring family, and in a way they were, with O’Callaghan the caring patriarch.

(Read our recent interview with O’Callaghan HERE)

The band delivered a fantastic version of “Same Suit, Different Tie,” that was the highlight of the night for me, and for many pleased fans in attendance. The band also dished out a rollicking cover of The Rolling Stones classic “Satisfaction.”

As the show neared its conclusion, O’Callaghan grabbed an acoustic guitar and shared “I had a vodka and orange juice before I played, but I’m not really drunk,” and then led a nice crowd singalong to “Into Your Arms.” He stumbled through the lyrics and quipped “Maybe I had two vodkas and orange juices, oopsies!” Classic stuff!

Members of Real Friends, Knuckle Puck and The Technicolors join The Maine
Members of Real Friends, Knuckle Puck and The Technicolors join The Maine

His longtime musical mate Jared Monaco took over lead vocals for a quick song, and then the stage got quite crowded as all of the band members from across the line-up wrapped the show up in raucous fashion. O’callaghan closed with a classic quote: “Thanks for allowing us to play music, it’s the best fucking job in the world.” Perfectly summed up by a singer and band who seem refreshed and recharged and on top of their craft.

We will have a slew of photos on our Facebook Page in the next 24 hours. Like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and the photos from this show. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂

 
Rock On!
Cretin