Category Archives: Concert Reviews

Our impressions from shows that we get to witness in person.

A Silent Film Rocks The Social


From the first time I heard these UK rockers and their distinctive piano driven Alt-rock sound, I’ve been anticipating the opportunity to catch them in person, anxious to see if their live show measured up to their fine albums.  Monday night at The Social, I discovered that the band’s exciting live show was just as impressive.

Led by charismatic front man Robert Stevenson, this quartet makes a powerful and lasting impression. They are the complete package, tight talented musicians, affable personalities, energetic songs and a dynamic show.  Surprisingly, they did not pack The Social, but the few hundred in attendance saw a young band about to break out big. I suspect their next time through Orlando is going to find them in a much larger venue.

The band’s songs are wonderfully constructed and highlight the group’s versatility.  Stevenson, the lead singer and keyboard player had on-going dialogue with the audience and appeared genuinely appreciative of the crowd and their interaction.  He joked with the fans throughout the evening and offered up some enjoyable commentary on Mickey Mouse and the whole Disney thing, including an impeccably timed “F –  Mickey” at one point.  Drummer, Spencer Walker also impressed. He offered up a powerful driving beat, solid background vocals, and an occasional emergency lead vocal, also sharing witty banter with Stevenson and the crowd.

Stevenson was battling a cold and shared that he was going to have a problem hitting some of the high notes.  His honesty was refreshing, and endeared him to the crowd  as he stepped up to the challenge (sometimes with mixed results).  He handled those challenges with aplomb, a bit of humor, and a little help from his friend behind the drums.

The show kicked off with rousing versions of “Reaching the Potential” and “This Stage Is Your Life,” also the first two tracks off of the band’s 2012 hit album Sand & Snow. The latter cut featured excellent guitar work from Karl Bareham.  The current album was heavily spotlighted throughout the show, but we also got a glimpse of two of the band’s earlier hits “You Will Leave a Mark” and the fantastic “Driven By a Beating Heart” off of their debut album The City That Sleeps.

The highlight of the show was the breakneck closing trio off of their current album.  Three tremendous offerings, all with nice crowd interaction.  “Love Takes a Wrecking Ball” was another spotlight for Bareham’s guitar and offered some tender moments from Stevenson before rocking to a close.  Walker led the crowd’s singalong for the opening of “Harbour Lights,” a track that also features killer bass from Ali Hussain.  They then closed with a flourish offering a fantastic version of their biggest hit “Danny, Dakota and The Wishing Well.”  (RARA’s Farm’s #3 Song of 2012).

It was a great cap to an energetic, dynamic set from a band just beginning to build their legend.

Denver-based folk-infused rockers Churchill opened the show and offered a nice 40 minute set.  Orlando fans were fortunate, as this was the only show on the tour where they the Denver-based band is opening for A Silent Film. They’re also a band with considerable potential, and offering up a diverse sound.  They were led by boy/girl lead vocals Tim Bruns and Bethany Kelly and offered a unique touch with Mike Morter playing mandolin throughout the set.  It was an excellent mix highlighted by a cool version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and by the fantastically good “Change” and Kelly’s Duff-esque vocals.

Two excellent bands on their way up – a promising way to start the year.

Rock On!
Cretin

See the setlist and link to the album below…

Robert Stevenson at The Social
Robert Stevenson at The Social

 


Setlist
Reaching the Potential
This Stage Is Your Life
Driven By A Beating Heart
Queen Of A Sad Land
Anastasia
You Will Leave A Mark
Thousand Mile Race
Love Takes A Wrecking Ball
Harbour Lights
Danny, Dakota & The Wishing Well

Scott Stapp Offers an Intimate Show


It’s always cool catching a local musician playing an intimate show in a cozy venue; sharing stories about the songs he sings and mixing with the crowd. It’s even nicer when it’s free, and priceless when the singer is an engaging superstar storyteller like Scott Stapp of Creed. Last night at The Velvet Lounge at The Hard Rock Hotel a small group of fans were treated to a special evening with the reformed rock legend playing to a small appreciative crowd.

Scott Stapp at Velvet Bar
Scott Stapp at Velvet Bar in Orlando

 

Stapp was joined on stage by Brent Look on guitar. Look was introduced as the drum teacher for Stapp’s son Jagger and a cool guy to jam with. It set the stage for the laid back atmosphere. The duo seemed to be having a great time and enjoyed playing with each other in the kicked back Velvet Lounge acoustic setting.  The sixty-minute set featured some of Creed’s most enduring hits, a few solo Stapp selections and a couple of deeper cuts.

In the past, Stapp was often viewed as a bit of a pompous, self-centered ass, but throughout this show you’d never get that opinion.  He was just your local rocker chilling and chatting with some close friends.  He was humble and appreciative throughout and sounded great as he offered all of the songs with a new twist.

He’s centered on his family and his faith, and throughout the show was connecting with folks close to him. I’m fairly certain that his wife was keenly watching from the V.I.P. area, which just added to the comfortable feel of the set. But the relaxed atmosphere did nothing to slow down Stapp’s passionate performance.  He was quickly bathed in sweat as he poured himself into the songs. His voice sounded pristine and was powerful throughout the show.

The Creed front man was not at all over-bearing with his strong faith, yet he introduced “Higher” as a song about heaven; and before playing “Arms Wide Open” mentioned being inspired by Cristo Redentor, the huge Jesus status overlooking Rio de Janeiro. Over his career, he’s become quite the philanthropist and on this night focused raising money for Hard Rock’s Imagine There’s No Hunger foundation.

I enjoyed hearing “Justify” and “Weathered,” the latter one where he playfully admitted to forgetting a few words in the second verse.  There were also a few nice sing-along moments that left Stapp appreciative, including a dramatic version of “My Sacrifice” and the fantastic finale “One Last Breath,” where he closed with “That was beautiful my friends.”

Rock On!
Cretin

Stapp is currently touring in support of his new memoirs, Sinner’s Creed. I have not read the book yet, but Stapp has had an interesting life with numerous peaks and valleys, and word on the street is that it is deeply reflective. Visit his website to grab a copy

Setlist

Are You Ready
Higher
Arms Wide Open
Faceless Man
Weathered
My Sacrifice
Justify
One Last Breath

X102.9 Alt-Rock Festival – Band Reviews


This is the third part of our Big Ticket trilogy – sort of our version of Fifty Shades of Great.

      Part I – The Best of The Big Ticket
      Part II – The Festival Wrap-Up
    Also, We took a slew of great photos, and you can check them all out on our Facebook site.  Just do us a favor and Like Us while you’re there. RARAs-Farm Facebook Page.  

 

As I’ve noted in my two prior articles, when I first saw the line-up for the Big Ticket Festival, I had lofty expectations.  I had covered about half of the acts previously and was a big fan of each.  As it turned out, the bands I was familiar with all delivered what I expected, but I was amazed by how good the rest of the acts were.  Here’s a quick peek at each band in the order they played. (All of the bold text link to related material).

Sunbears! – This duo had a chance to play in their hometown of Jacksonville.  We arrived just at the tail end of their set and they sounded good, in front of a decent crowd.  I’d describe their sound as a modern blend of psychedelic rock, but take that for what it is worth as I only heard a small sample. Sunbears Photos

Paper Tongues – Our first nice surprise of the night. I was aware of these guys out of Charlotte but didn’t know much about their music.  They seem to have a bit of a cult following in Florida, and after seeing them perform live I totally get it.  Lead singer Aswan North just reeks charisma, which is matched by their leopard clad bassist, Daniel Santell.  The entire band sounded great and got a rousing welcome from the crowd. The highlight was North singing “Trinity” from the crowd. Next time these guys are in the neighborhood, I need to see them.  Paper Tongues Photos

Whole Wheat Bread – Another band with local ties, these three guys also hail from Jacksonville. They have a unique sound, sort of a mainstream Southern Rock Alt-Rock thing from the inner city, and it works!  The crowd was grooving to the trio that reminded me of Lenny Kravitz with more of a funk groove. Bass player, Willy, won the award for best dreads at the festival.  Whole Wheat Bread Photos

Grouplove – I had great expectations for this LA Band, as their Never Trust A Happy Song was our #2 Ranked album of 2011 (that’s right, we knew they’d be special long ago). Still, they blew me away. All three lead vocalists sounded great, the music was superb and they just put on a damn good show.  They immediately amped the energy level with a great version of their current hit “Itchin’ On a Photograph” and offered up a great ukulele  driven version of “Spun,” before closing with a killer version of “Colours.” Oh, and they sneaked in a version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Cool, cool stuff. Grouplove Photos

Twenty | One | Pilots – True confession – these guys opened for a band recently at HOB – Orlando, and I skipped their set when I saw they wore skeleton suits on stage and dismissed them as a gimmick act.  Sometimes, I’m an idiot. These two guys are tremendous entertainers and musicians.  Lead singer Tyler Joseph plays organ and is accompanied on stage by drummer Josh Dun. The music was good, Joseph interacted with the crowd the entire set and was a madman – singing one song from the speaker stack, one from the scaffolding in the middle of the crowd and the finale from the Griswold Family Winnebago next to the stage. Not to be outdone, Dun uncorked an impressive back flip off of the speakers onto the stage as they wrapped up the show. One hell of an entertaining set.  Twenty One Pilots Photos

Of Monsters And Men – I caught the band in Orlando two nights before the Festival and thought their show was great.  Shorter set, Festival mode, this day, but still very impressed.  These guys had a slew of their peers watching from back stage and did not disappoint.  Their names are impossible to remember (and pronounce), so check out our earlier review for the particulars, but the vocals and the music are superb.  They started with a great version of “Dirty Paws” and featured some fun interactive versions of “Mountain Sound” and “Lakehouse.”  Was wondering what the Icelanders were thinking of the toasty Jacksonville weather… Of Monsters And Men Photos

The Joy Formidable – This Welsh trio sure delivers a big sound.  Singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan was a whirling dervish and had great chemistry with animated bassist Rhydian Dafydd.  Good, energetic set that was highlighted by a fantastic closing version of “Whirring.” The Joy Formidable Photos

Silversun Pickups – Love the band’s sound, but wasn’t sure how their layered perfection would translate into a festival atmosphere.  Bottom line, the sound was superb, despite the absence of bass player Nikki Monninger who was home preparing to give birth. Brian Aubert’s voice was pristine and dominated the performance   Not the most exciting stage show, but the setlist was great, featuring “Bloody Mary,” “The Pit,” “Panic Switch” and a rocking extended version of “Lazy Eye.” Silversun Pickups Photos

Flogging Molly – One of my favorite live bands ever, and they actually disappointed a bit this show, but I had set the bar pretty high. I wasn’t crazy about their set list, but perhaps that is because I am used to them having twice as long to play.  There were still some great moments.  Loved “The Likes of You Again,” and really enjoyed the tin whistle and Dylan cover of “The Times They are A-changin.”  Bassist Nathan Maxwell absolutely tore it up during a rollicking version of “Saints and Sinners.”  Flogging Molly Photos

Fun. – I was curious about these guys, not sure what to expect. I knew that every teen chick within 100 miles was there to see Nate Ruess, which made me a bit skeptical,  but I also knew that their album, Some Nights is masterful.  To put it simply, I was impressed. Ruess is a charismatic guy who sounded excellent, and the band (which doubles in size for their road show) was spot on. “Some Nights” and “Gets Better” were great, for the band who opened the festival just last year. Good stuff!  Fun. Photos

Anberlin – Yet another local band. These guys closed out the day at The Jagermeister Side Stage in grand fashion. Front man Stephen Christian had the crowd engaged throughout and the band offered up some nice punk pop with a Christian touch.  Their six song set was highlighted by “Little Tyrants” and a killer version of “Someone, Anyone.” Anberlin Photos

Chris Traynor of Bush at The Big Ticket Festival
Chris Traynor of Bush at The Big Ticket Festival

Bush – From the moment the spotlight hit Chris Traynor for the opening guitar riff of “Machinehead” you knew this was going to be a special set.  Twenty years after founding the band, Gavin Rossdale and Bush are just getting back into their rhythm after a seven year hiatus. The music was impeccable and Rossdale, sounding great, put on a great show.  They played all of their hits in a show highlighted by one of their more marginal hits, “The Afterlife,” during which Rossdale raced through the packed crowd, singing from a few different spots on the field.  Immediately after he returned to the stage, his band mates left him alone for a stark solo version of “Glycerine,” which was the best song of the entire festival.  They closed with a rousing version of “Comedown” leaving the rocking crowd thirsting for more.  Bush Photos

Rise Against – OK, this didn’t work out well for us.  Due to the bands falling slightly behind schedule, and our 150 mile ride home, I had to split before Rise Against took the stage to close the night.  Based on Tweets I received, I can share that they opened with “Survive” and closed with “Savior.”  I also heard they did a nice acoustic version of “Swing Life Away.”

So, there you have it ten hours of great rock ‘n roll, 13 bands, and one incredibly well-oiled festival.  Already looking forward to the 2013 version!

We’d love to hear what you thought about the show – leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

For those of you new to RARAsFarm.com we’re a site dedicated to Florida rock music.   Take some time to tour our site, Follow Us on Twitter and Like Us on Facebook and help us grow this community for Rock And Roll Animals.

Rock On!
Cretin

 


The Big Ticket Delivers BIG


Rock music festivals just don’t get much better than this!

Over the past twenty-plus years, I’ve been a rock music junkie, attending many hundreds of rock shows and festivals all along the East Coast.  But, I’m not sure I ever witnessed as much good music in one day as I caught at The Big Ticket on the riverfront in Jacksonville. X102.9 is Jacksonville’s New Rock Alternative, and they delivered a talented diverse line-up that was damn near perfect for Alternative Rock fans.

The festival featured Alt-Rock legends Bush and Rise Against and some of today’s hottest new acts, such as FUN. Grouplove and Of Monsters And Men, as well as a handful of local rockers.  The Met Park venue was set-up perfectly, with music alternating seamlessly between the two primary stages.

The Main Stage was packed with can’t miss acts the entire day, and no one disappointed.  I was just as impressed with the diverse line-up playing the Jagermeister Side Stage; – Rarely have I seen a second stage boasting the kind of talent we were presented with, including the likes of Flogging Molly, Anberlin and the most pleasant surprise of the festival Twenty One Pilots.

We’ll get to the band-by-band recap in a bit, but first, lets focus on the festival in general.

The Big Ticket Crowd scene
The Big Ticket Crowd scene

We took a slew of great photos, and you can check them all out on our Facebook site.  Just do us a favor and Like Us while you’re there. RARAs-Farm Facebook Page.  We also offered up our Best of The Big Ticket earlier in our three part Big Ticket series, if you want to check that out.

The Metropolitan Park location was the ideal venue for a festival, with plenty of room for four stages, dozens of bands, a slew of vendors and ten thousand rabid rock music fans. It didn’t suck that the weather on the riverfront was absolutely perfect either. Met Park is one of the few places I’ve seen a show where you could “get away” for awhile if you wanted, including some nice spots on the river, and still hear the acts on the Main Stage. At the North end of the park there were two smaller stages featuring local acts and numerous merchandise booths offering a kicked back festival feel.

The bands alternated between the Main Stage and Side Stage impeccably, with there rarely being a break of more than few minutes.  The only exception was a twenty minute delay for Grouplove that may have been the result of a wiring issue.  The stages were set-up close enough that a few thousand fans could literally just rotate 45 degrees, twice an hour to catch non-stop fantastic performances.

The Side Stage featured a bit more of aggressive Alt-Rock, and leaned towards the punk side.  Flogging Molly, Anberlin and Joy Formidable all had the crowd bouncing.  The earlier acts on the stage were also entertaining and well-received by the crowd.  Whole Wheat Bread, The Sunbears and the aforementioned Twenty | One | Pilots all had the crowd engaged, as well. Tyler Joseph was a mad man and one of the stand out performers of the day.

On the Main Stage most of the performances were exceptional.  Paper Tongues immediately got things started with an energetic, animated performance.  One of many bands with Jacksonville or Florida roots, they engaged the crowd as much as any band throughout the day.  Grouplove and Of Monsters And Men followed up with great sets that had the crowd dancing and singing along, and Silversun Pickups sounded superb.

The Main Stage closed with three great sets. An incredibly well-received set from Fun, sounded as good as their richly layered recorded material and Nate Geuss was thoroughly entertaining.  Gavin Rossdale was all over the venue, and disappeared into the crow a few times during Bush’s set. Then, Rise Against, delivered a powerful set to close out the night.  The sound quality was superb all day from both stages, and did not suffer at all from the outdoor locale.

It was a near perfect line-up in a fantastic venue on a spectacular day, run exceptionally well by X102.9 and the promoters.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Check back tomorrow for our final Big Ticket article, our band-by-band recap – lots of great anecdotes.

Rock On!
Cretin

 


The Big Ticket Festival – Best Of Edition


Wow – one hell of a show in Jacksonville yesterday!

Our first trip to The Big Ticketand damn were we impressed.  An absolutely great line-up, and everything ran fantastically well. We have a slew of excellent pictures and lots of material to share over the next few days. Like us on Facebook to keep up with all of our photos and Follow us on Twitter for updates.

In the meantime, here’s our Best of Listing for our first Big Ticket experience:

  • Song of the Day – “Glycerine” by Bush. Immediately after running through the crowd, Gavin Rossdale comes back on stage and plays this cut off of Sixteen Stone, unaccompanied for the first few verses – starkly spectacular The crowd sings along throughout, and the full band returns for a rousing close; a great performance of a great rock song.
  • Best Chill Spot – The gazebo down by the river. Soothing sounds of the water, yet still close enough to hear the bands on the Main Stage, and plenty of shade.  We caught a few folks meditating when we stopped by.  Cool spot, literally
  • Best Sounding Artist – Grouplove. Never Trust A Happy Song was one of our Top 10 albums of 2011, and the band played every song flawlessly.  All three vocalists sounded great and the music was perfect.  Bonus points to Andrew Wessen for the only ukulele of the day.
  • Best Mosh Moment – If you’ve read us before, you know we don’t love mosh pits, and thankfully not too many this day, but we did have a nice one spontaneously form during Flogging Molly’s rollicking “The Likes of You Again.” Moshing with a bit of Irish Jig tossed in.
  • Best Vendor – The tent right near our chill locale. Not sure of the vendor name, but they were selling psychedelic attire and classic concert merchandise.  Lots of cool threads and all kinds of cool niche items.
  • Top Singalong moment – There were a few nice ones throughout the day, but when Fun hit the stage, the crowd was packed and in a frenzy.  No surprise here, but EVERYONE sang along to We Are Young.”
  • Most Chatty Artist – Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots was a blast throughout his set.  Constantly chatting with the crowd, he was entertaining and funny.  Loved his request for the crowd to pretend they were calling the band out for an encore.  Creative stuff…
  • Best Food – The $9 funnel cake.  I hate having to buy a ticket before spending money, but for this monstrous and perfectly greased treat, it was worth the effort. Good stuff, and good for you (right?).
  • Crowd-pleasing Moment – There were a bunch of great sets and a few moments that really stood out, like Rossdale’s tour through the crowd or Joseph’s trip up the rafters, but I’ll go with Aswan North of Paper Tongues who jumped across the Photos pit and then Security to mix with the crowd, and they loved it.
  • Best Parking Spot – we grabbed the first lot we saw and may have ended up outside of Duval County.  The Jaguars lot right across from the venue was much closer, the same price and had plenty of spaces, and a more vibrant tailgating feel.  Sold…
  • Justin Bieber Moment – No doubt about it, when Fun’s Nate Reuss stepped onto the stage, my ears started bleeding from all of the high-pitched squeals, but damn can that guy sing – an excellent entertainer!
  • Act of the Day – As I mentioned, so many great acts to choose from, but I’m going to go with Twenty One Pilots.  I already mentioned the interaction with the crowd, we also had lead singer Tyler Joseph sing one song from atop the speaker tower, another from the rafters in the center of the crowd, and the finale from the roof of the motor home next to the stage.  Drummer Josh Dun was nearly as animated, and the dup were just an absolute blast their entire set.

So, that’s it for now.  Lots of material still to come.  Make sure you Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for all of our Big Ticket coverage and loads of photos.

(Here’s our summary review of the Festival)

Rock On!
Cretin


Of Monsters and Men Dazzles Orlando


Since January when we first wrote about this uber-talented band out of Iceland, I’ve been looking forward to catching them live, to see if their live show lived up to my lofty expectations. After their powerful, engaging fourteen song set at The Beacham, there’s no doubt, we witnessed the next huge Indie breakout band.

Of Monsters and Men is often compared to The Arcade Fire, and although there are indeed musical similarities  the crew from Iceland have a sound all of their own. It’s unique indie-rock with a folksy flair that comes across even better live than on their hit album, Into The Woods.  I do see valid comparisons to The Arcade Fire in their huge potential to become the next Indie rock act to cross over to huge mainstream success, both critical and commercial.

The Beacham was sold out for this show, and the packed crowd was eagerly engaged from the opening notes of “Dirty Paws” to the powerful closing notes of the final encore “Yellow Light.” Nanna Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Þórhallsson share the vocals and sounded magnificent all night trading off between the female and male leads. Their voices were pure all night, distinct and captivating, at times reminding me of the exceptional vocals of The Beautiful South which is high praise.

The band has added a seventh member for this tour, and it works magnificently, as they sound bigger, fuller and more vibrant than in their recordings. Their line-up features three guitars (including the left-handed Ragnar), a bass, drums, keyboards, accordion, kettle drum and trumpet, offering up plenty of unique mixes. The band members enjoyed the packed house throughout the show and seemed humbled by the crowd’s constant participation, either clapping or singing along to most songs.


(Check out our concert photos here)

The house was rocking all night, but the fervor kicked up a notch for “Slow and Steady,” where the entire corwd had their hands aloft clapping rhythmically, and then hit a fever pitch for their current hit “Mountain Sound.” They also threw in a nice cover of The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs’ “Skeletons.”

The highlight of the show was an extended version of “Lakehouse,” where drummer Arnar Hilmarsson came out front and led the crowd through an animated singalong. From there, they closed out the set with an exhilaration version of their hit single “Little Talks.”

From there, it was a nice three song encore, that led off with a stripped down version of “Sloom” with just the three guitarists on stage. They were rejoined on stage by their band mates for “Beneath the Bed,” before closing with a raucous version of “Yellow Light,” which featured grewat drums from Hilmarsson, as well as Nanna on kettle drum – a rousing end to a great night of rock music. For the 1200 in attendance it was a great glimpse into the future of rock stardom, and likely a fleeting chance to see them in a cozy venue, as their next trip to Orlando will find them in a much bigger venue.

Rock On!
Cretin

Setlist:
Dirty Paws
From Finner
Slow and Steady
Mountain Sound
Your Bones
Skeletons (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
Love Love Love
King and Lionheart
Lakehouse
Little Talks
Six Weeks

Encore:
Sloom
Beneath My Bed
Yellow Light

 

The Bastard Suns Shine in Sanford


I knew I liked these guys the moment I saw their tagline: “a reggae infused punk rock sound with a little bit o’ Irish whiskey on top.” I’ve always felt that reggae and Irish rock were a perfect pairing (see New York’s Black 47 for a prime example) and was immediately intrigued by The Bastard Suns.

I went into the night unfamiliar with the band and their music and failed to realize that the crazy guys jumping on and off the stage for impromptu cameos during Knock-Out’s opening set were the effervescent members of The Bastard Suns.  It was apparent early in the night that the quartet out of Atlanta love rock music and love performing.

Their nearly two hour set at Sanford’s cool West End Trading Company was a raucous energetic show that had the crowd dancing, bouncing. moshing and singing along throughout.  The bands music is rough and edgy yet amazingly precise.  They’re excellent musicians offering up a superb mix of reggae, ska and punk, all with a hearty Irish twist.  It’s a damn good mix and an absolute blast to listen to.

The Bastard Suns at West End
The Bastard Suns at West End in Sanford

“Start A Party” epitomized the band’s sound – a rollicking, feverish onslaught of fast-paced punk ska, that was performed perfectly.  The musicians are all excellent and absolutely shined on this track, which is driven by rapid fire vocals and a powerful bass solo. “Wasted” was another crowd favorite that was accompanied by the band doing a shot of Jameson’s with a pickle juice chaser.  The drink sounds nasty, while the song was nasty in a good way.  Most of their selections were originals, including the guitar powered “We’d Go For Broke (But We’re Already There)” which they played for a member of The West End’s staff.

In addition to their excellent originals, they played a few cover songs, all stamped with their own unique Bastard Suns spin.  “Maggie May” was offered with a unique twist and we heard a punkified version of Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life.” One of the highlights of the show was a tremendous version of “Soulshine,” which was introduced as a song from Georgia’s greatest band, The Allman Brothers. Here’s a Youtube version of the band performing it live.  Good, good stuff.

Knock-Out, a trio from Riverside, California warmed the stage up and offered up a powerful set of aggressive punk with a touch of ska. As noted earlier, they had a great rapport with The Bastard Suns and shared the stage several times throughout the evening.

UNRB, a local ska band out of St. Petersburg was a great discovery.  This group of six was an absolute blast.  They offered up a fun blend of crisp ska, in a line-up that didn’t include a guitarist.  Bass, drums, a three piece brass section, and an electric ukulele – an unusual approach, but it was fantastically fun, and highly recommended.

For those of you who have not made it out to West End, take a look at their concert calendar and make a trip out to the Sanford waterfront.  They offer up great local and national acts in a cozy local rock room.

Rock On!
Cretin


Sweet Breath of Southern Air in Orlando


So when is the last time you went to a rock concert and had the violinist steal the show? Saturday night Yellowcard made a much anticipated appearance in their home state of Florida at House of Blues Orlando. The band recently kick-started a worldwide tour to promote their powerful new album “Southern Air” and made Orlando one of their first stops. (Check out our review of Southern Air)

On Saturday night, a packed house exhausted their voices after an engaging two hour long, nineteen song set list. I’ve rarely seen a group of music enthusiasts truly love every selection their band played as I witnessed with the Yellowcard fans on Saturday. There wasn’t a single song that Yellowcard played that didn’t have roars of approval from their fervent crowd, including those cuts from their new album.

Yellowcard Live at HOB-Orlando
Yellowcard Live at HOB-Orlando

The quintet broke right into the music and kept the crowd jumping and screaming from the first notes of “Awakening” through their first handful of songs.  The first two cuts were identical to the first two on Southern Air, but thereafter, it was a nice mix of selections that spanned their robust catalog.

The band boasts impressive talent from every member of the band and wonderful vocals from Ryan Key. Things really picked up when they kicked into “Rivertown Blues” off of the new album, Key implored the crowd to have everyone rotate together in a circle which ratcheted up the energy level another notch, and then finished the song off with an impressive lead guitar solo. “Holly Wood Died,” “Hang You Up” and my personal favorite, “Believe” all showcased impressive violin performances by Sean Mackin. “Believe” was dedicated to Mackin’s mother who was present at the show and he took center stage as he blew the crowd away with an exhilarating solo. It was one of many highlights for the affable Mackin who was in the spotlight all evening.

It’s always impressive when a lead singer can perform an entire set while playing guitar and keeping the crowd on their feet. Key did a wonderful job of keeping the show a true pop-punk spectacle. Sean Mackin receives most of my credit for the night, though. I was continuously blown away by the energy and talent brought to a rock show by a violinist, and he didn’t stop there. He also did an excellent job on the back-up vocals and was very interactive with the crowd.

Another song worth noting was “Lights and Sounds” off of their wildly popular album Paper Walls. The crowd seemed to reach a fever pitch, jumping and screaming throughout; but then again, that was only until they performed “Ocean Avenue.” There is no better way for Yellowcard to close a high energy show than with a passionate performance of  their most popular song. I nearly lost my voice after this show and my legs were most definitely sore the next morning.

For anyone who hadn’t heard Southern Air before attending this concert, I can say that every song performed from the album blew me away and absolutely convinced me to give the CD another listen. Some of my favorites were “Southern Air” and “Always Summer;” both very relatable to us “Floridians.”

Yellowcard has been around for 13 years and is still making music that people love and they’ve earned the allegiance of their loyal fans who keep coming back for their energetic love of the band’s music. In 2008 Yellowcard did a small acoustic tour before going on a two year hiatus I had the opportunity to see Key perform acoustically and was floored by a heart stopping performance of “Dear Bobbie” dedicated to his grandmother. This night was a nice return to seeing the whole band back together rocking the stage like they are meant to.

I would always recommend to anyone to spend a night with Yellowcard rockin’ the house.

Check out the setlist below

See our concert photos on our Facebook Page (and Like Us while you’re there!)

Set List:

  1. Awakening
  2. Surface of the Sun
  3. Way Away
  4. Breathing
  5. Shrink the World
  6. Rivertown Blues
  7. Light Up the Sky
  8. Always Summer
  9. Holly Wood Died
  10. Five becomes Four
  11. Hang You Up
  12. With You Around
  13. Believe
  14. Lights and Sounds
  15. Only One
  16. Southern Air
  17. ENCORE: Sing for Me
  18. ENCORE: Here I am Alive
  19. ENCORE: Ocean Avenue