Category Archives: Concert Reviews

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

Ed Roland’s Sweet Show in Orlando


Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project Show Review

Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project at Hard Rock Velvet Session
Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project at Hard Rock Velvet Session

Ed Roland has been the heart and soul of the legendary rock band Collective Soul for the past eighteen years.  He’s now embarked on an intriguing side effort, The Sweet Tea Project, and sounding better than ever.  Roland and his band-mates hail from Atlanta, Georgia and had been playing Peach City extensively over the past few months, before kicking off their tour at Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions.

Many in the crowd came expecting a Collective Soul show but were pleasantly surprised with the entertaining and fun set offered up by Roland and friends.  Their music is a totally different take than Collective Soul, featuring a smooth, laid back folksy rock sound with a slight country vibe. It’s a refreshing new path for Roland, and an excellent show.

The line-up featured three guitarists, a bass player and drummer; pleasantly devoid of the synthesizers that dominate today’s new rock landscape. In short it was a nice old school approach with a fresh new sound. Although this is the first stop on their tour, the band was sharp and seemed totally cohesive throughout the show.

They kicked the set off with a rocking version of “Stomp” featuring lyrics that captured the band’s vibe: “Soak up summer… that sweet southern shine.” Throughout the set, Roland was clearly the focal point, yet all of the other band members took turns in the spotlight, and shared vocal responsibilities.  He was extremely in the spotlight and interacted with the packed crowd all night.

The first hour plus was focused on the new music of The Sweet Tea Project, and a few of the fans got a bit antsy for the Collective Soul hits. But Roland and the band were quickly winning over the house and having an absolute blast playing their tunes and interacting with the fans. At one time offering “If it wasn’t different it would be fuckin’ Collective Soul up here.”

There were a few nice twists thrown in, as well.  After sharing how influential Johnny Cash was to him, Roland kicked off a rollicking version of “Devils and Darlins” that morphed perfectly into Cash”s classic “Folsom Prison Blues.” They dedicated a song to folks in the military that was powered by heavy audience participation and later in the show offered up a few Lynyrd Skynyrd tidbits. When a fan shouted out “Freebird,” Roland and the band threw out a spontaneous three minute snippet of the rock anthem. Cool stuff!

They then closed with a nice collection of Collective Soul tracks, but creatively, each was performed with a Sweet Tea Project spin, and again it worked extremely well, highlighted by “December,” “Gel” and killer versions of “Shine and The World I Know.”  A great end to a fantastic show.

If this band is in your area, it’s a can’t miss show, with or without the Collective Soul tracks.

Rock On!
Cretin

Check out our photo gallery on our Facebook page, and like us while you’re there 🙂

We strongly suggest you check out Elise Rossi’s interview with Ed Roland on the WMMO website.

Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project
Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project

Muse – Amway Center Show Review


Editor: This is what happens when you’re a small website on a tight budget. Denied press coverage for the Muse show, we reached out to our intrepid Canadian Beat Reporter, Luc to crash the party.  He wasn’t familiar with the band, but as you’ll see quickly figured them out.

Muse- A perfect combination of music, lights and atmosphere

Being one who had never heard of Muse, I didn’t know what to expect.  I had heard that tickets sales for the band’s  show in Orlando was low (6,000 or so), so I knew getting a ticket would not be a problem. So, I headed down to The Amway Center to check out the show.

In relation to this band, I wondered: “Was  this going to be a grunge rock band, heavy metal, easy listening or a scream fest?”  What I didn’t expect was what I experienced at the Amway arena on Monday night.  A great show that was a collection of  electric, modern and symphonic rock.  Matthew Bellamy (guitar) Chris Wolstenholme (bass) and Dominic Bellamy (drums) had a mind blowing show for me to experience.  With the combination of lasers, lights, sound and smoke, not only was the show incredible to watch, but incredible to listen also.

One of the highlights of the show was the audience participation, and how much they loved the band.  Just watching the crowd rock back and forth to the music was fun to watch.  As for the excellent music, the band reminded me a little bit of RUSH.  Very precise with all the music, sound and show. 

They opened with “Supremacy,” the latest single release off of their 2012 release The 2nd Law, one of RARA’s Farm’s Top 25 Albums of 2012, and featured a number of songs off of that excellent album, as well as a good selection of their earlier stuff from across the prior decade.  They closed their set with “Uprising,” before their encore of “Starlight” and this year’s Olympics them “Survival.”

Trust me when I say that I was pleasantly surprise and know that if Muse ever comes back, I will make sure I get my ticket.

Luc

Check out a video from the show: Time Is Running Out

Setlist
Supremacy
Map of the Problematique
Supermassive Black Hole
Resistance
Panic Station
Animals
Knights of Cydonia
Monty Jam
Explorers
Follow Me
United States of Eurasia
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
Madness
Undisclosed Desires
Time Is Running Out
Stockholm Syndrome
The 2nd Law: Isolated System
Uprising

Encore:
Starlight
Survival

 

 

Live’s Ed Kowalczyk Entertains at Velvet Sessions


It was about twenty years ago when a friend called to see if I wanted to check out this hot new Pennsylvania band playing a gig at the Jersey Shore. I passed on the show in order to take advantage of some cheap drink specials at a local dive – Stupid decision! A year later, Throwing Copper was released, and Live was a worldwide smash. Somehow in the ensuing decades, I never caught them “live,” but finally the stars seemed to align.

Ed Kowalczyk, the band’s charismatic singer and front man visited one of my favorite local venues, Hard Rock Hotel’s Velvet Sessions.  This event was billed as Live’s Ed Kowalczyk, as he and his band mates are going through a rancorous separation.  The rest of the original band is touring as Live, but now has a new lead singer. Kowalczyk is touring with his own band.  With that iconic distinctive voice, it was a no-brainer.

Kowalczyk is still a first rate performer, but quite honestly his band was mediocre.  The voice is the same and his on stage persona rocks, but this definitely isn’t the Live we knew and loved. The band took the stage and immediately ripped into a rocking version of “All Over You.” The crowd was rocking, but then came down a bit with “The Great Beyond” off of his 2010 debut solo album Alive. For most of the evening there was a similar ebb and flo.  Fever pitch for the Live classics, then a lull for the solo efforts.

His interaction with the crowd was excellent, and we had a chance to experience a bit of the storyteller in him.  He introduced his solo effort “Everlasting Love” as a song about his daughter, and “Heaven” a reflection on the women in his life.  Kowalczyk offered a nice nugget off of the first album, introducing “The Beauty of Gray” by offering “good songs hold up.”  He also spent a few minutes discussing a charity near and dear to his heart, World Vision, and actually auctioned off quick YouTube moments for folks willing to sponsor a child, rewarding them with instantaneous “Big Ed hugs.” It was a cool gesture.

For me, the highlights of the seventy minute set were an interactive version of “The Dolphin’s Cry” and “I Alone.” For their first encore, the band absolutely killed it with a romping version of  “Lakini’s Juice” that had the crowd in a frenzy.  But, then another dragging solo effort, this one the title track off of the new EP, “The Garden,” before closing the night with a stellar version of “Lightning Crashes.”

For those of you who have not been to a Velvet Sessions set, it actually takes place in the hotel lobby, and has a very cool vibe, and usually a surprisingly good sound mix.  For this show, it was off a bit, possibly caused by a rumored airline snafu, where the band’s equipment was lost the day of the show.  If so, certainly understandable.

All told, it was a decent show, but nothing spectacular.  Sure, we heard a bunch of Live classics and they sounded decent and were welcomed by the packed crowd, but there was just something missing.

Rock On!
Cretin

The setlist courtesy of a generous guy named Oliver is provided below.


Setlist from Ed Kowalczyk
Setlist from Ed Kowalczyk at Hard Rock Velvet Sessions in Orlando

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 memoir, 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