Big Ticket Rocks Florida

Tyler Joseph Twenty One Pilots Big Ticket
Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots at The Big Ticket

The Big Ticket Festival Concert Review

The 2013 edition of The Big Ticket Festival came rolling through Florida over the weekend, providing a memorable rock and roll experience for the overflow crowds.

We have added links to all of our event photos at the bottom of this article. Please don’t forget to Follow Us on Twitter and Instagram for photos updates throughout the year, and to Like Us on Facebook to see all of our collections.

The event, co-sponsored by Jacksonville’s X102.9 historically features a broad spectrum of Alt-Rock acts, and serves as the highlight event for Alternative rock fans throughout Central Florida. This year was no different. Headlined by Thirty Seconds To Mars and the reformulated Stone Temple Pilots, we saw a harder edge then in prior years, but still quite a diverse offering of artists.

As it turned out, 21 was the key number for the day.  Spread out over the sprawling Metropolitan Park, we were offered the chance to see twenty-one bands over the three stages.  Over the course of the day, there were plenty of memorable highlights, but nothing more impressive than the amazing set from Twenty One Pilots.

30 Seconds to Mars and STP put on solid shows on the Main Stage, but in general, the smaller Jaegermeister Stage was the place to be. More on that later…

Let’s start with the Main Stage acts. Highlights included Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington making STP’s songs his own, and putting on his usual high energy show. Jimmy Eat World offered up forty minutes of non-stop hits, including a nice cover of “Last Christmas.” Crowd favorites, The Dirty Heads and Pepper (just three Coconut pokers from Hawaii)  got the crowd into a nice ska/reggae groove.  A distinctive pot odor permeated the crowd as both bands offered up fun, well-received sets, that seemed pretty much perfectly suited for the herb in the air.Local rockers, Breaking Through kicked off the main stage and looked and sounded perfectly at home on the big stage.  We also saw Ocala’s own A Day To Remember command the crowd with a powerful and creative set, including stuffing front man and lead singer Jeremy McKinnon into a big inflatable ball and bouncing him through the crowd during the best show of the event,”It’s Complicated.” The crowd loved the local guys, and their amped performance clearly fed off of the energy. Aside from his trip around the venue in the big beach ball, McKinnon was a mad man all over the stage and sounded great.

The main stage action was good, but truthfully, it paled in comparison to the events on the Jaegermeister Stage.  I was most excited to see Manchester Orchestra, but they truthfully were nothing special despite the fact they debuted some excellent new tracks.  Austin rockers Saints Of Valory kicked off the second stage with a tight set that featured a fresh rock sound. They also offered up the best cover of the day with a killer version of Lorde’s “Royals.”

Matthew Healy  The 1975 Big Ticket Festival
Matthew Healy of The 1975 at The Big Ticket Festival

The 1975 were clearly one of the most anticipated acts, and they lived up to expectations, led by charismatic lead singer Matthew Healy, they made the trip to Florida all the way from Manchester, England. Nothing More followed and delivered a powerful performance. Their powerful mix of metal and hardcore sounded strong, but I was more impressed by their stage show.  These guys were just fantastic, with all four band members also expert showmen,  They do some very creative things on stage and are a band that is truly a must see act just dripping with potential.

The festival also brought us another opportunity to see Frank Turner, and artist who I feel is one of the best touring the country today (see my recent review).  Accompanied by his uber-talented and hyper-energetic band The Sleeping Souls, they killed this, their 194th show of the year. They were a bit of an odd fit in the line-up, but walked away with many new fans.  Turner interacted with the crowd more than any other performer, and was his typical smart ass self, and as usual sounded superb. And, “yes,” the fans managed to get the flag onto the stage, after hitting every stop on this tour since it debuted in Cleveland.

As good as Turner was, he was not the best act on the stage; that honor for the 2nd year in a row went to Twenty One Pilots.  This duo out of Ohio, were astoundingly good live. Tyler Joseph is the lead singer and keyboard player, and he’s just a mad man on stage. He’s everywhere, he sounds great, he’s charming, he’s creative, he’s talented – in other words, he’s pretty damn good. Drummer Josh Dun is just as integral to the band’s success and also a great performer.

Highlights from their set, included a few new mandolin offerings, including a slick “Brown Eyed Girl” cover and their fantastic new single “House of Gold.” These guys are growing as musicians, impressive stuff, as they are already tremendous performers.  At different times, we saw Joseph crowd surfing, Dun perched on a small drumkit being held aloft by the crowd, and later dueling kettle drum solos where Joseph and Dunn were both being carried above the crowd by the fans.  They also did a bit of crowd-bonding through their new friend Austin, who led a bit of a group striptease with Joseph. Fun stuff!

Twenty One Pilots were our choice for best act at the 2012 (Read our review here) and have done it again this year.  Looking forward to 2014 when they return for an evening slot on the Main Stage.

Rock On!
Cretin

Big Ticket Festival Photos:

Saints of Valory Breaking through
The 1975 A Day To Remember
Pepper Dirty Heads
Nothing More Manchester Orchestra
Frank Turner Jimmy Eat World
Twenty One Pilots Crowd Shots

Cage The Elephant Album Review


Cage The Elephant Album Review

Melophobia, the latest release from Cage The Elephant hit the streets more than a month ago and has created significant buzz ever since. After my initial listen, it was easy to see why.  We were a little late getting our copy, but damn, this one was well worth the wait.

The term melophobia means fear of music, but there’s nothing to fear on this release.  On this, their third album, Cage The Elephant continues to evolve as one of this country’s premier rock bands.  Melophobia continues the band’s assault on the Alt-Rock music landscape that they began with 2011’s fantastic Thank You, Happy Birthday, which was RARA’s Farm’s 2011 Album of the Year.  (See our 2011 Best Albums Link)

Is Melophobia as good as it’s predecessor? Probably not, but it’s still an excellent album and another nice step forward for these Kentucky-based Alt-rockers. In typical Cage The Elephant fashion, the music on the album is an eclectic mix.  Part-punk, part-garage stomp, a bit folksy with classic rock influences, and truthfully, it’s a bit more polished and clean than their previous offerings – a sign of the band’s maturation perhaps?

“Come A Little Closer,” the first single from the album is a good barometer for what’s in store.  It’s an excellent, well-polished track which nicely features lead singer Matt Shultz’s dynamic voice and is one of many diverse offerings.  The album kicks off with a fantastic song, “Spider Head” where the lyrics immediately demand your attention: “I am the one you left for dead, say you want it too. You are the bullet in my head, and as you stand over my grave, tell me it’s okay.” The song itself is a hard-driven rocker with addictive guitar riffs from Brad Shultz and Lincoln Parrish as well as stirring vocals from Matt Shultz.  It’s got a gritty edge that will make it a favorite of the band’s long-time fans.

Other highlights include the piano driven romp “Halo” and the horn-infused rocker “Hypocrite.” The Kills’ Alison Mosshart makes a guest appearance sharing lead vocals on “It’s Just Forever,” a raucous rocker. A bit on the lighter side, we hear “Telescope,” a captivating introspective look at life, and a fantastically produced track. It’s actually, dare I say, a beautiful song with poignant lyrics.  Hardcore Cage fans probably won’t love it, but it’s a damn good song.

The only disappointment on the album was the overindulgent mess that is “Teeth.” At three minutes, it would be an annoyance on an otherwise excellent album. At 5 and a half minutes, it’s a disappointing interruption.

Fortunately, the album closes with another strong offering, “Cigarette Daydreams.” The excellent song quickly washes away the bad taste of “Teeth.” It’s a tender ballad with fantastic lyrics and offers a great culmination to one of the year’s best albums.

RARA’s Farm Rating: 8/10

Rock On!
Cretin


Central Florida December Rock Calendar


December Rock Music Calendar

Our typical slow December doldrums are upon us, but a few great shows.  The Thermals and Alabama Shakes hit all of the cities in our coverage area, but the big events are two festivals with tremendous line-ups the weekend of 12/7 and 12/8 in Tampa and Jacksonville areas.  Get the details below.

Orlando

12/03 – Alabama Shakes, Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live

12/04 – Zoogma, The Social

12/06 – Jimmy Eat World, House of Blues

12/07 – The 1975, The Social. A special acoustic set courtesy of XL106.7
12/07 – The Supervillains, Beachside Tavern (New Smyrna Beach)

12/09 – The Thermals and Beach Day, The Social. We recently reviewed The Thermals excellent recent release, which should sound even better live. Here’s our Desperate Ground Review.
12/09 – Megadeth, House of Blues
12/09 – John Mayer, Amway Center

12/10 – NOFX, House of Blues

12/15 – Goo Goo Dolls, House of Blues. A boy named Goo headlines the Mix 105.1 All I Want For Christmas show.

12/19 – Tegan and Sara, Plaza Live Orlando

12/20 – Thomas Wynn & The Believers, Jessie’s (Winter Haven)

12/28 – The Supervillains, The West End (Sanford)
12/28 – Blaine the Mono, Violet, Leaving Haven, and Maybe If You Hit It, House of Blues. Blaine the Mono has free tickets for the show, and all Blaine proceeds are being donated to the Fight for Ryder Foundation.

12/29 – ZZ Top, Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live

12/31 – Todd Rundgren and Pat Travers, B.B. Kings Blues Club
12/31 – Thomas Wynn & The Believers, The West End (Sanford)

 

Cheap concert tickets

Jacksonville

12/03 – Zoogma, 1904

12/06 – Cheap Trick, Florida Theatre
12/06 – Pat Travers, The Roc Bar

12/07 Alabama Shakes, St. Augustine Amphitheatre

12/08 – The Big Ticket Festival Presented by X102.9. We attended this festival in 2012 and it is just a great event (check out this review for a taste), and again features a killer line-up.  This is a can’t miss show, Jacksonville! Stone Temple Pilots, Thirty Seconds to Mars, A Day To Remember, Jimmy Eat World, Dirty Heads, Pepper, Manchester Orchestra, Twenty One Pilots, Sleeping With Sirens, The 1975, Saints of Valory, and the absolutely amazing Frank Turner!

12/08 – Huey Lewis and the News, Florida Theatre. See a recent concert review of Huey for a taste of what is in store.

12/10 – The Thermals and Beach Day, Jack Rabbits.
12/10 – John Mayer, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena

12/15 – Misfits, Brewster’s Megaplex

12/28 – Thomas Wynn & The Believers, Jax Underbelly

12/31 – Gregg Allman, Florida Theatre

Follow @rarasfarm

Cheap concert tickets

Tampa Area

12/01 – Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Tampa Bay Times Forum. Always a good family rock event – see our review.

12/03 – Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

12/05 – Cheap Trick, Van Wezel Perf. Arts Hall (Sarasota)
12/05 – Zoogma, The Crowbar

12/06 – Alabama Shakes, Jannus Live (St. Petersburg)
12/06 – Chris Cornell, Mahaffey Theater (St. Petersburg)

12/07 – 97X, The Next Big Thing Festival, Vinoy Waterfront Park (St. Petersburg). Another excellent festival headed to the Tampa area.  Last month it was the excellent Coastline Festival, this month more great alt-rock: Stone Temple Pilots, Thirty Seconds to Mars, A Day To Remember, Jimmy Eat World, Dirty Heads, Pepper, Manchester Orchestra, Sleeping With Sirens, The 1975, Saints of Valory, and the absolutely amazing Frank Turner!

12/07 – Thomas Wynn & The Believers, Blue Rooster (Sarasota)

12/08 – Megadeth, Jannus Live (St. Petersburg)

12/11 – The Thermals and Beach Day, The Crowbar

12/13 – Goo Goo Dolls, The Fray, ZZ Ward, Mahaffey Theater (St. Petersburg). It’s Mix 100/7’s Acoustic Christmas event.

12/14 – Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray, Floyd’s @ Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

12/27 – Kansas, Hard Rock Casino
12/27 – ZZ Top, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

Follow @rarasfarm

“Thanks” giving songs…


The Best Thanksgiving Songs

In honor of this year’s 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 new “Thanksgiving” offering are all decent, 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 typically have nothing to do with gratitude, in fact most of them are more on the bitter side…

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So, before the tryptophan kicks in, here’s our cornucopia: the RARA’s Farm Farmer’s Dozen:

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Bonus Track – “Thank You For The Music,” ABBA – I know, this is not Rock and Roll, but I have a soft spot for this one.  It was released by the Swedish pop icons in 1977, and ultimately released as a single in 1983.  To many, it is viewed as their swan song.  It’s a fun and addictive singalong.

12. “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel,” Talking Heads – This tune kicks off the band’s second album, 1978’s More Songs About Buildings and Food. This short ditty highlights Chris Frantz’s fine drumming.

11. “Thanks A Lot,” Third Eye Blind” – This song was kind of lost in the shuffle on Third Eye Blind’s hugely successful 1997 debut release, but it is another of the many solid tunes on the album.

10. “Thank You,” The Redwalls – This little known indie outfit from outside Chicago has a great sound. This song is Beatlesesque and deserved more notoriety. If you’ve never heard them before, make sure you check this one out.

9. “Thank You Girl,” The Beatles – This tune is almost fifty years old already!  It was initially released as the B-side to “From Me To You” as a personal message to their female followers. It’s a nice tribute to their fans.

8. “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs,” Fall Out Boy – The record company wanted shorter song titles from the band, and this was their response.  “Thanks For the Memories” was a Top 10 hit in 2007 and is a fun tune about an old relationship with benefits from these Illinois rockers.

7. “Thanks A Lot,” Johnny Cash – This one from 1959 is a bitter tribute to a relationship gone bad. Not one of is hits, but it features his powerful deep distinctive voice.

6. “The Thanks I Get,” Coconut Records – Coconut Records, is the hip brainchild of multi-talented Jason Schwartzman who basically sings, writes and plays all the instruments.  “The Thanks I Get” is off of the 2007 debut effort, Nighttiming. It’s a fun pop tune about yet another relationship gone bad.

5. “Thank You For Being A Friend,” Andrew Gold – OK, I’ll admit, I succumbed to a a bit of peer pressure on this one. To me, the song is okay, but nothing special, but all of the relatives liked it, and sadly,he recently passed away, so I gave it a special holiday bump in the ratings.   The song was one of the bigger hits on this list, reaching #25 in 1978.

4. “Thank You,” Sly and the Family Stone – This funk tune was reprotedly recorded during some of Sly Stone’s deepest periods of drug use.  It’s got a great funky beat, powered by the fantastic bass of Larry Graham.  It’s a timeless masterpiece from the early 70’s. I love the official title “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”

3. “I Thank You,” Sam And Dave (also covered wonderfully by ZZTop) – The Sam and Dave version was a gospel influenced song written by Isaac Hayes that peaked in the Top Ten in 1968.  Ten Years later, ZZ Top released it on their 1979 album Deguello.  For both artists, it became their second Top 40 hit.

2. “Thank You,” Led Zeppelin – This 1969 Plant/Page classic was actually the first song where the lyrics were penned by Robert Plant.  The lyrics were a tribute to Plant’s relationship with his wife, Maureen.  It wraps up the fantastic first side of Led Zeppelin II, and features beautiful keyboards from John Paul Jones.  To secure it’s spot atop our list, it is truly a song about Thanks.

1. “Thanksgiving,” Stephen Kellogg – This is a masterpiece. It’s ten minutes that flies by; an epic ode to nostalgia; a musical journey that offers deep personal reflections, observations and desires.  It ebbs and flows through sadness, bitterness and hope.  Perhaps, something to finally supplant Alice’s Restaurant” as a Thanksgiving radio staple.  It’s a fantastic track from a wonderful album (Read our review: Blunderstone Rookery) that will appeal to any music fan.

Can you think of any, I missed?

Thanks for reading, and if you’re feeling generous feel free to Follow Us on Twitter or Like Us on Facebook – Mike G.


Great White takes a bite out of Jacksonville!


Great White Concert Review

HappyJack is back with another RARA’s Farm concert review.

Minutes after finishing my afternoon radio show here in Jacksonville, I grabbed my gear and headed downtown to the Jacksonville Fair; where on this rain soaked evening, the band had a show to do; live in front of thousands of fair go-er’s. A nice way to branch your music to others of all music genres.

Great White in Jacksonville
Great White in Jacksonville. Photo: Leon Jonjock

Now, I was born here in Jacksonville back in the Kennedy era – and we have always had a festival or fair for as long as I can remember. And this big Southern town – home of many music superstars and hall of fame artists – knows how to throw a party!

And when they chose artists for the annual “Jacksonville Fair” they wanted the best musical artists – acts with songs always on the radio – songs we always hear and sing along to.  This year’s line-up featured Great White, a popular band on classic rock radio stations. This band has came a long way from the beginning. Founding member and lead guitarist extraordinaire, Mark Kendall, was a rock music fan from his early days – always jamming to rock legends – his vision of a cool band was evolving. After a few years and a few bands, he got a group that seemed to sound like what he really wanted and put together the band we all know today as Great White.

Back then, MTV promoted bands of rock n roll on T.V. , not this hip hop junk they show today.  And, this band had some catchy hooks and more than one hit song .

In Jacksonville in the misty rain, on a cool black night – the thunder was loud and wind was starting to swirl in all directions, a great setting for rock ‘n roll. I was standing in my normal stage position to get a few photos – stage right, on the floor, right in front of the artist. While adjusting my cameras, I felt a chill in my bones, like something out of the normal was going to happen. Then with all the wind blowing and amplifiers humming, lighting bolts flashed across the Jacksonville skies, and we heard the first ominous notes from Jaws. With a powerful build up, the lights came up to a very energetic and happy to be here in Jacksonville band: Great White.

From the moment they came onstage, they smiled with everyone, and to each other. The guitars sounded crisp and the bass was super-smooth; the drums steady and loud! And then the guys from Great White:

  • Terry Ilous: Vocals, Background Vocals, very nice guy , happy to see us
  • Mark Kendall: Lead Guitars, Background Vocals,- Sunglasses at night – maniac guitarist
  • Michael Lardie: Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals, smiles and Harmonica
  • Audie Desbrow: Drums, Percussion, lots of energy and big sticks
  • Scott Snyder – Bass,Background Vocals, and a bass playing style that reminds me of Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx

Read Cretin’s Interview with the band here: Great White Interview

They had the crowd dancing and singing to every song.  Then when vocalist Ilous spoke to the Jacksonville crowd, the hometown fans came alive, swinging their fists, (and beer cans) to the band in perfect timing.

He was a very good singer with a voice that sounded like a seasoned veteran. He stopped between songs to tell the story line of the band and little gems of knowledge – which we all love to hear. Then every song they played was like they were playing in front of 12,000 screaming fans acting like they were fresh out the box instead of seasoned veterans like they are.

High energy, non-stop smiles, lots of hit songs. One highlight was their newest hit , an Ilous penned balled – “Hard to Say Goodbye.” It was top ten chart material and left the crowd with their lighters in the air. Then Kendall played solo that had the crowd jumping. The fingers were fast and the effect he had was cool and hot at the same time.

Great White in Jacksonville
Great White’s Mark Kendall in Jacksonville. Photo: Leon Jonjock

The band played an hour and a half to a very receptive Jacksonville crowd. Took their bows and exited the stage. I just wondered how they timed the lighting flashes in our Southern skies at the same time their biggest hits were being played? This show will be another great show in my rock and roll lifetime of memories. With cool night time visual effects you can’t buy – lighting flashes, wind gusts and total bliss  – what a show!

While getting my gear together to meet the band backstage I could overhear fans saying that the new singer was better than Jack Russell, their former front-man. And that this new guy is a great addition to the band; my thoughts exactly.

Backstage, my assistant, Kathleen and I took a few minutes to talk to the band. I first said “hello” to Micheal Lardie , a guy who gets second looks, because he looks a bit like Jack Russell, Nice guy, he mentioned that they are working with Vince Neil and making plans for other tour dates, including the Monsters of Rock Cruise.

Then we spoke to Terry Ilous and he was also refreshing to talk to. He came over and spoke to us a few times.  While speaking to him and listening to his visions of the future, the band, the ups and downs, the humbleness, the family man he is, the positive attitude the band has with each other – made me feel like I was his friend; and damn it, I am. I felt his compassion for this industry that seems to fade each year with the new crop of hip hoppers and glorified gang banger’s who steal the fans away to another culture; music with no value, just programmed beats and no guitars.

He was soft spoken, and charismatic, preaching that life is one moment at a time – take your time and learn from it. He was cool to chat with, not brushing us aside, and really wanted YOU FANS to know – Great White is back!

These guys have their heads on straight and their appreciation for their fans was not a put on. When they come to Jacksonville, we’ll all be back to see them jam! So, when they come to your town – go see a band that gives back to the fans 100%.

Great White – We all were bitten in Jacksonville!

Thanks again to RARAs Farm for supporting the Florida rock scene, the great Southern town of Jacksonville Florida, The Jacksonville Fair, Management of Great White, and especially new vocalist Terry Ilous , and the band “Great White”.

Thank God for California Rock!

(Like Us on Facebook, or check there soon for more photos from the show.)

Until next show…

HappyJack
WJXR 92.1FM
Rarasfarm.com


Reviewing Grouplove’s Latest Album


Spreading Rumors Album Review

If you’ve seen any of my past Grouplove reviews, you’ll recall that they’re at the top of my list of upcoming artists. Their breakthrough debut album, Never Trust A Happy Song, was in our Top 5 Rock Albums of 2011, and their live show has been great both times that I’ve caught them.

I’ve been anxious to hear what they have to offer on their follow-up release Spreading Rumors. Would it be the next step in their evolution as a rock solid artist, or the dreaded Sophomore slump.  As it turns out, it’s a little of both.

The first track, “I’m With You” starts with a gratuitous 2:00 extended musical intro before melding into a fairly lame by their standards Vampire Weekend-esque offering which is quite frankly probably the worst song they’ve offered to date. Certainly an ominous start to their second full-length offering.

Fortunately, the tenor of the album takes a 180 degree turn on the very next track, “Borderlines And Aliens,” which felt like a nice extension of the fine music the band proffered on Never Trust a Happy Song. The guitar riff in this one is addictive; accompanied by strong vocal trade-offs from Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper, it’s a raucous rocker, and a song that should have kicked off the album.

“Ways To Go” is the sweetly saccharine first single from the album. It’s a keyboard and drum machine driven guilty pleasure. The keyboards are simple, yet simply addictive and the boy-girl vocal trade-offs perfectly harmonious. “Raspberry” is my choice for best single offering on the album. It’s an excellent, well-balanced track that highlights what the band does best: strong vocals, powerful drums, driving bass and slick guitar work; and it’s catchy as hell.

One of my favorite tracks was “Sit Still” which strayed nicely from the keyboard driven cuts that dominate Spreading Rumors. Plenty of acoustic guitar and superb drumming from Ryan Rabin carry this song and make it one of the most diverse offerings on the album.

On one of the band’s few offerings that is not powered by Zucconi’s voice, Hannah Hooper takes a turn in the spotlight. “Didn’t Have To Go” nicely spotlights Hooper’s wide vocal range, and through two albums is the best showcase for her talented voice,

“What I Know” and “News To Me” are two other strong tracks that nicely spotlight the band’s under-emphasized guitar playing ability, and “Shark Attack” is a fun quirky cross between Surf Punks and The Go-Gos.

Is it as good as their debut? No, but there aren’t many recent albums that are. Spreading Rumors has a handful of mediocre tracks but it also offers a nice selection of excellent offerings. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Rock On!


RARA’s Farm Interviews Great White


Legendary hard rockers, Great White are headed to Northern Florida for a show this weekend. The band has been a fixture on the rock landscape for three decades, and the talented musicians always put forth a killer show. We caught up with the band for a quick chat before they headed out on the road, and loved their unfiltered thoughts about today’s music, their future, The Allman Brothers and former front man Jack Russell.

Cretin: You guys have been rocking for over thirty years yet you still tour regularly these days; do you get more satisfaction out of making new music, like 2012’s Elation, or from touring?

Mark Kendall: Making new music is why we’re still here after 30 years. The key to our motivation has been allowing ourselves the freedom to make new music. Playing live is where we feel at home and making new music is what gets us there, so I would have to call it a tie.
Michael Lardie: Recording new material has always been the thing that drives the Great White machine. It’s the creative part of what we do that keeps it fresh for us. Then, by performing, we get lay the new songs in the fans. It’s circular for us. One feeds the other.
Audie Desbrow: I enjoy creating new music, things don’t get jaded that way. I also love to tour playing hits as well as new music. I get equal satisfaction doing both.

Cretin: During those three decades, you’ve seen the rock market evolve significantly over the years. What do you think of the new rock out today?

Mark Kendall: I like some of it. When it’s a band of people that have that human feel and are playing their instruments with melody, it’s probably going to get a favorable review from me. I’m just not a fan of music that comes from machines.
Audie Desbrow: There’s new rock?
Michael Lardie: There are some talented songwriters and performers. The sonics for me have changed dramatically. I must say I do miss the dynamics of a recording i.e. e. Zeppelin always had such a wide variance of sounds and textures. It made you want to really listen to their records.
Cretin: How true. Could you imagine today’s bands going to a castle, church, or Bron-Yr-Aur to capture a great vibe? (See our list of Led Zeppelin’s Best albums when you are done here)

Cretin: Are there any emerging bands that remind you of a young Great White, or whose music you particularly enjoy?

Mark Kendall: There was a band that I met that reminded me of a younger us from our early years, and that was a band called “Veins Of Jenna”. I believe they are from Sweden but live in LA now.
Audie Desbrow: I haven’t been up to speed on the new bands as much as before. Probably because there’s not much substance to them.

 

Great White Photo
Great White Photo

Cretin: You’re headed to Jacksonville this weekend – the place where Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers really broke through. Did those bands have any influence on your music?

Mark Kendall: Sure!!! When I was a young teenager I would sit and learn every Dicky Betts lick note for note for hours on end!! So the Allman Brothers definitely. Lynyrd Skynyrd was a great band from the 70’s also and the entire 70’s era had a huge impact on us.
Michael Lardie: Both bands were a staple in our record collections. Great songs. Great delivery, great performance bands.
Audie Desbrow: The Allman Brothers were part of my music upbringing I’d say. They had two drummers. It was harder learning the songs.

Cretin: Jack Russell was a talented front man, but even with that talent there seemed to be lots of distractions. Are both groups in a better place now that you’ve formally split the Great White baby?

Mark Kendall: We can really only speak for ourselves, and we are very happy to own the name, so there is only one Great White. Jack’s name is attached to his hired band and that eliminates any risk of confusion of who you’re going to see, and that’s all we ever wanted for our fans.
Audie Desbrow: We are in a better place, we never split anything, we own the name, we are Great White, period.

Cretin: The band is playing on the Monsters of Rock cruise this winter with a great line-up of classic rockers. Is there any one act you are excited to see and to be sharing the bill with?

Mark Kendall: We have history with several acts on the cruise so it’s like a class reunion really. Tesla is one that sticks out that we did a very long co-headlining tour with in the late 80’s. It will be exciting to see everyone again. It’s not just the bands, there are crew guys, fans, and photographers from the past, and so it’s just a lot of fun to see everyone.
Audie Desbrow: I really enjoyed watching Saxon, been a fan from early on. I’m always proud to be performing with all my friends from other bands.

Cretin: Finally, you see some of the bands that broke through in the Sixties still touring regularly, and they’ve got nearly 20 years on you – how long do you see yourselves touring?

Mark Kendall: As long I have the desire to be creative, I will continue to make music and tour. We’re in this for life ya know.
Michael Lardie: As long as it makes sense for us. Could be 5 years could be 20. That’s the journey of being a musician. You never quite know where it will take you. We are a family that has survived many ups and downs. To us it’s always been our career. I don’t think we are ready for retirement just yet.
Audie Desbrow: I often think about that, I will do this as long as my health holds out and especially if the fans are still coming to the shows.

Rock On!
Cretin


Kansas Headlines St. Augustine’s “Old City Music Fest”

Kansas in St. Augustine. Photo: Leon Jonjock
Kansas in St. Augustine. Photo: Leon Jonjock

Kansas Show Review at Old City Music Fest

Hello fans – HappyJack is back with another concert review.

I saw on my schedule, a wonderful event known around Florida as St. Augustine’s “Old City Music Fest.”  I was quickly impressed that the line-up consisted of a wide range of music, including Uncle Kracker, John Anderson, Bush Hawg, Angie Johnson and Morgan Frazier – Music for everyone, plus a D.J. spinning his wax during band breakdowns.

But, I requested this show for my next review because of the headliners, classic rockers, Kansas. Five professional progressive members of Kansas , the garage band from Topeka, are on their 40th anniversary tour. I was particularity excited because way back in 1975, a little kid known as HappyJack, got to go his first rock ‘n roll concert in the old Jacksonville’s Veteran Arena (now a new Auditorium has been built), where I saw Bob Seger open up for Kansas.

Back in ’75, this was a special show for me; I bought a neon necklace for $1 and stood in front of the stage. Soon after Seger’s act was done with their high energy set, Kansas came on with a blast of steam. I was mesmerized; this guy on the stage was dancing and kicking his legs high whenever he banged on his giant overshadowing steam organ. I had heard their songs on the radio and was glad to get the chance to see them perform live.

Flash forward to 2013 – I am standing in front of the stage again – this time with my cameras at the ready as I watch these guys get into their own playing. They played aggressively smooth and with subtle overtones – perfect for their style of music.  The fans were happy to see these legends live, and so was I. It’s been a few years since they were around , but it seemed like yesterday.

From “Carry On My Wayward Son” to “Dust In the Wind” and all of the other hits, we all sang and raised our glasses to this band from the heartland. 40 years of music experience, and it showed. The double bass drumming, powerful guitar solos and pounding bass lines, along with a piano and a fiddle player was such a sucess – and it sounded cool. They perfectly blended with each other, coming in at out at different times to showcase the instruments, a musical vision to behold!

The crowd reached ten thousand for the festival and there were thousands for the headliners.  Everyone danced all day long, not one fight, nor bottle thrown – everyone naturally respected the families in attendance that came to see the all star line up, and the headliners Kansas.

Kansas in St. Augustine. Photo: Leon Jonjock
Kansas in St. Augustine. Photo: Leon Jonjock

I met the band’s manager and he gave me a set of all three of the bands guitar picks. I took a few good photos which we will post soon. I’ll love to look at them again – many years later, and still enjoy every precious memory while looking forward to seeing them again soon.

St. Augustine’s OLD CITY MUSIC FEST was a blast – I was there for over 10 hours, and I’m already making plans to return in 2014.  I highly recommend that you see a festival when there is one in St. Augustine. Next year’s Old City Music Fest will be booking three days worth of acts to be held on November 7, 8 and 9.  Camping spots for next year’s event will be available beginning next week. Get in early for their version of a Southern Woodstock with all big time acts. Are you ready? Pack those sleeping bags, I’ll see ya at the stage! Visit their Facebook Page for more info.

Thanks to St. Augustine Flea Market , and the town of St. Augustine, Florida for having us! And a special thank you to Kansas Management team and Old City Music Fest for the media passes, you guys rocked North Florida!

And, thanks to the fans that keep us busy at Rarasfarm.com. HappyJack will be attending another show soon – until then – post  a comment!

Do you remember seeing Kansas?

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