Tag Archives: Florida

Clear As Black And White

Gary Lazer Eyes are a talented quartet and intriguing new band from Melbourne, FL, who need to be on your new music radar.  They just released Black And White, their debut EP – Good news for local rock fans, as it’s a refreshing serving of distinctive rock ‘n roll.

Gary Lazer Eyes 2015 Florida Music Festival
Gary Lazer Eyes at the 2015 Florida Music Festival

Continue reading Clear As Black And White

The Curt Towne Band plays Killer Acoustic Show

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The Curt Towne Band

Welcome Southern Rock Music fans, HappyJack is back with another article on one of the South’s favorite new Southern Rock bands.

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I was born here and I still live here in Jacksonville, Florida, home to many popular artists, particularly Southern rockers. Many bands and artists in this town are connected – like family – to each other, because of the music and the friendship this genre brings.

This is the hometown of Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Curt Towne Band and many more great artists.

I was raised on the West Side of Jacksonville, where most of these bands were formed, and I ran into members of these bands all the time. When I  was 16, I actually bagged groceries at Winn Dixie each week for Lacy Van Zant, father of Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant.

I remember running into Larry Junstrum (.38 Special ) every month at a local restaurant on Normandy Blvd. and running into Donnie Van Zant at a Grainger’s Lumber store and Johnny Van Zant at another grocery store in the same area. For a Southern rock fan, life is great in this town of Jacksonville.  Seeing these guys around town, not hiding themselves, and acting like normal people was so cool.

And, there are plenty of others who were raised with Skynyrd connections, like local rocker Curt Towne.

Curt has enjoyed the friendship with members of Skynyrd since he was knee high, as he lived just a couple of doors from Allen Collins, and he was able to talk and become friends with him, along with other members and many other bands.  Growing up with these Southern Rock Music Legends, the personal journey of Curt Towne is seen deeply in his new band, The Curt Towne Band, with every song they play.

And of course, this band has opened recently for the best in the industry – Montgomery Gentry – along with a benefit show with hometown heroes of Southern Rock, Molly Hatchet (Bobby Ingram, Tim Lindsey, Dave Hulbek). The Curt Towne Band has been busy recording new tracks in between concert dates – getting down the final touches on the new CD.

I had the chance to catch up with them again recently backstage on tour with Montgomery Gentry and I was surprised to see them announce a special intimate acoustic show to showcase the talents of each member of The Curt Towne Band.

As I stood backstage, I also ran into Bobby Ingram (Molly Hatchet) and his wife who were also there to support The Curt Towne Band and witness the history the band was making tonight in front of 6,000 fans who came from many miles away to see the band and hear the music that has been missing from real Southern Rock. A fantastic double bill show, The Curt Towne Band and Montgomery Gentry, which was a sell out.

The band starts off the show with a great upbeat song instantly bringing fans up out of their seats to dance to the music. The crowd was wonderful with so many in attendance tonight wearing a limited edition black tee-shirts. These black shirts were purchased at earlier shows and no longer in print; seeing all of those shirts showed all in attendance that this band has a following long before the major acts started calling them to open their shows.

We saw hundreds in attendance wearing the black shirts and then watched new fans grabbing everything they could from the merchandise table. The band offered CD’s, shirts, and other great items – while fans stood in line patiently waiting their turn to order, this band gave the headliner a run for the money on total tee shirt sales.

Meanwhile – the band itself is playing song after song from their debut EP, and also added in new unreleased material into the mix, instantly gratifying everyone in attendance. The music was outstanding, in full acoustic sound, with all of the songs that this band has recorded, along with a few new ones – a treat!

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Lead Singer / Songwriter / Guitarist – James Aaron has such a good voice, like a young Bob Seger. He boasts a perfect range with a rough balance. Watching him, you see how passionate he feels about his work, belting out verses that hooks you and grab your attention. He has the ability to put it on the line with a powerhouse voice. The fans listened and when each song is over they all instantly raised there hands in appreciation. It feels so good to be witnessing the beginnings for this much sought after band tonight.

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Lead Rhythm Guitars – Curt Towne, the man with all the experience, all the chords, all the hooks that make this band rock. I’ve met him a few times and he is one of the nicest guys, always receptive, always caring about your conversation with him. He instantly proves his roots with the first song, a dedication to the Southern Rock music genre as he follows in the footsteps of his industry elders. Ronnie Van Zant would be proud of his songwriting, and the fans have made it clear, they love every song he performs with his hard working band. The ability to play chords and change the feelings in each song is simply amazing to see and hear. This band’s music reminds me of the “Nuthin’ Fancy” era recordings of Lynyrd Skynyrd – All classics, all heartfelt. The Curt Towne Band will be around for a long time.

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Bass Guitars – Greg Wilson Thompson is as versatile as you can get. Greg plays heavy bass and has experienced playing and touring with many bands including a band called THE LESLIE HAWKINS BAND formed by one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s back-up singers. The solid foundation he plays today at this event makes the band stand out as a contender in the highest regard for a new Southern Rock music era.

The band closes with “Long Live My Country”, a must hear tribute song to the beliefs of this band: freedom, religion, gun rights and life.

This song means so much to many people already. It is their anthem, the type of song that any band would want to have as a closer. This song grabs everyone that hears it and brings them in closer. It builds with excitement on every verse and ends with a feeling of being blessed.

I was blessed myself to be part of it all.  I can’t wait for the new album and another great tour from this band.

Thank you to The Curt Towne Band for standing out in this showcase concert for the fans tonight, and the industry reps in attendance.

I’ll be back again with another great story from the band soon, in the meantime look for their music on iTunes and other fine retailers.

HappyJackthe insider on what’s happening in music in Northeast Florida every month right here!
92.1 FM Radio
Rarasfarm.com
Musicpodster.com
Stagelife.com

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From Ashes to New lifts ROCKVILLE

From Ashes To New Show Review

Hello Rarasfarm.com Fans! Happyjack is back with yet another great story – “Rockville#2Jacksonville Florida’s Metal Festival Event!

Make sure you Like RARAsFarm’s Facebook Page and Follow us on Twitter for rock music coverage.

 
I am thrilled I got the call again this year to review the bands playing live at North Florida’s largest concert event – “Welcome To Rockville.”

This year, the line-up of bands was overwhelming with all of the local fan favorites playing – totally the coolest thing happening in North Florida. Many tours skip Jacksonville for Tampa and Orlando, but we still rock when we can, and fans have bought tickets to prove it, selling out this year’s event!

I got my assignment to review – “From Ashes to New” , a Lancaster Pennsylvania band that has been getting a lot of heat in the press.

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From Ashes To New at Welcome To Rockville. Photo: Leon Jonjock.

There are six members in this band:

Matt Brandyberry (Vocals/Guitar/Keys/Programming)
Chris Musser (Vocals) Dan Kecki (Guitar)
Branden “Boo” Kreider (Guitar/Vocals)
Dan Kecki
(Guitar)
Garrett Russell (Bass, Boyish Good Looks)
Tim D’onofrio (Drums)

These guys all started in different bands in the beginning, each band with different attitudes of music.  Some of the bands were playing Metal, some were Alternative Metal and even Rap Metal.  After band members came and went from the six bands, the remaining members formed a cool band, leveraging all of the music genres.  Instantly the band clicked with each other and in 2013 the band was picked up by Better Noise Records.

Grant McFarland was the Producer who put the band on track, creating an epic masterpiece EP, that took the boys to the next level.

The band’s lead vocalist, programmer and creative mastermind Matt Brandyberry says this line up is the heart of the underground music scene in Lancaster Pa.  Many fans have jumped on the bandwagon, and happily, are enjoying all the elements of music this band brings to the stage.

Each song on the new EP shows strong emotions – true heartfelt feelings – from being angry at the world to being blessed in every way. I was pleasantly surprised to hear what I have never heard before in Metal Music – inspiration.

The band’s new 4 track EP Downfall, has the coolest mix of contemporary metalcore crunch and soul-searching rap, breaking down hostile barriers in today’s music scene. In just the past few weeks – the new EP has garnered over a half a million hits – the band can hardly keep any in stock. Everyone was snapping up the CDs at the merchandise booth today – case after case of CDs are being bought up – one CD at a time.

Promoters of major tours with the likes of Hollywood Undead, and Music Festivals with major acts like Slipknot , Godsmack , Marilyn Manson , and many more – are ringing the management’s phone for this band to open for them on tour.  It’s rare buzz, and it is exciting to see it happening. This band has a fresh new attitude of metal music that has all the elements of all the genres that we know and love. It’s like hearing six bands in one – not the same old song and dance that many bands get trapped into.

Well, tonight in Jacksonville Florida the band hits the stage at full speed – kicking out power riffs along with power vocals from both singers. Matt would sing in one genre style and Chris would sing in another style – in the same song – it was so cool to witness this live with 20,000 fans.

The songs were inspiring, not death and devil lyrics, but true feelings – words that have resonated with every listener in attendance. These guys are grounded in their beliefs, and it helps getting through life’s struggles by letting it out of your heart and soul with powerful songs like these.

Tonight the band is live in concert – here’s what is happening:

Tim is beating the drums as fast as he can and smoking the competition tonight with his ability to adapt to the ever changing tempos. He wears sunglasses and smiles to the ecstatic fans waving to him – and he is surely making plenty of new fans along the way.  He was upbeat and happy to be a part of Welcome To Rockville and the fans will remember him and the band next time they tour through Florida. He was very nice to everyone and they could tell he was for real, putting his skills to work as one of the best drummers of the event. 4/4 time never sounded better!

Brandon was also excited to be here, playing his slick guitar with amps at full maximum level. He made many fans tonight cheer after every song.  He moved on the stage so the fans could see him up close, never missing a lick. The attitude he shows means a lot to the 20,000 in attendance tonight.  Playing a cool looking guitar, he looked the part – totally immersed into the music and the fans. The songs demanded attention to detail and he made sure the songs got it. He has fingers that move on the fretboard effortlessly.  It also helps being young and good looking and the females were attentive to Brandon with smiles and sweat dripping off of them as they were jumping all night.

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Chris has a two-sided look; a clean cut boy next door look, and an intensely powerful voice that reached across town as he belted out the songs. It was easy to see how mesmerizing he can be behind those scary white contacts and jamming with the band, singing his heart out.  He showed professionalism with being the co-singer and knowing his role and timing with the music, not to over run Matt’s parts in the songs. This band should last forever with this type of energy and music styles they infuse into their music.  This band is not out there with another gimmick – just straight up groovy metal jams!

Garrett held down the stage with his awesome bass playing – how does one change styles in mid song?  He is already a seasoned pro despite looking like he is 18 years old!  His constant pulling of the strings makes people jump up and down – boogie woogie metal is what i call it.  I was so proud of this band tonight, seeing a different genre in metal – infused with rap lyrics – was something I would have never thought I’d like…I was wrong. The thousands in attendance with fists in the air were witnessing history.  I am happy I was here to see it.  This is what makes life good – great bands and always a new direction to be explored in music. 

Dan also put in 110 percent – playing guitar riffs that snapped your neck.  I couldn’t believe what these young new whipper snappers were able to pull off on stage musically. Dan put some cool moves onstage that excited the girls and the metal fans were coming in closer to see him packed like sardines at the stage. The mosh pit area was getting stirred up about 100 feet wide by 50 feet wide with fans in an instant frenzy, stomping the ground with their combat boots, pushing each other around the mosh area; it was surreal to say the least to watch it all unfold. The fans were very happy tonight. Dan waved at the crowd, and after the set, the crowd did not want the band to leave the stage. It ended all too soon, but everyone had a great time with the band in Jacksonville Florida !

It was great to see them live in concert – get ready for another tour coming soon. Also – make sure to get the bands new EP CD soon – You need fresh jams!

From Ashes To New at Welcome To Rockville. Photo: Leon Jonjock.
From Ashes To New at Welcome To Rockville. Photo: Leon Jonjock.

I will also release an interview with all 6 members from backstage in a few days – stay tuned to Rarasfarm.com. You don’t want to miss a single story – all of our writers are working hard to bring the news to the fans!

Here are a few band links – you’ll need them!

http://youtube.com/fromashestonew  –  Link to YouTube Video’s of the band  – a must see
http://twitter.com/fromashestonew  –  Link to the Twitter Account to stay in touch with the band
http://www.fromashestonew.com/  – Band’s personal Website – sign up for emails

We had a blast at Rockville #2 in Jacksonville Florida with From Ashes to NewMatt has really done a great job with this band.

We hope to see these guys again soon on tour – this time the promoters might want to get a bigger venue – because the fans have spoken, With over a half million hits online over the band’s new EP in just a few weeks, this band is quickly climbing the heavy metal ladder!

Thanks to the management of Mad Mac Entertainment for the access. Rob McDermott and his hard working representatives made this show special, and all I can say is that they better get them boys ready for the future – it’s gonna be a great ride!

Also thanks to Rarasfarm.comThe World’s Leader in Rock n Roll Music News  – you guys always have the best stories every month!

I’m Happyjack – reporting from Jacksonville Florida – your insider to the best in music news that fans like you want to hear about!

lease be so kind to leave a comment – and “Save us as a favorite” on your toolbar to read our monthly stories – And “Like Us” on “Facebook” – so your friends can join us also!

Remember, I have the interviews being released soon – Stay Tuned for more – “From Ashes to New” !

HappyJack
92.1 FM Radio
Rarasfarm.com

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The Doobie Brothers Sell Out St. Augustine


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Photo by Jeremy Denton
Photo by Jeremy Denton

Doobie Brothers Concert Review

Hello Rarasfarm.com Fans, Happyjack is back – this time with legendary rockers, The Doobie Brothers!

Make sure you Like RARAsFarm’s Facebook Page and Follow us on Twitter for rock music coverage.

 
I got the call 2 hours before the show and quickly packed the van and the camera gear and headed to St. Augustine Florida. Tonight I will be reviewing the legends, and I am super excited to see The Doobie Brothers, featuring a special reunion with former band mate Michael McDonald. This will be a packed house filled with fans looking forward to all of the hits they were raised on.

The band continues to write and record new music and they frequently tour the world to their legions of loyal fans who continue to support the band through their many incarnations.

The Doobie Brothers recently broke new creative ground in the exploration of their musical connection with Nashville, the capitol for Country Music. They recently released Southbound, a new collaboration with the top country stars of today, and already, I can’t wait to get this CD. You’ll hear guest spots from Zac Brown, Blake Shelton, Brad PAisley, Sara Evans and many more.

These critically acclaimed Northern California Grammy winners know what the fans want to hear and they love doing it for them, and that love continued when they were offstage, too, as I watched the band signing autographs and taking the time to say “Hello” to the fans this night.

These guys have stood the test of time since forming back 1969 by singer-songwriter-guitarists Tom Johnston, and Patrick Simmons, along with founding drummer John Hartman, and bassist Dave Shogren. 45 years later, we still see the band making great music fronted by the same two original founding members in Johnston and Simmons.

I still have a couple 8 track tapes from the Doobies and we wore them out every week in the 70’s and early 80’s. Those were the days man, I tell ya!

Tonight’s show was a special treat with all the classics being played with such loving feeling that everyone was dancing in the stands and the entire crowd sang every lyric along with the band. They were the locomotive to a high energy train that drove the set all night – and the fans loved every moment.

The band also dealt with the exit of long-time front man Michael McDonald which took some of the wind out of the band – but not for long as they continued to tour and pour the love back out to their loyal fans. They had started their journey years before he was added to the line-up, so they had a strong foundation of hit songs they had recorded without him that they could rely on.

Yes, the years have witnessed many changes in the Doobies, but the band’s most recent studio lineup harkens back to their earliest days. The band really knows each other well enough to allow each other the space to showcase their best attributes for the songs.

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Simmons says, “The sound of the band is the same. Tom and I are still involved in writing the songs and arranging. It brings the sound of the early ‘70s back to the forefront. Tommy and I now have been working together longer than any other time the band has been in existence, steadily working every year, touring.” And as we witnessed on this night, the fans will not let them down – always showing up to see the band that helped build their lives.

The show was a treat as the band came out for two encores in a set packed with long-time hits. It was a night of groovy California easy rock n roll; the sound we all recognize immediately as the Doobies’ sound.

As a testament to their popularity, the weather was a brisk 45 degrees on this outdoor pavilion event, but the weather did not stop the band nor the fans. The show was a sell out – and their merchandise table stayed busy all night.
Like so many other fans this night, I was happy to see these guys again after so many years of listening to their music. To be at a historic location in St. Augustine and to see this band will be a memory that will forever touch my heart. Thanks guys for everything guys – you have always rocked us fans!

Go see these guys while you still can. The tour has the band playing with The Marshall Tucker Band for the next couple weeks, and then they play the rest of the year with Greg Allman’s Band – another great double bill show.
And the new CD – don’t forget it – new country versions of all the classics. Get it: Southbound – The Doobie Brothers

Here is the current band line up –
Michael McDonald – Vocals/Piano/Organs
Tom Johnston – Vocals/Guitar
Pat Simmons – Vocals/Guitar
John McFee – Guitar/Strings/Vocals
Ed Toth – Drums
Guy Allison – Keyboards/Vocals
Tony Pia – Drums
Marc Russo – Saxophones
John Cowan – Bass/Vocals

Thanks for reading up on another one of our favorite bands. We thank all our loyal readers all over the world, and a sincere thank you to the band’s management team for coming through for me.

Like Us” on Facebook (Top of this page) and show support for us.

I’ll be back soon with another great Concert Review right here. And, remember, when you want the news on the street, look for Rarasfarm.com’s “Happyjack” to bring it to ya.

Jacksonville’s Sold Out “Welcome To Rocville” reviews coming in April and check out our preview here. Korn , Slayer, Testament and many more…

You want rock n roll – we got it coming! Till then, take care…

Happyjack
92.1FM
Jacksonville, Fla

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

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Ex Pantera Members form “Hellyeah” and Smoke Rockville Festival

Hellyeah Concert Review
Welcome To Rockville, Jacksonville

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Wow what a weekend in North Florida!

HappyJack is back with some cool feedback from the Rockville Music Festival. This event was held in downtown Metro Park in Jacksonville, on a weekend bathed in sunshine. The two day Welcome To Rockville was one of the country’s most prominent metal events, and one that had everybody in the industry talking.

This Rock Festival was loaded with so many cool bands, some new and some classic, that I knew this event was gonna be the event to see. Major acts, one after another, were making Jacksonville History. I’m talking more than 40 bands!

Jacksonville has banned acts from playing here in the past – Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne and others. This Southern town has had a lot of Bible thumpers rule the City Council, but a change may be in the air.

How this event got through is a miracle – as for weeks the local news was reporting complaints from everyone from both sides not wanting to start this kind of event – A Heavy Metal Festival – not in our backyard, especially not an annual one!

The Lawyers got the permits passed and the event was set – and tickets were sold, and sold and sold – total 40,000 for the weekend, including a fully Sold Out day on Sunday.

I arrived at the Festival with Cretin, the editor of Rarasfarm.com, and we split up to photograph the different bands alternating playing on four different large stages on the fairgrounds. I immediately went to the main stage and started shooting the opening bands. High energy bands that wanted to make new Jacksonville’s fans their own.

More about them later – right now this review is about a special band – Hellyeah.

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Anybody who knows metal, cannot talk about metal music without mentioning Pantera, a very high energy Heavy Metal powerhouse from Dallas, Texas. These guys really had the industry at their feet, releasing gold album after gold album, year after year. Two brothers created this band – “Dimebag Darrell,” the long-haired lead guitarist who proved a force to be reckoned with by his peers, and Vinnie Paul, the powerhouse drummer with the bombastic drums that sound like cannons.  Pantera made huge leaps over the years, releasing mega selling albums with bone crunching chords that made you play the CD again and again! Pantera was on the verge of being the Metallica everybody wanted Metallica to be – but never was.

Pantera is a band that plays certain type of metal riffs, where you can expect a gathering in the pit of metal heads, passionately shoving each other back and forth in a frenzy of spins. I personally watched some action that was borderline crazy. The fans really enjoy metal music and want more after these bands left town. The camaraderie between the fans is amazing at the huge Festivals.

The fans enjoyed the raw gut wrenching A chords playing from the guitars from Pantera – that cracked your ribs. The songs were much better than Metallica’s basic sound – with Pantera’s catchy 3 chord riffs that made you smile. These guys were a band to see – full balls to the wall metal.  Pantera created a lot of fans, and toured endlessly around the USA with other acts – blowing away the competition on every show.

One night in a club, tragic struck the band, as Dimebag Darrell was shot while playing on stage. Pantera lost a very important person in the industry – a well loved and very good guitarist, and brother.

Vinnie Paul started another band, with the ex-members of Pantera, along with a new face or two, to make the metal music world on fire again. The band played Welcome To Rockville Saturday night and 10,000 screaming fans went wild like for no other band that day. Hellyeah, the name for this new band adventure – was 10 times more polished – and every song sounded tight.

These guys played Dean Markley Guitars and Gibsons exclusively, which made the crowds jump all night; and Vinnie Paul playing his heart out on the biggest set of red drums ever. I play Ludwig drums and thought I had a big set – this guy has cannons – 12 feet of drums wrap around him.

Now, Vinnie is not a tall person and getting the perfect shot for photography was not going to be easy.  I moved around many times to finally get that picture that really showcases Vinnie. I got it and you can check it out above.  He was all smiles to the fans and was really enjoying the massive crowds that came to see Hellyeah.

The band had an average of 3 people crowd surfing, while they played. I have never witnessed so many people in the air on the fingertips of others and passed to the front where security was getting tired of handling the rowdy fans throughout the bombastic heavy metal riffs that were being played.

Hellyeah had you banging your head and from the very first note played. NO OTHER BAND OUT-PERFORMED THEM – THEY KICKED SERIOUS ASS. We are still talking about this show in Jacksonville and hope they come back again!

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Hellyeah is an American Heavy Metal Super group, consisting of Mudvayne lead vocalist Chad Gray, who screams out the metal lyrics with such ferocity, that many respect the hard work he does instantly. He wore a Hellyeah T shirt that fit him well with black jeans and black shoes, and a 6″ Mohawk hair cut. This punkish metal head lead singer was definitely hitting it off with the fans, with this voice from Hell. He was doing things that the other bands wished they could do; carrying the songs with powerhouse vocals. He got everyone’s attention and no one wanted this band to stop.

Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell was in top form with his cowboy hat – a staple in his rock n roll identity. He was nothing short of the coolest looking guy at the festival.  Perfect blend of metal chains, beads, charms and a bandana under the hat made him look like a real rocker – which he is. With his rhythm guitar, he plays A chords that crack your ribs and other hard to play notes. This guy did not rush the songs; he played perfectly with the band and what a combination to hear and see these guys in person. The hardest chords played on guitars, turned up to ten, was overwhelming to us all. Thank you for the best metal ever. Jacksonville Florida is slowly becoming a hip scene for metal music – and it’s about time! They really sounded this good – please go get their CD and play it loud.

Hopefully the city Leaders in this town will open up some more dates in the future for Festivals like this

See our full Festival recap here: Welcome To Rockville

I’ll be back with another Concert Review soon. Until then, tell your friends about RARASFARM.COM!

Thank you to the band and management teams – without you – we cannot inform the masses that want to know about their favorite bands. Thank you Rarasfarm.com for the best Rock Music Scene on the web.

We will have a full photo gallery from Hellyeah and a slew of other bands this weekend, so Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter/Instagram.

Happy Jack

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


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?

Sick Puppies Rock Jacksonville’s Freebird Live Cafe


sick puppies freebird
Sick Puppies at Freebird Live

Sick Puppies Jacksonville Concert Review

I had just finished hosting nine hours on my FM Radio show here in Jacksonville, and was ready for my day off to see Sick Puppies, Indie rockers riding a recent wave of popularity – a band I had heard much about, but one I had never took the time to really listen to.

I grabbed my phone, lined up a photographer and began to plan for the show at the legendary Freebird Live Cafe in Jacksonville Beach.  I did my homework and quickly realized that Sick Puppies has been working the rock music scene for fifteen years. They have a lot of talent and plenty of hit songs. So, this assignment was going to be a fun one, and I was ready to go.

I was impressed by the venue. The first thing you notice is how clean and professionally set up the design is. With an upstairs balcony that allows the fans to watch from above, it really makes it much more accommodating and fun to enjoy, versus a venue with a flat floor.

Sick Puppies at Freebird Live
Sick Puppies at Freebird Live

Back to the show; after the opening bands took their bows, it was time for the headliners. The lights went black and smoke bellowed out unto the excited fans on the floor. Sick Puppies took the stage and were immediately busting loose with a fast uptempo song that had everyone head banging and dancing to the hard-driving tune. No metal, just really cool rock and roll jams that I will be listening to on my MP3 player long into the future.

These cool sounding Australian rockers formed back in 1997. Sick Puppies consists of vocalist and guitarist Shimon Moore, who the crowd immediately adored, with his good looks, happy attitude, and showmanship that other front men only wish they could offer. He was an instant success with the energetic crowd. Moore played his guitar with enthusiasm, but took time not to rush the solo’s, which were very well-received by the fans.

He stopped a few times to chat between songs. With triple duties: singer, lead guitarist and rhythm guitarist; he showed no signs of wear.

The long haired beauty playing bass guitar is Emma Anzai. She had everyone’s eyes, because she commanded the stage like no other female in a long time. With the mounted fans blowing at full speed and her hair swirling, it was hard to take your eyes off the visualization of this captivating musician.

Sick Puppies at Freebird Live
Sick Puppies’ Emma Anzai at Freebird Live

The pulsating beats that she hammered out were mesmerizing to watch and a joy to hear. She played to the fans and they really enjoyed her, seeming down-to-earth and untouchable at the same time.  Stalking the stage, she assured the fans were getting complete access to her, which was refreshing to see from a veteran musician. And her perfect on-time bass playing just added to the experience.

Drummer Mark Goodwin, was the backbone of this trio with thunder-drums and pounding excellence that you typically only see in the studios. One thing I realized watching and listening to this show – They could have recorded the next live CD right there at Freebird’s – they sounded like they just came from the studio.

These guys are professionals at what they do. After enough concerts, reviews and shows I’ve been to, I respect seeing a professional band that will always be remembered for how good they really are – without engineers changing the sounds or producers taking over the controls on the soundboard to make the band sound better than they actually are. Sick Puppies is one of those rare gems. No need for any adjustments; they have their sound and act down pat!

That’s why they have pushed through with popular rock hits for years, offering up jams that really are hits and great songs for over 15 years now, and still rocking like it was their first tour. This trio is a can’t miss act who I’ll be catching any time they return to town, and highly recommend that you do the same.

I also appreciated that they gave many fans an opportunity to meet them after the show, and impressed by Moore’s humility, something rarely seen in this world of rock and roll. Thanks to Sick Puppies for a great show and for showing love to the Florida fans who flocked to Freebird Live to see you. At this point, I will put this show down as the best of 2013 and I have witnessed a lot this year in my hometown (Skynyrd’s hometown) of Jacksonville.

Freebird Live was an ideal venue for the show. The club is owned by the the wife of the late Ronnie Van Zant (lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd).  If you ever get to Jacksonville, get down to the beach and check out Freebird Live Cafe; you’ll be glad you did. It has a nice historical context, as well. You’ll see rare memorabilia from the Lynyrd Skynyrd family – Gold and Platinum albums everywhere; guitars adorning the walls , and many memories for the hometown locals are shared throughout. I highly recommend everyone to visit  this venue and witness some rock history – the atmosphere is overwhelming! 

Another review for another cool band coming soon – right here at Rarasfarm.com – save us as a favorite on your toolbar.

I’ll be back!

HappyJack
92.1 FM
Jacksonville Florida