Tag Archives: Hard Rock Live

Wilco – Orlando Concert Review

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Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit: Edwin Makon-Morales

Wilco Impresses Hard Rock Live Fans

Illinois natives WILCO stopped by Tuesday to grace the Hard Rock with rock and twang, the mellow and explosive stylings of the group led by Jeff Tweedy had a big night planned for Orlando.

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Opening act ROYAL THUNDER started off the night with their rock revival style harrowing Joen Jett in a modern twist. Lead woman Minny Parsonz covered the room in loud riffs and piercing vocals as the crowd mingled around the bar and slowly filled into the venue. Royal Thunder protrude rock out of every orifice. Well done yet they have yet to make it their own, give them a bit more time and and perhaps another album. Big sound mixed with big attitude, Royal Thunder sound like the band in your neighbors garage that should be playing the Hard Rock. Good thing they got out.

The first band ended and I made a lap around the venue, The Hard Rock is a beautiful place, swanky and expensive, but still able to promote itself as a rock venue with history. Wilco took the stage with might. The crowd was mostly older, thirty plus, mostly due to the $50 tickets and the tuesday night during finals week. But the crowd was active, devoted fans, most had probably been fans since ‘95’s A.M.

Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit :Edwin Makon-Morales
Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit: Edwin Makon-Morales

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Starting the night off with A Ghost is Born’s opening track, At Least That’s What You Said, a perfect soft opening into the crash and screech of the guitar work and multi layered ending that left the room in a dizzy state of excitement. The show had begun, the room finally settling in for the ride. They played Red-Eyed and Blue and I Got You(End of a Century), both off their second album exhibiting the great mix of albums they withheld throughout the show. Tweedy whistling towards the rafters filled with fans and critics alike.

Wilco is able to progress yet hold onto to their style and sound. The wide array of music spread across their discography is always inheritably Wilco, yet we can sense the difference in even Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born. The themes and song configurations are all traits of Tweedy that will always exist but the execution and delivery is different, the stylings have progressed. Always evolving and re casting in the mold of alcohol and Chicago.

The live performance of Wilco is casual, yet perfected. They are able to blend all aspect of their catalogue into the show. A.M.’s searching southern twang is heard throughout the song, but the cosmic guitar freakouts of A Ghost is Born isn’t lost when playing SummerTeeth tracks. Most significantly is Via Chicago, when during the dreamlike verse, the other members of the band rapidly explode into a crashing tyrant, as Tweedy stands calmly strumming and singing his song that has been washed out by the noise.

The setlist for the night was perfectly paced and the setlist flowed across all albums, even the Mermaid Ave that Billy Bragg had adapted with Wilco of unpublished Woody Guthrie songs. The newest Album, The Whole Love, was played and well received by old and new fans alike. The standout track of the album being The Art of Almost, a driving psychedelic daydream that is the progression I mentioned earlier. This track is distinguishable from the most wilco songs, yet the album is layered with different sounds. Showing the band has grown, yet been able to cultivate the sound that started them. Later in the night, they performed another track of the newest album, Born Alone, which echo’s SummerTeeth Wilco. The ability to adapt to the change and master the tried and true is what makes Wilco a standout band, both live and in the studio.

Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit :Edwin Makon-Morales
Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit: Edwin Makon-Morales

I’d like to add to this, that if you haven’t seen Wilco live yet know them, you will be happy to know that Tweedy’s live vocals are as haunting and hallowed live as the album recordings. Able to sing at low decibels in moments of vulnerability, then scream out his frustrations in the times of anger and climax. May the vocals of Jeff Tweedy stay strong, I hope to hear five more albums from this glorious band.

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Wilco ended the night with a double encore. The first being traditional, while the latter was a grand surprise. The stage crew brought out a small drum set and the members played unplugged with two guitars, a lap steel guitar, banjo and melodica. The started with a cover of the old band of Tweedy and bass player John Stirratt called Uncle Tupelo. They followed with a Doug Sahm cover and ending with the beautifully haunting Being There track, Misunderstood. With Tweedy and the crowd chanting together, “I’d like to thank you all for nothing, nothing, nothing.”

Andrew Corbit

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The Killers Entertain Orlando

he Killers at Hard Rock Orlando
The Killers at Hard Rock Orlando – Credit: Torey Mundkowsky

The Killers Concert Review

All Killer, No Filler! Yup, I know that was a Sum 41 album, but it’s also the perfect tagline for the fantastic rock show put on by The Killers last night.  Brandon Flowers and his band mates commanded the Orlando’s Hard Rock stage and blew the crowd away with a stellar set that quite literally was highlight packed from start to finish.

The Las Vegas based quarter (turned sextet for this tour) sounded superb from the opening notes of “Mr Brightside” to the last rousing flourish of “When You Were Young.” It’s nothing short of impressive that this talented band has turned out so many superb songs in their brief four album career and that they were able to fill almost the entire hour and forty-five minute show with hugely popular hits.

Guitarist Dave Keuning and drummer Ronnie Vannucci were rock solid all night, and bassist Mark Stoerner truly shined with his hard driving bass lines, but this band revolves around the charismatic Flowers, and on this night, he was damn near spectacular. His voice was superb on every song, his keyboards were excellent, and his showmanship top-notch. Permanent smile plastered on his face, he was all over the stage interacting with the fervid crowd constantly.

With the Who’s classic “Eminence Front” playing over the P.A., The Killers took the stage with all of the house lights on to Mr. Brightside, one of many cuts off of their impressive debut Hot Fuss. Playing the track with the lights on was one of a handful of nice surprises throughout the evening. At one point early in the show, Flowers slid behind the piano and played the first verse of “Human,” before the band kicked into “Bling (Confessions of A King).” From there they played a few other songs, before ultimately returning to finish “Human.”

“Tiffany stole this from Tommy James, we’re stealing it back,” offered Flowers before the band launched into a searing version of  “I Think We’re Alone.” The band tore into a raucous, chaotic cacophony before melding into a slick version of “Somebody Told Me.” And on the opposite end of the spectrum, we saw a cool duet between Flowers and Keuning during a tender version of “A Dustland Fairytale.”

The crowd was vocal all night, whether prodded by Flowers or not, and truly shined during “Bling (Confessions of A King),” “Human” and “From Here On Out,”  But, the singalong moment of the night was clearly the main set finale of “All These Things That I Have Done,” where the 3,000 folks in attendance boomed the chorus “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” for a full two minutes.

The Killers at Hard Rock Orlando
The Killers at Hard Rock Orlando – Credit: Torey Mundkowsky

The highlight of the night was the four song encore. Members of the opening band The Virgins joined The Killers on-stage for a cover of Neil Young’s “Albuquerque.” From there it was a great version of “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” that was presented with a much darker feel which fit the song perfectly. The final two songs, again had the crowd thoroughly engaged, explosive versions of “Battle Born” and “When You Were Young.”

The Hard Rock venue was perfectly suited for the band, and the sold out crowd was in rare form, dancing and answering every call with loud vocals throughout the show.  It was also nice to see such diversity in the crowd, with fans from the single digits to senior citizens – all of whom who left pretty damn happy.


Mr. Brightside
The Way It Was
Smile Like You Mean It
Human (Part One)
Bling (Confession of a King)
Change Your Mind
Miss Atomic Bomb
Somebody Told Me
I Think We’re Alone Now (Tommy James & the Shondells cover)
For Reasons Unknown
From Here On Out
A Dustland Fairytale
Read My Mind
All These Things That I’ve Done

Albuquerque (Neil Young cover)
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
Battle Born
When You Were Young

Check out the entire The Killers catalog on

Prima Donna Impresses Orlando

Prima Donna's Kevin Preston at Hard Rock Live - Orlando
Prima Donna’s Kevin Preston at Hard Rock Live – Orlando

Prima Donna Concert Review

Like the majority of the folks packed into the Hard Rock, we had come to see the latest incarnation of 80’s New Wave superstar Adam Ant.  Fortunately, we also managed to catch the fantastic opening set from his special guest Prima Donna. Quite honestly, Prima Donna sounded better, put on a more passionate show and were a bit more entertaining.  Ant and his band did not suck by any stretch of the imagination, but this quintet out of Los Angeles absolutely rocked.

I pride myself in having my finger on the pulse of the current rock scene, but somehow over the past ten years this talented group slipped past my radar, despite a couple of huge tours supporting the likes of Green Day, and a few excellent albums of their own.  How did I miss them? Maybe it’s the years of bourbon abuse, but I suspect it’s more driven by their lack of a true radio hit – they have a slew of very good songs, but haven’t had that big breakthrough YET. I’d best describe their recipe of rock as power rock, with a dash of glam and spot of garage stomp – Good, good stuff!

From the minute the lights came on, they set the expectations for the night. Front man Kevin Preston immediately directed the crowd, “Don’t use the seats, don’t use them!” Most of the Antmaniacs, stuffed into their old costumes took in the set from the comfort of their seats, and a few groups in the crowd complied, dancing and bouncing for the entire thirty minute set, but everyone enjoyed the show.  

It’s easy to see why Prima Donna has caught the eye of superb performers like Green Day and Adam Ant. Preston and his band mates are consummate performers. They play power-packed passionate rock ‘n roll and constantly interact with the audience.  They’ve got a big sound and a bigger personality and offered a tremendous set.

Preston had a comfortable rapport with the Orlando crowd: “If we look a little rough,  it’s because we’ve been enjoying Florida a little too much. I love it except the humidity is bad for the hair.” He’s a charismatic front man, with a killer voice.  Another highlight was guitarist Erik Arcane, who also put on a great show, playing fantastic lead guitar and entertaining the crowd throughout the set.

Prima Donna's Kevin Preston at Hard Rock Live - Orlando
Prima Donna’s Kevin Preston at Hard Rock Live – Orlando

During “Bless This Mess,” one female fan offered Preston a rose which he grabbed with his teeth, while never missing a note with his guitar. “Bless This Mess”the title track off of their recent album,  is a rapid-fire rocker that had the crowd thoroughly engaged.  Other highlights included “Demoted,” “Sociopath” and their final selection “I Don’t Want You To Love Me.” (See full setlist at end of article)

 Thirty minutes was just enough to get a nice taste of what these guys are all about. Now that I’ve finally got them on the RARA’s Farm radar, we’ll look forward to their next visit to Central Florida, where hopefully we’ll have a chance to see them play a full headlining set.  In the meantime, grab the album linked below and enjoy their music.

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Rock On!

Related Link: Adam Ant Hard Rock Live Orlando Show Review

Soul Stripper
Like Hell
Bless This Mess
Fern Children
I Don’t Want You To Love Me

Brit Floyd – Wished you were here.

Brit Floyd Show Review

So here I go again attending another cover band on Sunday night. I guess since I really can’t afford the prices of the real band, cover band it is.   Brit Floyd (Pink Floyd cover) played on Sunday at Hard Rock Live in Orlando.  This was a new venue for Brit Floyd because they had never played at the Hard Rock.  The crowd of about 2000 people were treated to a musical and visual smorgasbord that showcased the band’s professional and musical talents.

The talented band consisted of Damian Darlington (Musical director, guitar, lapsteel and vocals), Ian Cattell (Bass guitar, vocals) , Bobby Harrison (guitar, vocals), Rob Stringer (Keyboards, vocals), Rick Benbow (Keyboard), Arran Ahmun (Drums), Carl Brunsdon (Saxophone, bass,  percussion, clarinet, keyboard), Emily Jolland, Jacquie Williams and Rosalee O’Connell (Vocals).

This Brit Floyd concert, was more of a rock show than just music.  Granted, the music sounded incredible, but the stage show with lights, lasers, video and choreographed movement by everyone was really a spectacle for all  senses.

The show opened with “In the Flesh” with Carl Brunsdon alone on stage with a clarinet which then exploded into the full spectacle of the song. It showed the audience what they were going to experience over the remainder of the set. With Pink Floyd, there are so many great songs to choose from and this band did a great job of playing all the best from across their entire catalog.  When the band changed from one album to another, we viewed a video of a child going through different albums and picking out the one in which the songs were being played from – a cool touch.

As expected, “Money,” “Mother,” “Wish  You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb,” received the biggest pop from the crowd and the encore of “Run like Hell” was a great finish to a great show.

I walked into the Hard Rock with minimal expectations and 2 1/2 hours later, walked out thinking, I am glad I was here…



In the Flesh?
The Thin Ice
Another Brick in the Wall Part 1
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
Welcome to the Machine
Us and Them
Any Colour You Like
Brain Damage
Pigs on the Wing Part 1
Take It Back
Coming Back to Life
Keep Talking
High Hopes
The Great Gig in the Sky
Wish You Were Here
One of These Days
Comfortably Numb
Run Like Hell

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!

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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