Tag Archives: Leaving Haven

The Dead Deads, Mr. Bella, Leaving Haven Concert Review

Local Bands Highlight HOB Showcase Night

I got the opportunity to see Leaving Haven live at House of Blues on Friday. I brought my daughter and some of her friends so they would get a chance to see a real live rock band, and expose them to something besides that pop music they’re always listening to.

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I got the opportunity to see Leaving Haven live at House of Blues on Friday. I brought my daughter and some of her friends so they would get a chance to see a real live rock band, and expose them to something besides that pop music they’re always listening to.

The last time I was at HOB was in December for the Black Mass tour, and things at Downtown Disney have changed a lot! The whole place is a big construction site, traffic is a mess, and parking is very different. Aside from that, we made the show right after the doors opened, and were rewarded by a group I’d never even heard of: The Dead Deads.

If you can imagine the result of Rob Zombie having love children with the Go-Go’s, who are then mentored by The Ramones, you might come up with this group. The Dead Deads are a five-piece, all-girl band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee. They have toured with Halestorm, and are part of the lineup of September’s Motörboat, along with the likes of Motörhead, Slayer, Anthrax, Budderside, and many others. They took to the stage wearing black x’s across their eyes, walked up to their instruments and began their sonic assault on the audience with their upbeat, pop-punk song “Rainbeau”, during which singer Meta Dead broke her guitar and had to borrow one from another band that was there.

Recovering from their brief technical difficulty, the Dead girls continued to thrill those of us who attended the show with Hella Dead performing trippy synth effects, Meta and Betty Dead shredding through heavy riffs, Daisy Dead rocking her bass, and Billy Dead keeping it all together with rapid-fire drumbeats. They seemed genuinely happy to be at HOB, and kept us very entertained, interacting with the audience and smiling the whole time while performing songs like “Blackout”, “Sour Blooms”, and “Lemonade”.

We met them at their merchandise table after their set, where they were very amicable, posing for pictures with their fans, including my daughter, selling and signing stuff, and encouraging people to tag themselves at the show via social media. They informed me their next stop was in Jacksonville, and I later found out about their gig on the Motörboat. If you are lucky enough to have a Motörboat ticket, be sure to check out The Dead Deads. I know if I see them on a billing somewhere, I will be there if possible! Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedeaddeads, and tell them Rarasfarm sent you. You can pick up their music at their website: http://www.sonicbids.com/band/the-dead-deads/audio/ .

Up next was a quartet from Tampa called Mr. Bella. Their music was like a fusion of hard rock and pop, vocalist Erin Marie’s style somewhere between Christina Aguilera and Amy Lee of Evanescence. Her band seemed kind of stiff, lacking a lot of showmanship. I feel like they could have brought more energy to the stage, but their sound was good, as they rocked through their set which included “Hurt Like Hell”, “Words”, and “So Long to Sanity”, which will receive airplay on WJRR when it is released this Halloween. For more information about Mr. Bella, here is their site: http://www.mrbella.com/home.php .

Leaving Haven was next up, and clearly the hometown crowd favorite. As the curtains opened, the attendees collectively cheered as the Melsenti brothers, Madison Macko, Mike Strippoli, and Trevor Hastings appeared from backstage, and began playing “Just Like You”. I’ve not yet been to a show where one band played hard rock, did an acoustic song, and performed a hip hop medley, but then I’d never witnessed Leaving Haven in their element before.

Hastings’ voice was silky smooth, his vocal style reminds me somewhat of Adam Levine of Maroon Five, and the rest of the band had a modern rock sound, but varied from song to song. They flawlessly performed such hits as “Hearts and Arrows”, my personal favorite “Johnny Greed”, and the house favorite “Look So Good”, which why I’ve never heard on the radio still eludes me.

Leaving Haven

But the most fun part of the entire set was the mixed bag of rap hits they snuck in, playing small parts of “Trap Queen”, “Gin and Juice”, “Turn Down for What”, and others, while Strippoli’s guitar reverberated through, giving the hip hop tracks a metal edge, which I loved, and Trevor rode a big wheel tricycle, then started break dancing. You other bands should be taking notes here. Leaving Haven absolutely killed it.

There was another band from L.A. called True Violet, but their music wasn’t really within my range of preferences, so I made my way to Leaving Haven’s merch booth, where I was thrilled to meet Mike Strippoli. He was kind enough to sign my daughter’s arm, and hook me up with some CD’s. Then I gathered up my troop of tired teens and we headed for the van. The next show, according to the website: http://leavinghaven.com/ is on August 8th, on the Victory Casino Cruise ship in Port Canaveral, but I would recommend if you have the chance to see these guys, you should definitely go. I know I will.

The website also has links with their tracks on it. Check it out, there’s some great music for everyone!

Philip Snyder

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 🙂

Leaving Haven Unleashes New Single

Miss Emma the new single from Leaving Haven
Miss Emma the new single from LEaving Haven

Miss Emma Is Here

Leaving Haven Releases Miss Emma on May 5th.

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RARAs Farm favorites, Leaving Haven are about to release a brand new single. Fresh on the heels of consecutive festival appearances at Earthday Birthday and SunFest, the Orlando quintet will be releasing “Miss Emma” to the masses today.

The song is a vibrant rocker highlighted by nicely layered guitars throughout and a soaring guitar solo during the bridge. The song also offers a nice canvas for Trevor Hastings’ versatile voice. It’s a great listen and a track that is well suited for active rock radio.

Download your copy of the song on the iTunes link above and support an excellent Orlando rock band poised to breakthrough.

Leaving Haven is Trevor Hastings (Vocals), Michael Strippoli (Guitar), Luke Melsenti (Guitar), Madison Macko (Bass) and Benjamin Melsenti (Drums).

You can listen to the song here:

Rock On!

Leaving Haven Heading to EDBD


Luke Melsenti of Leaving Haven
Luke Melsenti of Leaving Haven

Luke Melsenti Discusses Earthday Birthday 22

Orlando rockers Leaving Haven are poised to explode onto the active rock scene and were recently selected to play at WJRR’s Earthday Birthday, and we took the opportunity to chat with the band’s guitarist Luke Melsenti about the appearance at Orlando’s premiere rock festival.

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Cretin: Tell me about your performance last week at Elixir any thoughts about the fan support there that sent you on to the slot at Earthday Birthday?
Luke Melsenti: We had a fantastic time playing Elixir! Playing an intimate acoustic show right downtown was a great way to entice our fan base to come out on a weekday night. The turnout was excellent and we received a lot of compliments from our fans about how much they enjoyed our set.

Cretin: You played an acoustic set that night. Will we be seeing future acoustic sets? Any acoustic offerings at Earthday Birthday?
Luke Melsenti: Absolutely. We’ve done several acoustic sets in the past and it’s something we always enjoy doing. We have been asked by EDBD to support the acoustic stage that day. We performed on the acoustic stage last year as well.

Cretin: What stage and time will fans be able to catch you?
Luke Melsenti: Leaving Haven will be performing on the acoustic stage again this year, however we have not been informed what time we’re going to rock the shit out of it yet!

Cretin: What’s your favorite crowd or venue you’ve played previously?
Luke Melsenti: I would say our “home field” where we feel most excited has to be House of Blues here in Orlando. It’s always the best time when we play there. Another favorite spot of ours is Venue 578 in Downtown Orlando. It has a great stage and lights and even better atmosphere. Those bigger shows always have an excellent crowd.

Cretin: How has the band’s sound and show changed from your last EDBD appearance?
Luke Melsenti: We made our first appearance at EDBD in 2013 where we opened the second stage, That year we performed as a full band. Last year and this year are both acoustic so naturally the sound and set are going to be different. This year I’m sure we’ll find something to do to change it up.

Cretin: Should we expect any surprises in your setlist at EDBD?
Luke Melsenti: Surprises? I don’t know, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise now would it?

Cretin: Any recommendations for other fans for bands they should not miss?
Luke Melsenti: If fans want to start their day off right they will be there right at the start to see our boys in SoulSwitch. They’re opening the main stage and are going to tear it apart! They’ll probably have to delay the next band due to repairs needed… just sayin’!

Cretin: Are there any bands you are most looking forward to seeing at EDBD who you have not seen before?
Luke Melsenti: I can’t speak for everyone but I’m most excited to see Slash, Rise Against and Nothing More.

Cretin: Some excellent choices, and two of our favorite touring bands on that list. See our earlier review for Rise Against and Nothing More

Check out the full Earthday Birthday Line-up HERE, and snag your tickets for EBDB 22 HERE.

Rock On!

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Jellyfish Album Release Party

Blaine The Mono Highlights Night of Orlando Rock

I’m just back from a break, and wanted to share some quick thoughts on Blaine The Mono’s Jellyfish album release show at The Social last week. Simply put, it was a great night for Orlando’s local rock music scene, but there’s one important thing that sapped some of my excitement.

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Useful Links:
Blaine The Mono Interview
A Song by song journey through Jellyfish with the band members
Release Show Photos of all four bands


Local Orlando rockers, Blaine The Mono were the stars of the evening and delivered a blistering show, but there were a slew of other highlights, as well, with excellent sets from fellow Orlando bands A Brilliant Lie, Leaving Haven and Soul Switch

Randi Stickles of Blaine The Mono
Randi Stickles of Blaine The Mono

Led by dynamic vocalist Randi Stickles, Blaine The Mono delivered a tight nine song set that included all seven songs off of their excellent new release, Jellyfish – in the same order they appear on the new album. They also offered two extra tracks, a fun version of Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and “Circles,” the best song off of Vices And Verses, their debut album. (You can see the setlist at the bottom of this post).

This night was the first time I had caught Blaine The Mono live, and I left impressed. They sounded tight and polished despite the fact that this was the first time they had played most of the songs live. Drummer Clifton Garmer tore up the drums, Chris Culverwell offered up hard driving bass lines and guitarist Eric Joseph coolly dished out nice riffs all night. But, the focal point of the band is talented singer Randi Stickles, and she truly shined this evening, nailing her diverse vocals and perfectly delivering her notorious screams. Impressive stuff.

A Brilliant Lie again delivered a solid and entertaining set. This quintet has a great time on stage, led by creative front woman Tara Lightfoot and as you’ll see in the photo below, bassist Zach Temain and drummer Chris Lane, who appeared to have a blast throughout the set.

Zack Teman and Chris Lane of A Brilliant Lie
Zack Teman and Chris Lane of A Brilliant Lie

I just loved the set delivered by Leaving Haven. They boast a few radio ready songs and as always, offered up an entertaining and energetic set, despite fighting through some early technical difficulties.

Trevor Hastings of Leaving Haven
Trevor Hastings of Leaving Haven

Soul Switch closed the night powerfully. The fivesome definitely brings a more hard-edged sound than their peers on this night, and they are a polished, high energy act. As a nice nod to the featured performers, they pulled Randi Stickles up on stage for a duet with Tom Huestis. Good stuff…

Tom Heustis of Soul Switch
Tom Huestis of Soul Switch

It was an impressive night: four talented, hard working bands from right here in Orlando sharing the cozy stage at The Social. Four totally distinctive styles of rock, non-stop original music, and musicians with tremendous passion for their craft. I was also struck by how much these artists respect and like each other. During the breakdowns between bands, everyone helped each other… everyone. The band members were stepping in to tweak the mix, sharing equipment and troubleshooting for their fellow rockers. It was really a fabulous thing to witness.

So, why, then was I a bit let down this evening? It was the turnout. The Social had a decent crowd, but it was nowhere near capacity. Four talented local bands on one stage, doling out four hours worth of rock ‘n roll, while celebrating the release of an excellent album from the feature band, all for the bargain price of $10.00 – this place should have been sold out!

So, keep your eye out for the next time these bands play in town. They’re all hard-working, wonderful people dedicated to their craft, and they make damn good rock ‘n roll. I love rock music, and want to see it thrive here in The City Beautiful. If you feel similarly, take a few minutes and get yourself plugged into these bands.

Click the links below to visit their social medias; Like their Facebooks and Follow their Twitters – and I’ve added Kat Coffin’s info, because she does an amazing job keeping folks updated on the local scene, and us, because, well… we rock, too!

Facebook Twitter
Blaine The Mono  BlaineIsAPain  @BlainetheMonoFL
A Brilliant Lie  ABrilliantLie  @ABrilliantLie
Leaving Haven  LeavingHaven  @LeavingHaven
Soul Switch  SoulSwitch  @SoulSwitch
Kat Coffin  Kat.Coffin  @Kat_Coffin
RARAsFarm  rarasfarm  @rarasfarm



Rock On

Blaine The Mono Setlist:
Get Me Right
Sexy Back (Timberlake Cover)
Your Ghost
The Slip

Titusville Adds Fuel to Local Music Scene

Titusville – From Rockets To Rockers

There’s been a bit of a resurgence for rock music along Florida’s East Coast this year. Still, I was surprised to see a notable rock music event targeted for Titusville’s Sandpoint Park… surprised, but absolutely excited by the prospects.

The park, which is known as a prime viewing locale for rockets, never struck me as a fitting venue for rockers, but it turned out to be an ideal location. The broad green expanse boasts a picturesque view along the Indian River, and it’s the perfect size for an outdoor rock ‘n roll celebration, and this inaugural event met all of my expectations and leaves me looking forward to more.

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Barefoot Productions put on the show and did a killer job with just about everything. The line-up was a great mix of Active/Alternative Rock artists with national and local appeal. One of the biggest names in Alt-rock, Fuel, headlined the event, and were joined by red hot Birmingham, Alabama rockers Within Reason. Two talented Orlando-based bands who I had not previously seen, A Brilliant Lie and Leaving Haven kicked off the night, as well.

A Brilliant Lie in Titusville
Tara Lightfoot of A Brilliant Lie performs in Titusville

A Brilliant Lie, is a young female-fronted five-piece who are just dripping with potential and they were a great choice to open the event. Their melodic rock was a guitar-driven feast, as they’ve recently added Matthew Movens as their third guitarist. Bass player Zachary Treman was a whirling dervish on stage and was an early highlight.  But, the focal point of this band is vocalist Tara Lightfoot. She boasts a fresh, engaging rock voice and was comfortable and interactive with the very appreciative crowd. (see our A Brilliant Lie photos here).

Leaving Haven in Titusville
Trevor Hastings and Leaving Haven on-stage in Titusville

Next up was Leaving Haven, a quintet from across the country who came together in Orlando a few years ago.  They’re a talented outfit who have played numerous shows with key names from across the rock universe, and are supporting the release of several recent singles.  They also boasted a more polished sound featuring catchy guitar riffs and versatile vocals from lead singer Trevor Hastings. (see our Leaving Haven photos here)

Both of the “local” acts were very well-received by the crowd, and are likely destined for bigger and better things in the near future.  No doubt that you’ll be reading more about them on our blog, and social networks throughout the next year.

Within Reason at Sandpoint Park, Titusville
Within Reason at Sandpoint Park, Titusville

Next up was a band that we at RARAsFarm are very familiar with.  Birmingham’s Within Reason impressed us on the festival circuit earlier this year and were the primary reason we decided to attend this show.  They play a powerful brand of rock ‘n roll that is perfect for hard rock radio, and they always tear it up on stage.  On this night, they did it again with an entertaining forty-five minute set that was the highlight of the night. Read our full review of Within Reason’s set here and see their photos here).

Fuel took the stage last and did a decent job closing out Titusville’s first night of rock ‘n roll. Original vocalist Brett Scallions, the heart and soul of Fuel is back leading the band. He strolled onto the stage, grabbed the mic and addressed the crowd, “Shall we rock? Let the party begin” and the band kicked into a rollicking version of “Last Time.”  Scallions with a smile plastered across his face throughout the set, was an engaging front man.

Fuel Performing Live in Titusville
Guitarist Yogi Lonich of Fuel Performing Live in Titusville

There were some nice moments throughout the set, but the performance was a bit underwhelming, especially after the first three bands. But, Scallions was true to his word, “Today we’ll hear a little old, a little new and everything in between.”  The band offered up great versions of “Shimmer” and “Bad Day,” the latter track featuring impressive singalong vocals from the crowd. I also enjoyed two new tracks “Time For Me To Stop,” a song about addiction and “Puppet Strings” which was one of several songs to feature pristine guitar solos from Yogi Lonich. My personal highlight was a long meandering interactive duet between Lonich and Scallions.

Fuel closed the night with a rousing version of their 2000 hit “Hemorrhage.” It was a big way to end a big night of rock ‘n roll in an ideal outdoor venue on the Titusville shores of the Indian River.

Parting thoughts:

  • The city of Titusville was very welcoming. The first person I met at the front gate was a city council member who seemed truly excited to see us there, and the residents and police supporting the event might have been the most friendly I’ve ever come across.
  • The backstage VIP area under the pavillion was a great set-up, and the subs were amazing. (anyone know where the subs came from?)
  • Barefoot Productions nailed the production of this event. All four bands were excellent and complemented each other well.  And, every act started exactly on time.
  • The mix was a bit messy at times but overall sounded good especially considering it was the first event of its kind in this location.
  • All four artists went out of their way to thank Barefoot Productions profusely. Sounds like they were treated as well as the VIP guests.
  • The only real negative was that the crowd was smaller than it should have been.  Many of the fans we chatted with noted that the advertising and promotion before the event were ineffective. Sure, we’re not exactly Rolling Stone, but we feel we’re a meaningful music outlet in the area (we are, right?), and we had no clue about this event until we stumbled across it ourselves on a Within Reason’s website a few days earlier.

A few of the artists mentioned that another similar event was headed to this area in March. That, if true, is great news, because this night absolutely showed the potential for this area. Hopefully we’ll see another meaningful rock event at the venue soon, with a line-up just as good as the one we enjoyed on the inaugural concert.

Rock On!

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 🙂 We’d love to see this community grow!