The normally quaint Main Street area in idyllic Downtown Melbourne was transformed into a lively, pulsing mass of joyful party-goers this weekend, when Matt and Kim commandeered the stage as the headliners for the annual FIT Homecoming Fest.
ABL’s View on Touring, The Rock Business and Other Tarable Things…
I recently sat down with the five very talented and easily distracted members of A Brilliant Lie. We chilled on the patio of Copper Rocket in Maitland and had a thorough, captivating and rambling discussion. It’s far too much info for one interview, so I’ll break this into two or three hopefully entertaining chunks.
The Best Rock Bands Touring This Summer
A RARAsFarm look at a dozen “Can’t Miss” rock bands touring this summer.
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As we leap into June, and the dog days of summer, I took a look at the best live acts on the road today. There were many killer rock acts to choose from, including a few bands we have not previously seen, but we decided to limit the list to a dozen acts that we can personally vouch for as guaranteed to deliver a great rock ‘n roll music experience.
Here you go – twelve bands from very different rock music genres, but all twelve linked together as the top dozen live rock artists touring this summer; a dozen bands who put on a fantastic show every time they hit the stage.
I list them here in alphabetical order, but every one of these acts delivers a killer show every night, and they are all absolutely worth seeing.
|Neon Trees Photos||Frank Turner Photos||Matt & Kim Photos|
|Foo Fighters||Dave Grohl is one of the most dynamic front men around, and he’s got one hell of a catalogue of songs to play. The Foo Fighters are playing a bunch of stadiums on this tour, but I’d recommend one of their more intimate arena stops if you can swing it||Tour Dates ||
|Frank Turner||He just might be the best storyteller gracing the rock ‘n roll landscape today. Every show is a diverse, eclectic collection of wonderful songs from the punk rock icon turned rock ‘n roll troubadour. (Read our review)||Tour Dates | Review|
|Matt And Kim||Surely the most pop-infused artist on our list, but this talented couple dish out fun danceable rock music that is guaranteed to keep you moving. Matt Johnson on keys and drummer Kim Johnson are energetic, athletic, and fun to watch.||Tour Dates | Review|
|Neon Trees||They’ve had a few big hits, but these talented Alt-rockers truly shine during their killer stage shows, and the spotlight shines brightest on charismatic frontman Tyler Glenn who is one of the best live performers on the rock landscape today.||Tour Dates | Review|
|New Politics||Energetic Danish pop-punk that translates perfectly in their powerful live show. Acrobatic lead singer David Boyd flies around the stage, often sings from amidst the crowd and is guaranteed to deliver at least one headstand each show.||Tour Dates | Review|
|Nothing More||Industrial hard rock out of Texas with a very unique twist. This quartet does a lot of fun and dishes out unique stuff on stage, always delivering an entertaining and loud show. As an added bonus, they are touring with another great live act, Shinedown||Tour Dates | Review|
|Of Monsters And Men||One of the more mellow rock acts on the list, but the folksy Icelandic quintet always deliver a tight performance and sound perfect. Their unique blend of Indie rock is a joy to listen to and they pour out creative boy/girl rock onstage.||Tour Dates | Review|
|Paul McCartney||Sir Paul does not tour much, but when he does, it’s “Can’t Miss” rock personified. He is rock ‘n roll royalty, and in his 70’s, still delivers an amazing show every night. Three plus hours of engaging music from the greatest catalog ever and he still glides effortlessly through all of the offerings.||Tour Dates | Review|
|Radkey||Three young brothers who know how to rock. They’ve got a unique garage rock sound tinted with clear punk stylings. This trio is uber-talented despite the fact their average age is under twenty. Catch them now while they are still playing smaller venues.||Tour Dates | Review|
|Rolling Stones||You may have heard of these young guns out of England? They’re celebrating 50+ years of touring together and still boast the same line-up that first appeared 40 years ago! These guys are timeless and still deliver a great rock ‘n roll experience every time they storm the stage.||Tour Dates ||
|Super Bob||This Virginia quartet work their asses off; touring constantly and pouring themselves into every show. Frontman Matt Santoro is a fantastic entertainer, paired with three other maniacs who love playing live. Their blend of dancey hard rock is a guaranteed good time for any rock music fan.||Tour Dates | Review|
|21 Pilots||Hip hop meets alt-rock, and this duo have created a fantastic niche in the rock landscape. Aside from delivering catchy addictive music, these two guys fly around the stage and always deliver an engaging, interactive show.||Tour Dates | Review|
|21 Pilots Photos||Super Bob Photos||Nothing More Photos|
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Coastline Festival – Tampa Event Review
(Before we get started, just a reminder that we have a slew of photos from the festival itself and all of the bands we reviewed coming this week. Check our Facebook and Twitter for updates. Thanks for visiting…)
- Eleven of today’s hottest Indie/Alternative rock acts
- An eclectic collection of food truck cuisine
- The best selection of craft beers we’ve ever seen at a festival
- Great Florida November weather
- An excellent, well-laid out venue
- A superbly well-orchestrated event
Sounds like a perfect recipe for success, and Coastline Festival’s Musiculinary Experience was prepared perfectly.
We made the trip from Orlando hoping to catch a few of Alternative rock’s future stalwarts as they continue their journey to long-term success. We got that for sure, as you’ll see in our band capsules below, but we also experienced a vibrant, positive festival atmosphere.
The venue was laid out nicely with the smaller Gulf Stage just outside of the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheater and the Atlantic Stage inside the venue. The grounds were festively decorated, with inflatable art, and colorful displays dotting the landscape.
Travelling between the stages, the attendees passed through a Food Truck caravan and a Craft Beer Cove that featured a dozen excellent choices, and in a nice touch, offered $3 samples of each offering. The lines at the food trucks were long as the day passed. Talenti gelati had a fun area set-up with super-sized lawn games and free sample of their delicious treats. On the opposite end of the venue was a nice craft area and the autograph tent, which hosted a constant flow of performers and happy fans.
Despite all of the other activities, this festival’s success hinged on the quality of the music artists, and the eight acts we caught were all excellent. Due to a long-standing commitment at another event, we ended up missing the final three bands, but the eight who opened show were well worth the price of admission. Our mini-reviews follow, in the order that the bands performed.
Zulu Wave – This local quartet did a great job representing the Tampa rock scene, offering an energetic set and their unique blend of rock that I would best describe as Tribal-rock. It sounds like an unusual description, but the music was good, and the band clearly has potential.
Blondfire – I just loved their recent EP release Where The Kids Are (see the review here) and was interested to see how this young band would perform on a big stage. Led by brother-sister duo Bruce and Erica Driscoll, the band offered up a fun set. Lead singer, Erica donned a guitar for the cool grove of “Waves” and shined during an excellent version of Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Dreams,” when she nailed the vocals that Stevie Nicks made famous. The band offered two excellent new cuts, “Life of the Party” and “Top of the World,” before closing with their hit single “Where The Kids Are” that had the crowd clapping and singing along.
St. Lucia – I didn’t know much about this Brooklyn band, but liked what I heard. The band is the brainchild of South African born Jean Philip Grobler and they offered up a tropical-infused dance rock that made you want to move. The quintet featured two drum kits and three keyboards, allowing for some fun mixes. Grobler’s vocals were excellent and he put on a bit of a theatrical show, at one time spinning with his guitar before dropping to the stage. As they wrapped the set, he beckoned the crowd, “Let’s do something crazy cause the weekends on its way; okay, let’s jump!” and the party was on.
The Mowgli’s – With a pounding drum beat, this colorful octet stormed onto the stage and immediately got their celebration started with the title track of their new album, Waiting For the Dawn. It’s one of our candidates for album of the year, so I knew what to expect musically, but I was blown away by their energetic stage show. They offered up tremendous harmonies in a fantastic version of “The Great Divide” and a raucous version of “Emily.” Their music is contagious and their positive energy captivating. Guitarist Michael Vincze shared, “We came all this way to tell your beautiful souls to believe in yourself and anything is possible. Do whatever makes you happy in life! Now put your hands up, take a deep breath and scream.” Cleansing, therapeutic and just pretty damn fun. They closed in the middle of the crowd, with a smashing version of their hit “San Francisco” which may have been the song of the festival.
Surfer Blood – As singer John Paul Pitts shared, “We’re from Florida and glad to be back.” The band features smooth Indie rock with a definite surfing subtext to their sound. The sound works well, and offers the perfect backdrop for Pitts’ versatile vocals, at times hitting the high notes and just as easily offering a snarling growl. As they wrapped up their set, we saw our first act of spontaneous crowd surfing.
Fitz And The Tantrums -Another band who stormed onto the stage and then kept the energy up for their entire set. Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs share the vocals and demand constant attention on the stage. Both singers sounded great and were non-stop action as they bounced across the stage. Scaggs, careened around the stage while constantly banging her tambourine and chatted with the Tampa crowd after every song. The pit was a surging amoeba answering every dictum from the band, hands high above their heads, clapping throughout. Highlights of their set included an extended version of The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams that caused a spontaneous dance party on the lawn, and a smoking version of “Out of My League.”
The Neighbourhood – This California-based quintet might be the hottest band we saw at Coastline Festival. They are riding a huge crest of popularity that has found their music all over Alternative rock radio as well as on the small screen. Tattoo-covered lead singer Jesse Rutherford drips with charisma. He was a whirling dervish all over the stage and adorned in his “D.A.R.E.” shirt interacted with the crowd throughout the set. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his hand, singing along at his commend. Despite some early sound troubles, the entire band, adorned in their omnipresent black and white sounded superb, as they delivered crowd-pleasing versions of “Sweater Weather,” “Afraid” and “Female Robbery,” while the crowd surfed, danced and sang.
Matt & Kim – Okay, I’ll admit it, I wasn’t expecting much from this duo out of New York as I mistakenly thought of their stuff as a bit soft. Oh my, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino ooze energy and excitement. Matt plays keyboards, and Kim beats the drums, and the real-life couple accompany each other on-stage perfectly. Schifino was a mad-woman, climbing all over her drum kit, smacking her ass and prowling the stage in general. Johnson was just as energetic and sounded great all night. They interacted with the crowd throughout, sharing stories and bonding with the crowd. We learned about their sex life, the fact that this is the band’s penultimate stop on this tour, and their appreciation for the great Florida weather. Johnson offered, “This is the finale and I wanna remember this shit when it’s cold in New York. Let’s heat it up,” and for the next forty minutes, they raised the party to a fever pitch.
It was a great way for us to wrap up a killer day at the inaugural Coastline Festival. Hopefully this event that so nicely featured the best of today’s alternative rock music scene becomes an annual tradition for Florida’s rock and roll community.
Coastline Festival Photos
|Matt & Kim||Tumblr|
|Fitz & The Tantrums||Tumblr|
|Festival and Crowd Shots||Tumblr|
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Coastline Festival Impresses in Tampa
Just waking after a great day of rock music at yesterday’s Coastline Festival in Tampa. We’ll have a ton of photos and our full festival coverage published in the next day or so, but for now wanted to share our quick impressions, in case you are thinking about going to Day 2 in West Palm Beach today.
If you are on the fence; leap off; this is definitely a show worth seeing and the price is affordable, as well.
The event features a great broad cross-section of the acts that are defining the current Alt-rock landscape. Passion Pit, Two Door Cinema Club and Matt and Kim are already headliner-worthy at mid-size venues, and in this event, you get all three. The bands are a great cross-section of rock. Joy Formidable and The Neighborhood on the heavier side, and Fitz and The Tantrums and St. Lucia more dance-rock.
The early bands were fantastic. Jesse Rutherford of The Neighbourhood just oozes charisma. Blondfire, St. Luica and The Mowgli’s were all excellent bands on the rise.; and the energy from Matt and Kim (who close their tour in West Palm) was incredible and needs to be witnessed.
I was amazed at how many acts featured talented women in their line-up: Joy Formidable, Fitz and the Tantrums, Matt and Kim, The Mowgli’s, Blondfire and St. Lucia. Refreshing for sure
There was just a cool. positive vibe with the entire event. The staff was great, the fans were relaxed, the vendors cool, it was a great setting for the Festival, but the bands’ positivity was great throughout the day. We’ll share a few examples during the full review, but to start, The Mowgli’s may have been the most positive band I’ve ever seen, and they put on a killer show.
You can get in the doors for $30. There are 11 bands and ten hours of excellent rock music. You do the math – this one is a can’t miss show. Now, the beer and merch prices – that’s a different story…
Food truck selections were excellent, and there were long-lines once late afternoon hit. Nice selection of vendors, but they weren’t very busy – probably a result of the killer line-up. Talenti Gelato – amazing! The Beer Cove offered the best beer selections that I’ve ever seen at a festival, and considering the prices for Bud and Miller Lite, the craft beers were priced right.
That’s it for now – if you are anywhere near West Palm, this is the place to be on Sunday. Do not miss this event! I made the two hour journey to Tampa for the show and have no regrets…
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