Tag Archives: Of Monsters and Men

The Mowgli’s Dawn of a New Musical Day


 

The Mowgli’s Waiting For the Dawn Album Review

Fresh on the heels of their absolutely addictive single “San Francisco,” Los Angeles based The Mowgli’s have released their first full-length album Waiting For the Dawn, giving us a chance to see whether they’re a one-hit wonder, or a band built to stand the test of time.  Without a doubt, it’s the latter. This album is a masterpiece, and clearly one of the highlights of 2013 thus far. It’s a cool summer groove just overflowing with sweet summer rock ‘n roll gems.

The Mowgli's
The Mowgli’s

In a refreshing change from much of the music dominating today’s airwaves, The Mowgli’s offer up a host of tracks about love, hope and unity.  They’re an octet comprised of five LA childhood friends and three more recent acquaintances from the Midwest. It’s a marriage that works very well.

Waiting For the Dawn is an uplifting collection of lyrics accompanied by fantastic music.  Many of the tracks feature Boy/Girl lead vocal trade-offs or animated group gang vocals.  It’s one of the reasons the band reminds me of an arranged marriage between Grouplove and Of Monsters and Men; heady stuff as those bands each finished in our Top 5 albums of the year in 2011 and 2102 respectively.

By now you’ve surely heard the zippy “San Francisco.” It’s a clever catchy song that just oozes the essence of summertime (featured in our Songs of Summer 2013). The rest of the album offers up similar sonic pleasures. “The Great Divide” is actually a more hit-worthy selection than “San Francisco.” It’s a more upbeat song with a catchy riff and better lyrics.   “Clean Light” is another strong cut; this one  dominated by shouts and whistles that will surely leave you reminiscing about the fine music of the aforementioned bands.

There are a few tracks out of their typical comfort zone that work with varied degrees of success, including my favorite track “Time.” It’s the most stripped down song, just a few acoustic guitars and captivating vocals. It starts as a song of desperation, but weaves into a hopeful paean. “I get so down about this world some times. I cannot understand people, no not at all. But I hope to see a change in man, I hope to see us love one another, and I know we can.” Good, good stuff.

The band is comprised of eight members, which lends nicely to their propensity to offer sensational harmonies, the fun gang vocals, and lots of slick musical vignettes.  “Leave It Up To Me” features a few nicely placed guitar solos and some sweet melodica.  “Emily” is another gift, it’s a subtle musical orgy with so many intricate instrument switches weaving in and out.  The album offers up a bit of perfectly placed cello, stand-up bass, mandolin and trombone, and who knows what kinds of percussion.  It’s truly a creative masterpiece, and one that is immaculately produced.

Pick it up and give it a listen (linked below), as this one is going to be one of the albums that defines the year.

Rock On!
Cretin

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Referenced Links

iTunes: Waiting For the Dawn – The Mowgli’s
The Mowgli’s website
2013 Songs of Summer
Best Albums of 2011
Best Albums of 2012

Best Rock Songs of 2012


2012 was blessed with some fantastic rock songs, and it has taken weeks to whittle down the long list of worthy songs to find the 25 best of the year. Not quite sure this is perfect, but damn sure that these are 25 great rock songs.  Check out the list and see if you agree.

At the conclusion of the list, you’ll find a playlist on iTunes that links to all 25.

Enjoy!

25. “It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons: It’s Addictive. It’s always cool when the drummer is lead vocalist. It’s great to hear a viola in a rock tune. It’s good stuff.

24. “Bully” – Shinedown: Love the message in this one, and the song is pretty damn good, too. One of three bands with two songs on this year’s list.

23. “Little Talks” – Of Monsters and Men: It’s Mumford & Sons with a bit more of an edge from the amazingly talented band out of  Iceland.

22. “45” – Gaslight Anthem: Great straight forward rock tune from the Garden State’s newest successor to the Boss. Also love the lyrics and the 45 metaphors.

21. “We Take Care of Our Own” – Bruce Springsteen – Yup. still on top of his game. At times this reminds you of vintage E-Street band, but it also has a nice modern flair, and a big sound.

20. “Oh Love” – Green Day: What’s old is new again. this one brings back nice memories of songs from across the band’s past two decades. Billie Joe sounding great again.

19. “Love Interruption” – Jack White: The sparse arrangement works great. The guitar and Wurlitzer fling you back into the 60’s but the vocals and lyrics are totally 2012.

18. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers: Amazingly successful debut song from American Indie rockers that’s impossible not to singalong to and as a nice bonus, it features nice mandolin.

17. “Gold On the Ceiling” – Black Keys: Great organs, hand claps and a blast to listen to. Dan Auerbach channels his inner Paul Rodgers. Nice guitar solo, too. They had two songs on last year’s list and two more this year!

16. “Simple Song” – The Shins: Beautiful harmonies, chaotic guitar played off against sweet piano and James Mercer singing fantastically.

15. “Reboot the Mission” – Wallflowers: Jacob Dylan makes a killer comeback – with a ska single! And, joined by Mick Jones of The Clash. Super cool.

14. “Tongue Tied” – Grouplove: Another great song off of 2011’s Never Trust A Happy Song. It’s a blast to listen to with great boy/girl vocals and stellar music.

13. “Hold On” – Alabama Shakes: It’s an instant classic with such a comfortable Southern Rock feel, coupled with Brittany Howard’s soulful vocals that evoke memories of the great Janis Joplin.

12. “Burn It Down” – Linkin Park: The same roaring electro-power rock we’ve come to expect from the lads from Aurora, California – this time with even more memorable hooks.

11. “Breathing Underwater” – Metric: Excellent song in which Emily Haines offers up beautiful vulnerable vocals in a song about a relationship still struggling to survive against the odds. The only band with two in our Top Dozen.

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10. “Default” – Django Django: A cool dance rock track that at different times reminds me of surf rock, classic T-Rex and 80′s new wave. Yeah, it’s a crazy mix, but it’s pretty damn fun.

9. Polarized – Luke Dowler – Great song about a relationship that just isn’t working. The music is excellent, but the lyrics are phenomenal.  So many different scenarios where they are perfectly fitting.  Every time I hear this, I think about our dysfunctional government (both parties) in the nation’s capital.

“He’s left, you’re always right
Polarized, You think he’s weak because he won’t decide
We’re disconnected – we’ve been infected
We’re building up defenses – protecting deadly interests”

8. “Kill Your Heroes” – AWOLNATION – My favorite inspirational lyric all year in a song that is both powerful and addictive. “Never let your fear decide your fate.”

7. “Little Black Submarines” – Black Keys: Really two songs in one love the tender opening, and LOVE the electronic jam on part two – sweet, powerful guitar and drums.

6. “Runaways” – The Killers: They’re back after a four year hiatus, this saga is a Springsteen-esque anthem that is pure old school Killers. Brandon Flowers at his best.

5. “What Makes a Good Man?” – The Heavy: Soulful rock from the Bath, England quartet with screaming guitar that would make Jack White proud.

4. “Youth Without Youth” – Metric: A great driving beat on a song that reminds me a bit of the most rocking Smiths’ tunes. This is a dark one about a young person who has grown up in a troubled environment and raced past their youth.

3. “Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well” – A Silent Film: It’s a grandiose rocker you’d have expected from The Killers. Love the keyboards, the vocals and the story!

2. Unity – Shinedown – Soaring melodies, Brent Smith’s superb vocals and fantastic guitar in yet another uplifting song from one of the year’s best albums, Amaryllis.

1. “Everybody Talks” – Neon Trees: OK, so, this is a wee bit overplayed – Got it. But it is an absolutely fantastic song. Tyler Glenn’s vocals are mesmerizing, and the guitar and drums are pure old school rock.

Let us know what you thought.  Was your favorite on our list?  Also, we’d love to see what you think about our 2012 Rock Albums of the Year.

Rock On!
Cretin


Top Rock Albums of 2012


As I looked back on the 2012 rock landscape and reviewed the year’s best rock music, I realized that I’ve definitely become more of an Indie Rock fan over the past few years. 2012 brought us lots of great Indie rock, but we also heard some rocking albums in the mainstream.  You may see a few albums here that you’re not familiar with, but I implore you to check them out. You’ll open your ears to some killer new rock, and impress the hell out of your friends. (After each selection, you’ll find a link to check them out on iTunes as well as our recommendations if you just want to grab a few tracks off of each album).

So, here are the Farmer’s Dozens in reverse order. The two dozen best rock albums of the year:

Bonus Selection: Each farmer’s dozen comes with a bonus, so here are two:  Grouplove,  Never Trust a Happy Song and The Black Keys, El Camino.  Both of these albums would be at the top of our 2012 list… if we had not already recognized them in 2011.  Here’s our Top Rock Albums of 2011, to see what else we visionaries were thinking last year.

24. The Lumineers, The Lumineers – Impressive debut album from these “pop-folk” rockers out of Denver. Best tracks: “Hey Ho” and “Stubborn Love.” The Lumineers - The Lumineers

23. Lovedrug, Wild Blood – These Indie rockers out of Ohio are powered by Michael Sheppard’s unique voice and a nice Kickstarter campaign. Best tracks: “Premonition” and “Ladders.” Wild Blood - Lovedrug Read our full review

22. Halestorm, The Strange Case of… Lizzy Hale’s powerful vocals lead the way for these masterful metal rockers. Best tracks: “Love Bites… So Do I” and “I Miss the Misery.” The Strange Case Of... - Halestorm

21. Green River Ordinance, Under Fire – Great rock ‘n roll harmonies from this quintet out of Forth Worth.  They offer up a diverse selection of tunes on another self-funded effort. Best tracks: “Dark Night” and “Lost in the World.” Under Fire - Green River Ordinance Read our full review

20. Mumford and Sons, Babel – A nice follow-up to their hugely successful 2009 release Sigh No More for these barrier-breaking folk rockers.  Best tracks: “I Will Wait” and “The Boxer” (Simon and Garfunkel cover). Babel - Mumford & Sons

19, Dinosaur Jr., I Bet on Sky – The Massachusetts Alt-Rockers continue to put out solid Alt-Rock with their distinctive brand of guitar rock. Every song is good on this one. Best tracks: “Rude” and “Pierce the Morning Rain.” I Bet On Sky - Dinosaur Jr.

18. Luke Dowler, Polarized – Dowler’s music offers raw vocals with an urgent passion, mixed with poignant lyrics about world affairs, relationships and deep personal faith: Good stuff from Big Sky Country. Best tracks: “Polarized” and “Gun.” Polarized - Luke Dowler Read our full review

17. Jack White, Blunderbuss – White breaks away from the shackles and structure of his former band mates in The White Stripes and Raconteurs and it works nicely. Best Tracks: “Love Interruption” and “Trash Tongue Talker.” Blunderbuss - Jack White

16. The Shins, Port of Morrow – Fantastic lyrics, beautiful harmonies and rock and roll that just oozes likability  I just wish these New Mexico natives would put out album more often than every four years. Best tracks: “Simple Song” and “It’s Only Life.” Port of Morrow - The Shins

15. Muse, The 2nd Law – The band, built for stadium rock, took some chances on this, their sixth release. This stuff is nothing like what we’ve heard from them before, but it is intriguing and captivating. Best tracks: “Madness” and “Survival.” The 2nd Law - Muse

14. The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten – Talented New Jersey rockers who offer up their most polished record to date. Strong heart felt rock and roll with excellent lyrics. Best tracks” “Too Much Blood” and “45.”  Handwritten - The Gaslight Anthem Read our full review

13. The Killers, Battle Born – Brandon Flowers and the band never disappoint.  One of the year’s best produced albums and it shows the band moving in a more mature direction. Best tracks: Runaways” and “Miss Atomic Bomb.” Battle Born - The Killers

12. Neon Trees, Picture Show – Everybody talked about “Everybody Talks,” but this album was much more than one hit.  Tyler Glenn is a future superstar and highlights his broad talent throughout the band’s third album. Best tracks: “I am the DJ” and “Everybody Talks.” Picture Show - Neon Trees

11. Django Django, Django Django – Hip, cool, groovy, rock ‘n roll with an oddly familiar feel considering this is the band’s debut. Mixes the best of the sixties, eighties and modern times. Best tracks: Default” and “WOR.” Django Django - Django Django

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10. Metric, Synthetica – From the opening lines of “Artificial Nocturne,” where Emily Haines offers “I’m just as fucked up as they say,” this album demands your attention.  Some deep introspective tracks disguised as excellent pop rock songs. Best tracks: “Youth Without Youth” and “Breathing Underwater.”

9.  Thousand Foot Krutch, The End is Where We Begin – The songs are positive Christian rock but these guys don’t slam you over the head with their beliefs.  It’s solid, active rock music that any hard rock fan will enjoy. A very diverse selection from a band returning to their Indie roots. Best tracks: “War of Change” and “All I Need to Know.” Read our full review

8. The Wallflowers, Glad All Over – Jacob Dylan continues to evolve as a musician and has never sounded better than he does now.  Excellent music with soulful vocals on a selection of tracks guaranteed to grow on you with each listen. Best tracks: “It’s a Dream” and “Reboot the Mission.”

7. The Drowning Men, All of the Unknown – They’re back with their second full-length album release, their first on Flogging Molly’s Borstal Beats label, which builds on the success of their fantastic debut album Beheading of the Songbird, and shows the talented quintet continuing to grow. These Indie rockers remind me a bit of the layered harmonies of Arcade Fire, with a clear West Coast U.S. bent. Best Tracks: “A Fool’s Campaign” and “Lost in a Lullaby.” Read our full review

6. Green Day, ‘¡Uno!‘ – Billie Joe Armstrong needs to be recognized as the prolific rock songwriter he is.  He and his longtime band mates never fail to put out good music and this is another prime example.  A great fresh punk/pop sound from our favorite So Cal trio. They released three good albums this year, this one was the best of the bunch. Best tracks: “Oh Love” and “Let Yourself Go.”

5. Fun., Some Nights – So much more than “We Are Young.” This masterfully produced album is a great vehicle for the talented vocal stylings of Nate Ruess and is packed with memorable addicting ditties. Jack Antonoff and Andrew Dost round out the trio and lend their voices to create impressive harmonies throughout.  On Some Nights, Fun. has developed a unique sound and carved a nice niche in today’s Alt-Rock landscape. Best tracks: Why Am I the One” and “Carry On.” Read our full review

4. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal. This talented Icelandic band has taken advantage of the revitalized interest in folksy rock courtesy of Mumford and Sons, but have kicked it up a notch.  Great, fun rock songs with amazing boy/girl vocals and meaningful lyrics; as well as a few tracks that are strictly fantasy adventures like the addictive “From Finner.” Best tracks: “Mountain Sound” and “Little Talks,”

3. River City Extension, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger – The second release from this talented octet out of New Jersey is a musical and lyrical journey well worth a listen. It’s a folk rock/Americana album packed with original sounds and with each listen a different track stands out. Joe Michelini, the band’s singer and guitarist is the primary songwriter and he takes us through a varied collection of memories. He offers: “Half of this record is love songs, and the other half is ‘I’m sorry that I fucked up’ songs,” and he writes about both in a compelling way. Best tracks: “Glastonbury” and “Ballad of Oregon.” Read our full review

2. Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball – I had just about written off the sage of the Garden State, but this is one of Springsteen’s best efforts in years.  The music is superb, and the lyrics even better.  It’s a bitter, but honest look at what Corporate Greed and idiot politicians have done to his country, and Springsteen pulls it off by surrounded the words with excellent music At times, he evokes memories of the E Street Band’s greatest anthems, at other times he has us heading down an entirely new path, such as the Celtic rock feel in the fantastic “Death of My Hometown.” Best other tracks: “We Take Care of Our Own” and “Wrecking Ball.”

1. Shinedown, Amaryllis – I loved “Bully” the moment I heard it and was pleasantly surprised to hear the excellent diversity on the rest of the album.  It’s aggressive, powerful, passionate rock that’s impossible to put down.  The Jacksonville based band has only put out four albums in their decade plus together, and each one has gotten just a little bit better.  Rolling Stone hated the album, which in itself is proof that it’s mainstream rock for the masses.  Amaryllis is one of the best hard rock albums in years and it’s packed with great songs.  Best tracks: “Unity” and “I’m Not Alright.”

There you have it – the best rock albums of 2012, according to me.  Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.

Click here for the Top Rock Songs of the Year

Rock On!
Cretin


X102.9 Alt-Rock Festival – Band Reviews


This is the third part of our Big Ticket trilogy – sort of our version of Fifty Shades of Great.

      Part I – The Best of The Big Ticket
      Part II – The Festival Wrap-Up
    Also, We took a slew of great photos, and you can check them all out on our Facebook site.  Just do us a favor and Like Us while you’re there. RARAs-Farm Facebook Page.  

 

As I’ve noted in my two prior articles, when I first saw the line-up for the Big Ticket Festival, I had lofty expectations.  I had covered about half of the acts previously and was a big fan of each.  As it turned out, the bands I was familiar with all delivered what I expected, but I was amazed by how good the rest of the acts were.  Here’s a quick peek at each band in the order they played. (All of the bold text link to related material).

Sunbears! – This duo had a chance to play in their hometown of Jacksonville.  We arrived just at the tail end of their set and they sounded good, in front of a decent crowd.  I’d describe their sound as a modern blend of psychedelic rock, but take that for what it is worth as I only heard a small sample. Sunbears Photos

Paper Tongues – Our first nice surprise of the night. I was aware of these guys out of Charlotte but didn’t know much about their music.  They seem to have a bit of a cult following in Florida, and after seeing them perform live I totally get it.  Lead singer Aswan North just reeks charisma, which is matched by their leopard clad bassist, Daniel Santell.  The entire band sounded great and got a rousing welcome from the crowd. The highlight was North singing “Trinity” from the crowd. Next time these guys are in the neighborhood, I need to see them.  Paper Tongues Photos

Whole Wheat Bread – Another band with local ties, these three guys also hail from Jacksonville. They have a unique sound, sort of a mainstream Southern Rock Alt-Rock thing from the inner city, and it works!  The crowd was grooving to the trio that reminded me of Lenny Kravitz with more of a funk groove. Bass player, Willy, won the award for best dreads at the festival.  Whole Wheat Bread Photos

Grouplove – I had great expectations for this LA Band, as their Never Trust A Happy Song was our #2 Ranked album of 2011 (that’s right, we knew they’d be special long ago). Still, they blew me away. All three lead vocalists sounded great, the music was superb and they just put on a damn good show.  They immediately amped the energy level with a great version of their current hit “Itchin’ On a Photograph” and offered up a great ukulele  driven version of “Spun,” before closing with a killer version of “Colours.” Oh, and they sneaked in a version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Cool, cool stuff. Grouplove Photos

Twenty | One | Pilots – True confession – these guys opened for a band recently at HOB – Orlando, and I skipped their set when I saw they wore skeleton suits on stage and dismissed them as a gimmick act.  Sometimes, I’m an idiot. These two guys are tremendous entertainers and musicians.  Lead singer Tyler Joseph plays organ and is accompanied on stage by drummer Josh Dun. The music was good, Joseph interacted with the crowd the entire set and was a madman – singing one song from the speaker stack, one from the scaffolding in the middle of the crowd and the finale from the Griswold Family Winnebago next to the stage. Not to be outdone, Dun uncorked an impressive back flip off of the speakers onto the stage as they wrapped up the show. One hell of an entertaining set.  Twenty One Pilots Photos

Of Monsters And Men – I caught the band in Orlando two nights before the Festival and thought their show was great.  Shorter set, Festival mode, this day, but still very impressed.  These guys had a slew of their peers watching from back stage and did not disappoint.  Their names are impossible to remember (and pronounce), so check out our earlier review for the particulars, but the vocals and the music are superb.  They started with a great version of “Dirty Paws” and featured some fun interactive versions of “Mountain Sound” and “Lakehouse.”  Was wondering what the Icelanders were thinking of the toasty Jacksonville weather… Of Monsters And Men Photos

The Joy Formidable – This Welsh trio sure delivers a big sound.  Singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan was a whirling dervish and had great chemistry with animated bassist Rhydian Dafydd.  Good, energetic set that was highlighted by a fantastic closing version of “Whirring.” The Joy Formidable Photos

Silversun Pickups – Love the band’s sound, but wasn’t sure how their layered perfection would translate into a festival atmosphere.  Bottom line, the sound was superb, despite the absence of bass player Nikki Monninger who was home preparing to give birth. Brian Aubert’s voice was pristine and dominated the performance   Not the most exciting stage show, but the setlist was great, featuring “Bloody Mary,” “The Pit,” “Panic Switch” and a rocking extended version of “Lazy Eye.” Silversun Pickups Photos

Flogging Molly – One of my favorite live bands ever, and they actually disappointed a bit this show, but I had set the bar pretty high. I wasn’t crazy about their set list, but perhaps that is because I am used to them having twice as long to play.  There were still some great moments.  Loved “The Likes of You Again,” and really enjoyed the tin whistle and Dylan cover of “The Times They are A-changin.”  Bassist Nathan Maxwell absolutely tore it up during a rollicking version of “Saints and Sinners.”  Flogging Molly Photos

Fun. – I was curious about these guys, not sure what to expect. I knew that every teen chick within 100 miles was there to see Nate Ruess, which made me a bit skeptical,  but I also knew that their album, Some Nights is masterful.  To put it simply, I was impressed. Ruess is a charismatic guy who sounded excellent, and the band (which doubles in size for their road show) was spot on. “Some Nights” and “Gets Better” were great, for the band who opened the festival just last year. Good stuff!  Fun. Photos

Anberlin – Yet another local band. These guys closed out the day at The Jagermeister Side Stage in grand fashion. Front man Stephen Christian had the crowd engaged throughout and the band offered up some nice punk pop with a Christian touch.  Their six song set was highlighted by “Little Tyrants” and a killer version of “Someone, Anyone.” Anberlin Photos

Chris Traynor of Bush at The Big Ticket Festival
Chris Traynor of Bush at The Big Ticket Festival

Bush – From the moment the spotlight hit Chris Traynor for the opening guitar riff of “Machinehead” you knew this was going to be a special set.  Twenty years after founding the band, Gavin Rossdale and Bush are just getting back into their rhythm after a seven year hiatus. The music was impeccable and Rossdale, sounding great, put on a great show.  They played all of their hits in a show highlighted by one of their more marginal hits, “The Afterlife,” during which Rossdale raced through the packed crowd, singing from a few different spots on the field.  Immediately after he returned to the stage, his band mates left him alone for a stark solo version of “Glycerine,” which was the best song of the entire festival.  They closed with a rousing version of “Comedown” leaving the rocking crowd thirsting for more.  Bush Photos

Rise Against – OK, this didn’t work out well for us.  Due to the bands falling slightly behind schedule, and our 150 mile ride home, I had to split before Rise Against took the stage to close the night.  Based on Tweets I received, I can share that they opened with “Survive” and closed with “Savior.”  I also heard they did a nice acoustic version of “Swing Life Away.”

So, there you have it ten hours of great rock ‘n roll, 13 bands, and one incredibly well-oiled festival.  Already looking forward to the 2013 version!

We’d love to hear what you thought about the show – leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

For those of you new to RARAsFarm.com we’re a site dedicated to Florida rock music.   Take some time to tour our site, Follow Us on Twitter and Like Us on Facebook and help us grow this community for Rock And Roll Animals.

Rock On!
Cretin

 


The Big Ticket Delivers BIG


Rock music festivals just don’t get much better than this!

Over the past twenty-plus years, I’ve been a rock music junkie, attending many hundreds of rock shows and festivals all along the East Coast.  But, I’m not sure I ever witnessed as much good music in one day as I caught at The Big Ticket on the riverfront in Jacksonville. X102.9 is Jacksonville’s New Rock Alternative, and they delivered a talented diverse line-up that was damn near perfect for Alternative Rock fans.

The festival featured Alt-Rock legends Bush and Rise Against and some of today’s hottest new acts, such as FUN. Grouplove and Of Monsters And Men, as well as a handful of local rockers.  The Met Park venue was set-up perfectly, with music alternating seamlessly between the two primary stages.

The Main Stage was packed with can’t miss acts the entire day, and no one disappointed.  I was just as impressed with the diverse line-up playing the Jagermeister Side Stage; – Rarely have I seen a second stage boasting the kind of talent we were presented with, including the likes of Flogging Molly, Anberlin and the most pleasant surprise of the festival Twenty One Pilots.

We’ll get to the band-by-band recap in a bit, but first, lets focus on the festival in general.

The Big Ticket Crowd scene
The Big Ticket Crowd scene

We took a slew of great photos, and you can check them all out on our Facebook site.  Just do us a favor and Like Us while you’re there. RARAs-Farm Facebook Page.  We also offered up our Best of The Big Ticket earlier in our three part Big Ticket series, if you want to check that out.

The Metropolitan Park location was the ideal venue for a festival, with plenty of room for four stages, dozens of bands, a slew of vendors and ten thousand rabid rock music fans. It didn’t suck that the weather on the riverfront was absolutely perfect either. Met Park is one of the few places I’ve seen a show where you could “get away” for awhile if you wanted, including some nice spots on the river, and still hear the acts on the Main Stage. At the North end of the park there were two smaller stages featuring local acts and numerous merchandise booths offering a kicked back festival feel.

The bands alternated between the Main Stage and Side Stage impeccably, with there rarely being a break of more than few minutes.  The only exception was a twenty minute delay for Grouplove that may have been the result of a wiring issue.  The stages were set-up close enough that a few thousand fans could literally just rotate 45 degrees, twice an hour to catch non-stop fantastic performances.

The Side Stage featured a bit more of aggressive Alt-Rock, and leaned towards the punk side.  Flogging Molly, Anberlin and Joy Formidable all had the crowd bouncing.  The earlier acts on the stage were also entertaining and well-received by the crowd.  Whole Wheat Bread, The Sunbears and the aforementioned Twenty | One | Pilots all had the crowd engaged, as well. Tyler Joseph was a mad man and one of the stand out performers of the day.

On the Main Stage most of the performances were exceptional.  Paper Tongues immediately got things started with an energetic, animated performance.  One of many bands with Jacksonville or Florida roots, they engaged the crowd as much as any band throughout the day.  Grouplove and Of Monsters And Men followed up with great sets that had the crowd dancing and singing along, and Silversun Pickups sounded superb.

The Main Stage closed with three great sets. An incredibly well-received set from Fun, sounded as good as their richly layered recorded material and Nate Geuss was thoroughly entertaining.  Gavin Rossdale was all over the venue, and disappeared into the crow a few times during Bush’s set. Then, Rise Against, delivered a powerful set to close out the night.  The sound quality was superb all day from both stages, and did not suffer at all from the outdoor locale.

It was a near perfect line-up in a fantastic venue on a spectacular day, run exceptionally well by X102.9 and the promoters.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Check back tomorrow for our final Big Ticket article, our band-by-band recap – lots of great anecdotes.

Rock On!
Cretin

 


Of Monsters and Men Dazzles Orlando


Since January when we first wrote about this uber-talented band out of Iceland, I’ve been looking forward to catching them live, to see if their live show lived up to my lofty expectations. After their powerful, engaging fourteen song set at The Beacham, there’s no doubt, we witnessed the next huge Indie breakout band.

Of Monsters and Men is often compared to The Arcade Fire, and although there are indeed musical similarities  the crew from Iceland have a sound all of their own. It’s unique indie-rock with a folksy flair that comes across even better live than on their hit album, Into The Woods.  I do see valid comparisons to The Arcade Fire in their huge potential to become the next Indie rock act to cross over to huge mainstream success, both critical and commercial.

The Beacham was sold out for this show, and the packed crowd was eagerly engaged from the opening notes of “Dirty Paws” to the powerful closing notes of the final encore “Yellow Light.” Nanna Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Þórhallsson share the vocals and sounded magnificent all night trading off between the female and male leads. Their voices were pure all night, distinct and captivating, at times reminding me of the exceptional vocals of The Beautiful South which is high praise.

The band has added a seventh member for this tour, and it works magnificently, as they sound bigger, fuller and more vibrant than in their recordings. Their line-up features three guitars (including the left-handed Ragnar), a bass, drums, keyboards, accordion, kettle drum and trumpet, offering up plenty of unique mixes. The band members enjoyed the packed house throughout the show and seemed humbled by the crowd’s constant participation, either clapping or singing along to most songs.


(Check out our concert photos here)

The house was rocking all night, but the fervor kicked up a notch for “Slow and Steady,” where the entire corwd had their hands aloft clapping rhythmically, and then hit a fever pitch for their current hit “Mountain Sound.” They also threw in a nice cover of The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs’ “Skeletons.”

The highlight of the show was an extended version of “Lakehouse,” where drummer Arnar Hilmarsson came out front and led the crowd through an animated singalong. From there, they closed out the set with an exhilaration version of their hit single “Little Talks.”

From there, it was a nice three song encore, that led off with a stripped down version of “Sloom” with just the three guitarists on stage. They were rejoined on stage by their band mates for “Beneath the Bed,” before closing with a raucous version of “Yellow Light,” which featured grewat drums from Hilmarsson, as well as Nanna on kettle drum – a rousing end to a great night of rock music. For the 1200 in attendance it was a great glimpse into the future of rock stardom, and likely a fleeting chance to see them in a cozy venue, as their next trip to Orlando will find them in a much bigger venue.

Rock On!
Cretin

Setlist:
Dirty Paws
From Finner
Slow and Steady
Mountain Sound
Your Bones
Skeletons (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
Love Love Love
King and Lionheart
Lakehouse
Little Talks
Six Weeks

Encore:
Sloom
Beneath My Bed
Yellow Light

 

Of Monsters, Men and a Nashville Muse



A friend of RARAs Farm recently made us aware of a nice offer for fans of Alt-Country / Folksy Rock. In advance of the release of her forthcoming album, Kate Tucker is offering a free download of her latest EP, Ghost of Something New, beginning today, January 9th. The talented singer songwriter from Akron, Ohio has relocated to Nashville where her music has taken a bit more of a country feel.

The first song on the EP, “Revolution”is fantastic. It’s got a great driving beat, excellent guitars and most of all superb, memorable vocals from Tucker. All-in-all, it’s a nice collection of songs from a talented singer songwriter.  Dwonload the EP for free during the month of January at Noisetrade.

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After downloading the EP, make sure you check out Tucker’s poignant cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” This video also features RARAs Farm favorite Michael Sheppard and his Lovedrug band mate Jeremy Michael Gifford.

In the same genre, Of Monsters and Men, a young band out of Iceland have found a bit of notoriety over the past few weeks.  Sirius XM’s AltNation has added their wonderful new single “Little Talks” into their rotation, and the single was the Free Single of the Week on iTunes (linked on our Free Music Friday page). The band reminds me a bit of Mumford and Sons, and even more of the under-appreciated and immensely talented English band The Beautiful South. Keep your ears tuned for this quintet – big things are on the way.

From these two hot new bands to the other end of the spectrum: Van Halen returns to the airwaves with Diamond David Lee Roth, nearly three decades from his last album.  The new single “She’s The Woman” is rumored to be released in the next few days. It’s actually not all that new, as it was originally recorded by the band in 1976.  Here’s Rolling Stone’s review of their preview show at NYC’s tinyCafe Wha last week.

I stumbled across this Youtube channel recently from FrontStepGames, where they feature good new Indie rock each month: check it out, good stuff: Songs You Wish You Found

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