The World’s Loudest Month kicks off on April 30th at Jacksonville’s first rate hard rock festival, Welcome To Rockville. The lineup for the weekend event, announced today is headlined by iconic artists Disturbed, Rob Zombie, ZZ Top, Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch and A Day To Remember. (Click more to see the full lineup)
(Our band photos from the festival are provided after each band’s recap)
Before I get into my capsule band reviews, let me remind you of a few things. There were two bands playing at a time, virtually all the time, so by default, I missed half the artists. I also was backstage interviewing from time-to-time, so I missed a few other bands. Basically, if I missed your favorite act, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
These bands are listed in the order that I saw them:
- Rev Theory – The crowd and I were really into “Hell Yeah,” but truthfully, the rest of the set was kind of mediocre.
- Middle Class Rut – Two talented musicians, but still, just two guys! Hard to believe with the sound they pumped out but they filled the air with powerful, hard driving alt-rock, and drummer Sean Stockham was one of the highlights of the day. Middle Class Rut Photos
- Monster Truck – was not familiar with this soulful foursome at all. I assumed they were a big Texas rock band based on their guitar driven southern sound. I was wrong, these guys hail from Hamilton Ontario, but they’ve got a sound big enough for Texas. Monster Truck Photos
- Adelitas Way – Lead singer Rick DeJesus had tremendous rapport with the crowd and quickly had them at a fever pitch. At one time, he directed the fans to keep crowd surfing stageside where he jumped down to greet them. He joked that the Security crew wasn’t going to be happy. Yeah, no shit. He nailed that one, as a tidal wave of fans surfed to the stage front. He and his mates sounded great and put on a killer show, but he was a bit of an ass for putting the fans and Security crew at risk when the surfing escalated out of control. Adelitas Way Photos
- Evergreen Terrace – They killed it. I don’t love their music, but I was about the only one in the crowd who didn’t. Local boys definitely on the brink of bigger things. Front man Andrew Carey sang the closer from amidst the crowd. Cool stuff. Evergreen Terrace Photos
- Chiodos – These midwest rockers offered up engaging alt-rock with a gritty hard edge. The band has reunited and sounded sharp. They offered one of our favorite lines of the festival: “You’re all hot and sweaty, and not even with your own sweat; but that’s rock n roll.” Indeed it is. Chiodos Photos
- Smile Empty Soul – Hard to believe these guys have already been around for 15 years. Their grunge infused rock sounded great in a set nicely book-ended by their early hit “Bottom Of The Bottle” and their strong new release “Chemicals.” We caught up with drummer Jake Kilmer afterwards and will be sharing that interview shortly on this website. (So Follow / Like for alerts) Smile Empty Soul Photos
- Alter Bridge – As good as the first group of bands were, they just kicked the talent up a notch. Two uber-talented guitarists, Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti absolutely lit the stage up; and Kennedy also offered up what might have been the best vocals of the day. Their thirty minute set was damn near perfect. I liked hearing the band express their appreciation for the active, engaged crowd, despite the fact that they took the stage at the sweltering worst time of the day. Alter Bridge Photos
- Volbeat – Love their music, but had never seen these Danish rockers perform live. They’re making some of the most intriguing hard rock gracing the airwaves these days and it translated great on the big stage, as they were my Top Artist of Welcome To Rockville. Front man Michael Poulsen’s voice was distinctive and powerful and he humorously interacted with the crowd throughout the set. The entire band sounded fantastic, and dual lead guitars from Poulsen and Rob Caggiano stole the show. They also offered a campy Johnny Cash cover that had the crowd singing along. Volbeat Photos
- Cult – The first time I saw Cult, they opened for Billy Idol in the mid-eighties. I love their music and their album Love is one of my personal Top 10 ever. But, quite frankly, they still are weak live. I just get the feeling there’s someplace (anyplace) that Ian Astbury would rather be, and even Billy Duffy and his band mates could care less.
- We Came As Romans – I heard they were a talented band with a unique approach to their rock music, but was surprised by how good this band sounded. Their mix of hardcore metal and sweet pop worked perfectly. The crowd loved them and these guys are destined to continue their ascent up the rock music charts. The vocal trade-offs between Kyle Pavone and David Stephens was one of the highlights from the entire Festival. I need to catch this band performing a full set soon. We Came As Romans Photos
- Avenged Sevenfold closed night one with a big arena set, plenty of effects and pyro, and they were smoking. Why the heck they closed the show at the smaller of the two stages, I will never understand. Unfortunately I watched from somewhere just north of St. Augustine but there’s no denying they nailed their set and closed night one mightily.
- Within Reason – These guys kicked off Day 2 of Welcome To Rockville, after doing the same thing the night before in Ft. Myers. The quartet from Alabama are doing there own thing on this tour and with their new album and it seems to be working great as their tight set was packed with excellent active rock ‘n roll. A great way to start the day! (We’ll have a full band interview in the next few weeks so make sure you Follow for updates). Within Reason Photos
- The Pretty Reckless – Well, Taylor Momsen was “Pretty” but their music was just plain bland. I was bored.
- Sick Puppies – This talented trio brought it from Down Under to the Monster Energy Fire Museum stage and put on a nice Alt-Rock set. Shimon Moore sounded great and had the crowd’s apt attention and as they raced through an engaging set. Female bass player Emma Anzai was one of the few females gracing a stage this weekend and without a doubt, the most memorable, as she delivered a great performance bouncing all over the stage. Sick Puppies Photos
- Nothing More – For the second straight festival, Nothing More, a talented quartet out of San Antonio stole the show. They play gritty addictive hard rock that had the crowd engaged throughout. Still, as good as the music is, it is blown away by their stage show. Every band member is a consummate performer, and their theatrics on the stage were unparalleled all weekend. A spinning elevated bass, four drum kits and a whole lot more. Trust us these guys put on one hell of a show and are a can’t miss act. Nothing More Photos
- Black Label Society – Another band that just didn’t really do it for me. They had a big passionate crowd, and the guitar work from Zakk Wylde and crew was solid, but nothing really stood out about their set, so I left early to see…
- Lacuna Coil – caught the end of their set, and quickly wished I had seen the whole thing. Goth metal with underlying catchy melodies. Christina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro nicely traded off girl-boy lead vocals and sounded strong. Lacuna Coil Photos
- Theory Of A Deadman were the first band we saw at the featured Metropolitan Park stage, and they commanded the crowd’s attention, with lead singer Tyler Connolly by far the most entertaining front man of the event. He played a fun brief “Sweet Home Florida” and before “Bitch Came Back,” introduced it as a song for the ladies. The band absolutely killed it. Theory Of A Deadman Photos
- Seether sounded good, but quite frankly did not live up to my expectations – a decent set, but not the “Can’t Miss” band I expected. Their closing song, “Remedy” did not suck, however 🙂
- Staind – Aaron Lewis was at the opposite end of the spectrum, his voice was fantastic and Staind sounded damn near perfect. They had the singalong set of the night, too. “Now,” “Outside,” “Something To Remind You,” and “It’s Been Awhile” had the crowd singing in unison back to back… Staind Photos
- Rob Zombie – Unfortunately, we knew we were going to miss Korn, so this was our last act of the weekend. Thankfully Zombie and his band killed it. The stage was a sight to behold, covered in muted eerie images, and Zombie and the band fit in perfectly. They opened with a rousing version of “American Band” and kept the energy going for a fun and powerful set. Zombie was a theatrical front man who put on a killer show. Rob Zombie Photos
All told, it was two days of obscenely sweaty, loud and aggressive rock ‘n roll, and one hell of a good time.
We have hundreds of photos coming in the next 24 hours, which we will share via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
If you were there, who were your favorite acts? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Welcome to Rockville Blows Away Jacksonville
Please take a quick moment to read this first: We have a slew of Welcome To Rockville coverage headed your way this week, including a band by band recap tomorrow, features on several bands we were able to chat with and literally hundreds of photos. Take a minute now to Follow Us on Twitter and Instagram and Like Us on Facebook to assure you don’t miss any of it!
It was a battle worth fighting for.
As I headed to my favorite local parking spot, I was immediately greeted with a disarming “Lot Full” and I was early! By the time I hit the Monster Museum Fire Energy stage around noon, the rabid crowd gathered for Rev Theory already numbered in the thousands. From their first powerful notes, there was electricity in the sweltering air, and the show was most definitely on.
The powerful quintet had the crowd in the palm of their hands and quickly set the bar for the dozens of acts to follow. But before we dive into the music, let’s set the stage, errr stages.
This venue is the perfect place for events like this; the grounds had ample room for the FOUR stages spread across the property, and the layout and logistics were damn near perfect, with little to no bleed over from one stage to another, and with the copious wattage the towers of speakers was pouring out, that’s one hell of a feat.
The basic setup was that the one large stage at each end rotated acts, while simultaneously the smaller stages at each end played. You get the drift, there was a crap load of excellent hard rock constantly. Due to the broad spectrum of bands, and the healthy walk between stages, I tried to see as many acts as possible, meaning I typically caught a few songs and moved along. All told, I saw parts of or full sets from thirty different artists, and honestly, there were precious few who did not impress.
The Monster Energy Metropolitan Park Stage featured bands with a bit more of an Alt-Rock feel, while the Fire Energy Stage highlighted bands with a harder edge. Both stages, as well as the side stages, offered a truly diverse rock music experience.
Avenged Sevenfold and Korn were headliners their respective nights and offered up powerful explosive sets. They delivered exactly what the crowd so passionately desired, but they had plenty of company.
I’ll share a few of my highlights here, but make sure you check back later this week for our band-by-band wrap-up. Volbeat and Rob Zombie were hugely popular and drew big crowds of both fans and fellow performers for their sets. Volbeat was the top act of day one and lived up to their excellent reputation and as a top live act.
On the Sold Out second day, I was impressed by the performance from Staind, certainly the most well received artist of the festival and the act who invoked the most sing-along moments. A rising artist that impressed again was Nothing More, a foursome from San Antonio who but on a spectacular show.
A few of the other acts who really shined included Adelitas Way, Within Reason, the aforementioned Avenged Sevenfold, Theory of a Deadman, Rob Zombie and Sick Puppies.
The only letdown for me was Cult. I hadn’t seen the band in 25 years, and despite the fact that I absolutely love their music, their set was just drab. Ian Astbury seemed a bit pretentious and never really bonded with the crowd.
- Fewer speakers more decibels – I continue to be amazed at how small the speaker towers have gotten, and how much better the sound has gotten. Impressive!
- Commercials – Movie trailers at concerts? Hey; if it defrays some of the cost, I’m cool.
- ADA viewing areas – Loved seeing these strategically placed platforms for the disabled, and appreciated the security who kicked out the scumbags sneaking up there on Saturday.
- The staff – Folks are always good at the Metropolitan Park venue – friendly, helpful and abundant help. The media team with the festival was top-notch, too!
- Better clean up – They actually did a good job cleaning up a bit throughout the day.
- Water hoses – Loved the Staff spraying down the scorched fans in the pits
- Not much public water – finding a water fountain was way too difficult
- Boobies and Boo boos – I’ve never seen as many flashers at a festival as I did at this show, made for some entertaining times between sets. On the flip side, I saw a large number of crowd surfers take nasty spills, and more than a handful who needed immediate medical attention. Scary…
All told, it was nothing short of spectacular. The acts were excellent, the crowds passionate and involved, and everything was perfectly arranged.
It seems as though the festival was at risk due to city noise ordinances, but Mayor Brown, who made an on-stage guest appearance, was an advocate who apparently helped seal the deal. Based on the success this year, I can’t imagine that the festival isn’t back again next year, and maybe even a bit bigger and louder.
Welcome To Rockville Schedule Released
Well, the set times are out for the area’s primo Rock ‘n Roll festival, Welcome To Rockville. The line-up is basically a “Who’s Who” of today’s hottest hard rock acts. The full schedule follows, including our choices for the can’t miss artists performing April 26th and 27th at Jacksonville’s Metropolitan Park.
Make sure you Like Us on Facebook (to the upper right) and Follow Us on Twitter for frequent concert updates before and during the sets and pictures from the festival!
You can check out our Festival Preview here: Welcome To Rockville
Here’s your key to the schedule and our recommendations:
RARA’s Prime – These artists are “Can’t Miss”
RARA’s Choice – These artists are highly recommended
Saturday, April 26
Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage
11:15 AM Digital Summer
12:30 PM Rev Theory RARA’s Choice
2:00 PM Adelitas Way RARA’s Choice
3:30 PM Hellyeah
5:15 PM Chevelle
7:15 PM A Day To Remember RARA’s Choice
9:40 PM Avenged Sevenfold RARA’s Prime
Monster Energy Metropolitan Park Stage
11:45 PM Gemini Syndrome
1:15 PM Middle Class Rut
2:45 PM Chiodos
4:15 PM Alter Bridge RARA’s Choice
6:15 PM Volbeat RARA’s Prime
8:20 PM The Cult
11:15 AM World Gone
12:30 PM Silvertung (Jägermeister Band)
2:00 PM Evergreen Terrace
3:30 PM Smile Empty Soul
5:15 PM Memphis May Fire
7:15 PM We Came As Romans RARA’s Choice
Ernie Ball Stage
11:45 AM Cathercist (Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands Winner)
1:15 PM Monster Truck
2:45 PM We As Human
4:15 PM Devour The Day
6:15 PM Fozzy RARA’s Choice
Sunday, April 27
Monster Energy Fire Museum Stage
Noon Within Reason
1:15 PM Sick Puppies RARA’s Choice
2:35 PM Black Label Society
4:15 PM Seether RARA’s Prime
6:25 PM Five Finger Death Punch
8:50 PM Korn RARA’s Choice
Monster Energy Metropolitan Park Stage
12:35 PM The Pretty Reckless RARA’s Choice
1:55 PM Black Stone Cherry RARA’s Choice
3:25 PM Theory of a Deadman
5:15 PM Staind
7:35 PM Rob Zombie RARA’s Choice
Noon Ghost Of War (Jägermeister Band)
1:15 PM Kyng
2:35 PM Lacuna Coil
4:15 PM Emmure
6:25 PM Motionless In White
Ernie Ball Stage
12:35 PM Twelve Foot Ninja
1:55 PM Nothing More RARA’s Prime
3:25 PM Butcher Babies
5:15 PM Trivium
Welcome To Rockville, Florida!
Florida rock fans are in for a tremendous rock ‘n roll experience this April, when The Welcome To Rockville Festival comes storming through the city previously known as Jacksonville.
The festival boasts one of the best hard rock line-ups in the country (see the bands below) with an all-star line-up of diverse hard-rocking acts coming to Metropolita Park on April 26th and 27th. Avenged Sevenfold and Korn are the featured headliners on their respective evenings, but they have plenty of impressive company throughout the two days.
The Saturday line-up features two veteran hard rock acts near and dear to our heart, Motorhead and The Cult, as well as two acts featured in our 2013 Albums of the Year edition, Avenged Sevenfold and our featured act of Day 1, Volbeat. Aside from those four powerhouse acts, we highly recommend checking out Sacramento rockers Middle Class Rut, a dynamic dup who always put on a great show.
Day 2, Sunday the 27th offers another killer day of rock, with an even more impressive line-up. Korn, Staind, Rob Zombie, Theory of A Deadman and our featured act of Day 2, Five Finger Death Punch are the highlights, but there’s plenty more. Seether is a great live act, and RARA’s Farm favorite Sick Puppies are another act to catch.
Of the thirty plus bands invading Jacksonville for this huge event, our “Can’t Miss Artist” of the festival is Nothing More. This quartet from Texas are an extremely promising band and a blast to watch. Their explosive rock is creative and distinctive and their stage show is absolutely fantastic.
Check out the full line-up here: Welcome To Rockville Artists
The Metropolitan Park venue is one very familiar to RARA’s Farm and one of the best festival grounds in the state.
Tickets are on sale now.
Here are the RARA’s Farm favorites in the line-up:
We Came As Romans
Middle Class Rut
We As Human
Smile Empty Soul
Devour the Day
Five Finger Death Punch
Theory of a Deadman
Black Stone Cherry
Twelve Foot Ninjas
Make sure you Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter for additional Welcome To Rockville information including set times in the weeks to come.