This year’s three-day lineup featured about fifty bands spread across the three Metropolitan Park stages. At events like this, it’s impossible to see every band, but I did manage to catch about 25 full sets and another dozen partial sets. For the most part, the music was great, but here is the best of the best…
Foo Fighters and Ozzy Headline Spectacular Weekend of Rock
2018 will go down as the year that Welcome To Rockville became a transcendent rock music festival – one of the premiere live music events in this country. It was a year where we saw the raucous festival add a third day, expand the venue size, greet record crowds, and deliver the most impressive lineup in their history. All of that, and they got the little things right, as well.
We recently caught up with Filter’s frontman Richard Patrick as he readied for his sound check backstage in New York’s Gramercy Theatre. He’s an amazing talent, and a guy who never hesitates to share an opinion. Over our thirty minutes, we hit on a bunch of timely and often contentious issues, which he was more than eager to opine on…
In 1993 Candlebox grabbed the world by the balls and proclaimed they were the new bad asses on the block. It isn’t every day you can find an album that you can listen to from beginning to end without skipping over a single song, but Candlebox made that happen.
This 2 day event has sold out two years in a row with major acts headlining four different stages throughout the event. Jacksonville is truly becoming a destination rock ‘n roll city in terms of music acts coming thru town. And, this festival show is really cool, everyone is happy to be there, and it’s a great atmosphere.
I showed my access pass at the gate and got to work making tracks for stage left with my cameras to film the bands on my hit list. Later that night I would be escorted to the V.I.P. tent to do interviews with a few bands and snap a few backstage photos, but the non-headliners early in the day are usually just as great.
A couple of cool young rock bands started off the day, on each of the 4 stages, with fans packing into each stage area to see them playing up closer. After a few bands, the wind changed, …the storm was brewing, …on the stage in front of me was an instant uplift of power chords! Who is this new discovery, I wondered, as they kicked teeth with dual lead rhythm guitarists, blistering fingers with every note , and a dual-voiced singer growling one moment and changing his attitude and sound the next?
I looked up from my position in front of the stage, and saw dark movements streak across my frame of reference, and then i focused in on the blur. The blur was a band called SHATTERED SUN, a Texas Metal Band, and they were on fire right off the bat. I was immediately digging it. These guys pounded away on their instruments in a frenzied pace that would wear most other bands out in 30 seconds – speed and power chords!
The music is Texas Metal, a genre that has been getting a lot of attention the past couple years as the new metal sound people thirst for. I also did a show review for another Texas metal band last year for this magazine, SEEKER – so, I know what i’m talking about. Texas was rising this night in Jacksonville Florida, and I couldn’t be happier.
Members: Marcos Leal – Vocals, Twitter: @marcos_ssun; Daniel Trejo – Guitar, Twitter: @daniel_ssun; Jessie Santos – Guitar, Twitter: @shatteredjessie; Joseph Guajardo – Bass, Twitter: @joseph_guajardo; Robert Garza – Drums, Twitter: @CrasRob; Henry Garza – Keys/Samples, Twitter: @henrygarza29.
These were the guys who were stirring up trouble at breakneck speed. The mosh pit was loaded with kids slamming into each other and having a blast as the band ran thru all of their coolest hits: “Hope within Hatred,” Awaken” and “Burning Regrets” along with some heavy, heavy songs that are ten feet thick with a wall of sound that you can’t turn away from.
The band is being featured in many festivals this year as the favorite – to open the shows for the major acts, but for how much longer? It won’t be long at all – they are getting too big to open anymore, and soon we’ll see them a as headliner like Testament and Slayer, the bands they are opening for this night. These guys are coming out swinging with both fists, with very heavy riffs.
These guys showed Jacksonville fans that they came to play – a great brotherhood of musicians, each member with their skills to be in this year’s up and coming fresh faces in metal music – TEXAS METAL MUSIC! I was energized hearing this metal band. As an Iron Maiden fan, and no band has come close to awakening my senses since I consumed Maiden’s first album in 1980. But this band has opened not only my eyes, and all the fans in attendance, but to industry reps. The guys are young enough to build a dream come true – this band is another pick for me.
Check out the new album from the band and get involved with our brothers in heavy metal – SHATTERED SUN will definitely make your day. Love metal? Love melody? Get this album in your collection as soon as you can – you’ll be glad you did – it rocks, ….just like the showcase performance from the band at Welcome To Rockville. They were a great surprise on the stage for the fans.
Thanks to the band’s management for the access and to the band for the experience. We will be waiting for your return. We do Metal! See many great stories from all of our writers – just click a favorite topic and enjoy the stories…
Thanks to Rarasfarm.com for the assignment
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I am thrilled I got the call again this year to review the bands playing live at North Florida’s largest concert event – “Welcome To Rockville.”
This year, the line-up of bands was overwhelming with all of the local fan favorites playing – totally the coolest thing happening in North Florida. Many tours skip Jacksonville for Tampa and Orlando, but we still rock when we can, and fans have bought tickets to prove it, selling out this year’s event!
I got my assignment to review – “From Ashes to New” , a Lancaster Pennsylvania band that has been getting a lot of heat in the press.
There are six members in this band:
Matt Brandyberry (Vocals/Guitar/Keys/Programming) Chris Musser (Vocals) Dan Kecki (Guitar) Branden “Boo” Kreider (Guitar/Vocals)
Dan Kecki (Guitar) Garrett Russell (Bass, Boyish Good Looks) Tim D’onofrio (Drums)
These guys all started in different bands in the beginning, each band with different attitudes of music. Some of the bands were playing Metal, some were Alternative Metal and even Rap Metal. After band members came and went from the six bands, the remaining members formed a cool band, leveraging all of the music genres. Instantly the band clicked with each other and in 2013 the band was picked up by Better Noise Records.
Grant McFarland was the Producer who put the band on track, creating an epic masterpiece EP, that took the boys to the next level.
The band’s lead vocalist, programmer and creative mastermind Matt Brandyberry says this line up is the heart of the underground music scene in Lancaster Pa. Many fans have jumped on the bandwagon, and happily, are enjoying all the elements of music this band brings to the stage.
Each song on the new EP shows strong emotions – true heartfelt feelings – from being angry at the world to being blessed in every way. I was pleasantly surprised to hear what I have never heard before in Metal Music – inspiration.
The band’s new 4 track EP Downfall, has the coolest mix of contemporary metalcore crunch and soul-searching rap, breaking down hostile barriers in today’s music scene. In just the past few weeks – the new EP has garnered over a half a million hits – the band can hardly keep any in stock. Everyone was snapping up the CDs at the merchandise booth today – case after case of CDs are being bought up – one CD at a time.
Promoters of major tours with the likes of Hollywood Undead, and Music Festivals with major acts like Slipknot , Godsmack , Marilyn Manson , and many more – are ringing the management’s phone for this band to open for them on tour. It’s rare buzz, and it is exciting to see it happening. This band has a fresh new attitude of metal music that has all the elements of all the genres that we know and love. It’s like hearing six bands in one – not the same old song and dance that many bands get trapped into.
Well, tonight in Jacksonville Florida the band hits the stage at full speed – kicking out power riffs along with power vocals from both singers. Matt would sing in one genre style and Chris would sing in another style – in the same song – it was so cool to witness this live with 20,000 fans.
The songs were inspiring, not death and devil lyrics, but true feelings – words that have resonated with every listener in attendance. These guys are grounded in their beliefs, and it helps getting through life’s struggles by letting it out of your heart and soul with powerful songs like these.
Tonight the band is live in concert – here’s what is happening:
Tim is beating the drums as fast as he can and smoking the competition tonight with his ability to adapt to the ever changing tempos. He wears sunglasses and smiles to the ecstatic fans waving to him – and he is surely making plenty of new fans along the way. He was upbeat and happy to be a part of Welcome To Rockville and the fans will remember him and the band next time they tour through Florida. He was very nice to everyone and they could tell he was for real, putting his skills to work as one of the best drummers of the event. 4/4 time never sounded better!
Brandon was also excited to be here, playing his slick guitar with amps at full maximum level. He made many fans tonight cheer after every song. He moved on the stage so the fans could see him up close, never missing a lick. The attitude he shows means a lot to the 20,000 in attendance tonight. Playing a cool looking guitar, he looked the part – totally immersed into the music and the fans. The songs demanded attention to detail and he made sure the songs got it. He has fingers that move on the fretboard effortlessly. It also helps being young and good looking and the females were attentive to Brandon with smiles and sweat dripping off of them as they were jumping all night.
Chris has a two-sided look; a clean cut boy next door look, and an intensely powerful voice that reached across town as he belted out the songs. It was easy to see how mesmerizing he can be behind those scary white contacts and jamming with the band, singing his heart out. He showed professionalism with being the co-singer and knowing his role and timing with the music, not to over run Matt’s parts in the songs. This band should last forever with this type of energy and music styles they infuse into their music. This band is not out there with another gimmick – just straight up groovy metal jams!
Garrett held down the stage with his awesome bass playing – how does one change styles in mid song? He is already a seasoned pro despite looking like he is 18 years old! His constant pulling of the strings makes people jump up and down – boogie woogie metal is what i call it. I was so proud of this band tonight, seeing a different genre in metal – infused with rap lyrics – was something I would have never thought I’d like…I was wrong. The thousands in attendance with fists in the air were witnessing history. I am happy I was here to see it. This is what makes life good – great bands and always a new direction to be explored in music.
Dan also put in 110 percent – playing guitar riffs that snapped your neck. I couldn’t believe what these young new whipper snappers were able to pull off on stage musically. Dan put some cool moves onstage that excited the girls and the metal fans were coming in closer to see him packed like sardines at the stage. The mosh pit area was getting stirred up about 100 feet wide by 50 feet wide with fans in an instant frenzy, stomping the ground with their combat boots, pushing each other around the mosh area; it was surreal to say the least to watch it all unfold. The fans were very happy tonight. Dan waved at the crowd, and after the set, the crowd did not want the band to leave the stage. It ended all too soon, but everyone had a great time with the band in Jacksonville Florida !
It was great to see them live in concert – get ready for another tour coming soon. Also – make sure to get the bands new EP CD soon – You need fresh jams!
I will also release an interview with all 6 members from backstage in a few days – stay tuned to Rarasfarm.com. You don’t want to miss a single story – all of our writers are working hard to bring the news to the fans!
Here are a few band links – you’ll need them!
http://youtube.com/fromashestonew – Link to YouTube Video’s of the band – a must see
http://twitter.com/fromashestonew – Link to the Twitter Account to stay in touch with the band
http://www.fromashestonew.com/ – Band’s personal Website – sign up for emails
We had a blast at Rockville #2 in Jacksonville Florida with From Ashes to New – Matt has really done a great job with this band.
We hope to see these guys again soon on tour – this time the promoters might want to get a bigger venue – because the fans have spoken, With over a half million hits online over the band’s new EP in just a few weeks, this band is quickly climbing the heavy metal ladder!
Thanks to the management of Mad Mac Entertainment for the access. Rob McDermott and his hard working representatives made this show special, and all I can say is that they better get them boys ready for the future – it’s gonna be a great ride!
Also thanks to Rarasfarm.com – The World’s Leader in Rock n Roll Music News – you guys always have the best stories every month!
I’m Happyjack – reporting from Jacksonville Florida – your insider to the best in music news that fans like you want to hear about!
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Remember, I have the interviews being released soon – Stay Tuned for more – “From Ashes to New” !