Georgia based Alt-Rockers, Rehab brought their entertaining act to Sanford this week with an energetic set at West End Trading Company. The quintet out of Georgia offered up a unique entertaining cross between rock, country and hip-hop. For those of you not familiar with the band, think Beastie Boys meet Sister Hazel; yup, a crazy combination, but these guys make it work.
DJ Chris Crisis kicked the set off with a quick and lively set that got the crowd amped up. He remained on stage and supplied the band’s bass through his mixes. The band revolves around the vocals of front men Danny Alexander and Demun Jones, who effortlessly switched off between driving hip-hop and harmonious melodies.
The set spanned their entire career and was a great mix from their album releases. “Hey Fred” was an early crowd favorite that got the crowd bouncing and singing along. We also got to hear nice versions of “We Live,” “Walk Away,” and my personal favorite “Lawn Chair High” from their excellent 2008 release Graffiti World.
I’m typically not a hip-hop fan, but enjoyed the way the band deftly wove it in with a solid rock foundation. The only downside to me was that as we listened to the tunes and the driving bass backbone, there was no bass player to be found, instead all of the bass came from the DJ. The mix was still great, and sounded excellent in the venue, but I would’ve preferred a bass player contributing to the sound.
They wrapped up their seventy-five minute set with a rollicking version of “Kung Pao Chicken,” and then closed with the crowd favorite “Hey Bartender / Sittin At A Bar,” bringing the raucous crowd to a feverish pitch to close the night. It was a nice way to wrap up a fun set at a cool local venue. It was my first trip to West End Trading Company, and I left impressed (look for our review of the venue soon).
Chill Flow, a local five-piece band did a great job opening for Rehab. The Central Florida band obviously brought along some of their own passionate fans and played a nice set of ska influenced rock, with a cool beach vibe.
The flashback was the latest installment of WMMO’s wildly successful Free Downtown Concert Series and the fans were the recipient of a night full of excellent rock music, big hair and Jordache jeans. On this night, the hair was a bit thinner, the jeans a little more snug, but the music just how we remembered it.
I arrived just after the Modern English set and missed the band that made it big with the iconic 80’s hit “I Melt With You.”
John Waite who frequently visits Orlando was back with his band and played hits spanning his entire career, in its many incarnations, over his hour long set. Waite who is now in his fourth decade as a front man still has an amazing voice and put on a great show. The Baby’s hit “Head First” immediately kicked the set into high gear, which also featured several other tracks from the band including “Midnight Rendezvous,” “Every Time I Think of You” and “Back On My Feet Again.”
The crowd was also treated to Waite’s huge hits “Change” and “Missing You,” and a great solo a capella singalong version of Bad English’s “When I See You Smile.” Two highlights for me were rollicking versions of “No More Mr. Wonderful” and the closing cover of Tina Turners’s “Sweet Rhode Island Red.” Great stuff from an iconic rock voice.
The Romantics headlined the show and played a full set, featuring songs from the past 35 years of their career. The quartet is absent their original lead singer Jimmy Marinos, but their current line-up boasts the other three original members and the vocals still sound great. Wally Palmar takes over lead vocals on most songs and fills in admirably. He is joined by fellow original members Mike Skill on guitar and bassist Rich Cole. The set featured all of their hits including “First In Line,” “When I Look in Your Eyes” and a fun singalong version of “Talking In Your Sleep.”
The band also threw in two of their more punk-based offerings. “She’s Got Everything” had the crowd dancing in the streets,and a rocking version of “Stone Pony” featured powerful animated drumming from Brad Elvis. They closed their set and the night with the crowd-pleasing “What I Like About You.”
Kudos to WMMO, who continue to provide great free music to rock music fans of Central Florida. The new location at Amelia and Orange in downtown Orlando is also a nice improvement and the set-up with two stages was a great touch. Special thanks to WMMO radio host Elise Rossi for her help and support!
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From the dramatic a cappella opening of “Dark Night” to their final acoustic version of “Learning” performed unplugged on the floor amidst their fans, Green River Ordinance provided an entertaining show to their Central Florida fan base at The Social.
Their robust set prominently featured cuts from their excellent 2012 release Under Fire (see our review here), as well as other selections spanning their decade long career. The polished quintet out of Fort Worth, Texas was making their long awaited return to Orlando, and played to a fairly full room.
The cozy Social stage was packed with a nice assortment of the band’s lighting, a second drum kit, and a slew of guitars. The sound and lights were excellent throughout the evening, definitely a nice set-up for the room. These guys are seasoned professionals. Lead singer Josh Jenkins split his time between guitar and keyboards throughout the show and was in great voice all night. The entire band, including brothers Jamey (guitar) and Geoff (bass) Ice is talented, and they play off of each other incredibly well – it’s a nice benefit of playing together for so many years.
Despite not playing Orlando in years, GRO drew a nice diverse crowd, most of whom were singing along to all of the band’s offerings. Jenkins is an engaging front man, who interacted with the fans all evening and often implored them to join in the singing, which they did gladly, particularly on “Healing Touch” and “On Your Own.”
“Love Laid Down” was the highlight of the night. The strong rocker started off by weaving in a nice version of “Amazing Grace,” featured Jamey Ice playing a sweet mandolin, and included a fantastic brief two man drum solo with drummer Denton Hunker and guitarist Joshua Wilkerson. It was a great spotlight on the breadth of talent in the band in a rare song that is both powerful and tender – great stuff!
Other highlights included “Outside” which was one of the night’s most powerful rockers, “Endlessly” another beautiful mandolin song that featured a nice singalong, and a rollicking version of “With A Little Help From My Friends.” The latter, appropriately featured the band pulling their talented opening act Nathan Angelo onto the stage to help out.
They closed the night with a nice touch, eschewing a cheesy encore and instead unplugging their equipment, jumping off of the stage into the crowd and offering up a totally unplugged version of “Learning” on the floor in the middle of their fans. It was a great way to end a nice night with these lads from Texas.
(see the full setlist at the bottom of the article)
Where the West Wind BLows
Love Laid Down
On Your Own
A Little Help From My Friends
Heart of Me
Tyler Glenn is a rock star, and a legend in the making.
Glenn brought his blazing hot band, Neon Trees, back to Orlando’s House of Blues this weekend and they put on one hell of a show. With his magnificent voice, non-stop energy, peroxide-white hair and engaging personality, the flamboyant front man had the crowd in his hands the entire night, and absolutely blew away the packed house. He absolutely reeks of charisma, and has quickly become one of the most dynamic front men on the rock music scene. He exhibited traits that at times reminded me of Bowie, George Michael and Iggy Pop. Hard to pigeon hole Glenn’s style, but it is without a doubt something fresh and special.
Hailing from Provo, Utah, Neon Trees is riding a huge wave of popularity associated with the enormous success of their hit current single “Everybody Talks.” Their new album, Picture Show, is a strong release, and a nice follow-up to their excellent 2010 debut, Habits, but it doesn’t do justice to the sound of the band live. Glenn and his band mates are talented musicians and passionate show men (drummer Elaine Bradley is out after giving birth to her first child).
Their set was focused on the latest release, including the first two songs of the set which were also the first two songs off of Picture Show, “Moving in the Dark” and “Teenage Sounds.” Right from the start, we were treated to Glenn flying around the stage, vamping for the crowd and belting out pristine vocals. He interacted with the crowd all night and constantly held their rapt attention in the packed venue. Chris Allen on guitar and bassist Branden Campbell were overshadowed by the performance of Glenn, but were strong in their own right.
As the set progressed, we got to hear a handful of tracks off of the band’s superb debut album, including “Sins of My Youth,” and “Love and Affection,” as well as a nice extended version of “1983” which started with some fun dialogue between Glenn and the rollicking crowd and included a quick snippet of “Hand Jive.” Campbell’s bass dominated the song. It was followed shortly afterwards by the stark “Your Surrender” which Glenn played seated at his keyboard alone on stage. It was a well deserved respite for the magnetic front man who was drenched in sweat from his constant dashes around the stage and his powerful vocals. We also got a deeper look into Glenn’s roots, as he reflected on the decade long struggle to breakthrough and his revitalized relationship with his father.
Off of the new album, there were a few gems, including “Lessons in Love” and “I am the DJ,” which kicked off the encore. “Mad Love” which typically includes vocals from the absent Bradley, was the only part of the show that didn’t really work. The band brought out a young woman to sing the female part, but she clearly didn’t know the words. It was a bit forced and unusual, considering there were about a thousand other females in the crowd singing every word to every song.
“Animal” the band’s first hit off of Habits closed the set and ratcheted the audience into near frenzy. The crowd sang along throughout and had the house rocking. They pulled the band out for their encore “I Am the DJ,” and the crowd pleasing finale of “Everybody Talks.” It was the perfect end to a great show.
Twenty One Pilots and Walk the Moon (read the review here) put on engaging opening sets that had the crowd amped for the main event, and Neon Trees just kicked it up another notch.
Rock fans in Orlando had a chance to catch Walk the Moon, one of today’s hottest Alternative Rock artists, at the House of Blues in Orlando this weekend. The quartet out of Cincinnati is touring the country riding the enormous popularity of their current hit single, “Anna Sun.” The song has been kicking around the Indie music scene for a few years, but has recently exploded after being polished and re-released on their eponymous debut album on RCA Records.
The band’s sound is addictive pop rock with smooth harmonies and catchy lyrics. On this night, they played a short set, as the opening act for Neon Trees (see that review here). They were co-headliners on this tour, and by the time they hit the stage, the venue was packed to near sell-out capacity. It was apparent from the opening notes of their set that a good majority of the engaged fans were there to see Walk the Moon. The foursome who are known for painting their faces before performing found that there were a slew of fans who followed suit.
Lead vocalist and keyboard player, Nicholas Petricca is the focal point, but this is clearly a group where everyone contributes equally. Drummer Sean Waugaman and bassist Kevin Ray were the steady driving back bone throughout the energetic rocking set. The harmonies of Petricca, Ray, Waugaman and guitarist Eli Maiman were even better live than on the band’s debut release. Petricca interacted with the crowd all night, often getting their hands in the air and leading some cool rhythmic clapping. His unique voice sounded excellent live, and the remainder of the quartet’s music was tight and crisp throughout the show.
The highlight of the night was an extended version of ‘I Can Lift a Car,” a fantastic song that superbly showcases the bands’ musical abilities and which clearly highlights the potential for these Ohioans to be much more than a one-hit wonder. The youthful crowd sang along throughout the show and were bouncing and swaying during the entire set. For us more seasoned rockers, it was a nice treat to hear the band throw in an excellent cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” with a nice Walk the Moon touch.
As expected, the band closed with a rousing performance of “Anna Sun” raising the crowd to a fever pitch, with the entire house singing and dancing along. A great way to wrap up a passionate, albeit short set, from a band that proved they have what it takes to be a headliner their next time through Orlando.
About 7 months ago I begrudgingly purchased tickets to Coldplay – Christmas gifts for my 13 and 15 year old daughters. I liked Coldplay, but not enough to pay close attention to their music or to try to distinguish between their songs, which to me, all sounded similar. Not being the biggest fan of huge, mainstream productions in arenas, I cringed at the thought of going, and continued cringing all the way up until the point that I entered the venue.
Coldplay’s graffiti-inspired Mylo Xyloto set has got to be one of the most vivid backdrops I’ve ever seen – almost to the point of distraction. Adding to the spectacle, upon entering the arena fans were given “Xylobands,” light-up wristbands to wear during the concert. (A quick Google search revealed that the band spends nearly $600,000 per night on these bracelets for the tour.) The wristbands were programmed to light up at certain points throughout the show. I was skeptical at first, but have to admit, it really was pretty cool to see Atlanta’s Philips Arena, lit up with 20,000 lights. In fact, the Xylobands almost stole the show.
Coldplay Live in Atlanta at Phillip’s Arena
About half of the songs on the evening’s set list were from their most recent Mylo Xyloto album. And the other half pretty evenly spread from their older albums. The highlight of the evening was the encore set. Spotlights illuminated a small section of the lower balcony where two rows of about five seats were roped off. One by one, the band members joined Chris Martin in that very small area and performed an acoustic set of “Up Against the World” and “Speed of Sound.” (The only thing that could have made this any cooler was if the band members weren’t wearing matchy-matchy colorful outfits with parachute pants…but I digress.) The encore then continued from the main stage with “Clocks” “Fix You” and “MMIX”. Chris Martin led into “Fix You” with Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind.” The crowd went wild.
The music was much better than expected, and the scenery was spectacular. So over-the top in fact, that every now and then I found myself feeling like I was watching some sort of elaborate Disney concert, or perhaps Coldplay had stolen the Wiggles’ uniforms, but those thoughts were fleeting and overpowered by the fact that, all in all, it was a really good show.
I’ve seen a slew of concerts over the first half of the year, but none of them stood up to the dynamic show that London’s Wolf Gang delivered at The Social this weekend. This talented and energetic quintet is a band that we’re going to be hearing a lot from in the years to come, and they blew away the Orlando crowd with a blazing sixty minute set.
While most of Orlando was at The Amway Center abusing their ears with thousands of screaming pre-teens at the One Direction show, a sage group of discerning Rock And Roll Animals saw some truly majestic rock ‘n roll in the cozy club on Orange Avenue. If you were one of the many who chose the wrong venue on this evening, you really missed something special.
Max McElligott is the musical vision behind these young alt-rockers, having penned and performed all of the songs on the band’s excellent debut album Suego Faults. He’s also assembled a fantastic line-up of passionate musicians who have been touring extensively for about a year. Their set was predictable, with all but nine cuts off of the album, plus three other new songs. Suego Faults is really quite good, certainly one of the top ten of the year thus far. Surprisingly, the live performance actually exceeded those lofty standards.
They opened the set with a new track, “Into the Fire,” one that featured McElligott on guitar that got the house rocking from the start. He switched over to keyboards for the next song, “Something Unusual” where we had our first taste of the band’s amazing harmonies. He traded off between guitar and keyboards throughout the show and on quite a few songs, he left the playing to the remainder of the band and took center stage with just the mic.
McElligot voice is powerful and distinctive and his range broad. The uber-talented front man sounded near perfect and the backing harmonies from his band mates were spot on, matching the excellent vocals from the album. On stage, McElligott reeks of charisma and certainly offers a theatrical touch. At times I thought of Freddie, other times Bowie, most times…I thought I was seeing the next legend out of England.
Interacting with the crowd throughout, McElligott was comfortable on stage, from his opening “Welcome to the wonderful people of the Social Bar” to sharing the London lads’ rough initial taste of our searing Florida sun. I was impressed by the energy of the band at the relatively small Social, immediately after wrapping up a huge arena tour with Coldplay, yet they seemed to thrive in the more intimate club.
The band members were tight and cohesive throughout the evening, and they all switched off between instruments, as well. James Woods on bass was a non-stop whirling dervish and powered the band through a rollicking version of Stay & Defend. Lasse Petersen on drums was the band’s backbone all night, and absolutely shined on another new cut, “The Kill.”
We had a chance to witness the group’s softer side on both “Promises” and the spectacular “Suego Faults” which featured three keyboards, highlighted by McElligott and Jamie Jones, and some of the best vocals/harmonies of the night. McElligott had the crowd in the palms of his hands, expertly adjusting the flow and timbre of the show throughout.
The entire band seemed energized during “Dancing With the Devil” which featured a nice solo from Gavin Slater, before slowing things down with a nice love song, “Midnight Dancers.” From there, the band wrapped up the show with their two biggest singles to date, “The King and All His Men” and “Lions in Cages” closing out a great set, raising the energy level to a fever pitch and sending the crowd home convinced they had seen something special.
Charlotte’s Flagship offered a nice opening set in their first trip to Orlando, highlighted by their drummer, Mike Finster, who tore it up the entire set, despite playing on a borrowed drum kit! They’ve got a unique sound and are definitely worth a trip to check out next time they are in town.
Wolf Gang’s drummer, Lasse Petersen is apparently an excellent cook, with a fondness for duck, and actually cooked at Hard Rock Hotel this week.
All five members of Wolf Gang hung around after the show and got to know their fans; they really seemed to care about meeting everyone, asking names, chatting, and listening! It was refreshing to see.
Wolf Gang is looking to come back to Orlando this fall, so keep your eyes peeled to RARA’s Farm for the show announcement, and next time, don’t let some teeny-bopper boy band deter you from their excellent show.
If you were there, let us know what you thought in the comments below. If you were trapped into seeing One Direction to please your eight year-old niece and want to rehabilitate your ears, check out the album below.