This was my second consecutive year attending and doing media coverage at the Welcome To Rockville Festival at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, FL, and after last year’s experience I was definitely excited to do it all over again.
Up first was a band called Digital Summer, I had previously never heard of the band, but I figure we’d check them out while we waited for the band that were to follow. I honestly couldn’t find anything to like about this band, I felt like the second guitarist was a complete waste as they both played almost the exact same thing the entire time. The thing that irritated me the most was that they seemed to try to putting all of the crowd’s attention on their drummer, who happened to be fifteen years old, rather than have them focus on the band’s musical ability. The band were by no means awful, the crowd definitely seemed to enjoy them, I guess it just wasn’t for me.
Up next were Rev Theory, I remember playing their album “Light It Up” relentlessly after it came out, buy shortly after “Justice” came out they seemed to disappear off the face of the Earth until recently. As soon as Rev Theory came out on stage it was on, the festival saw it’s first crowd surfers, and when they kicked into “Hell Yeah” the crowd erupted. Overall, Rev Theory put on an incredibly energetic and lively performance, I just wish they could have played more of their earlier material.
And now it was time for the band i was most looking forward too on day one, Canadian rockers Monster Truck. It is flat out impossible to not have fun at a Monster Truck show, showcasing some of the very best rock n’ roll today, Monster Truck had the entire crowd rocking out and dancing along from the get go, I even saw a couple security guards bopping their heads along to the entire set. If you skipped out on this band’s set I feel sorry for you, and I recommend you go out and picking up their debut full length “Furiosity”, don’t even think about it, just do it.
I wasn’t able to see much music at all for the next three hours due to the interviews we had, I unfortunately missed Smile Empty Soul, Hellyeah and Chevelle’s sets. We were luckily able to catch the last 2 songs from the Jacksonville locals Evergreen Terrace, and from the little that I saw they were awesome as always.
The next band I was able to catch was that of Alter Bridge. I’d been wanting to see this band live for the last three years, so I was definitely excited to see when they were added to the fest. If you’re expecting a crazy and energetic performance from this band, you’ll probably be disappointed, but it’s not exactly a bad thing either. Alter Bridge put on probably the most intimate set of the weekend, singer Myles Kennedy proves to be one of the finest vocalists in modern rock, and it’s always great getting to see Mark Tremonti perform live. Alter Bridge were easily in the top three performances throughout the entire weekend, my only complaint was the short set.
At this point it was finally time for one of my favorite bands playing the fest, Volbeat. Like with Alter Bridge, I’d been wanting to see this band for a few years, and so I knew I had to catch their set. In all honesty, I think Volbeat’s set was the one I was most disappointed with, I definitely enjoyed them, but I was expecting something a little more, I guess. My favorite thing about their set was getting to see Rob Caggiano in person again, I’m a big fan of Anthrax(the band he was previously in), and he was a huge part of that band for the last several years, and he’s certainly an upgrade for Volbeat.
Overall Volbeat put on an incredibly solid set, we decided to head out after they finished to go refuel for what was to come tomorrow.
We arrived for day two at the Welcome To Rockville festival as the media entrance opened, we went inside and immediately headed over to the Ernie Ball stage for the first two bands to come.
Up first were the Australian experimental metal band Twelve Foot Ninja. Twelve Foot Ninja are a unique band to say the least, fusing modern djent with a variety of alternative influences. Twelve Foot Ninja had probably the most diverse live show throughout the fest, getting the crowd to mosh and head-bang one moment, and dancing the next. If you’re ever looking for something “different”, I highly recommend checking this band out, it’s a breath of fresh air in an incredibly bland genre.
Up next were the up and coming band out of San Antonia, TX, Nothing More. I’m honestly not really into the style of music this band plays, but even if you feel the same, it won’t stop you from enjoying them live. Nothing More have one of the most unique live shows I’ve ever seen, they showcase multiple percussion pieces, they play tricks with a bass guitar, and more. Aside from the stage tricks, Nothing More sound absolutely incredible live, vocalist Jonny Hawkins blew me away with his vocal performance, as well as his percussion abilities. There’s not doubt in my mind these guys are going to be huge one day. Be sure to pick up their debut self titled album, out June 24th on Eleven Seven Music.
Just like with day one, I missed about three hours of bands to do interviews, unfortunately missing out on Lacuna Coil and Seether, we did manage to catch about a song and a half of Theory Of A Deadman. I’m not exactly sure what people see in this band, it’s bland and raunchy music with very little depth to it, I just find it to be extremely generic and boring. To each their own, though.
The next set we were able to catch was from the band I was looking forward too the most on day two, Staind. I feel like you can’t truly appreciate Staind until you see them live, they’re much heavier, more aggressive, and incredibly raw sounding live. This was my third time seeing Staind live, and they’ve somehow managed to get heavier, louder, and more musically tight as a band, I am never short of blown away by Aaron Lewis’ extremely diverse vocal performance. Overall, Staind flat out stole the show once again, i don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing them perform live.
And now it was time for the shock-rock and horror icon himself, Rob Zombie. This was also my third time seeing him perform live, and it was definitely the weakest, part of it was due to the stage being so small that he wasn’t able to use any of his pyrotechnics or stage props, which unfortunately does take away from the overall experience. Musically the band were very much on point, especially with guitarist John 5 and drummer Ginger Fish, I will never get tired of watching those two perform their instruments. The high points of the entire day was John 5’s solo, and when they covered “Am I Evil” by Diamond Head, and it was by far the best rendition of that song I’ve ever heard.
Overall, Rob Zombie’s set was a great end to an incredible SOLD OUT weekend of good music, great friends, and awesome interviews. The 2014 Welcome To Rockville festival was a complete success, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2015.
1)American Band (Grand Funk Railroad cover)
3)Living Dead Girl
4)Dead City Radio
5)More Human Than Human
8)Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)
9)Am I Evil (Diamond Head cover)
10)Thunder Kiss ’65 (w/ John 5 solo)
1)Eyes Wide Open
9)Something To Remind You
10)It’s Been Awhile
Twelve Foot Ninja (not sure about the order)
1)Coming For You
7)Ain’t That A Bitch
5)Sad Man’s Tongue
7)Dead But Rising
10)Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booza
11)The Hangman’s Body Count
12)The Human Instrument/The Warrior’s Call
1)Addicted To Pain
2)Come To Life
3)Cry Of Achilles
5)Ghost Of Days Gone By
8)All Hope Is Gone
4)Sweet Mountain River
5)For The Sun
7)Call It A Spade
1)Redlight Queen (new song)
2)Light It Up
3)Born To Destroy (new song)
4)Blow It Up (new song)
2)Whatever It Takes
Staind – “Fade”
Rob Zombie – “Dragula”