Sunday, April 29th was the final day of Welcome To Rockville. After two exciting and busy days, I was ready for a few more exciting interviews on the day plus more bands at the River stage. The weather was clear, hot, and no chance of rain anywhere. But, the humidity was brutal, which is normal for Central Florida, so many of us in media were doing our best to stay hydrated.
The first band of the day I got see was Spirit Animal. The rock band from Brooklyn, NY formed in 2010 and released their first studio album ‘The Cost of Living’ the same year. They’ve released three additional EPs over the years and recently released their single “YEAH!” promoting their next studio album, ‘Born Yesterday’, to be released on August 3, 2018. Steve Cooper (vocals), Cal Stamp (guitar), Paul Michel (bass), and Ronen Evron (drums) caught the crowd off guard with their high energy and fast-paced music. The band’s energy was astounding on stage and the crowd by the River Stage starting feeding off of it and getting behind the band. Spirit Animal’s performance was very impressive and left a great impression on the crowd that early afternoon.
Next, was The Fever 333 from Inglewood, CA. Described as a post-hardcore/rapcore band, Jason Aalon Butler (vocals, former vocalist of LetLive) teamed up with Stevis Harrison (guitars), and Aric Improta (drums) to form The Fever 333 in 2017. The band released their first EP ‘Made In America’ on March 23, 2018 to very positive reviews. And they certainly made an impression at Welcome To Rockville.
The band started off with Jason wearing a black faceless hood in a The Fever 333 jumpsuit standing in front of a white backdrop. When the backdrop came down, Jason ripped off the good and Stevis and Aric let it fly with some truly hardcore music. Jason’s vocals are powerful and edgy, Stevis’ guitar playing is fast and feral, while Aric snaps out furious drumbeats through their music. If the great music wasn’t enough, Jason decided to climb up one of the stage columns to sing from up high. The media and fans absolutely loved it. Though Jason laughed saying, “I didn’t think about how I was going to get down”, which gave the crowd a laugh, but he did get down safely. During their performance, Jason also jumped out into the crowd to climb on top of the soundboard to sing. The Fever 333 made a tremendous impression upon the crowd that day and I look forward to hearing more from them soon.
I headed back to the media tent for my first interview with Dan Maines (bassist) of Clutch. We had a great conversation on the current tour, the upcoming tour, and the new album. I loved how Dan was so enthusiastic speaking about music composition for the new album. You can watch the whole interview here.
Then it was back out to the River Stage to catch Turnstile. The hardcore punk band from Baltimore, MD, formed in 2010. They released their first EP in 2011 titled ‘Pressure To Succeed’ under Reaper Records. The band released another EP before releasing their first studio album titled ‘Nonstop Feeling’ in 2015. Turnstile released one more EP that caught the attention of Roadrunner Records who signed them to a record contract. On February 23, 2018 they released their second studio album, ‘Time & Space’. Brendan Yates (vocals), Brady Ebert (lead guitar), Pat McCrory (rhythm guitar), Franz Lyons (bass), and Daniel Fang (drums) came ready to rock. Another band with high energy and fast paced music had the crowd in a frenzy and crowd surfing over the barrier. They put on a great performance and are currently on tour for their new album.
I put in a lot of miles walking that day as it was once again back to the Media Tent for another interview. This time it was with the legendary Fireball Ministry. I was lucky enough to get James (who introduced himself as Jim) (vocals, guitar), Emily (guitar), and Scott (bass) to come together to chat with me. It was a great time to chat with all three and we laughed a lot during our conversation about their current tour, last album, and why they enjoy participating in the festivals. You can watch the full interview here.
Once again it was back out to the River Stage to cover Wolf Alice. The British alternative rock band from London was originally a duo that formed in 2010. They formed up as a four piece by 2012. In 2013 they released their debut EP ‘Blush’. They followed up with another EP in 2014 and then their first debut studio album ‘My Love Is Cool’ in 2015. Their single from the album, “Moaning Lisa Smile”, was nominated for Best Rock Performance at the 2016 Grammys. The band released their second studio album ‘Visions of a Life’ in September 2017. Ellie Roswell (vocals, guitar), Joff Oddie (guitar), Theo Ellis (bass), and Joel Amey (drums) put on a wonderful performance with songs including “Moaning Lisa Smile”, “Yuk Foo”, and “You’re Still a Germ”.
Then it was back to the Media Tent for two more interviews. The first one was an unexpected move up in the schedule since he was ready early. Bryan Giles (vocalist, guitarist) of Red Fang took some time to chat with me. We discussed the current tour, last album, and had a great discussion about Bryan’s off tour hobbies and his favorite vacation spots. You can watch the full interview here.
Immediately after, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Kiszka (bass) of Greta Van Fleet. We talked about the last album, the band’s current tour, and what’s next in line for the band. Greta Van Fleet is one of the hottest rock bands in the industry for them being out there for such a short time. Big things are coming for the band. You can watch the full interview here.
My last coverage of the festival was back at the River Stage for Baroness. The metal band from Savannah, GA formed in 2003. Between 2004 to 2007 the band released three EPs and in September 2007 released their first studio album titled the ‘Red Album’. The band released two more albums before they were involved in a crash near Bath, England in 2012. The crash injured some members of the band that kept them off the road for a couple of months before going back on tour. In 2015 they released their ‘Purple’ album, which is their most current to date. John Baizley (vocals, guitar), Gina Gleason (guitar), Nick Jost (bass), and Sebastian Thomas (drums) are currently working on their fifth studio album, but that day they were going to close our the River Stage for Welcome To Rockville. Baroness took no prisoners that day with their absolutely stellar performance. The crowd was bouncing, crowd surfing, and clamoring for more. Some of their set list included “Kerosene”, “March to the Sea”, “Little Things”, “Shock Me”, and “Take My Bones Away”.
Overall, it was a very fun filled day with music coverage and interviews. Welcome To Rockville was a complete success kicking off the festival season and I’m truly looking forward to covering it again next year.