By Vicki DiAddezio, Rock At Night Orlando Correspondent
That’s right, all you rock fans. If you thought that all we had to offer on Rockville was in last week’s article, think again! Here is a little added bonus from the hot, sweaty, amazingly rockin’ weekend in Jacksonville, Florida.
Initially we were approved to cover only the River Stage, but on the second day of the festival, we were honored with increased access to include the main stages. From a photographer’s standpoint, I was beyond thrilled. More bands to photograph and more chances to revel in the excitement of trying to capture that perfect shot! Gaining that access, however, meant that there was a lot more running around, from one end of the festival grounds to the other. Luckily I was more than up for the task. Armed with my cameras, a lot of sunscreen, and plenty of water, I traveled swiftly from stage to stage to capture as many bands as I could, all to bring you as much festival coverage as possible.
The first band that we added to our coverage for the weekend was Nothing More. I was beyond excited to cover their set because they bring so much energy to the stage. The dynamic vocals and enthusiastic percussion abilities of front man Jonny Hawkins never fail to amaze. The band kicked off their set with “Christ Copyright” and continued to entice the crowd with new music from their upcoming album, slated to be released in September. If you missed them at Welcome to Rockville, a future tour date should make its way onto your calendar; you certainly will not be disappointed.
Next up was Goth/horror metal band Motionless In White. Within seconds of appearing on stage, they quickly took command of the masses of screaming fans. Band members Chris, Ricky, Ryan, and Vinny displayed a look of pale skin, thick black-lined eyes, black hair, and black painted arms and necks. Bass player Devon “Ghost” Solace donned a different ensemble, with a blood red-stained dress and tiara, thick black lined eyes, and blood red-stained skin. I have to admit that the horror themed theatrics is usually a bit much for me, but between the powerful vocals of Chris “Motionless” Cerulli, his notable interaction with the fans, the dramatic display by Devon “Ghost”, and the fact that I am mesmerized when watching Ricky “Horror” play the rhythm guitar, I’d have to say that their show is definitely one worth seeing. Check out Motionless In White’s most recent album, Graveyard Shift, which was released on May 5.
In This Moment was next on the bill. Front woman Maria Brink captivated the crowd with a heavy metal spectacle. Throughout the performance, two dancers dressed in similar outfits to hers surrounded Brink, and the remaining band members were dressed in dark sinister attire complete with masks or face paint. There were costume changes for Brink and her dancers between songs, but there never seemed to be a break in the performance. The show moved along and kept the screaming fans entertained from start to finish. In This Moment is currently entertaining crowds with their Half God, Half Devil tour that extends through the end of the summer in support of the band’s new album Ritual, which is set to be released on July 21.
On the other side of the festival grounds, I was able to check out Of Mice & Men. I was curious to see how I liked them without former front man Austin Carlile, who made his departure from the band at the end of 2016. Since Carlile’s departure, Aaron Pauley has stepped up as lead singer, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The band brought a ton of energy to their performance, and the masses of sweaty, crowd-surfing fans displayed their enthusiastic approval.
Three Days Grace opened with the powerful “I Am Machine”, and the crowd went wild. They rocked the stage with an eleven-song set while the crowd-surfers kicked it in to high gear. The band entertained with songs like “Pain”, “I Hate Everything About You”, and “Riot”, to name a few. Lead singer, Matt Waist, took control from the moment he set foot on the stage, and he enthralled the crowd throughout the entire set.
To kick off the next set, Papa Roach played a recording of a woman saying “F*** Papa Roach… F*** Papa Roach”, which the crowd began chanting along to. Once the band took the stage, they powered through “To Be Loved”. After belting out the last note of the first song, Jacoby Shaddix demanded that the crowd form a huge mosh pit, to which their fans happily obliged. They belted out song after song, spanning what seemed like every single one of their albums. They thrilled fans with hits such as “Last Resort”, “Scars”, “Lifeline”, and “Help”. During their performance of “Gravity”, Maria Brink from In This Moment joined them on stage. Papa Roach will release their ninth album, Crooked Teeth, on May 19.
Nearing the end of day two of this year’s ‘Welcome To Rockville’, there was just one more band to cover. After taking a short break, I picked myself up and hit the pit for the last hurrah. Rounding out my coverage of the weekend was the band Chevelle. They took to the stage and performed for a huge, and very enthusiastic, crowd. Despite the long days and the exhausting heat, the fans were still going strong. Chevelle opened their set with “Another Know It All”. They rocked the crowd through hits such as “Send the Pain Below”, “I Get It”, and “The Red”, to name a few. They performed a ten-song set to close out the Metropolitan Stage for this year’s festival. Chevelle is currently headlining a tour across the country that will span throughout the summer, so be sure to catch a tour date near you.
To say that I was exhausted at this point of the festival is an understatement, but the opportunity to do what I love is something I am always grateful for. I, for one, am already counting down the days to next year’s festival. Welcome To Rockville is definitely a priceless experience with its interesting people, new friends, and of course, the vast amount of wonderful band performances in two days.
Welcome To Rockville is an opportunity for fans to come together to rock out with some of their favorite bands. Despite the long days and the sweltering heat, thousands of fans flock to Metropolitan Park for the weekend-long experience. It’s important to give a shout out to the festival promoters and staff that put this amazing event together, with serious props going to the weekend’s security staff as well, who stayed calm, cool, and collected in the face of chaos. Though there were not any major incidents, security was kept busy watching out for the droves of crowd surfers and fans that chose to participate in the various mosh pits created within the crowd. They did their job while at the same time keeping with the spirit of the fun weekend by sharing plenty of smiles, chatting with the crowd, and constantly reminding people to drink plenty of water.
If you missed the first article last week covering the whole weekend from the River Stage, you can check it out here:
* Unfortunately, due to overlapping times, I was not able to cover all of the bands that performed on Sunday including Kyng, Rival Sons, Beartooth, Cover Your Tracks, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Alter Bridge, Seether, and Def Leppard.
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