By Vicki DiAddezio, Photographer and Rob DiAddezio, Journalist-Rock At Night-Orlando
Seemingly just as the dust settles from last year it’s time again to get Hot, Sweaty & Dirty in the name of Rock N Roll at Welcome to Rockville 2017. On Saturday April 29th and Sunday April 30th Rock fans of all ages and genres gathered in Jacksonville, Florida to listen, dance and crowd surf to their favorite old school or up and coming band.
Appropriately kicking things off was the Amsterdam Metal Group “The Charm The Fury” with front woman Caroline Westendorp in support of their new album “The Sick, Dumb & Happy”. With lots of energy from the band, the crowd quickly created the first mosh pit of the weekend and never looked back!
“As Lions” stepped up next to bring some good old U.K. Metal to the stage for their Rockville debut. Although a relatively new band, formed in 2015, they were completely at home belting out songs from their original EP “Aftermath” as well as their debut album “Selfish Age”. If the crowd response and success of “Aftermath” is any indication it looks like As Lions will be around rocking audiences for many years to come!
Continuing with the European Metal vibe “Royal Republic” jumped in with a slick look and heavy sound as the crowd got a taste of modern day rock. With tracks off their new album “Weekend Man” Royal Republic used their past seven years of touring skills to keep the crowd energy high. Currently touring with “Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes” Royal Republic is poised to benefit from this new age of Rock.
Turning it up next was “Volumes” with an active mosh pit and great passion. Belting out songs like “Left For Dead” from their upcoming album “Different Animals” they took the heat of the day to a new level. Vans Warped Tour alumni, Volumes looks to carve out their place in the crowded Rock space and provide their fans with and exciting future.
Jumping back across the pond, “Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes” took to the stage for their Rockville debut during their first U.S. tour. Although new to the U.S. scene, the crowd quickly got a taste of the showmanship that Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have come to be known for. It’s one thing to see the front man out crowd surfing but a whole different level to see the front man do a headstand while crowd surfing! Their energy and vibe will not soon be forgotten by those who felt the heat and breathed the dust while being treated to songs from the new album “Modern Ruin”, including “Lullaby”, as well as the now classic closing song “I Hate You”. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are coming your way and you will get bit!
As the clouds began to roll in, “In Flames” kept up the heat for the big crowd fueling the now large mosh pit. Despite audio problems that caused front man Anders Friden’s vocals to almost be non-existent, the crowd kept up a constant flow of crowd surfers. The CO2 didn’t do anything to cool off In Flames nonstop heat as they played songs from their new album “Battles” that is winning over the younger rock crowd with it’s heavy sound and great show backing it up. Touring with some of today’s best, including “Alter Bridge” and “Devour The Day” In Flames continues to bring the best to its fans.
Rounding out Welcome to Rockville’s River Stage on Day One, “Pierce The Veil” brought modern West Coast Rock to the East Coast and took their fans on a high speed ride. The largest crowd of the day was treated to a great looking stage set, special effects and of course some heart pounding hardcore rock. The crowd fed from Pierce The Veil’s exciting stage presence and the band fed from their fans enthusiasm, despite the long hot day. Pierce The Veil’s recent album aptly named “Misadventures” has helped the band become one of the must-see modern rock bands currently touring.
Sunday, Welcome to Rockville Day two was apparently “Family Day” as the parentals brought out the kids! But they didn’t seem to mind being “forced” to go to a music festival with Mom & Dad, as they were just as into some of festivities.
Day Two brought a little “Fire From The Gods” and their Austin, Texas brand of heavy metal helped the small crowd get in the correct mindset for the day, Mosh! A big open area provided a perfect setting for some hard core moshing as Fire From The Gods threw out great songs, including the latest single “Voiceless” from their current album “Narrative”. Heading out on the Vans Warped Tour this year, Fire From The Gods is sure to make a splash on the modern rock scene.
“Sylar” followed up next with some high intensity metal from their latest album “Help!”. Also heading out on Vans Warped Tour this year, Sylar will bring their New York style metal to a new audience of soon to be fans!
Packing the house, “Attila” stormed in and brought multiple mosh pits for the first time of the weekend. Another blistering hot day didn’t stop their fans from wave after wave of crowd surfing. Attila called for the first circle pit and the crowd provided a great moment with the circle pit surrounding the sound board tent and looking like a stampede of zombies. They definitely take the title of their latest album “Chaos” a little too literally.
Buffalo, NY’s “Every Time I Die” brought a little needed chill to the Florida heat in support of their latest album “Low Teens”. Highlighted by some teenage crowd surfers, Every Time I Die is definitely winning over some new fans as they crisscross the U.S. and Europe this year.
Building up the momentum was “Gojira” with their French brand of heavy metal. Gojira kept the mosh pit going with songs from their latest album “Magma” and provided a steady stream of crowd surfers for security to catch. Their more laid back, Metallica style, stage performance allowed the fans to work off the heat of the day and head bang away!
The culmination of Day Two at the River Stage was presented by none other than “Amon Amarth” who’s Swedish death metal style brought a whole new cool vibe to the Florida heat. With their famous Viking ship stage set, Amon Amarth set out to conquer the unknown and take no prisoners while in support of their latest album “Jomsviking”. The highly enthusiastic crowd deserved the “horn” toast given by front man Johan Hegg with his intro to “Raise Your Horns”, of course. With Drummer Jocke Wallgren parked inside a Viking ship, the crowd went into overdrive when Johan brought out Thor’s Hammer for the finale song of “Guardians Of Asgard” and the continual crowd surfing intensified even more. A fitting end to a great weekend of Rock on the River Stage at Welcome to Rockville 2017.
As the dust settles again it will soon be time for more Rock in the Sun at Rockville and we’ll see what changes are brought by the continual construction zone that is Jacksonville Florida! Until next time…Raise Your Horns!