Splice Magazine

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WJRR Brings Earthday Birthday 28 To The Central Florida Fairgrounds

Orlando FL (April 23rd, 2022)

While most people celebrate earth day with conservation in mind,  Orlando Florida local rock radio station WJRR celebrates this day in the way it knows best, by holding a rock festival. Since the nineties the station has put together a killer one day music event for rock fans.  This year was no exception even drawing fans from around the country, especially since the Godsmack would be headlining the show.

The Central Florida Fairgrounds where the festival was being held would be divided into two main stages, the Turn It Up Stage, and the Byrd stage. The Turn It Up Stage was named after Tom “Turn it up” Heal who was instrumental in previous years production of Earthday Birthday. Unfortunately, he has recently passed, So WJRR decided to honor his efforts with the stage name. The other stage was named after Linda Byrd who recently retired from the radio station.

The first of the big bands to start the festival was Lilith Czar. For those not in the know Lilith Czar is the alter ego of Juliet Simms. After several ep’s and hit singles, she unleashed this reborn version of herself and has since turned out some great material. The crowd packed in early at the stage to see her. Sadly, though technical difficulties interrupted her set. While the crew worked to sort things out, she made the best of things cracking jokes with the fans, telling stories, and even inviting a fan to the stage to graciously autograph his t-shirt. Once things were straightened out their set while shortened was nonetheless impressive.

The next band that followed was Blackstone Cherry. This hard rocking Kentucky based band is known for putting on a high octane show and they didn’t disappoint today. Coming out to the AC/DC classic song For Those About To Rock(We Salut You) was definitely a statement the band was making. From the second they launched into “Me And Mary Jane” right up to their last song “White Trash Millionaire”  these guys accomplished their goal to rock the crowd thoroughly.

With a quick dash across the fare grounds(it actually is a short hop!) to the Byrd stage the crowd was eager to see Florida natives and rising stars Fame On Fire.  This was one of the first heavy bands of the day. They played a tight intense set that kicked off with their hit song “Welcome To The Chaos” and included one helluva cover of the Linkin Park classic “Numb”. The second they were done it was a mad dash back to the Turn It Up Stage for Jely Roll he thrilled the crowd with his conglomeration of rap, southern rock and country.

If there was one major thing the organizers of Earthday Birthday pulled off was getting the whole Trinity Of Terror tour to come to their festival. Yes, the white hot tour that is selling out wherever it stops and features Ice Nine Kills, Motionless In White, and Black Veil Brides would all be there.  The first of this fearsome troika to appear before the crowd was Ice Nine Kills. Known for their love of all things horror movie related, they include every aspect of it into the band. From their songs, to their albums, to the costumes they wear it all reflects on horror movies. Throughout their set they had costume changes for seemingly every song. Whether it was “Hip To Be Scared” or “Stabbing In The Dark”, or “The Shower Scene”  every song was a performance to itself with lead singer Spencer Charnas slashing and stabbing his way through his crew while the crowd had a devilishly good time taking it all in.

Instead of running all three Trinity Of Terror bands after each other, Things shifted back to the Byrd Stage and another hot Florida band Wage War. It was great to see that the promoters were able to bring in some incredible home grown talent which of course made for lots of happy fans. This was the heaviest set of the day and one that a lot of metal heads wanted to see. Whether they were playing “Low”, “Godspeed”, or “Circle The Drain” there was tons of crowd surfing and moshing that let the band know the fans were loving every minute of their performance.

Things shifted back to the Turn It Up Stage and back to the Trinity Of Terror as next up was Motionless In White. This five piece metal core outfit out of Scranton PA. has become one of the hottest bands out there. Combine that with a brand new just  released album Scoring The End Of The World and you had all the makings of an epic performance. During the bands tour their bassist Justin Morrow had been home with his wife as she had just given birth. As the couple lives in Orlando, this was the perfect time for him to rejoin the band. You could see in his face he was happy to be back on stage and doing what he loves. Of course they played their latest single “Cyberhex” as well as fan favorites “Brand New Numb” and “Voices”.  They played an absolutely mind-blowing cover of the Killers song “Somebody Told Me”. When they were introducing their last song “Another Life” Chris Motionless the lead singer told the crowd they were closing with this song because WJRR the radio station sponsoring the festival played this song more than any other station in the country.

Next at the Byrd Stage was the final portion of the Trinity Of Terror, Black Veil Brides. There was no doubt judging by the size of the crowd at this stage this was a band seemingly everyone was there to see. The second they hit the stage the crowd went absolutely nuts. Lead singer Andy Biersack was obviously pleased with all the love the crowd was giving them. One of the great things they did was put together a set that really showed the bands whole range instead of making it about just their latest album The Phantom Tomorrow.  They managed to get in songs from their entire catalog of albums. If you were a long time fan they went all the way back to We Stitch These Wounds and played “All Your Hate”. For the newest fans, of course they played their latest single “Crimson Skies”.

One of the really cool things about Earthday Birthday is they feature different rock genres. You get to see some great bands you might never be inclined to see. Closing out the Turn It Up Stage was Thrice. While there is a lot of hard rock featured in the festival, it was incredible to get a chance to see this California based alt-rock band. From the second they launched into  “Hurricane” the opening of their set, their talent was obvious. Dustin Kensrue’s impassioned voice delivered the lyrics with incredible depth. This isn’t a band that gets the crowd moshing, they get you lost in their music and the imagery they create with their lyrics, and they do this incredibly well.

It was now down to the final two bands of the night at the Byrd Stage.  The first of the final two was Three Days Grace. With countless hit songs, and over six million albums sold this was a band that everyone knew and everyone was thrilled to catch play live. When lead singer Matt Walsh hit the stage and the band launched into their latest hit single “So Called Life” they were on fire. Walsh had a look of intensity and snarled the lyrics and gave them the edge they needed.  Over the course of their time on stage it seemed as though every song they played was one of their hits. But then again this band truly only seems to make hit songs. Everyone was rocking out to songs such as “Animal I Have Become” and “The Good Life”. They even had the crowd singing along to “Never Too Late”.  They closed out their performance with “Riot” which got everyone pumped up and having a blast.

The final band of the night  was one of the hardest hitting rock bands out there Godsmack.  When the main stage lights dimmed and the mix of  We Will Rock You/So What’Cha Want/Tom Sawyer/ Dream On was pumped through the PA the crowd went nuts. When the curtain dropped they hit the stage and started the performance off with “I Stand Alone”. Solly’s growled his way perfectly through the song. Without a doubt the whole band was clearly a notch above all others and worthy of being the headliner. Next up was one of their newest songs “When Legends Rise” which sounded incredible live. But things really took off when they played “1000HP”. The performance really lived up to the song name. Not only was the band in overdrive, but that’s when the pyro kicked in. There is nothing better than a high octane rock song and pyro. They would continue with a murders row of one hit song after another.  They pulled out all the stops with favorites such as “Cryin’ Like A Bitch”, “Keep Away”, “Straight Out Of Line”, and “Voodoo”. They ended an epic day of music with their latest single “Under Your Scars”.

Once again the folks at WJRR put together what has to be one of the finest one day festivals in the country. From the near perfect Florida weather to the amazing mix of bands, the convenience and perfect size of the Central Florida Fairgrounds there is a reason why it is such a popular and beloved event. The big question now is what will they do next year to top this years epic event. With the track record that  WJRR has no doubt it will be another incredible day of music

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