Splice Magazine

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Welcome To Rockville 2021 Celebrates It’s Return: Day 2

Photo Credit: Tyler Church
Daytona FL(November 12th )

It’s Friday, normally the weekend is just beginning for most people. But for some forty thousand music fans, this is day two of the party known as Welcome To Rockville. With the first day in the books, it was now game time for day two and would today be the smashing success the previous one was. With the line up that was scheduled how couldn’t it be a memorable day.

One of the important things about festivals is they give a wonderful opportunity for new acts to get out in front of a lot of people. Show up early, and you will get rewarded with something cool that you’ve never seen before. Zero 9:36 is one of those acts. While he had some technical difficulties during his performance, he made excellent use of his time interacting with the audience. But when the glitches were dealt with, he delivered. His brand or rap and hard rock fit the bill of this festival. His performance of his hit single “Adrenaline” was just the shot to really get things going at Rockville.

Photo Credit: Tyler Church

Again, Rockville managed to bring in another hot up and coming rock star, this time Ayron Jones. There is nothing pretentious or guessing what he is all about. From the moment he plugs in his guitar Ayron is nothing but straight up rock. One of the surprises of the entire day was his performance of the Nirvana hit song “Breed”. He brought the energy and with his talent he did a fantastic job of owning this classic number. His rock and blues tinged performances of his hit singles “Mercy”, “Supercharged”, and set closing song “Take Me Away “were all top notch.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

As one impressive performance kept following another, this is exactly why fans come to festivals. With the day barely at 4 in the afternoon, you weren’t going to get a break as Starset was hitting the stage. This is one band that must be seen. While they have had many hit songs and are well known, their stage presence and costumes really lend to the story they weave with their music. As an added bonus they have added a keyboard player and a cellist to their live performance. For even the casual fan you knew every song they played. There was no deep diving into the back catalog or a rare B side, they kept it to the hits which is exactly what every fan wants in this kind of environment. Lead singer Dustin Bates and his fellow musicians that make up the band delivered the goods. Playing songs such as “Infected”, “Manifest”, “Monster”, and “My Demons” they gave their fans everything and more.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

Now this is where the festival got interesting. Hot new band Ice Nine Kills was now going to have their turn on stage. Known for their love of horror movies and turning them into hit songs. This metalcore band was definitely one of the must see early bands and judging by the crowd turnout at their stage no one wanted to miss a second of their show. Not only do they mix in their love of horror movies into their music, but live they kick things up a notch and bring tons of theatricality to the stage. Every song they have a costume that matches the song and a performance to go along with it. If there was one performance that everyone will remember was “Hip To Be Scared”. This homage to the movie American Psycho had lead singer Spencer Charnas dressed as the murderous stockbroker Patrick Bateman. His target was none other than Sirius XM DJ and host of the festival Jose Mangin. Their performance was over the top and so much fun. Over the course of the festival there was no other band like them.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

The band that had the unenvious task of following things up was Ohio’s Beartooth. Without any gimmicks or tricks up their sleeves they do things with their high energy punk infused metalcore music. If there is one thing that they do at their shows is redefine the term high energy. They never stop moving. From the second they kicked into their opening number “Below” lead singer Caleb Shomo was in constant motion, running from side to side of the entire stage. While its one thing to have high energy, its another to be able to perform well and they do that oh so well. This was the first act to really get the audience hyped up as well as getting mosh pits going. Ya, their energy is that infectious. As the sun was starting to set during their performance during the song “Devastation” the pyro kicked in, to the delight of everyone there. Their catchy choruses and hard hitting riffs left a statement that this young band has big things coming to them in the future.

Photo Credit: Tyler Church

At this point in time in the day, it was now time for the big boys to come out and play. The first of them would be Chevelle. After twenty plus years together this trio still makes some of the best alt/rock. With their latest album Niratias just released this year they would have plenty of new songs to go along with their classic material. They kicked off their nearly hour long set with “An Island” off of La Gargola. Instead of playing a greatest hits set, they mixed things up nicely by playing material from almost all their albums. When they played “The Red”, they had the audience singing along with them. To have that many voices singing in unison definitely made this a special moment. They capped off their performance with their latest hit song “Mars Simula”.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

The final band to play the Sirius XM Octane stage was Rob Zombie. The man has a reputation for putting on shows that redefine the term high energy. Anyone that has seen one of his shows can attest the man doesn’t stop moving. With the stage pitch black, large white letters spelling out Zombie slid across giant video screens. Then the lights came up and his band hit the stage with his trusty guitar virtuoso, John 5 played the intro to “Triumph Of King Freak”. When Rob hit the stage, they went full steam into the song. Rob was constantly moving across the whole stage during “Superbeast” hoping from riser to riser and dancing nonstop. With the stage lighting and the visuals on the video screens he lived up to his reputation for incredible showmanship. One of the perks of being a headliner at a festival is having the time to put on a near full show. They pulled out all the stops by giving John 5 time to get in a full solo midway through “Thunderkiss 65”.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

There was only one band left to play and they saved the best for last, Metallica. With a band of this stature, they were afforded true headliner status. Instead of the festival limitations on set time, they had a full two hours to wow everyone there. With the stage gone dark, the two giant video screens played part of the classic western movie “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”, which they always play before their shows. Then you heard Lars Ulrich’s thundering drums and the rest of the band joined in on “Whiplash”. They wouldn’t hold anything back and played hit after hit including “Ride The Lightning”, “Harvester Of Sorrow”, and “The Memory Remains”. With the stage going dark, then sounds of gun shots going off, then pictures of soldiers flashing on the video screens, it meant it was time for them to play “One”. As the narration part of the introduction was being played Fireworks and pyro were going off timed to the bomb blasts. They played an absolutely brutal version of the song. If the show ended now, that alone would have been a highlight. Showing that he has a sense of humor, James Hetfield said “That’s from your favorite album St. Anger” referring to “Frantic” which they just played. He continued saying “Come on it’s growing on you now. Give it a little more time, you’ll get it. Now eight more songs from St. Anger” which got lots of laughs. The final song of the night was their biggest “Seek And Destroy”. As the song came to an end fireworks rocketed out from behind the stage.

Photo Credit: Tyler Church

With day two done and the festival halfway over, things couldn’t have gone any better. Every performer did a fantastic job. Even the weather has been perfect. There hasn’t even been a trace of Florida’s notorious heat and humidity. With two more days of music to go, Rockville was shaping up to be the best version yet.

Welcome To Rockville:

 

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