Splice Magazine

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Welcome To Rockville 2022 Day 2 and 3 Review

 

Daytona, Fl. (May 20, 2022)

It’s early Friday and everyone is streaming into Daytona International Speedway. With one day of festival reverie under their collective belts, there was a huge sense of excitement for what was to come. But there was also an underlying concern for the weather. The forecast had called for the one thing that every outdoor festival fears the most, rain. While fans would have their eyes glued to the stage, the staff at DWP would hold a vigilant watch over weather radar.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

The first act to grace the Space Zebra stage was Diamante. While it is early on in this Boston bred singers career, she has certainly made a name for herself having toured with the likes of Halestorm and Shinedown. Dressed in a black glittery body suit, she worked the stage like she has been doing it all her life. She even got the crowd singing along with her rendition of the Goo Goo Dolls hit song “Iris”. With Diamante’s set being a good way to ease into the day, over on the Octane stage leave it to Ded to absolutely fire everyone up. As any festival stalwart will tell you no matter the condition, the guys in Ded will supercharge the crowd. While they were sans bassist today, that did nothing to slow the band down. Dressed in post-apocalyptical garb and face paint as well, their brand of nu-metal is built for situations just like this. Their performance of their hit song “Anti Everything” was more potent than a double shot of the strongest espresso.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

No less potent a band then Ded is Blacktop Mojo. They held court on the Space Zebra stage to a large crowd. Blending post grunge with hard rock this quintet from Texas was well primed to keep the party going. Blazing guitar solos from Chuck Wepfer and killer vocals from Matt James made for a highly entertaining set. When they launched into the Led Zeppelin classic “Whole Lotta Love”, the question was could they pull off a good rendition of this larger than life hit song. It didn’t take but a second to realize they owned it, and this was the highlight of their set.

As everyone was heading over to the Octane stage to catch Sevendust you couldn’t help but notice the darkening sky. While so far the weather had been holding up nicely, now it was starting to look like the festival was in mother nature’s crosshairs. But the power of Sevendust held off the weather. From the second they started playing “Pieces” you knew they were on top of their game and why they are considered one of the toughest acts to follow up. While their set was incredibly powerful and got the crowd fired up, they also had one of the most emotional and touching moment of the festival. Singer Lajon Witherspoon gave a heartfelt dedication of the song “Shine” to his younger brother who he had lost back in 2002.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

As everyone was getting ready to head to another stage to catch their favorite band, the inevitable happened, rain. More specifically lightning was in the area. While rain might dampen the spirits, to a point it won’t stop the show. Now lightning, especially in Florida, which is the lightning capitol of America, is serious business. In the name of safety for fans, musicians, and all the onsite workers, the staff at DWP had to make the difficult but proper decision to halt the festival and have the fans either seek shelter under the speedway grandstands, or in their personal vehicles. When the line of storms finally passed, the festival was back on. But sadly due to the amount of time spent in delay there were casualties. Skillet would be unable to perform, and it was announced that Megadeath had travel problems and wouldn’t make it to the festival on time.

With the festival back on, and an updated schedule announced things were beginning to look great again. Seether put on an incredible show. Playing hit after hit from their deep catalog, this was the tonic that everyone needed to get back into festival mode. But during Ministry’s performance, the weather showed that it wasn’t done with Rockville. In the midst of “N.W.O,” bolts of lightning shot across the sky and the deep rumble of thunder overpowered the music. To everyone’s disappointment, the show had to be halted again for safety of everyone. As time passed by, the storms worsened and there was no improvement on the horizon. Sadly, DWP was backed into a corner and had to cancel the rest of the evening. While everyone was deeply saddened, especially the folks at Danny Wimmer Presents, this was the right choice to make and all everyone could do was hope that day three would get things back on track.

With the pall of the previous days loss of headliners fresh in everyone’s psyche, weather was the buzz word for Saturday. Instead of cell phones at the ready for a photo opportunity or to record a performance, people had their favorite weather app opened and a keen eye on when severe weather would come through. After all, day three was loaded with must see bands. Weather be damned, everyone wanted to have a great day and experience Welcome To Rockville at its’ finest.

One of the early bands to grace the Octane stage was The Violent. When their music first broke on Sirius XM radio’s Octane station not much was known about the band, but there was a vague familiarity about them. It was eventually revealed that the trio was originally part of Red Sun Rising. Now it was finally a chance to see these veteran musicians in their new band. To make things even more interesting, singer Mike Protich let the crowd know that this was actually their fifth live performance. While it may be early on for this band, the chemistry between Protich, guitarist Dave McGarry, and drummer Pat Gerasia was obvious. They led their set off with the single that kicked things off for the band “Impression”. Throughout their time on stage Protich, who started out playing bass guitar, would swap instruments back and forth during their set with McGarry, showing their collective talent.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

With a quick jog over to the Space Zebra stage everyone was excited to see Saint Asonia, the supergroup featuring Three Days Grace former lead singer Adam Gontier, and Staind guitarist Mike Mushok. The first song they played “Better Place”, just happened to be their very first hit song. That really worked to immediately grab everyone’s attention. Just as everyone was getting into the groove of Saint Asonia’s set, Gontier stopped the show just as they were starting on their third song to say the words that absolutely no one wanted to hear, the festival was being halted due to lightning. As everyone was following the evacuation directions, the crack of thunder and lightning could be heard. Again, it was a wise choice to halt things in the name of safety.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

By four thirty, things had cleared up enough to take another shot this. Thankfully, one of the more popular bands was able to grace the stage after the delay. Yes, Nothing More would be the band to welcome everyone back into the festival. Known for their high energy performances, they led things off with their latest song “Turn It Up Like”, and the band did not disappoint. With all the frustration simmering due to the weather, this performance was cathartic for everyone. The band even brought out the scorpions tail, a fourteen foot tall instrument for the lead singer to climb on and play. There would be no denying the band their time on stage, and they rewarded the fans with an incredible high energy set filled with all their hit songs.

Meanwhile over at the Space Zebra Stage, the godfather of grunge Jerry Cantrell was absolutely killing it. He led off his set with his solo work including his latest single “Brighten”. Just like earlier in the day, during an incredible performance of the Alice In Chain mega hit song “Man In The Box” that was an absolute throwback to the height of their powers in the nineties, the announcement that everyone grew to loath was made, the festival had to be delayed yet again. With bolts of lightning dancing across the sky everyone found shelter to play the waiting game.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

After several long hours, It seemed like things were good to go. Fans poured back into the speedway and immediately made their way to the Octane stage in hopes that they would actually get a chance to see headliner Shinedown. When the stage came alive, and the video screens lit up showing the intro to Shinedown’s latest album Planet Zero a sense of relief swept over everyone. They started out with a strong performance of “Devil” one of their many hit singles. As they progressed through their show, playing “Planet Zero” and “Enemies”, off in the distance the sky was lighting up, but not from Shinedown’s overactive pyro, but from the weather. During “Enemies”, the video screens on the side of the stage told the story of the festival today, it was time to seek shelter. To the bands credit they finished out the song, then officially made the announcement much to their chagrin.

Photo Credit: Steve Thrasher

Sadly though this time the weather took a severe turn. The skies truly opened up and poured down. While most held out hope they might get a chance to see Guns N Roses, even if it was a shortened set. But with each passing minute the weather worsened, and the remainder of the days music was slipping away. It wasn’t much longer, and the news was blared out over the speedway’s PA system as well as across social media, the day was officially done. There would be no GNR and everyone was to make their way safely to their cars. While this was not what everyone wanted, there was day four ahead of everyone and hopefully the festival would close out on a high note.

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