Rockville 2014 was off the stage! Heidi Shepherd, Butcher Babies (photo by Chris Zambello Rockshot Live)
Jacksonville, Fla. — After a great day of music on Saturday, there wasn’t any time for recovery as Monster Energy’s Fourth Annual Rockville Music Festival kicked off at noon on Sunday. The weather was a 10: warm, partly cloudy, with a light breeze from the St. John’s River and upon walking up to the stadium, I heard some music coming from someone’s car that caught my ear. Only, it wasn’t from a car. It was from Metropolitan Park and from a band called Ghost of War. I had never heard of this band before. They play old school metal the way it’s meant to be played.
As we raced into the park we noticed that Metropolitan Park was packed! Sunday’s morning crowd was much bigger than Saturday’s. You would of expected the park to be a mess after 20,000 fans invaded it the day before, but, thankfully, Metropolitan Park was clean, the vendors were stocked and the event staff even had smiles on their tired faces. Speaking of the event staff, everyone did a great job all weekend long: from the promoters to the police and EMTs who administered first aid to the crowd surfers, thank you for your service, the event couldn’t have been a success without you.
After we caught the last couple songs of Ghost of War, Smoke Show Sunday began. The Pretty Reckless, featuring Taylor Momsen (vocals, rhythm guitar), Ben Phillips (lead guitar, backing vocals), Mark Damon (bass) and Jamie Perkins (drums), opened the Monster Energy Stage East on Sunday afternoon. Twenty-one year old Taylor Momsen is an American actress, musician, and model, who portrayed the character of Jenny Humphrey on the television series Gossip Girl and Cindy Lou Who in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Pretty Reckless played their hit songs “Make Me Wanna Die,” “Heaven Knows,” “Going To Hell,” and “Hit Me Like a Man.”
Sick Puppies rocked the Monster Energy Stage West at 1:15 p.m. Sick Puppies is an Australian rock band formed in 1997. The band consists of trio Shim Moore (vocalist and guitarist), Emma Anzai (bassist), and Mark Goodwin (drummer). Sick Puppies’ seven-song setlist included, “Die to Save You,” “Gunfight,” “You’re Going Down,” and “There’s No Going Back.”
The Pretty Reckless’ Taylor Momsen and Sick Puppies’ Emma Anzai were featured in Revolver Magazine’s “Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock” and with three more coming up with Butcher Babies’ Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey and Lacuna Coil’s Chistina Scabbia on today’s lineup. Hence, the reference, “Smoke Show Sunday.”
But up next was my favorite new band, Nothing More. I first caught these guys opening for Adrenaline Mob and then at Rockville last year. Nothing More is definitely an up and coming band. Nothing More’s “This is the Time” is being promoted on SiriusXM’s Octane Accelerator and the band is gaining popularity quickly. It was recently announced that Nothing More will be touring with rockers Five Finger Death Punch, HELLYEAH and Volbeat this fall.
Nothing More features Jonny Hawkins (vocalist), Daniel Oliver (bass), Mark Vollelunga (guitar), and Paul OBrien (drums), and they took the Ernie Ball stage at 1:55 p.m. One of the first things that you will notice about this band is that everyone in Nothing More plays the drums. In fact, Jonny was the drummer for Nothing More prior to taking over the vocals. The second thing that you will notice about this band is their use of the one-of-a-kind Bassinator.
The Bassinator, which was created by Daniel Oliver, is a creation of pipes and scrap metal turned into a 5-foot-tall bass. The bass is attached above the metal-reinforced, motorcycle chain-adorned drum kit. Jonny then stands on his snare, which allows the Bassinator to be played by Jonny, Daniel and Mark at the same time! As a Nothing More veteran, I knew what was coming when they pulled out the Bassinator, but you should have seen the smiles on the unsuspecting crowd who had never witnessed a live show by Nothing More. Priceless! Highlights of Nothing More’s set included “Christ Copyright,” their recent single “This is the Time,” and the multi percussion finale in “Salem.” I’ve said it once and I’ll continue to say it, Go See This Band.
The Men in Black were up next for us as Zack Wylde and Black Label Society shredded their fans from the first song with their recent single “My Dying Time.” Black Label Society continued cranking out non-stop metal with tracks like “My Dying Time,” “Heart of Darkness,” “Concrete Jungle,” and “Suicide Messiah.” It’s been a wild ride for Zack and his fans. From Zack’s early years with Ozzy, to today with Black Label Society, his passion for music and the maturity in his playing and songwriting continues to grow all the while staying true to his fan base. Black Label Society closed out their set with “StillBorn,” and it was time for another jaunt across Metropolitan Park.
2:30 brought us a performance by the veteran Italian Gothic metal band, Lacuna Coil, which is fronted by dual vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. Lacuna Coil has been a story of persistence as they formed in Milan in1994 and have gone through various lineup changes, two name changes, and all the while selling over two million records as of 2012. The two constants in the band have been vocalists Chistina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. Lacuna Coil’s setlist included “Trip the Darkness,” “Die & Rise,” and “Our Truth.”
With Lacuna Coil now playing and the Butcher Babies coming up, Smoke Show Sunday was coming to a close. But the good news was that Trivium and the three-headed Monster were coming up.
Trivium assaulted the Ernie Ball stage at 5:15 p.m. This was my first time seeing this heavy metal band from Orlando despite the fact that they’ve been around since 2000. Trivium features Matt Heafy (lead vocalist and rhythm guitar), Corey Beaulieu (guitarist), Paolo Gregoletto (bass), and Nick Augusto (drums). Trivium’s setlist included “Brave This Storm,” “Down From The Sky,” “Strife,” and “In Waves.”
Five Finger Death Punch invaded the Monster Energy Stage West stage at 6:25 p.m. Five Finger Death Punch is made up of rockers Ivan Moody (vocalist), Zoltan Bathory (guitarist), Jeremy Spencer (drummer), Jason Hook (lead guitarist) and Chris Kael (bassist). Five Finger Death Punch won Revolver Magazine’s 2014 Golden Gods Award for Best Song of the Year for “Lift Me Up.” I was fortunate enough to meet Ivan Moody by 33Star’s Artists Lounge, and I have to say, he is as down to earth and friendly as he is metal.
Five Finger Death Punch’s non-stop hit twelve-song setlist included “Under And Over It,” “Burn it Down,” “Lift Me Up,” “Remember Everything,” “Coming Down,” “Never Enough,” and concluded with an in-your-face performance of “The Bleeding.” Five Finger Death Punch’s show got everyone pumped up for the next performance across the park, Rob Zombie.
Rob Zombie rocked the Monster Energy Stage East stage at 7:35 p.m. Rob Zombie fronts the self-titled band, and stars John 5 (guitar), Piggy D (bass), and Ginger Fish (drums). Rob Zombie won Revolver Magazine’s 2014 Golden Gods Award for Best Live Band. Rob Zombie’s eleven-song setlist included hits “We’re An American Band,” which got a huge reaction from the crowd, “Living Dead Girl,” “Dead City Radio,” “More Human Than Human,” “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and “Dragula.” I have seen Zombie many times over the years and he gives it his all. Night in and night out and he always brings his stage toys on the road.
Korn closed out the “Welcome to Rockville Festival” and showed why they were the headliner. They went on at 8:50 p.m., and took the crowd through a twenty-year musical journey with their thirteen-song setlist. Korn opened the show with “Falling Away From Me,” and kept the momentum going with “Twist,” “Got The Life,” “Spike In My Veins,” “Coming Undone,” “Never Never,” “Freak On A Leash,” and closed out the with their bagpipes and “Blind.”
The first time I saw Korn was at a show in Tampa in 1995. I remember thinking to myself that there was no way that Jonathan Davis would be able to maintain his voice long-term due to his particular vocal style. Man, was I wrong. If I closed my eyes, I swear Korn sounded exactly as they did almost twenty years ago. Jonathan Davis’ vocals are spot-on and as strong as they ever have been.
Sunday’s show also included performances by Within Reason, Twelve Foot Ninja, and Emmure. Twelve Foot Ninja took home the 2014 Revolver Magazine’s 2014 Golden Gods Award for Best New Talent.
Even though my skin was red, my feet had blisters, and my back was killing me, I was still sad to call it a weekend. This year’s Monster Energy Rockville Festival produced some great musical performances, classic personal memories, good food and cold drinks, an interesting day of people watching, and first rate accommodations/facilities.
We also can’t say enough about the promoters and the bands in regard to keeping ticket prices down and bringing this event to Florida, specifically Metropolitan Park. Metropolitan Park is both beautiful and functional and a perfect venue for this annual festival. Jacksonville’s Mayor Alvin Brown agrees and stated that he will continue to help promote music in the Jacksonville community.
I’m already looking forward to the announcement of next year’s lineup and I can’t wait to see what Monster Energy’s Fifth Annual Rockville Music Festival in 2015 has in store for us!
Until then, enjoy the photo collection by Rocket Sports & Entertainment’s Travis Failey below.