Hailing from Troy, Mich., We Came As Romans features an interplay of clean singing and brutal screaming vocals over punchy guitar riffs, tight drumming and electronic sections. Vocalists Dave Stephens and Kyle Pavone and guitarist Joshua Moore spoke with Folio Weekly before their set on the opening day of Welcome to Rockville.
F.W.: Your latest album, “Tracing Back Roots,” came out in July 2013, what do you think is different about this album, in relation to “To Plant a Seed” or “Dreams EP”?
D.S.: It’s definitely more melodic. We went with a different producer this time. On our last two records, we used Joey Sturgis. This time around we went with John Feldman. Feldman is so focused on melodies and stuff like that, so it really shines through.
F.W.: Are you currently writing?
D.S.: We’re brainstorming some ideas, but nothing too crazy right now. We’re still on the album cycle for “Tracing Back Roots," so we’re still focused on touring.
F.W.: When you do write, do you usually set aside some time to write or do you work on ideas on the road?
J.M.: It’s kind of both. Usually we’re on the road, and we’re kind of crunched, you know? But we’ll start pulling out ideas and stuff like that. Then we’ll take those ideas and work on them in rehearsal. Hopefully, on the next record we’ll be able to sit down and work things out together, like we did on the last one.
F.W. When touring, do you prefer to play big festival shows like Welcome to Rockville, or do you prefer the smaller, more intimate club shows?
K.P.: Both have their ups and downs. We like the smaller shows, because we get to see our fans close up. But we also like the bigger shows at the same time, because we like seeing all the energy, and it pulls in new fans too.
F.W.: Do you notice any difference between the shows you play here and your international tours?
D.S.: They like to circle pit a lot in Europe. They’ll circle pit to anything. It could …
A condom-fashioned-into-balloon drifts and bounces over the heads of a densely-packed audience that – 15 minutes before show time – stretches out about 75 yards from the stage A Day to Remember is to play. Since a well-received release of “What Separates Me From You” in 2010, the Ocala-based five-piece has stuck mostly to festival shows on world tours, typically playing late in the day.
So, unless you’re prepared to jostle through an ultra-high concentration of antsy kiddos reeking of second-rate ganja and teen spirit for prime real estate, 75 yards is as close as you’re going to get.
But if you’re here for the music, opting to sit out of the mosh pits and watch the side screen on the backfield bleachers is just fine. Vocalist Jeremy McKinnon and Co. delivered a set list to satisfy fans new and old. They opened with one of their breakout hits “All I Want” followed by the one-two punch of “I’m Made of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of” and “Why Walk on Water When We Have Boats” – both quick-paced sonic uppers to get the audience moving.
A Day to Remember knows how to work the crowd, and they've got the home-field advantage here. Courageous audience members engaged in double-crowd surfing – an activity that required an explanation by McKinnon.
“Basically, you start with one person crowd-surfing, like normal,” he said. “Then you have another person ride that person like a fucking surfboard.”
McKinnon only asked for crowd surfing for one song, but the crowd must have enjoyed the new sport, because they kept doing it – even on the silent spaces in between songs.
A Day to Remember mostly stayed with songs of their most recent album, "Common Courtesy," which shows the band moving in an even more melodic direction of its brand of pop-punk. They peppered this set with heavy songs like "Second Sucks" and "Mr. Highway's Thinking About the End," during which they got a large portion of the audience jumping along to …
The Dallas-based quintet Memphis May Fire delivers heavy-hitting, energetic metal fused with soaring choruses and electronic, orchestral sections. The band released its fourth full-length studio album, “Unconditional,” last month. Guitarist Anthony Sepe, guitarist Kellin McGregor and bass guitarist Cory Elder sat down with Folio Weekly just before their set April 26 at Welcome to Rockville in Jacksonville.
F.W.: You’re most recent release, “Unconditional,” came out last month. Did you take any different approach to writing/recording this album?
K.M: Yeah, a little bit. The last two records we did all in one studio. On this one, we came straight out of Warped Tour, finished writing and went into my home studio. We knocked it out quickly.
F.W.: So you did a good amount of writing on the road?
K.M. You kind of have to. This last year particularly, we were out a lot.
F.W.: It seems like on some of your first releases, "Memphis May Fire" EP and "Sleepwalking," there was a pretty pronounced Southern tone, especially with the guitars … not so much on the new stuff. Is there a reason for the shift?
K.M.: All I knew was the pentatonic scale when we wrote the first two CDs. That’s really what it is. With every CD – I wouldn’t say that I’ve gotten better – but I’ve like learned a little bit here and there. I still can’t solo to save my life. That first EP man, we wrote that in fall 2006, that was forever ago. You just grow and change, you know?
F.W.: Do you prefer festival-sized shows like this when you’re touring, or do you prefer the smaller intimate shows in local venues?
A.S.: I say the bigger the better. The amount of energy you get from the crowd and the vibe of the festival just seems a lot better.
K.M: You don’t have to worry about getting smacked in the face with a bass, either.
A.S.: Yeah, there’s always plenty of room on stage, and the sound's always good.
C.E.: I think we all enjoy both a lot. …
If metal’s “golden age” of macabre on-stage personas, outlaw getup and pyrotechnic extravaganza has passed, Avenged Sevenfold resuscitated its charm on April 26 at Welcome to Rockville.
Preparing for last performance of the day, those who hadn’t succumbed to a beer- and funnel cake-induced coma on the littered grounds made their way over to witness the metal mainstays. Well before the band’s set time, the audience had accumulated past the stage-light tower, nearly 150 yards from the stage barricade.
Ears perked up and quiet anticipation turned to cheering as the first burly, Sabbath-inspired riff of “Shepherd of Fire” pummeled out over the audience. Sevenfold took the stage and delivered an unrelenting sonic assault for the duration of its near 90-minute performance.
The audience was going to get their money’s worth, like it or not.
“We’re on a strict curfew, and we don’t want this to get canceled for next year,” vocalist M. Shadows said in a very brief lull between guitar solos and fireballs. “So, let’s just play another song before I chit-chat our way to the curfew.”
The statue of a skull king sitting on a throne of skulls holding a skull scepter watching over the proceedings was a bit much. But that’s the point. In case you were standing at a far distance from the stage, the camera crew would make a dramatic cut to it every few minutes.
Their live performance sounds tighter than ever. Synyster Gates effortlessly rips solos out his custom Schecter guitar with a disinterested, bored expression that only adds to his charm.
Sometimes, guitar solos can feel like an indulgence of the guitarist, while the audience and the rest of the band wait for the next verse. That feeling doesn’t come into Synyster’s playing; the solos feel like an organic part of the song. And the guy has got style, bending a note with one hand and flipping the bird with the other. The crowd ate it up.
M. Shadows showed impressive …
For the final 15 minutes, “Million Dollar Quartet” had the crowd on its feet.
Keep in mind, this came only after a standing ovation that felt more obligatory than any the Artist Series had seen this season. If only the writers allowed these legends to uncork their fire earlier and if only the story was engaging enough to hold it all together.
Don't blame the stars. Cody Ray Slaughter (Elvis Presley), James Barry (Carl Perkins), Scott Moreau (Johnny Cash) and John Countryman (Jerry Lee Lewis) displayed the vocal and musical talent to keep the Times-Union Center's Moran Theater rocking on April 22. But for too long, the 100-minute musical (without an intermission) rests on a thin plot of four legends arriving in Memphis with very different agendas.
Based on the legendary recording session on Dec. 4, 1956, at Sun Records, the jukebox musical takes liberties with the songbook, but that mostly can be forgiven. (Other lesser-known songs and more gospel hits were played at the actual session, which was recorded by Sun founder Sam Phillips.)
To be fair, major hits "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Folsom Prison Blues" kept the opening night crowd tapping their feet, and that finale of "Hound Dog," "Riders in the Sky," "See You Later Alligator" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" sent many home satisfied.
However, some of the lines in "Million Dollar Quartet" might leave you wondering if these jokes were even funny in 1956. At one point, Sam pleads "Say amen, somebody," and Jerry Lee replies, "Amen, somebody."
No, it wasn't all that bad. Carl points out that "drunks don't buy records," and Johnny's reply, "they just make them," earned one of the night's biggest laughs.
Barry delivers the most memorable performance, though he has the advantage of playing the least-known of the four legends.
As Sam, Vince Nappo has the unenviable task of trying to hold the story together. More than once, he comes running out, begging for applause from the audience. …
The Avondale gallery that’s helped Northeast Florida art lovers meet world-renowned artists Peter Max and Mackenzie Thorpe and actress-turned-artist Jane Seymour is closing on or before April 20.
Avondale Artworks proprietor Ken Stutes told Folio Weekly that “revenues haven’t been sufficient to justify continuing it,” and parking in Avondale had become a problem for visitors to his gallery.
Avondale Artworks has also hosted the works of Salvador Dalí, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dr. Seuss and others; it was open nearly five years at two locations on St. Johns Avenue.
“I really liked the Dali exhibits. We had over 107 pieces. We had six original works by Dali,” Stutes said. “Being able to bring that work into Jacksonville was incredible to me.”
Stutes reminisced about the interactions he and visitors had with the artists. He was at first hesitant to display Thorpe’s “Leap of Faith,” because it depicted children jumping off cliffs.
He shared his concern with Thorpe, who said: “They’re not jumping to their deaths. They’re learning how to fly." Stutes said visitors to the gallery loved “Leap of Faith.”
Stutes is offering major discounts on his inventory before he closes.
Delta riffs roared high as draft beer and sauce-slathered meats stained fingers and beards and tie-dyed shirts during opening night of the Springing the Blues Music Festival, which runs April 5-6 at the Sea Walk Pavilion on Jacksonville Beach.
Parker Urban Band opened the main stage with some of the smoothest R&B singing of the evening from Juanita Parker-Urban and Myrna Stallworth. Their rich, full voices were complemented by the tight percussion and vibrant brass and harmonica musicians. The band would seamlessly transition from punchy verses to extended, loose jams that showcased the strengths of each musician.
The Brandon Santini Band hailed straight from Beale St. Tenn., which Santini made abundantly clear by his on-stage swagger and showbiz get-up. That’s not to say they’re all show and no pulp; Santini could rip the solos out of his effects-laden harmonica for minutes on end — occasionally stopping to gasp for oxygen and offer a charming wink. The guitarist’s rig was particularly bare-bones — he used a jacked-up-to-10 tube-screamer to make his telecaster squeal and kicked it off to fade back into the rhythm.
From a guitar-playing perspective, Joanne Shaw Taylor was possibly the best musicianship of the night. Taylor could skillfully coax an array of tones and textures out of her Les Paul, transitioning with ease from cool, emotive solos to loud, ballsy riffs that would garner at least a head nod from the audience. With the earnestness and grit she used to sing the blues, it was nearly impossible to tell she comes from across the pond.
“She ain’t no Southern country girl?” an audience member remarked after she dropped the drawl between songs to talk in a natural English inflection.
The Taylor outfit was an interesting crew, with a middle-aged bassist who looked like he just stepped off the ACDC reunion tour bus with the Angus Young-inspired antics and facial expressions he would get into while delivering the rhythm. The …
After the initial success of the movie “Bring It On,” filmmakers did what they do best: Made a lot of lame sequels. The first one was “Bring It On Again,” and somehow they made three more after that.
Then, Tony Award-winning writer Jeff Whitty had another idea, transforming the original movie script into a musical. That’s when the magic happened and made it on Broadway.
“Bring It On: The Musical” is about the bonds formed from two rival high school cheerleading squads. It is loosely based on the 2000 original “Bring It On” starring Kirsten Dunst.
Much like fried chicken and waffles, cheerleading and musicals seemed an unusual mix, but they won critics over. The Broadway musical scored Tony Award nominations for best musical and best choreography.
The show has a particularly diverse cast with some real-life cheerleaders who have very little experience in theater and others who have never cheered before this show.
“Everyone had their strengths and everyone had their weaknesses,” actress Mia Weinberger says. “So everyone helped each other out and that’s what really made it seem like a team effort.”
Weinberger has been singing, dancing and performing for most of her life. She’s starred as “Legally Blonde,” “Berenstain Bears LIVE!” and “Wizard of Oz.” In “Bring It On,” she’s currently playing Kylar, a ditsy character with a heart of gold.
Weinberger admits that she can be a little ditsy at times herself, “I like to call them my Kylar moments.”
“Between the music and the choreography, I just think there’s a lot to offer. And everyone can find something they love in it,” Weinberger says.
At first, the concept of Christian metal might send up a red flag. It’s an oxymoron between the worlds of furrowed-brow conservatives and the carefree piss-and-vinegars giving them a collective, pounding migraine.
But it’s a thing, and if you’re not keen on hearing damage on tap, call-help-there’s-blood-in-my-larynx screaming and tattoo placement that will shatter the prospect of gainful employment — stick to Toby Keith, ‘cause most of that is still here. If you are into that kind of stuff but don’t want the holy business shoveled down your gullet, this is a convenient genre; you can’t begin to decipher the message without a thorough listen-a-long with the lyric book liner (necessary) in one hand and a bottle of aspirin (recommended) in the other.
The only quick indicator of this being a unique, niche area of metal is the audience. These are pretty average, yes-ma’am-no-ma’am, A-B Honor Roll kids. About 520 of these bright seeds packed into Murray Hill Theatre March 23 to watch The Devil Wears Prada play tunes to make them want to head bang themselves into whiplash and generously clobber the pulp out of one another in a form of dance more closely resembling a merciless blood-sport than any outward expression of merriment.
But it’s all in good fun, and the Dayton, Ohio, five-piece (now touring as a six) didn’t disappoint. Everything about their sound is urgent and intense. Crushingly loud guitars layer over crashing cymbals, piercing snare drum and that growling, impassioned singer. Like traditional metal, the band utilizes very tight stop-and-go-rhythms — head-banging and scissor kicking and generally making a ruckus of things along with them.
Guitarist Jeremy DePoyster impressively managed to nail every note on the guitar and his sung choruses despite having a mop-head of hair in his face the entire set — and that’s not saying the music is simple to play. It’s not. The speed at which Prada performs their songs, …
Like that awkwardly funny DJ Huey Calhoun, "Memphis" might seem rough around the edges. But that fantastic cast — Huey would say "fantastical" — makes this the best of Artist Series' Broadway season.
Yes, those spectacular blue guys from Blue Man Group invited me on stage in January, but I'll still take the sometimes sweet and sometimes sultry sounds of "Memphis." Presented by Artist Series, the production continues through March 23 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Jacksonville.
In 1950s Memphis, white DJ Huey falls hard for black club singer Felicia Farrell, and he's eager to help her get on the radio, though he has to get there first. He finds his ticket to stardom while playing "race music" for white folks and helping give birth to rock 'n' roll.
Huey and Felicia are a mismatched pair, not only because he's a graceless doofus and she's a true talent, but also because this is the segregated South.
In the early scenes, Joey Elrose portrays awkward so well, I was beginning to doubt he could pull off the transformation to DJ star. He proved me wrong.
Jasmin Richardson's voice would lift any cast. Her "Someday" and "Colored Woman" along with her part in "The Music of My Soul" are moving.
This cast is full of scene-stealers from Avionce Hoyles as Gator, belting out "Say a Prayer" to close the first act, to Jerrial T. Young as Bobby delivering a resounding "Big Love." He also displays some amazing moves.
Joe DiPietro's story proves more raw than expected with one beating and one use of the N-word that drew gasps from the opening night audience.
Even when the tone is light, this is Memphis in the 1950s, so we go from "hockadoo!" to "hock-a-fucking-doo" in no time.
Historians of rock 'n' roll might notice the story is based on real-life DJ Dewey Phillips, remembered for being the first to play a record of a young Elvis Presley. Phillips later asks Presley on air what high school he attended to make sure …