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Front Row Pix: Rockwave @ Ft. Myers, FL

By Frank Poulin

Neither head cold nor crushing heat nor 2-hour drive kept the FlashWounds Team from showing up at the first ever Rockwave Festival presented by 96-KROCK, in the Red Sox’s home-away-from-home Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get there in time to catch some of the early acts, and barely made it in time for Filter’s first few songs ( important timing if you’re a professional photographer who wants to photograph!) By then, the crowd was already worked up and the day was in full swing and Filter rose to the occasion with a satisfying set including the best of their new CD and many of their biggest hits.

Chevelle then delivered a standout set ~ these guys were made for playing live; their music just comes to life and the fans ate it up.

As the sun set on the field (to the relief of this Northeast-bred reviewer who was flirting with heatstroke by then!), Stone Temple Pilots came out to play, with Chester Bennington in great form and carrying the lead vocalist torch with aplomb as he has throughout the tour this summer.

And then it was time for Jane’s Addiction, playing their final gig of their tour. This performance was significant in two ways. First, you could tell by Perry Farrell’s hoarse voice in the opening songs that it had been a long and demanding summer ~ but of course Farrell is a consummate pro and can work through that, and his voice did improve as the show went on. But the shinier side of that coin is that a band always goes all out on their final gig and this was no exception. You could feel the crowd’s obvious delight throughout the set as the band nailed every song. “3 Days” and “Then She Did…” were definitely high points, but by far the most powerful moments were at the encore as the band settled in at the front of the stage to play “Chip Away.” Mirroring the opening song’s trapeze girls, two suspension artists hung on hooks by the flesh of their backs 30 feet into the air and swung with masterful abandon. I know it’s been part of JA’s show on and off ever since Dave Navarro became adept at the practice, but if you’ve never seen it live, let me tell you ~ it makes for a surreal visual backdrop to the tribal rhythms of the song.

Rockwave was a great event and this first edition bodes well for what we hope is a long tradition of an annual event.

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