Kicking off the World’s Loudest Month in Florida
The World’s Loudest Month kicked off last weekend in Jacksonville, Florida to a sold out crowd of over 40,000 attending Monster Energy’s Welcome to Rockville.
With two days of kick-ass hard rock music and dozens of bands, Rockville not only featured the best weather of the year so far, but also some great headliners like Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Rob Zombie, The Cult and more.
The Metropolitan Park basic layout was four stages: a main stage at each side of the festival grounds with a smaller stage next to it. Main stage bands played on one side of the festival while second stage bands played simultaneously on the other side. Although this set up made it very hard to cover the entire festival as a member of the media, it is definitely a successful way to keep the crowds from swelling in the day and to keep people spread out since fans need to pick and choose stages/where to be.
Rock fans didn’t just have music but plenty of vendors to visit as well. For the musicians, there was Crazy Dave’s Music Experience, a huge tent with just about every musical product you could imagine from ESP and Fender Guitars to Ashdown and Vox amps. There was also some of the regular festival vendors like “F*ck Cancer,” “I Love Vagina,” and one of this year’s big sponsors, 33 Star, a local Florida business sponsoring a couple of the World’s Loudest Month festivals. Of course, some of the other sponsors like Ernie Ball Guitar Strings, Alternative Press, Uber, Revolver and tons of others were also on site.
Oh yeah, let’s not forget the food vendors and trucks that were parked and spread out throughout the grounds. From burgers, Mexican, “Up in Smoke” BBQ, awesome pizza at “Pie Baby,” and a bunch of other choices, Danny Wimmer Presents makes sure all the bases are covered to give fans a full festival experience…on a full stomach!
Now let’s talk about the main attraction, the music… and man, was there a ton of it ~ so much in fact that I knew I wouldn’t be able to see it all no matter how much I wanted to. What I will can give you, though, is a few of my personal highlights from each day.
Both days featured incredible acts but Day 1 for me, since it took us a bit to get parked, kicked off with Gemini Syndrome, whom I have mentioned and seen a bunch of times; they’re great, entertaining, and, well, you should go check them out while they, like most of these bands, are currently on tour.
Rev Theory was up next and it’s been a while since I caught them, but Florida was happy to welcome them twice as they had played the pre-show party the previous night and were now on Main Stage West (and in the crowd during their high energy performance), too, at 12:30 in the afternoon.
With plenty to see, my first “battle of the stages” choice was very easy because there was no way I was going to miss Monster Truck.
Monster Truck is a Canadian group that I have wanted to check out for some time, and these self-proclaimed pale skinned (they joked about being in Canada for the long winter) rockers kicked ass!! With the early crowd totally into them, head banging along, I knew this was going to be my highlight of the day and it totally was. If you haven’t seen these guys or heard them, you need to. They are hitting a few more festivals with dates in between opening for Alice in Chains (after finishing a run of opening dates with Alter Bridge), so get tickets now.
So although I’ve already given away my personal highlight of the day (Monster Truck was over by 2pm) there was plenty more. Other Day 1 highlights were Alter Bridge, Chevelle, and The Cult. Although The Cult were the headliner of Main Stage East, for me the band that stole that stage was none other than Volbeat. Volbeat have an original sound, it’s like Rockabilly meets Metallica, another [not that it need to be said!] band ~ or rather legendary band ~ that you should catch while they are on their current tour. And with the sun setting on Day 1, The Cult closed out the East Stage and our day as I skipped Avenged Sevenfold, whom I have seen many times, and headed with 6 friends for a terrific meal in downtown Jacksonville (which has a slew of great places to check out).
Day 2 came fast and again we missed the first bands of the day but arriving in time to catch The Pretty Reckless. Taylor Momsen is still looking hot and pulling in the early crowd as Reckless took the East Main Stage about 12:30 and the place was already jamming.
Here I have to pause and ask the universe a question: “Why is Black Stone Cherry not huge?” Every time I see these guys I wonder how it’s possible and their Welcome to Rockville appearance just made me even more curious why major stardom has eluded them. Full of energy and heavy blues, these guys took the stage and were killing it, but I had to pull myself away (but I’ll be seeing them in a couple of weeks…stay tuned to Flashwounds for coverage!) due to the fact that Nothing More were on the Ernie Ball Stage at the same time.
I always like to check out new bands or bands I haven’t yet seen and San Antonio, TX’s Nothing More was on my list for Rockville. With an original and unique live show (which was hinted at by various intriguing percussion instruments in and amongst their stage gear that I caught a glimpse of right before they started their set), they had an interesting sound and their singer had one of the strongest voices of the day. I can’t tell you too much about them because I just don’t know, but I can direct you here to grab their new single and here to find out more information about the band. What I do know is that I will make sure to see them again and get their new album when it’s released in June.
After these first couple of bands, the rest of the day for me was main stage to main stage… Black Label Society (stay tuned for our review/pix of BLS headlining the Revolver Golden Gods Tour), Theory of a Deadman, Seether (check out our photos from their 2014 tour launch here), Staind, Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie and Korn (yup, we’ll be bringing you an interview with the entire band soon, too!). Holy crap, go re-read that, how great is that for a day of music and again, that’s not even all the bands!
With his signature guitars (the stolen Pelham Blue Bullseye Gibson LP Custom was just found in a Chicago pawn shop ~ read more about it here), Zakk Wylde fired up the crowd with guitar lick after guitar lick. Theory had the female fans on the other side going crazy and Seether had some of the loudest, most enthusiastic sing alongs of the day. It’s been a while since I last saw Staind, and although I think they always lack excitement live there is no question that they still manage to produce the most incredible live music. Aaron Lewis may take time away from Staind to do the country thing, but no matter what genre he chooses, his voice is strong and able to deliver an impressive range of sounds ~ and this Staind show was amazing.
As amazing as Staind was, even with their less than exciting stage presence, Five Finger has enough stage presence for about five bands. Singer Ivan Moody takes his faithful fans, new fans, and in this case, the combination of the two who flocked to see him here at Rockville, to a new high, encouraging them to get mosh pits going and come forward to pay him and his band mates a visit…and they didn’t need much encouragement to do just that.
Despite the fact that it isn’t a Five Finger song, their cover of “Bad Company” really was a festival highpoint.
With Five Finger having tired out the folks on Main Stage West, on the other side of the park it was time for none other than Rob Zombie. His is another band that really never disappoints, and although many fans may have been initially disappointed with/surprised by the lack of theatrics at this show, from the moment the set kicked off with “We’re an American Band,” it was nonstop excitement that only a Zombie show can bring.
Just when you thought that Five Finger and Rob Zombie have sucked all of the energy out of 20,000+ music fans, Korn hit the stage. With back to back World’s Loudest Month nights (Fort Rock and Rockville) and before heading off on a European Tour, Korn brought Jacksonville hard rock fans to their knees with this 60 minute set:
Falling Away from Me
Got the Life
Spike in My Veins
Shoots and Ladders / Somebody Someone
Here to Stay
Freak on a Leash
And with that, Welcome to Rockville ~ two days of performances by an incredible line-up of bands in front of 40,000+ music fans ~ ended, and the crowd made their way home to anxiously await information on next year’s festival.
But hang on, you don’t need to wait for more killer summer music because by the time you read this, it’ll be time for Carolina Rebellion, and then the World’s Loudest Month continues in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Kansas City.
So if you’re a hard rock fan, start checking the airfares or start planning your road trip because you need to catch at least one of these festivals.. Next stop on the Loudest Month for me is Rock on the Range starting on May 16… I know there will be some crazy rock bands and fans at the festival that started it all, so get your ass to OHIO, people…and for those of you who can’t, you know Flashwounds will be bringing you full coverage as we do every year!
And I’ll leave you with one final piece of good news ~ for those of you who just can’t get away on such short notice or who have an insatiable need to attend as many festivals as possible (my kind of people!)… Just when you thought you’d have to wait for next year’s Loudest Month… Aftershock is back!!! Check it out here and try your hardest to get there!
If you are interested in ordering digital or physical copies of any of the photos from the gallery below, please contact Editor-US@flashwounds.com.