Last weekend I got to experience the three-day festival known as Welcome to Rockville in my home city, Jacksonville, Florida. I had little to low expectations heading into the event because I had a feeling it might be a disappointment. Man, was I wrong.
The saucy Aussies from the Land Down Unda were one of the best groups I got to see over the weekend. I’m not going to lie, I charged the first day of the fest alone because I just didn’t feel like going through the hassle of getting someone to come with me. So, I’m standing there in the back listening to these dudes shred. I think to myself, “Do I really want to get in the pit? I’m a little older these days, I had a long week at work, and maybe I should just check out the rest of the fest.” I then proceeded to walk to the next stage thinking I made the right adult decision. I’m halfway there and I hear my favorite song fire up called “Wild Eyes.” I swear it lit something inside of me. I did a slow turn, started a light jog, to a run, to a sprint, straight into the pit! I knew it was time to shed the weight of the work week and begin this rock n’ roll journey.
If you have never seen the “Prince of Darkness” live, I highly recommend it. Not only does Ozzy put on a great performance at the ripe age of 69 but, he sounds just as good. Some of the songs he played were down a key or two but who can blame him? He ain’t a young buck anymore. Rock n’ roll still pours through this man’s veins and he assured the crowd (through his random, broken British accent) that even though he was done touring, he would not be done performing anytime soon. Excellent news! Zakk Wylde was also still shredding. I recently heard that he sobered up and I think that helped his live guitar playing a ton too. I didn’t really care for his playing before because I always felt it was sloppy live. This time, he was completely on point. He even had a good ole’ 10 minute guitar solo halfway through he set so Ozzy could take a break.
The Foo Fighters
I have had the honor and privilege of hanging out with Sir David Grohl last October when he flew me and my brother out to LA. Maybe I’ll write about that in another blog? Anywho, DG is the freaking man and he absolutely LOVES what he does. It shows on and off stage. I totally wish I could’ve chilled with him this time but, things happen and for whatever reason I didn’t get to. It was a totally different experience seeing these guys from the crowd though. HOLY CRAP. A local radio host, and friend, put it best “If there is a better live band than the Foo Fighters, I have not seen them.” Dave and the boys have never been to Jacksonville. Ever. I now feel that’s a sin. These guys need to come around more often and if you ever get the chance to see them, prepare to have the rest of your concert experiences potentially ruined. I know they get the rep as a “dad” band but these guys bring the freaking thunder, son. There were two straight hours of high-energy rock. I seriously had a smile on my face the whole time and it did something for me as a person and musician.
Don’t Believe What They Tell You
I know EDM and mainstream rap are running a decent circuit right now but, rock is coming back. Welcome to Rockville has been consistently growing over the past few years and they’ve had to accommodate as so. What was the main stage years ago, is now the C stage for the smaller bands. Before this weekend, I recently asked the question, as a guitar player and rocker, is it worth it? Will people even be listening to rock music 10 years down the road? With companies like Gibson declaring bankruptcy, it seems like the guitar instrument might be coming to an end. I don’t believe it though. I hope and pray people are feeling the spirit and tenacity of rock n’ roll as I felt. I hope they feel the fire in their veins once again here in America. There will be more mosh-pitting, crowd-surfing, head-banging, and guitar solos in future. I can feel it.
Editorial by Lane Pittman