Welcome to Rockville has grown considerably at its home in Jacksonville. After seven years of a successful Saturday and Sunday run, the festival transformed into a long weekend, making itself known as the biggest rock experience in Florida. 2018 marked the first year that Rockville would include a full day of music on Friday, as well. Meaning bigger names, bigger crowds, and a heftier lineup at the Metropolitan Park.
We had Rockville Veterans Garrett and Jennifer out covering all three days of the festival, soaking up as much music and mayhem as possible. Headliners on Friday included Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, and the one and only Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy is performing at this year's World's Loudest Month Festivals supporting No More Tours Part II. Those three bands alone are more rock than one person can possibly handle in one day, right? Wrong - here's all the bands you shouldn't have missed on day one, performing on Rockville's River Stage.
You may have heard of Them Evils, the band handpicked by the legendary Zakk Wylde to open for Zakk Sabbath last year. The Southern California trio have put together some of the hottest new rock and roll to date. Performing “Got Me Rockin'” and “She Got Nothin'” the band had the early crowd goers singing and dancing along. "Got Me Rockin'" is the bands latest single release from late March and is a hot new rock anthem with a little southern flavor mixed in. Despite being a three-piece, their sound is loud and large, drawing inspiration from rock giants like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Queens of The Stone Age. Them Evils are currently in the midst of their own headlining spring tour, check out the remaining dates at their website.
Metal supergroup, Bad Wolves, took the stage next. Gaining heavily in popularity with their haunting rendition of The Cranberries' “Zombie” the band drew in a large crowd despite them forming only recently in 2017. Their debut album, Disobey, drops tomorrow, May 11th, under Eleven Seven Music. The band consists of Tommy Vext (voals, ex-Divine Heresy and ex-Snot), John Boecklin (drummer, ex-DevilDriver), Doc Coyle (lead guitar, ex-God Forbid), Chris Cain (rhythm guitar, ex-Bury Your Dead and ex-For the Fallen Dreams), and Kyle Konkiel (bassist, ex-In This Moment, Vimic). The band is managed by none other than Zoltan Bathory of Five Finger Death Punch; each person involved with Bad Wolves knows the insides and out of the industry, making it no surprise how quickly they are taking the charts by storm.
Toothgrinder, a metal band from Asbury Park, New Jersey, released back to back albums with their latest, Phantom Amour, dropping in November of 2017. Their set leaned heavily on the newest album, but they also performed “Blue” and “Diamonds for Gold” from 2016's Nocturnal Masquerade. These guys have a ton of energy on stage, and with their music combining elements from many different genres, there's a little bit of something for everyone in their music. Wicked guitar solos, beatdowns for the pit, and seamless switching been searing screams and clean crisp vocals are just some of the ways Toothgrinder excels on stage. Not to mention, vocalist Justin Matthews comes to stage wearing a suit .. in Florida .. in the heat .. outside. Is there anything more metal than that?
“How is Florida doing? Are you ready to be rocked some more?” asked singer Alex Varkatzas of Atreyu towards the end of day one. Atreyu has been around, technically, for twenty years and they are a fine tuned machine when performing. The band came out and kicked right into their fast heavy-hitter “Becoming the Bull” following immediately with “Right Side of the Bed,” two major fan favorites. Their set focused on well known singles, treating fans to almost a "best of" setlist, including their cover of Bon Jovi's “You Give Love A Bad Name. In fact, the only song released post-2007 that was played was "Do You Know Who You Are?" off 2015's Long Live. Atreyu has always been a fan-friendly performance, with Varkatzas usually jumping down into the crowd to get up close and personal with the fans. I stupidly exclaimed "lobsters!" when seeing Dan Jacobs signature "red design on white background" guitar. Only, as I was pointed out, it was potentially scorpions, and not lobsters, which somehow made more sense. (I'm sticking with lobsters though). Jacobs is just a beast of his own on stage, with wild thrashing and jumping about. Bassist Marc "Porter" McKnight is no different, in fact he's intense on stage, slamming his bass back and forth while performing. Atreyu were the perfect back to close out the River Stage on day one. Giving the fans just a taste of what to expect the rest of the weekend.
We were also lucky enough to catch up with Atreyu, Halestorm, and Texas Hippie Coalition, so be sure to keep an eye out for our interviews with them, coming soon!