The last day of Rockville came with the hardcore fans trickling in for the opening bands. Sore and exhausted, but still ready to rock out. The day would boast some of the top headliners of the weekend including Billy Idol, Foo Fighters, and Bullet For My Valentine. Up and comers Greta Van Fleet took the Monster Energy Stage by storm; the band has been turning heads for the last year since their debut EP Black Smoke Rising.
Self described “chaotic” rock/pop band Spirit Animal commanded the River Stage early on in the day. The Brooklyn based band have been gaining traction with their high energy performances of psychedelic funk. They've been clichély compared to bands like The Talking Heads, Faith No More, and even 90's era Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but these guys are carving out their own sound. The members boast a multitude of musical backgrounds ranging from hardcore to classical training, to hip-hop; but the varied genres come together and create a unique, but cohesive, sound. This music is built for the dance floor, and they rallied the concert goers for a great performance.
“There is a fever coming...” and Rockville was entirely okay with that. Massive crowds packed in to catch a glimpse of what exactly Jason Butler's new focus was all about. If you've ever seen Butler perform live, you know to expect an insane show, but maybe even we couldn't predict this performance: A figure in a black mask and black jumpsuit stands stoically in front of a stark white sheet, a recording of bigoted remarks towards Muslims and people of color (courtesy Donald Trump), and old recordings from KKK rallies played overhead. The sheet dropped, and the mask ripped off, revealing Butler as the band kicked into “Burn It.” There was no question, this band was not here to tiptoe around politics, but to smash the injustices of our world in your face. The Fever 333 abides by the Three C's: Community, Charity, and Change. These ideals are where the band draws the numerical part of their name from, with C being the third letter in the alphabet. Despite seeing Butler throw himself off stage, into crowds, and around the stage floor, I still wasn't prepared to see him scale the side of the stage, teetering high above the crowd. “You climb up these things knowing how to get up, but never thinking how to get down.” he joked from above. If you are looking for the highest energy, the most adrenaline, and some of the sickest new music out there, don't miss a chance to see these guys live.
Britain’s hottest new indie band Wolf Alice were up next, treating the crowd to a nice dose of hardcore punk dabbed with a tinge of pop. Maybe they were expecting something softer when vocalist Ellie Rowsell took the stage, but Rowsell can rock with the best of them, and the crowd went crazy as they started off their set. The band performed hits off their recent release, Visions of a Life, including “Yuk Foo” and “Don't Delete the Kisses” alongside older favorites “Moaning Lisa Smile” and “Your Loves Whore.” Rowsell showcases her phenomenal vocal range during the performance, seamlessly shifting from ethereal singing to melodic screaming. Mirroring the change. her lyrics switch erratically themselves, Roswell first shyly unable to grab the love in front of her, to then screaming about wanting to fuck everyone she meets. It's no surprise that Wolf Alice are considered one of the indie greats of today. The music of Wolf Alice tells a story, and I can't wait to catch them live on a headlining tour to see even more of what Wolf Alice has to give.
When you think of Savannah, Georgia heavy metal might not be the first thing to come to mind, but hometown band Baroness have been pounding away since the early 2000's creating rugged melodic dark metal. Purple marked the bands last release, dating back to 2015, so the setlist was a nice mix of singles and fan favorites that the crowd was able to sing along with. Jumping right into “Kerosene” followed by “March to the Sea” the band members were dripping with sweat from their intense performance before the third song hit. Vocalist John Baizley has an intimidating stage presence at first, but he includes his fans in his performance, pointing them out and nodding along with them. Despite performing at the same time as Queens of the Stone Age, there were easily a thousand metal fans raising their fists at the River Stage with Baroness.
The Foo Fighters closed out 2018 Welcome to Rockville with a nineteen song set. The performance marked the first time ever in the band's 23-year career to play Jacksonville! Dave Grohl is known for bringing special guests to the stage, and Rockville was no exception. Danny himself, John Travolta, sat side stage as the Foo rocked an impromptu “Youre the One that I Want” cover from Grease. Travolta came to the stage after the tune to wave to the fans and give Grohl a hug similar to the hug you give your grandmother after she has the restaurant sing you happy birthday, only infinitely cooler. Billy Idol also made an appearance towards the end of the set, performing John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” with the band.
The night wrapped with “Everlong,” a somber closing to the weekend which ended as the biggest Rockville yet, toppling over 90,000 music fans at Metropolitan Park. We can't wait to see what's in store for 2019!
The Fever 333