Blacktop Mojo with The Holdouts Concert Review
Creve Coeur, Illinois
Blacktop Mojo brought their show to Central Illinois after a long break due to the pandemic. The band has been busy working during their time off. The band released on their eponymous album that came out Friday, August 13, 2021. Every week since the album has come out, I have listened to it. Needless to say it is an awesome album that everyone should add to their playlist.
Click to buy Blacktop Mojo album 4
Rock and Roll: räk-en-rōl
I Popular music usually played on electronically ampliflied instruments and characterized by a persistent heavily accented beat, repitions of simple phrases, and ofte country, folk, and blues elements
II To move or get going
When you hear Blacktop Mojo, their music is pure Rock and Roll.
The open was a local country rock band that has a shotgun shell in their logo, The Holdouts. At first when I heard them, I thought it Blacktop Mojo and Matt James has cut his beard but it was the singer from the holdouts. They were a blend of modern country rock and older country and the two piece are pretty good musicians.
The venue is a pretty large bar with a stage at one end and three different bar areas and a large covered patio. The crowd was mixed between older people out celebrating birthdays, regular bar patrons, older fans who had not seen the band and their adult children who were as excited to see Blacktop Mojo as their parents. It was a crisp fall night as the smell of weed wafted through the air mixed with the fall leaves.
Blacktop Mojo did not keep the fans waiting and took the stage as soon as their gear was set. The band consists of vocalist frontman Matt James, drummer Nathan Gillis, bassist Matt Curtis and guitarists Chuck Wepfer and Malcolm Booher who joined this tour in place of Ryan Kiefer. Do not worry, the band states that Ryan Kiefer is still a member of the band.
Chuck Wepfer of Blacktop Mojo
Matt James of Blacktop Mojo
Matt Curtis of Blacktop Mojo
Matt James of Blacktop Mojo
Chuck Wepfer of Blacktop Mojo
Matt Curtis of Blacktop Mojo
The band was nearing the end of their tour and so their show was a well-oiled machine. The energy from the start to finish was so rocking. The band and the fans were there to throw down.
Their setlist was heavy on their fourth album and I was extremely happy about that. Their were some songs from their album Under The Sun that they really had not toured with since the pandemic hit. Not everything was bad from the pandemic. Matt explained that the song “Bed Tundy” was a result of watching too many serial killer documentaries. They also performed their old hits and sounded so good on “Burn The Ships” and “Come Get Your Coat” and their power ballad “Anyway The Wind Blows”. I should add that song to my best songs for having sex list. Missing from the setlist was their cover of Aerosmith’s “Dream On”.
The Full Setlist:
Lay It On Me
End of Days
Do It For The Money
It Won’t Last
Come Get Your Coat
Burn The Ships
All Mine Now
Where The Wind Blows
Get out and see a live show by Blacktop Mojo. You can stay up to date on their tour dates on their website: Blacktop Mojo
Soul Asylum Concert Review with Local H
August 20, 2021
The Castle Theatre
Soul Asylum was formed in 1981 and the band is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are best known for their Grammy award winning song “Runaway Train”. The song was released on their album Grave Dancers Union which has been certified triple-platinum. Back in 1992, MTV was a cable channel and they played music videos on it. They also did interviews and special acoustic recordings. The video for “Runaway Train” featured photos of runaway or missing youth and asked them or anyone who had seen them to call a special number. Back then, the only phones were corded and you had to pay to make long-distance calls (calls outside of your town). There were also payphones where you could pay to call someone. And you paid by the minute to talk. I digress. “Runaway Train” was both haunting and helped some missing children be returned home.
The Castle Theatre is a small, live venue in the mid-size community of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois with a combined population of around 100,000. Just prior to this show, the venue instituted a Covid policy that patrons must be vaccinated or negative tested prior to show. Most patrons are happy to comply so that we can all get back to live shows.
The original billing included Juliana Hatfield, formerly of The Lemonheads band and The Juliana Hatfield Three that were very popular in the early 1990s. Juliana Hatfield had to bow out from tour due to unforseen circumstances.
Local H, an alternative band from Zion, Illinois. They are best known for their angsty song “Bound for The Floor” aka “The Copacetic Song”. The song is still heard today on the radio everywhere and it is such an earworm, you are singing along before you know it. Local H has been at The Castle Theatre before. I interviewed them in 2014 and you can check out the old interview here: Local H Interview
Local H started the night. The duo consists of vocalist/guitarist Scott Lucas and drummer Ryan Harding. They both come out on stage and Scott says pretty softly into the microphone, “We’re Local H” then starts playing. The energy level was listless. The sound of the guitar was a little shallow. And I thought to myself, ‘Oh no! They’re washed up. Maybe they’ve gotten too old.’ The crowd was muted in their reaction too. Then, they played “Bound For The Floor” and the floodgates opened. The sound was better, Scott Lucas was interacting with the crowd and changed into a fireball of energy. It was like a different show after that. Scott even gave us feedback while playing. I have not seen that in a live show for decades.
Ryan Harding of Local H
Scott Lucas of Local H
Ryan Harding of Local H
Scott Lucas of Local H
Ryan Harding of Local H
Scott Lucas of Local H
The main event was Soul Asylum. Soul Asylum currently consists of vocalist Dave Pirner, guitarist Ryan Smith, touring bassist Jeremy Tappero and legendary drummer Michael Bland. Michael Bland is best known as the original drummer for Prince. He has been with Soul Asylum since 2004 and he has also worked with Nick Jonas & the Administration.
You may be waxing nostalgic and looking to see Soul Asylum to break out your Doc Martens and favorite flannel shirt. As long as you wash your flannel regularly, that is perfectly cool. (Because in the old days, grunge artists were pretty grungy and so were the fans.) The band took the stage in unassuming dress and not much branding other than Soul Asylum on the drum kit. No one needs to worry about Soul Asylum being washed up. They sound as good as twenty-nine years ago if not better because of better equipment. The band performed hits like “Somebody to Shove” “Black Gold” and then went right into “Runaway Train”. Soul Asylum also gave us some feedback during the show. They also performed newer songs of “Got It Pretty Good” and “Hopped Up Feelin'”. There was no lack of music from their lengthy catalog.
Soul Asylum released their album Hurry Up and Wait April 17, 2020 and really only recently started touring in support of the album. The album is a great rock album that contains poignant lyrics and strong guitars. The sound is a mix between folk, classic rock and even some grungier sounds. Like the band and their fans, their music has grown up and is more mature. For more on their tour, check out soulasylum.com
Badflower Concert Review with Dorothy and Dead Poet Society
August 19, 2021
Illinois State Fair Grandstand
Badflower Tour 2021
The Illinois State Fair has always brought in great acts and this year was no exception. The lineups included, Sammy Hagar (which unfortunately was cancelled due to weather), Kane Brown, I Love The 90s Tour, Bret Michaels, and George Thorogood. Badflower with Dorothy and Dead Poet Society appeared on Thursday, August 19th.
It was a hot and humid Midwest day. The weather did not keep the fans away. In addition, the fair also tested fans for Covid prior to entry if they were not previously vaccinated. The future of live shows are going to be through vaccination or testing requirements. They also had a free vaccine tent for those who wanted it. Badflower has already gained diehard fans who traveled from far and wide just to see them. I had previously seen them live at Spring Fling in Peoria, Illinois in 2019 at their set right before headliners, Incubus.
Dead Poet Society began the night. They are a rock band from Boston, Massachusetts who met while at Berklee College of Music and Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. The band consists of vocalist Jack Underkofler, guitarists Jack Collins, bassist Taylor, and drummer Will Goodroad. I was pleasantly surprised by their ethereal sound which was similar live to Badflower but their sound also reminded me of Royal Blood. They had a short set but it was filled with quality, catchy songs. The band had previously toured with Badflower and a lot of their fans were fans of both. Learn more about Dead Poet Society on their website.
Dead Poet Society
Dead Poet Society
Dead Poet Society
Dead Poet Society
Dead Poet Society
Dead Poet Society
Dorothy was the second band to take the stage. I have heard Dorothy before on the radio and in commercials. I was looking forward to seeing them live for the first time. The hard rock band is from Los Angeles, California. Dorothy consists of vocalist Dorothy Martin, drummer Jason Ganberg, guitarists Devon Pangle and Eli Wulfmeier, and bassist Eliot Lorango. Their album, ROCKISDEAD, catapulted them into fame and features hard rocking songs like “Missile”, “Wicked Ones” and “After Midnight”. Their second album, 28 Days in The Valley, was co-written and produced by Linda Perry.
Vocals started off kind of strained but probably attributed to the humidity and the dust in Central Illinois. As the evening went on, Dorothy Martin sounded phenomenal and is a band that you do not want to miss. What you probably do not realize is the whole band is very talented. I was in awe of guitarist, Devon Pangle and his amazing playing. Dorothy asked the crowd about their life goals. She talked about surviving addicition and admitted she was addicted to Xanax for ten years, she is an alcoholic and almost died twice. She reminded us that if she can make it, then we can too. The band played “Medicine Man”. Dorothy announced their new album will be call Gifts From The Holy Ghost. For more about Dorothy go to their website here: https://dorothyonfire.com/
Badflower is a band was formed in Los Angeles, California. When I had previously seen Badflower and at the time, I did not understand their appeal. I was not familiar with them at all. Then, I started listening to their music and it hooks you. The band consists of vocalist/guitarist Josh Katz, lead guitarist Joey Morrow, bassist Alex Espiritu and drummer Anthony Sonetti.
There have been comparisons of Josh Katz to Kurt Cobain. I did not understand that comparison until seeing them tonight live. His lyrics are a brutally honest dialog in the head of a generation. He can say these things in a poetic way with a passion that is soul-stirring and emotive. You probably have heard Badflower songs like “The Jester” and “Ghost” on the radio but you need to listen to “Family”, “Daddy” and “30” to really gain an understanding of the genius that is Badflower.
The band started the night with “Soap”, “Drop Dead”, and “30”. Josh Katz’s voice starts with a beautiful falsetto and in the next moment will blow you away with powerful screams. The die-hard fans in the audience were treated to the live debut of “Don’t Hate Me” as well as a new song that was just released while the band was on stage “F*ck Boi”.
Josh asked the crowd who had seen the band before and about half the crowd said they had not seen them before. He joked that you may have though they were bigger based on their radio play but you were just getting in on them early. It is always good to know a band before they get too big to afford their shows.
Their website: Badflower. You can pre-order their album This is How The World Ends that is out on September 24th. You can also see them on their remaining tour dates.
Pop Evil The Versatile Tour with Zero 9:36 and Brkn Love Concert Review
The Castle Theatre
August 4, 2021
Pop Evil at The Castle Theatre
Live concerts in a post-Covid 19 world are coming back but there is not a lot to choose from. Fans have to go to a huge venue, festival and have to travel hours away if you do not live in a major city. So many bands are choosing livestreams or to just continue working on their music at home. While livestreams are better than nothing, they are not the same as singing along in the dark with a drink next to your friends.
We have to extend our gratitude to everyone who is choosing to perform live music and the venues that survived. So when my favorite local venue puts on a rock show, I am going to attend.
Thank you Pop Evil for bringing the shows to the smaller markets. Pop Evil is a band that grinds the concert circuit and gains their devoted fans one small town at a time. Their sixth studio album, Versatile, was released on May 21, 2021. Versatile features their hit song “Breathe Again” which was an The band is from Muskegon, Michigan and was formed in 2001. In that time, they have had hits with “Trenches”, “Monster You Made”, “Deal With The Devil”, “Torn To Pieces”, “Waking Lions”, and “Breath Again”. They always bring stellar bands on every tour. This year they brought BRKN LOVE and Zero 9:36.
BRKN LOVE is the band created by Toronto singer and guitarist Justin Benlolo. Band members consist of Canadians and New Yorkers. The band released their eponymous debut album in 2019 for Spinefarm Records. When Justin was thinking about creating a band, “It’s alternative, but it’s also heavy. I try to get right to the point. There are so many of these kids still showing up to shows and moshing to real rock music. That’s refreshing. There’s sitll a place for something authentic. That’s what I want to provide.” ~Spotify Posted by BRKN LOVE
The band sounded like pure rock music. The singer, Justin, screams with the best of them. Some of the guitar riffs reminded me of Hendrix. There has been a resurgence of heavy rock in the past few years with bands like Joyous Wolf, Dirty Honey, Them Evils and now BRKN LOVE. Their stand out song is “Flies In The Honey” and the track is a standalone hit. The crowd was ready to rock and the band gave the crowd what they wanted.
BRKN LOVE Band
BRKN LOVE Justin Benlolo
BRKN LOVE Justin Benlolo
If you are rock music fan, I know that you have probably heard the song “Adrenaline” by Zero 9:36. The song is almost an anthem of those who suffered in isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic. Zero 9:36 is Matthew Cullen from Langhorne, Pennsylvania. He is a rapper but firmly trenched in rock. Listening to him rap, his voice is reminiscint of Eminem. Someone even mistakenly thought Eminem was a guest on one of his songs but it was actually Zero rapping.
Zero 9:36 was only partially known by the fans in attendance. The crowd was older for a Wednesday night show. Many of the songs the band performed were decidely rock based. There was only a little rapping and the setlist was pretty short. Regardless, the final song performed was “Adrenaline” and it reminded us that we are coming out of this pandemic. Zero greeted fans after the show and many were lined up to buy his merch and take a picture to post (including myself).
Pop Evil always puts on an energetic show. The stage was set with the drum kit on a pretty large riser high and center with stairs up to each side for different band members to go up and stand next to the drum kit. The backdrop is the artwork featured on the Versatile album cover designed by Pedro Correa. Their name Pop Evil appears across the bottom of the riser with VI in red to highlight that Versatile is their sixth studio album.
Right before the tour commenced, long-time bassist, Matt Dirito, left the band.
On Instagram, he writes, “So long, but not goodbye.”
“The time has come for me to part ways with Pop Evil. The decision has been made that I will not be joining them on their upcoming tour, or any future tours. Walking away from something I’ve helped build is not easy- but it is the best thing for the band, myself and our respective futures.”
“Pop Evil will continue on and so will I, just not together. The details surrounding my departure are only known by a few people, and respectfully it will remain that way. Having the opportunity to meet so many fans across the world is something that has made a lasting impression on my heart. I would have loved to play for you all one more time, and I am sorry that it did not work out that way.”
“I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your endless support and love. I wish Pop Evil nothing but success in all of their future endeavors and I am thankful for the time (2007-2021) that I was able to be part of it.”
Even though his presence was missed, the talented bassist Joey “Chicago” Walser of Devour The Day has joined this tour. The show must go on.
Due to immigration delays due to Covid, the drummer, Hayley Cramer, had just joined the band a few days prior this show. Bloomington fans was lucky to be able to see her play after she finally was able to travel United States from the United Kingdom.
The band started the show with the high energy “Deal With The Devil”. This was the first hard rock show in the area and the crowd was ready to rock. The band went on to perform “Let The Chaos Reign”, “Torn To Pieces”, “Survivor”, “100 in a 55” and “Footsteps”. Hayley on the drums was ferocious. Leigh sounded strong and the rest of the band sounded great together.
They only performed one cover song for the evening, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” (Metallica) and were joined by BRKN LOVE singer, Justin Benlolo. Their rendition put an operatic quality to the song and was pretty amazing.
Vocalist, Leigh Kakaty, told us the story about meeting Dave Grahs in a women’s dressing room about thirty years ago. He told Leigh he needed better clothes if he wanted to be a rock star. Tonight he did not need women’s clothes to be a rock star. Dave was sporting a large Mohawk and reminded me of the indigenous peoples tribe of the same name. The guitarist was dressed all in black and looked the part of the rock star.
The night continued and the final song was “Breath Again” and everyone sang along because they felt that sentiment in their souls. After the pandemic and with the Delta variant threatening the livelihood of so many, people just want to go back to normal. They want their live music!
Leigh Kakaty of Pop Evil
Hayley Cramer of Pop Evil
Nick Fuelling of Pop Evil
Dave Grahs of Pop Evil
Hayley Cramer of Pop Evil
Joey Chicago Walser
Pop Evil at The Castle Theatre
p.s. One way to support live shows is to buy the merch if you can afford it. The prices have gone up but the bands cannot continue without your support. They get paid a nominal amount to perform in the smaller markets but the best way they earn a living is through the merchandise or album sales.
Whether you want to get ready for the World Cup or the Super Bowl, here are the songs you can rock out to to get in the mood to be legendary on the field or court or cheer on your favorite team. These are the best rock songs for a sporting event, the big game, or the match.
20. Legendary by Welshly Arms
Welshly Arms is an American Rock band from Cleveland, Ohio. The song is about the struggle to get to the top and doing anything to get there.
“This is what we came for
And we couldn’t want it anymore
Could never turn back now
Got to leave it all on the floor”
19. Strike Back by We As Human
The now defunct band We As Human was a Christian metal band with heart. They were discovered by the Christian band, Skillet’s leader, John Cooper. This song is not so Christian but it makes the list by being a kick-ass song about fighting against a foe. The former singer and songwriter, Justin Cordle, also penned the new hit, Judas by Fozzy.
18. Face To The Floor by Chevelle
Chevelle is a band of brothers from Chicago, Illinois. Brothers, Pete and Sam Loeffler are joined by their brother-in-law, Dean Bernardini. This song was a statement about Bernie Madoff and one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. He stole millions and Chevelle wrote this song as a reaction.
17. I Will Not Bow by Breaking Benjamin
Released by Breaking Benjamin August 12, 2009, the song has been certified double platinum. It was used at the end credits of the movie Surrogates starring Bruce Willis. The song lyrics say “I will not bow, I will not break, I will shut the world away, I will not fall, I will not fade, I will take your breath away”
16. White Flag by Bishop Briggs
Bishop Briggs is the stage name for Sarah Grace McLaughlin, a British musician. Her sound has been described as Indie Rock. This track is about perserverence in fight and never giving up. The song shows up in Shadow of The Tomb Raider and also Wrestlemania’s Women’s Main Event.
15. Take It All by Pop Evil
Pop Evil is a band that has many tracks about persevering so it was hard to choose just one. If you need motivation, you can listen to “Trenches”, “Last Man Standing, “Be Legendary”, ” Waking The Lions” and others I am forgetting now. Pop Evil just keeps getting better over time and I am sure they will create more inspiring music.
14. You’re Going Down by Sick Puppies
Sick Puppies is an Australian Rock band and this song was sung by their former Shimon Moore. Recently, Shimon Moore, created a new band called Screaming At Demons. Sick Puppies still survives with bassist, Emma Anzai, as the only original member from when the band formed in 1997. This track was used by WWE when it was released in 2009.
13. The Final Countdown by Europe
With a keyboard riff that is unforgettable, this song is one that marching bands play at almost every game. It is another one of those songs that gets into your ear and does not let go. Most recently, it was featured in a Geico commercial where the band plays during the countdown of a lunch room microwave.
12. Rock You Like a Hurricane by Scorpions
Many sports teams use the song as their anthem. The song was written by Klaus Meine, Herman Rarebell, and Rudolf Schenker. Scorpions are a German rock band best known for their song “Wind of Change” that signaled the collapse of the Soviet Union during the cold war.
11. Fight The Good Fight by Triumph
Triumph is a band that was compared to Rush perhaps because they are a metal band from Canada but they are a powerhouse in their own right. Another rock anthem that gets the crowd on their feet and the athletes excited.
10. Glory by The Score
This song had been featured in a Dude Perfect video. The Score is an alternative rock band from New York City. Glory is the perfect rock anthem for any sports match or fight.
“(Oh-ohh-oh) I’m victorious
(Oh-ohh-oh) It’s my time
(Oh-ohh-oh) There’s no stopping this
‘Cause I was born for this
I do it for the glory”
9. Born For Greatness by Papa Roach
A track off their eight studio album, Crooked Teeth, that was released in 2017. The song is instantly a hit with infectious lyrics and a catchy refrain. Active since 1993, Papa Roach with Jacoby Shaddix and Jerry Horton still leading the way with an amazing amount of great music.
8. Missile by Dorothy
Dorothy is an American rock band from Los Angeles. This song was featured in the ad for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The lyrics are referring to something other than a sporting event but they tune is catchy and you can extrapolate to make the lyrics fit.
I am a missile
I am the fire
Love is destruction
But this war is mine, this war is mine
7. Centuries by Fall Out Boy
Centuries by Fall Out Boy has been used in ESPN college football coverage, WWE, and in Chicago at numerous sporting events. The song has the melody from the song “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega. The “doo doo dodo” was recorded by singer Lolo specifically for the track. The song is on the album American Beauty/American Psycho which debuted at number 1 on Billboard 200.
6. Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
This song was released on the debut solo album Blizzard of Oz from Ozzy Osbourne and is considered a guitar riff great from the late Randy Rhoads. If we listen the lyrics, the song is a statement on war.
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe it’s not too late
To learn how to to love
And forget how to hate
5. Thunderstruck by AC/DC
Released in 1990. Thunderstruck is from the album The Razors Edge by Australian metal band, AC/DC. The song is played at every sporting event. You recognize the singing part where the crowd is singing, “thunder, ahhhh-ahhh-ahh”. The video is a surreal scene where the crowd almost looks like they are cheering on a gladiator match at the Coliseum in Rome. But it’s the band peforming with Brian Johnson singing and Angus Young doing his famous duckwalk.
4. Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar
In the 80s, there is Eye of The Tiger by Survivor and this song is the second most played. It launched Pat Benatar and has stood the test of time by being played at most sporting events. While the songwriter, Eddie Schwartz said the song can be taken metaphorically.
3. Eye of The Tiger by Survivor
Ah, is there another song that defines the Eighties and triumph over an opponent? Nope. The song was the theme song for the movie “Rocky III”. It was certified platinum and received airplay durin the entire decade. Now to this day, if you hear this song, you want to get up and do some shadowboxing in your seat as if you could be a prize fighter.
2. Welcome to The Jungle by Guns N’ Roses
If you have been alive the past thirty years, you may have heard this song at any event. The track was released in 1987 on the album Appetite For Destruction. One of the greatest rock songs of all time, the song shows Los Angeles as a gritty, dirty city where you can get anything but it will bring you down.
1. We Will Rock You by Queen
I do not think I have been to single sporting event where this song was not played. Its played at football games, baseball games, basketball games and everywhere. The rock anthem gained resurgence after the blockbuster movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody” spotlighted the legendary life of Freddie Mercury.
Regardless of what event you are at, these songs will get you in the mood to battle the other team. Are there other rock songs that should be included?
Watch all the videos here. There are some crazy hair in some of the older videos.
I Prevail The Trauma Tour Concert Review with Issues and Justin Stone
Cefcu Center Stage, Peoria Riverfront Park
July 16, 2019
I Prevail headlines the second show of the Summer Sonic Jam brought by 105.7 The X Rocks and Inked Entertainment. There was a threat of rain during showtime but by the time the opener reached the stage, the weather turned to what Illinois is known for in the summer, hot and humid. The weather did not deter the growing fans of I Prevail. The band have just returned for the second American leg of The Trauma Tour from Europe and some sold out shows there. The band posted on social media the massive crowds at Nova Rock in Austria and Rock Am Ring in Germany and their warm reception at both. Their second full length album, Trauma (Fearless Records) released March 29, 2019, reached 14 on Billboard 200. The album is aptly named Trauma and the songs are a mix of acknowledgement of depression and songs about perserverence and dare I say it, prevailing in their art.
Justin Stone a rapper from Columbus, Ohio started the night with some sick rhymes. He did not have a hype man but came on stage with a drummer and himself. Justin is a guest on I Prevail’s song, “Rise Above It”. Justin Stone has a presence that is larger than his young age. Oh, and he has abs so maybe that adds to his charm. He has a lot of albums and his newest album is being released August 2nd. This guy is always hustling and he gave away shirts after his set. He also posed for pictures with all the fans. You can see everything Justin has going on at Facebook: Justin Stone
Click to view Justin Stone Photo Gallery
Issues is an electronic metalcore band from Atlanta, Georgia. The band had a great set. It was my first time seeing the band without vocalist, Michael Bohn. Michael has a new band called WildHeart where he is a drummer not the vocalist. Issues has been a constant of the alternative metal scene. Their vocalist, Tyler Carter, is a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community as he came out as bi-sexual. Their merch even has a pride flag with the band name on it. Fans are ardently waiting for their new album. The band released a new single, “Tapping Out” about facing their personal demons. Their new album is set for release in November.
Click to view Issues Photo Gallery
I Prevail is a metalcore band from Detroit, Michigan. Clean vocalist, Brian Burkheiser, was on hiatus with a vocal injury the last time the band was in Peoria. While guitarist Dylan Bowman filled in for him, Brian and his vocal ability was missed tremendously. The band recently released their video for “Breaking Down” and the portrayal of the emotions in it grab you whether you suffer from depression or know someone who does. Watch it here:
This was my sixth time seeing I Prevail. I have been a passionate supporter of the band since they were playing to fifty people in a bar. The band sounded great and have honed their live show. The songs consisted of a lot of tracks from the Trauma album and a few from their older catalog as well.
Rise Above It
Stuck in Your Head
Face Your Demons
Every Time You Leave
Come and Get It
Before the song “Breaking Down”, Brian Burkheiser talked to the crowd and told them that he struggled with depression and that talking about our problems can help. The band said in an interview with Billboard.com that their focus is going to be on cutting the drama from their lives. As they grow and mature as people and a band, I am excited to see how they evolve in the future.
Spring Fling 2019 with headliners A Day To Remember and Incubus and Buckcherry
May 31 and June 1
Riverfront Festival Park
Spring Fling 2019
Spring Fling has grown from a one night small show featuring three bands to a two day large festival. Central Illinois has been plagued this spring with neverending rains. It had been so long with rain every day that the surrounding farmland sat unplanted. So going to an outdoor show is a gamble. In this day and age, no one wants to sit outside in the rain possibly getting their phone wet and being wet for hours on end. The weather could not have been more perfect. The temperature was in the seventies and it ranged from cloudy to sunny the entire festival. The music was heavy on local bands. Peoria, who is known for local artists like Dan Fogelberg and Mudvayne. There has been a market for hard rock in the area supported by one of the largest radio stations of 105.7 the X Rocks.
Friday night featured headliners A Day To Remember. The opening bands were locals 3AM Project from Peoria, Illinois are an independent band with a heavy rock sound. They had a solid set with dedicated fans from the area. Burden of The Sky is a local alt-metal band from Bloomington, Illinois. They released their debut album independently called Cinis ad Cinis (Ashes to Ashes). You can listen to it here. Burden of The Sky Website
Click to view Burden of The Sky Photo Gallery
Next up were heavy hitters, Memphis May Fire a metalcore band from Nashville, Tennessee. The band is a Warped Tour veteran and their sound has evolved over the years. Their newest album, Broken, is “both a perfect distillation of everything the band has achieved creatively, with the group’s signature passion and diversity, and a bold leap into the future”. Their singles, “The Old Me” and “Heavy Is The Weight” resonates with listeners who may be going through the same questions about being better people. While their new music has a certain radio quality, there is still a breakdown for the old fans who need to let go in the pit.
Click to view Memphis May Fire Photo Gallery
Asking Alexandria is the next huge band graced the stage of the first night of Spring Fling 2019. Asking Alexandria is now considering themselves a rock band and their sound has made a distinguishable turn to more radio hits. The band is from York, England. They parted from their original singer, Danny Worsnop in 2015 when Worsnop left to work with his rock band, We Are Harlot. The band recruited singer, Denis Stoff, who toured with them extensively. Then in 2016, Danny Worsnop, rejoined the band. They have release an eponymous album that contains more introspective songs such as “Alone In A Room” and “Into The Fire” with a theme about reflecting and becoming better people. Danny Worsnop was sporting a hat, t-shirt and sweat pants and commented about being tired from a 30 show tour they just come off of. He apologized for looking homeless but the band performed well.
Click to view Asking Alexandria Photo Gallery
A Day To Remember (ADTR) is a post-hardcore band from Ocala, Florida. Post-hardcore is screaming and melodic singing with punk roots. The band has built up success since their formation in 2003. They put on one of the best live shows of any band. A Day To Remember has interactive fan participation. They usually have crowd surfing galore, beach balls, a t-shirt cannon launching t-shirts to not just the front of the crowd but the far reaches. The first night of Spring Fling 2019 in Peoria was no exception to the amazing show that ADTR puts on but the set list was brief. One of the best moments of the show was the crowd singing along to “Sometime You’re The Hammer, Sometimes You’re The Nail” off of their album Common Courtesy. The band was embroiled in a dispute with their record label and going through a lawsuit when the album was released. The lyrics on that album relate back to their battle so it must be so rewarding to hear the lyrics back from the crowd.
“I reserve my right to feel uncomfortable reserve my right to be afraid
I make mistakes and I am humbled every step of the way
I want to be a better person I wanna know the master plan
Cast your stones, cast your judgement, you don’t make me who I am”
The encore consisted of their acoustic song “If It Means a Lot To You” and their staple song “The Downfall of Us All”
Click to view A Day To Remember Photo Gallery
Day 2 of Spring Fling started early with a pre-party stage beginning with local bands, Cole Hollow, Dark Lit Sky, and Beyond Threshold. Opening for the headliners, Buckcherry, was their tour mates, Joyous Wolf. Joyous Wolf is from Orange County, California and they are bringing back good rock n’roll. Their guitarist, Blake Allard may look very familiar as he stars in a Verizon commercial about talking with his dad before shows. The vocalist, Nick Reese, is a tireless, spirited performer who starts their set by doing forward flips and does not slow down from there. Their music is self-destribed as alternative. I am reminded of Mother Love Bone in their sound. You can see my interview with Nick Reese, here:
Joyous Wolf Interview
You should see the band live. I can describe their show to you and you can watch all the video clips you want but nothing is like seeing them live. Joyous Wolf Website
Click to view Joyous Wolf Photo Gallery
Peoria favorites, Buckcherry headlined the early show. Buckcherry has been a band for twenty years. Their hits span a lifetime that started with “Lit Up” and “Crazy Bitch”. Did you know their name is a play on Chuck Berry? The band just released their eighth studio album called Warpaint. The album contains some ballads and a cover of “Head Like A Hole”. While the band has changed their lineup over the years, the founder and vocalist Josh Todd remains. He reminded us during the show to “Live with passion. Do what you love because you only do this shit once!” There is always a good time when Buckcherry performs. Everyone loves their realness and no bullshit attitude.
You can pick up their latest album on tour or at their website: Buckcherry
Click to view Buckcherry Photo Gallery
The main stage started with local favorites, Autumn Rove. They have been gaining fans with their no-nonsense alternative rock. The band, Spirit Animal, was next. I had never even heard of them before. I must say at first I was not exactly sure what I was listening to and then as they went on. I could not help but dance along. I especially liked their songs”The Truth” and “Painkiller”. Their music was somewhere between the Eighties and Vance Joy. They sell their t-shirts and they made a point to make sure not to call one yellow because it is banana fucking cream.
Click to view Spirit Animal Photo Gallery
The Glorious Sons were the next opening band. The band comes from Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Their hit S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun) is burning up the airwaves. A song about being down on your luck. Everyone can relate to the bad luck anthem.
Click to view The Glorious Sons Photo Gallery
Badflower is a rock band from Los Angeles, California. They released their debut album OK, I’M SICK on February 22, 2019. Their singles “Ghost” and “Heroin” have been met with rave reviews. Their songs are haunting and ethereal. “Ghost” is about self-harm and “Heroin” is about a relationship that is bad for you. Badflower reminds me of a medicated Highly Suspect. The physical similarities between Badflower vocalist Josh Katz and Highly Suspect vocalist Johnny Stevens further confuse the two bands. However Badflower is making their own way and their songs resonate with fans. Katz did some crowd surfing Saturday night.
Click to view Badflower Photo Gallery
The headliner, Incubus, has been around since 1991. The alternative rockers also hail from California. Best known for their hits of “Drive”, “Pardon Me”, and “Wish You Were Here”. “Drive” is the soundtrack to so many peoples lives. The band’s success is partially due to the god-like beauty of vocalist, Brandon Boyd. He had been voted as one of the ‘hottest guys in rock’. He writes and also paints lending to the sensitive art guy who captivates us all. Tonight the music captivated the fans. They had a large stage set with three L.E.D. screens with scenes from sunsets and oceans in the background. Most of the band stayed in the shadows during the show with the spotlight on Brandon. The band has had the same line up since 2003. Founding members Brandon Boyd, guitarist Mike Einziger and drummer José Pasillas II are joined by turntablist Chris Kilmore and bassist Ben Kenney. The band is working on new music this year and the fans are looking forward to hearing new music. The night could not have been more perfect. The weather was fantastic. The music sounded great.