Justin Stone Photo Gallery
Cefcu Stage, Peoria Riverfront
July 16, 2019
Justin Stone Photo Gallery
Justin Stone Photo Gallery
Cefcu Stage, Peoria Riverfront
July 16, 2019
I Prevail The Trauma Tour Photo Gallery
Cefcu Stage, Peoria Riverfront
July 16, 2019
Spring Fling 2019 with headliners A Day To Remember and Incubus and Buckcherry
May 31 and June 1
Riverfront Festival Park
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
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.
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.
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.
The encore consisted of their acoustic song “If It Means a Lot To You” and their staple song “The Downfall of Us All”
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are looking forward to Spring Fling 2020.
Motionless In White and Atreyu Concert Review with Cloud Cruiser
Monarch Music Hall
May 3, 2019
The Spring Invasion tour landed Friday in Peoria, Illinois after a long, rainy week. The best way to blow off steam at the end of a long week is to headbang and scream along to your favorite songs. Studies show that attending a live show makes you happier and healthier. I have seen Motionless in White ten times before at small venues in the area and Warped Tour and other festivals. After having seen them so many different places, I have to say I prefer a night show. Sometimes the dark makeup at a MIW show can seem garish in the light of day. But at night, the darker makeup is perfect. The red and blue colored lights sets the right scene.
Cloud Cruiser opener band is from Chicago but grew up in Bloomington, Illinois just down the road. They opened the show with a solid set from this three piece. They are a self-described concept based Desert Rock band. I would say their sound is stoner rock along the lines of Crobot or The Sword. Click to check out more about Cloud Cruiser Band
Atreyu is a metalcore band from Orange County, California. These guys are a band with a lot of heart and they are hard working. The band took an eleven year hiatus and returned to music with their album Long Live. They have since been working diligently and their lastest single, ‘The Time Is Now’ from their album In Our Wake has consistently stayed on SiriusXM’s Octane Big Uns Countdown. Atreyu started the evening with that hit and played old songs also. I was reminded how much I love the song “Do You Know Who You Are?” and hearing it lives just squeezes your heart with feeling. They had fun too by doing a cover of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” I like the metal version of that song. They even performed a new song called, “Nothing Will Ever Change”. Atreyu is one of those bands that are using their music for art and for good.
If you want to know what character from Game of Thrones that drummer/unclean vocalist, Brandon Saller would be, watch our old interview here Atreyu Band Interview
Everything about Atreyu can be found on their website: Atreyu website
Motionless In White is from Scranton, Pennsylvania. MIW has released two new songs from their upcoming release, Disguise available everywhere June 7th. I am a veteran of seeing the band and I have seen different band members over the years. The heart of the band is vocalist/songwriter, Chris Cerulli. That being said, you can only perform well with talented musicians to back you up and the current members showed their skills. The new songs demonstrate the reliability of the band’s message with a maturity in the delivery by shining a light on passivity with “Brand New Numb” and self-reflection with “Disguise”.
The setlist for this evening was a mix of old and new and all the songs sounded great.
Fans brought dolls that they had made that looked like Chris and bassist Justin Morrow. Chris kept the dolls on stage for two songs then gave them back. Those fans have a priceless moment at the show. Watch Chris sing along with one of them on our Instagram (find link below). Chris handed out roses during the encore of Eternally Yours and the fans in the crowd swooned over him. The fans went for the headbanging and were given an impressive show.
Find where to see them on their website: Motionless in White
Ice Nine Kills Concert Review with From Ashes To New, Palisades, Afterlife, and Hawk
The City Center
April 6, 2019
Champaign, Illinois is no stranger to great music. The city where greats like REO Speedwagon and Alison Krauss The City Center is a new venue to add to the robust nightlife in the town. The venue is one of the cleanest venues I have been in. It is definitely a diamond in the rough. Champaign-Urbana is a city plagued with parking issues and the City Center is no exception. They give a detailed parking map on their Facebook posts and website.
The lineup for March into Madness tour is a powerhouse of bands that have been touring for a number of years and perfecting their music. These bands are great live bands. Ice Nine Kills, From Ashes To New and Palisades are getting frequent air play from SiriusXM Octane channel.
HAWK band is from Lancaster, Pennsyvlania and is the band that was formerly known as This or The Apocalypse. Ricky Armellino explains the rebranding of the band on their website here: HAWK. The band performed well but being so new, their songs were not familiar to the crowd yet.
Afterlife is a young band from West Palm Beach, Florida. They have gained quite a following and their music is a lesson about abuse, wrongs, reprisal and is right in line for fans of From Ashes To New. They asked the crowd to join them by lighting up the place when they performed their song, “Broken Home” about domestic abuse.
Palisades comes from New Jersey. Erase The Pain is their latest album and the latest single off that album. The song lyrics shows us intricacy in their songwriting. This album displays their maturity as a band. They chose the figure of a ouroboris to represent their transformation. Palisades is a band that always pleases the crowd. Vocalist, Lou Miceli, greeted fans at the show.
Check out where to see Palisades here: Palisades website
From Ashes To New is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania is touring in support of their album, The Future, that has had great success. This album was the first after adding new members vocalist, Danny Case and drummer, Mat Madiro (Trivium). Their single “Crazy” has lyrics that everyone can relate to and has a catchy hook.
“I give, you take, you always push me away
I love, you hate, it’s always, always the same
You’re always taking, taking, never giving back
To me, it’s in the past but tell me how you live with that
You always love to hate with every single breath
But since the disconnect, you see the life you wish you had
Yeah, you see the life you wish you had
Am I going crazy?
Yeah, I think you made me
‘Cause I hate the way that you make me feel
Am I going crazy?”
I predict From Ashes To New will continue to prosper with their relatable lyrics and catchy melodies.
For more on FATN, go to their website: From Ashes To New
Ice Nine Kills is a horror metalcore band from Boston, Massachusetts. Their latest release, The Silver Scream was released on October 5, 2018 and was their highest debuted album. Each of the thirteen songs is based on a classic horror movie. Their biggest hit off of the album, “A Grave Mistake” has been having great success and is based on the movie, The Crow. The video portrays the vocalist, Spencer Charnas, as the vengeful hero. Watch the cool video for “A Grave Mistake” here:
The movie The Crow starred Brandon Lee, son of actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee. Brandon Lee died during the filming of the movie when a prop gun accidentally fired a dummy round. The urban legend is that it was due to the curse that was placed on Bruce Lee and his family. No curses for Ice Nine Kills that we know of. For their live show, each band member dressed up as a character from one of the movies. Vocalist, Spencer Charnas, changed into different costumes during their set with a variety of all your favorite horror movies. The fans were ready to scream all weekend with INK.
Check out Ice Nine Kills Website: Ice Nine Kills
Pop Evil Concert Review with Them Evils, Seldom Told and Don Jamieson
Monarch Music Hall
February 9, 2019
Seldom Told took the stage early. The band is from Northwest Indiana. It consists of lead vocalist Mira Faris, lead guitarist Austin Faris, drummer Kyle Lewandowski, bassist Derek Kalicky- Bass, rhythm guitarist Chase Hayes. Their songs were of a modern rock band in the same vein as Pop Evil. They had a solid set but did not really grab the audience. Then Seldom Told took on a cover of ‘Welcome to The Jungle’ by Guns n’ Roses. While you have to give them compliments for being gutsy enough to even try to perform that song, it was a bit like listening to sober karoake. Then they performed a song called ‘Nightmare’ and it blew the fans away. It was along the lines of Epica or Nightwish good. Hopefully, the band will continue to explore that sound.
Next to burn up the stage was Them Evils. The band from Huntington Beach California has been around the area before on a tour with 10 Years. You will instantly like them from first listen. They have that timeless rock star look with long hair, t-shirts, leather jacket, and jeans. The Rock music scene has been clamoring after Greta Van Fleet but they should be following Them Evils everywhere. Their sound is more similar to the blues rock of Led Zeppelin. That being said they also performed a cover of “Rock’n Roll Part 2” and a cover of “Dirty Deeds” by AC/DC that was fantastic also. They also performed their hit, “Got Me Rockin'” that your body starts to move to no matter what you are doing.
While their talent of vocals and screaming riffs are extraordinary, the most important takeaway from their live performance is that they are having fun playing music. If you needed to make a movie about the 70s, this should be the band to play the music. They have honed their live show to be impressive over the years.
For everything about Them Evils go to their website: Them Evils
Comedian, Don Jamieson performed a short set. Don Jamieson was on a show called That Metal Show on VH1 Classic from 2008 to 2015 where he, Eddie Trunk and Jim Florentine talked about metal music. Mainly, it was about bands they liked and grew up with. Unfortunately, his comedy set was unrelatable in a lot of ways. His antiquated idea that being p.c.(politically correct) is bad. I put rock and metal fans into one of the most diverse and welcoming of any fans. His funniest jokes were the self-deprecating ones.
Pop Evil was the main event. The band is from Muskegon, Michigan and have been around for eleven years. In that time, they have had hits with “Trenches”, “100 in a 55”, “Monster You Made”, “Deal With The Devil”, “Torn To Pieces”, and “Waking Lions” They always add in parts of cover songs to their sets. This time it was “Bodies”(Drowning Pool) and “Eye of The Tiger” (Survivor) and an explanation of a full song they were going to cover because it means a lot to them. That cover was “I Alone” by Live. Live is out on tour this year and is going to make an appearance at Inkcarceration Festival in Mansfield, Ohio.
Leigh Kakaty and the band made it a point to thank the fans for decade of rock. When the phrase was uttered a few years ago ‘Rock is Dead’, the fans and the artists are the ones who continue the legacy of rock. So please go out and be rock and metal crusaders and support good rock artists.
A little girl who was about seven brought a sign to the show and the band brought Chelsea onstage.
She got her picture taken with each band member and they signed her sign. She was one lucky girl.
Toward the end of the evening, it felt like vocalist, Leigh Kakaty’s voice was not quite as strong as it normally is. Whether that was from the smoke machines onstage, the polar weather, or a cold or all three we do not know. The smoke machines can go away as far as the photojournalists are concerned. For their final song, “Trenches” they brought Them Evils and Don Jamieson onto the stage to all perform. It was a jam-packed night and the crowd disbursed to spread the message of rock and metal.
Pop Evil’s Website: https://popevil.com/
Jonathan Davis with The Birthday Massacre and Julien-K
Monarch Music Hall
Jonathan Davis is better known as the singer of Korn. He brought the Black Labyrinth tour to Peoria, Illinois. The Black Labyrinth is his debut solo album released on May 25th 2018 through Sumerian Records. The first track from the album “What It Is” was also featured in the movie American Satan. Jonathan Davis has it has taken ten years to write this album and he would work on it during his down time from Korn. We’re seeing him just a few weeks after the death of his estranged wife, Deven Davis.
Joining him on stage are electronic rock band Julien-K. Julien-K is a band consisting of ex-Orgy members, Amir Derakh, Ryan Shuck and Anthony “Fu” Valcic. They were also the band, Dead by Sunrise which consisted of these guys plus vocalist, the late Chester Bennington. So this band has gone through heartache of losing someone close to them as well. The band’s name is taken from Richard Gere’s character in the movie, American Gigolo. Julien-K’s latest album is California Noir and their single “Photo Voltaire” has the sing along properties that sneaks up on you and you are singing along before you know it. The band is a good fit for the style of the music for the Black Labyrinth tour. They took the liberty of performing “Blue Monday”, the New Order cover that catapulted Orgy to the charts in the nineties. The crowd loved to hear that old classic.
The Birthday Massacre is a rock band from Toronto, Ontario and they are a cross between goth and horror rock. Their set was dark and moody. The crowd tried to get into them but there was a disconnect between the music since it was largely unknown by the crowd. They had a decent set but the songs were redundant in the composition and presentation.
Jonathan Davis came on stage with dark, red lighting during most of his set. The drum kit was a presence before the band came on stage. When Ray Luzier of Korn came out to play the drums, fans were happy to see him. While I am a fan of Korn, I can honestly say that I am not a fan of the solo material by Jonathan Davis. His vocals are so distinctive that his voice pulls me in. However, listening to the songs put me in a funk that felt like I should just stay in bed all day and cocoon. Maybe others have a different reaction to the music as his fans were there in droves to support whatever he creates.
You can make your own judgment by seeing the Black Labyrinth tour: