Welcome to Rockville 2014

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gemini Syndrome:

Gemini Syndrome has easily been the best new band I’ve seen in awhile. Behind their new album Lux, they’ve released one of the best albums of the year. Not only do they sound great, but they’re a great live band too. You’ll be seeing a lot from them in the coming years, mark my words.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

 

Rev Theory:

It’s crazy to think that not only was Rev Theory the first band I ever shot, but that it happened way back in 2008. Over the course of those years, Rev Theory has released two albums with another coming out sometime this year. While I enjoyed their set, the majority of the crowd that had accumulated at the stage they were playing, didn’t appear to. Vocalist Rich Luzzi tried his best to pump up the crowd, but people weren’t really having it. We’ll chalk it up to the early set time.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 6
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 8

Set list:

1. Red Light Queen
2. Light It Up
3. Born to Destroy
4. Blow It Up
5. Something New
6. Hell Yeah

 

Evergreen Terrace:

Unlike the majority of the bands on the bill, I wasn’t too familiar with Evergreen Terrace. I remember seeing them at Warped Tour one year, but past that, I couldn’t think of a song or anything going into their set. It’s kind of nice going into a bands set with an open mind. That said, I wasn’t really blown away by Evergreen Terrace. They had a decent crowd there for their set, but much of the rest of the crowd didn’t seem familiar with them. Decent, but nothing too impressive.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 7
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 7
Overall rating: 7.5

 

Chiodos:

With Craig Owens at the helm, you know you’re in for a good show. After a few years out of the band, Owens (and now Chiodos as a whole) is back and better than ever. While I’m not a big fan of their music, I’ve always enjoyed photographing them and they always put on a great show. Owens and guitarist Thomas Erak are both really energetic on stage and make for some compelling photos. While their set wasn’t too long, they made the most of their time on stage. The crowd went ballistic for “The Words ‘Best Friend’ Become Redefined”.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 8.5
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Ole Fishlips is Dead Now
2. The Undertaker’s Thirst for Revenge Is Unquenchable. (The Final Battle)
3. The Words “Best Friend” Become Redefined
4. Thermacare
5. 3 AM
6. If I Cut My Hair, Hawaii Will Sink

 

Chevelle:

I’ve seen Chevelle many times over the years. I’ve actually lost track of how many times I’ve seen them. But in spite of that fact, I still love seeing them. They’re by no means energetic band out there, they always sound great live (which, if you’ve read our review of Carolina Rebellion 2014, I have the same issue with Staind and Seether). It’s a damn shame that a band that sounds as good as Chevelle does can’t muster something up in the way of enthusiasm. It really felt like they didn’t want to be there. The guys wouldn’t even crack a smile. Damn shame.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 5
Overall rating: 8

Set list:

1. The Clincher
2. Grab Thy Hand
3. Same Old Trip
4. Take Out the Gunman
5. Sleep Apnea
6. Hats Off to the Bull
7. Hunter Eats Hunter
8. Send the Pain Below
9. The Red
10. Face to the Floor

 

Avenged Sevenfold:

As I said for their set at Carolina Rebellion, if you’ve seen Avenged Sevenfold once, you know exactly what their next set is going to be like. That’s not to say they won’t sound good, but the show will be the exact same. In support of their newest album, Hail to the King, Avenged Sevenfold is taking the festival circuit over again. Thankfully they took a decent amount of time off from touring so not only they could recharge their collective batteries, but I wouldn’t have to see them on every festival and tour under the sun. Behind a well-rounded set list, the set managed to feel somewhat fresh, despite being the norm. They may draw a great crowd, but it’s disappointing that the organizers of all of these festivals can’t find new bands to headline.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Shepherd of Fire
2. Critical Acclaim
3. Bat Country
4. Hail to the King
5. Doing Time
6. Buried Alive
7. Fiction
8. Nightmare
9. Almost Easy
10. Afterlife
11. This Means War
12. Unholy Confessions

 

****DAY TWO****

 

The Pretty Reckless:

I’d seen The Pretty Reckless very briefly a few years ago opening for Marilyn Manson, but this was the first time really watching them and unfortunately I wasn’t too impressed. Vocalist Taylor Momsen didn’t sound bad, but she didn’t sound great. The entire band seemed like they didn’t want to be there and the lack of enthusiasm wasn’t faith-inspiring either. I hope if I see them again that I’m more impressed by them.

Vocals: 6
Crowd Response: 7
Overall Sound: 6
Band Activity: 3
Overall rating: 6

 

Sick Puppies:

Even though I’m not that big of a fan of Sick Puppies music, I absolutely love seeing them live. Despite being a three-piece, they rock harder than most bands there. Vocalist and guitarist Shimon Moore has a great voice and a knack for inciting the crowd, even early on in the day. Despite the short set, Sick Puppies easily put on one of the best sets of the weekend.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Die To Save You
2. Cancer
3. Riptide
4. There’s No Going Back
5. Gunfight
6. War
7. You’re Going Down

 

Lacuna Coil:

Unfortunately Welcome to Rockville had major overlaps throughout the course of the weekend. While most of them were easy to choose between, there were a few major clashes. This was one of them: Lacuna Coil versus Black Label Society. Ultimately it came down to the fact that BLS would be playing Carolina Rebellion the following weekend and Lacuna Coil wouldn’t, but man, come on, Rockville!

On the heels of the release of their new album, Broken Crown Halo, the band was set to put on one of the weekends best performances, even if they were dealt the poor hand of facing off against Zakk Wylde and company. Duel-vocalists don’t always have the best chemistry, especially in metal, but Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro are some of the best in the business. It was disappointing missing BLS, but Lacuna Coil was definitely worth it.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

 

Butcher Babies:

Butcher Babies are one of the more gimmicky bands on the bill. Like Lacuna Coil, Butcher Babies features a duel-vocalist core too. Unlike Lacuna Coil, they’re not very good. Vocalists Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey are great for interacting with the crowd, but past that their vocals just felt stale.

This was the second time I’d shot them (the other being Mayhem Fest 2013) but unfortunately they didn’t grow on me very much. They’re an entertaining shoot but past that there wasn’t much substance.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 7
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 7

 

Emmure:

I love to hate Emmure. It’s bad to say, but it’s true. Every time I hear an Emmure song, I tend to love half of it and despise the other half. Despite that, I’ve loved shooting them. I had the opportunity to at Mayhem Fest 2013 and Trespass America. They’ve definitely got one of the more unique sounds out there and it’s certainly not for everyone, myself included. But if you’re not going to have the most approachable sound, you should make sure your live show is good and that’s definitely the case for Emmure.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 8.5

 

Motionless in White:

Motionless in White is another one of those bands that, like Emmure, I love live but don’t really understand their sound. Vocalist Chris Cerulli has unbelievable stage presence and commanded their fans well. Despite the crowd dwindling substantially while being placed against hard rock juggernauts Five Finger Death Punch in the line up, Motionless in White did a great job of pumping their small but dedicated crowd up. A worthy show in support of their new album Reincarnate.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9.5
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Devil’s Night
2. Sick from the Melt
3. If It’s Dead, We’ll Kill It
4. Synthetic Love
5. Puppets 2 (The Rain)
6. Underdog
7. America

 

Rob Zombie:

Like Avenged Sevenfold, if you’ve seen Rob Zombie, you know exactly what his next show will be like. While Avenged will usually switch up their set list a bit and leave the rest of their show unchanged, Zombie’s set lists have largely remained the same for the last five years. While their covers of “We’re An American Band” and “Am I Evil” were great, the rest of the set was severely lacking. Thankfully, Zombie always sounds amazing.

One of the main positives of this set for me was how early in the night Zombie ended up playing. This led to a lot more natural light for photographing them, which is a welcome change for the normal show, which consists of blown out red lights and tons of fire. While Zombie remains one of the best-sounding performers out there, his lack of diversity in terms of set list is really making his live act stale. I really hope he switches it up soon.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 10

Set list:

1. We’re an American Band [Grand Funk Railroad cover]
2. Superbeast
3. Living Dead Girl
4. Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown
5. More Human Than Human
(White Zombie song)
6. Sick Bubble-Gum
7. Pussy Liquor
8. Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)
9. Am I Evil? [Diamond Head cover]
10. Thunder Kiss ’65 [White Zombie song]
11. Dragula

 

Korn:

I spent the better part of the last few months attempting to figure out why and how Korn was still popular enough to be a festival headliner. We all still love their hits, but despite new material (2013’s The Paradigm Shift) it’s hard to understand how they maintained the same level of acclaim that they once did. My assumption, whether or right or wrong, is that they’re something of a nostalgia factor, as Limp Bizkit was last year.

Despite the love I used to have for Korn, their live shows have gone drastically up and down the last few years. After a major rough patch, their shows seemed to have leveled off at a much higher quality of late. Thankfully.

While their shows are usually pretty basic in terms of aesthetics, vocalist Jonathan Davis sounded the best he has in many shows and their diverse set list certainly made their set more appealing as well. Ranging from old favorites like “Good God” and “Twist” to new songs like “Spike in my Veins” and “Never Never” it gave fans a nice mix of old and new while mixing in the fan favorites as well. Nostalgia was in full effect at Welcome to Rockville 2014 and Korn was a great finale for the weekend.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Falling Away from Me [Molested Intro]
2. Twist
3. Got the Life
4. Love & Meth
5. Spike in My Veins
6. Good God
7. Get Up!
8. Shoots and Ladders / Somebody Someone
9. Coming Undone
10. Here to Stay
11. Never Never
12. Freak on a Leash
13. Blind

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