FeaturesMay 25, 20239,184 views

Lambgoat Goes To: Welcome To Rockville

lambgoat goes to rockville 23

Welcome To Rockville
By David Truax

The annual Danny Wimmer Presents festival: Welcome To Rockville continues to evolve year to year showcasing a diverse lineup. As the years go by, Rockville not only brings more mainstream rock and heavy bands to the forefront but also bridges the gap by including smaller, lesser-known acts from the metal and hardcore scenes. The festival's ability to unite these two worlds creates a unique experience for heavy music fans, combining the best of both realms.

Thursday kicked off with an early start as we made our way to Daytona, FL. Our main objective was to interview and see the Massachusetts hardcore legends, Converge. Jacob Bannon shared his insights and experiences, giving us a glimpse into the band's world. As we wrapped up the interview, a weather delay hit, disrupting the schedule and forcing us to seek shelter in our car until the sky cleared. Thankfully, the delay was temporary, and we soon found ourselves back in the festival grounds, exploring the revamped layout and checking out the merchandise tent.

Johnathan L. Peters

While waiting for Converge's rescheduled performance, we took the opportunity to listen to Bullet For My Valentine on the Space Zebra stage, grab some refreshments, and catch a glimpse of Puscifer featuring Maynard James Keenan. Witnessing Puscifer's unique stage show was both surprising and entertaining, showcasing Keenan's frontman charisma and the exceptional drumming skills of Gunnar Olsen.

Finally, the moment arrived, and Converge took the stage. The time change worked in their favor, resulting in a memorable performance that resonated with the crowd. Watching them deliver their hardcore intensity in an outdoor setting was a testament to the festival's ability to showcase extreme music within a mainstream rock atmosphere. With Slipknot closing out the night, their theatrical showmanship enthralled the audience, proving why they remain a force to be reckoned with still today.

Johnathan L. Peters

Friday brought a slower start, but we made it just in time to catch Born Of Osiris and Varials, both delivering powerful performances to mid-day crowds. As the day progressed, we experienced the polished sounds of Memphis May Fire and Motionless In White, who have successfully expanded their appeal to a broader audience while pushing the boundaries of metalcore. It was fascinating to witness fans of all ages, young and old, passionately singing along to their lyrics, proving that music transcends generational gaps.

While waiting for Friday's headliner we caught parts of Evanescence's Amy Lee belting out her radio hits while trying to secure more adult beverages in the VIP area. Hardy brought up A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon onstage for a collaboration of the country singer/songwriter's single "Radio Song".

Johnathan L. Peters

However, the second day's highlight was undoubtedly Avenged Sevenfold, making their first festival appearance in five years. Although not a personal favorite, their performance was undeniably captivating, and it was impossible not to appreciate their talent and showmanship. Witnessing "Bat Country" live was a pretty neat moment as someone who is mainly familiar with the band's earlier stuff.

Johnathan L. Peters

Saturday started early in the midday sun with Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster, who showcased their resilience and passion, overcoming obvious challenges to deliver an energetic set. The scorching heat made the day even more intense, but that didn't deter us from catching The Bronx, Kreator, Sepultura, and Suicide Silence. Each band commanded the stage, drawing large crowds and spawning multiple mosh and circle pits.

Johnathan L. Peters

Knocked Loose, fresh off their triumphant Coachella performance, continued pushing hardcore boundaries this time at a Rockfest, leaving a lasting impression on the enthusiastic audience. And then there was Pantera—legendary, powerful, and incendiary. Their performance set the stage ablaze, captivating the tens of thousands in attendance. Whatever side of the reunion debate you stand on, if Pantera stops near you, take the opportunity to go see it. Even if you think it's "not real Pantera", just shut the fuck up for 2 seconds, swallow your elitist pride, and go watch it. True, Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante are not Dimebag Daryl or Vinnie Paul, but they are top-notch musicians and certainly aren't chumps. Admittedly, I am far from a fan of Pantera, however, this was still a highlight of the festival for me.

Johnathan L. Peters

On Sunday at Rockville, the day began early, arriving around 2 pm to catch Angel Du$t, who feature members from Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice. Justice Tripp, the band's vocalist, was as cold as ice, even sporting a gold grill, in the Sunshine State heat while jumping into the crowd slinging the band's newest singles. Following that, during Senses Fail's set Buddy stripped down and ran through the crowd during a brief rain storm while the band performed a nu-metal medley that included songs like "Chop Suey!," "Down With The Sickness," "Break Stuff," and "Bulls On Parade."

Johnathan L. Peters

Pennywise and Attila played on the same side of the festival grounds during the same time slot, resulting in a mob of fans. We chose to see Attila, having seen Pennywise at Rockville the year before. Vocalist Chris "Fronz" Fronzak has a commanding presence and the ability to connect with the Attila fanbase. Fronz directed a massive circle pit that encompassed the sound booth, leaving even the sound engineers a bit startled. The dust cloud above the mosh pit never died during the performance. Before heading to the other side of the festival, we did manage to catch the fading sounds of Pennywise performing "Bro Hymn" as we moved on to the next set.

As the evening progressed, the events became somewhat blurry due to various factors, including but not limited to the possible consumption of adult beverages. However, I think the festival's lineup was reaching its peak, starting with The Mars Volta. The band delivered a mind-blowing performance, playing five tracks, beginning with "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)." Being my first time seeing The Mars Volta live, the short-lived experience left me in awe.

Johnathan L. Peters

Afterward, we made our way to the restroom and beer tent to refuel, but we did manage to catch a portion of Coheed & Cambria's set while in VIP, which, luckily for me included the throwback "A Favor House Atlantic". Incubus was up next on a different stage, once again a trek across the entire festival. I was a fan of Incubus in my early music journey years, and their original releases leading up to A Crow Left of the Murder remain in current rotation. So I was very excited that the setlist was packed with early material, including singles like "Privilege," "Circles," "The Warmth," "Pardon Me," "Stellar," and "Drive."

Following Incubus, it was time for the highly anticipated festival closing performances by Deftones followed by Tool, resulting in a near-religious experience. Deftones, a personal highlight, played an incredible setlist spanning their extensive discography, showcasing their musical talent and frontman Chino Moreno's captivating stage presence. For the second time since 2019, Tool closed out the festival, with Maynard donning drag for the first time in years. The band played for nearly two hours, with 1/3 of the set being used to perform singles from the band's latest album, Fear Inoculum, though they also reached back for older tracks like "Forty-Six & 2," "Stinkfist," "Push It," and "The Grudge" as well. I am unsure how you'd top the final day closing out like that. Deftones into Tool? Sign me up, every time. 

Johnathan L. Peters

Throughout the weekend, there was always something to see, whether it was covering bands for the website or enjoying guilty pleasures from the past. Welcome To Rockville Festival, organized by Danny Wilmer Presents, has grown to become a prime example of a crossover event for heavy music, catering to fans who discovered heavy music through various entry points. The festival's lineup encompasses a wide array of genres, and DWP's efforts to showcase up-and-coming bands and ultimately introduce fans of classic metal staples like Alice Cooper to newer acts like Knocked Loose are to be applauded.


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simon_belmont 334 days ago

Needs more about going to the bathroom

PatrickBateman 334 days ago

So you are saying that Justice was still cold in a heatwave…

anonymous 329 days ago

Less talk about bathroom and beer and post converge and deftones sets

anonymous 322 days ago

You forgot to mention the VIP section more and how many blowjobs you have out. And we're they forced or consensual.