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Rockfest: a sound revision

By JULIE GARISTO
Published April 26, 2007


98 Rockfest

Gates open at 11 a.m. Sunday, in the parking lot south of Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $39.98-$50. (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100.

 

Mention 98 Rock's annual music festival, formerly known as Livestock, and you'll get sighs and some outlandish tales of debauchery. Programming director Doubledown denies it ever got that bad. "The Livestock legend has become like a game of telephone," he says. Exaggerations or not, 98 Rock (WXTB-FM 97.9) has changed the name and entire setup of the show. "Rockfest is a rebirth, something totally different," Mike Oliviero, the station's promotions director, says. What's different? Rockfest will be in the parking lot at Raymond James Stadium, not in a field in Zephyrhills. It's a one-day event, not three, so there's no camping overnight. Two identical stages will be set up side by side, so fans don't have to wait too long between sets. Don't expect a lot of extra hoopla, like bikini contests and prize drawings. According to Doubledown, Rockfest focuses more on rock and less on fest: "It's a rock concert." Sunday's lineup features acts the station plays in heavy rotation. Our faves:

CHEVELLE

4 to 4:50 p.m.

They're loud, powerful and insanely dynamic.

Pete Loeffler (guitar, vocals), Dean Bernardini (bass) and Sam Loeffler (drums) drive in all sorts of directions but will get you home safe and sound with dense rock, punk, metal, power ballads and tight rhythms. Fans of Tool and Helmet will especially enjoy the ride.

Formed in 1995, Chevelle produces swaths of sound but allows blistering metal touchstones to pop out.

The Chicago guys' latest release, Vena Sera, places more emphasis on harmonies and catchy choruses, and their single Well Enough Alone is the perfect example of this potent combo.

Bernardini joined the band in August 2005, replacing original member Joe Loeffler. Bernardini is the Loefflers' brother-in-law. So it's still a family affair.

Famed Nirvana producer and fellow Chicagoan Steve Albini even tinkered with Chevelle's sound. He produced their 1999 indie CD, Point #1.

THREE DAYS GRACE

7 to 7:50 p.m.

The Canadian alt-metal-grungers revel in the alienation of being alone in a crowd. It's therapeutic stuff that heals the angry adolescent inside, regardless of age. Tunes build up to cathartic bursts, coaxed along by chunky riffs and plaintive vocals.

The emotional purging reaches fever pitch on Three Days Grace's second album, One X, released last June. It has gone platinum in Canada and is well on its way to duplicating that success here. Adam Gontier (vocals, guitar) says the album arose from the hard lessons learned while touring for two years.

Also in the band are new member Barry Stock (guitar), pictured at right, and co-founding members Brad Walst (bass) and Neil Sanderson (drums). Gontier, Walst and Sanderson started out in a quintet called Groundswell in 1992 in Ontario and formed Three Days Grace in '97.

Their breakout hit (I Hate) Everything About You got their 2003 self-titled debut signed to EMI, the label their far-removed, punk ancestors, the Sex Pistols, lambasted on Never Mind the Bullocks.

Recent hits Pain and Animal I Have Become have reached No. 1 on U.S. Billboard charts.

Soundwise, their influences are far-flung: Joni Mitchell to Sunny Day Real Estate to Black Sabbath to Nirvana.

HINDER

8 to 9 p.m.

Oklahoma quintet Hinder is not held back by its members' gender. The guys play songs about lost love that make the girls swoon, but they remember to stiffen the upper lip at crucial points. The aggression comes through during their choruses and arena rock solos.

It's a winning FM-radio formula, folks.

Austin Winkler (vocals), Joe "Blower" Garvey (guitar), Mark King (guitar), Mike Rodden (bass) and Cody Hanson (drums) perform in a style that's less about hopping up and down and looking like Limp Bizkit and more about being rock stars in the traditional Keith Richards sense. Image wise, they resemble the Black Crowes more than the punk-inspired bands at Rockfest.

The sex 'n' drugs thing really comes to fore on their current CD, Extreme Behavior. The cover shows off a young woman in red lingerie, and inside are the hits Get Stoned and Lips of an Angel.

Hinder combines power and angst with acoustic guitars and bluesy vocals. Weezer-style, boyish vocal phrasing so prevalent in modern rock pops up every now and then to remind you what category these guys ultimately belong to.

And they have a weird thing in common with Kiss: a Hinder Army. Maybe that fan club should come up with Kiss-style makeup. How about artificial tears drawn on in response to the band's emotional lyrics? Yeah, like those clowns in Venice carnivals.

 

Rest of the Schedule

DROPPING DAYLIGHT

11:35 to 11:55 a.m.

The young Minneapolis band has the same aggressive, emotive style as the rest of the bill, but dabbles in '70 pop influences and piano to keep things interesting.

BLACK STONE CHERRY

Noon to 12:20 p.m.

These Kentucky boys stir up a metal kettle of modern rock, grunge and classic Southern rock.

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE

12:25 to 12:55 p.m.

Metal and punk are mixed up Welsh-style.

SALIVA

1 to 1:50 p.m.

The rap-metal Memphis band whets your whistle with rich harmonies.

DAUGHTRY

2 to 2:50 p.m.

Chris Daughtry of American Idol fame still emotes to the high heavens, now with a tight and dynamic rock band backing him up.

PUDDLE OF MUDD

3 to 3:50 p.m.

If you step into this Kansas City band, you'll get Nirvana, Tool, Limp Bizkit and Alice in Chains all over your shoes.

PAPA ROACH

5 to 5:50 p.m.

Grandpapas of the bunch, the Northern California guys got together in 1993 and were among the first to take the aggression of rap and metal and fuse them into one sonic assault. Now they seduce fans with the sprawling big-rock sound on their latest CD, Paramour Sessions.

BUCKCHERRY

6 to 6:50 p.m.

There'll be no shortage of anthems today, but Buckcherry will be head of the brigade.

Contact Julie Garisto at jgaristo@sptimes.com