Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Show Recap

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

The musical celebration continues to defy the elements, with the likelihood of a record-breaking attendance.


Despite facing scorching temperatures for the first two days of the 2024 Welcome To Rockville festival, the fervor of the gathered masses remained undeterred. As attendees braced themselves for the remaining two days, it became evident that nothing, not even Mother Nature's whims, would disrupt the planned festivities. Fortunately, relief arrived for the throngs of rock enthusiasts on Saturday, May 11, as temperatures settled comfortably in the mid-80s Fahrenheit, with the sun graciously easing its intensity.

Amongst the bands kicking off the day's celebration of sound would be the new alternative rock sensation and duo Nova Twins. Though starting their journey to present-day stardom as far back as 2014 and releasing music under the former moniker BRAATS, their 2022 debut offering functions as their de facto starting point, and it was well represented during their brief, 5-song set in the late hours of the morning.

Accompanied by renowned session drummer Jake Woodward (best known for his touring work with Muse), their blend of punk, rap, and pop influences was an early hit among the audience. Energetically moving about the stage and displaying an unapologetic blend of catchy hooks and eccentric, artsy stylings; guitarist/vocalist Amy Love and bassist Georgia South delivered their craft in high form, the former's often raspy yet versatile voice work running the gamut of 90s alternative rock personas from Courtney Love to Gwen Stefani while frequently wandering into very different territory. "Cleopatra", "Antagonist" and the ode to video gaming "Choose Your Fighter" were the definite standouts of a brief yet impressive performance.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

Moving from the trend of alternative stylings to rock with a harder and grittier edge would be Pottsville, Pennsylvania natives and stoner rock heavies Crobot. Often a staple of festivals like this one, the energy level they'd reach around the stroke of noon was practically off the chart, featuring a particularly kinetic showing by lead vocalist Brandon Yeagley, who seemed unable to hold still for a second as he proceeded to jump, swing the microphone by the cord, twirl the stand like a baton and a number of other animated gesticulations when not belting out the lyrics of each song.

Bassist Pat Seals – who also plays the four strings for Flyleaf – was no less auspicious in his stage movements while rocking the house shirtless with his long and copious beard, ditto their baseball cap-sporting guitarist Chris Bishop as he pounded out each signature, blues-drenched riff; though one would be remiss not to notice drummer's Dan Ryan face being invisible behind the swinging movement of his hair as he thunderously kept up with the rest of the band. Banger entries like "Dizzy", "Gasoline" and "Low Life" stole the show, though not a single dull moment occurred during their attitude-saturated showing.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

British retro hounds and no-frills rock ‘n' roll outfit The Struts would arrive next, giving a master class in melodic fanfare under the early afternoon sun. One couldn't help but speculate that lead vocalist Luke Spiller had some familial relation to Freddie Mercury given his similarly powerful and flamboyant presentation, keeping himself as the focal point of their set and having the crowd eating out of his hand before their first song had concluded.

Naturally, the solid riffage put forth by guitarist Adam Slack (his last name being an antonym for his performance), and the steady groove established by bassist Jed Elliot and drummer Gethin Davies were not far behind in terms of enthusiastic delivery and corresponding stage showmanship, channeling that signature attitude of the greats of the 70s and also the pizzazz of the glam-steeped 80s. Classic odes like the opening "Primadonna Like Me", "Too Good At Raising Hell" and especially the sing-along romp "Put Your Money On Me" were the highlights of a blast of a performance that saw thousands in the crowds singing and dancing along.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

The British invasion would continue on a more raucous note with the set delivered up by Worthing-born rock duo Royal Blood. To the uninitiated, the concept at play here bears a slight resemblance to the minimalist arrangement held in common by The White Stripes, though front man Mike Kerr's instrument of choice is the bass, which he seamlessly makes sound like a bass and guitar sounding out simultaneously through an aggressive performance and array of effects pedals, while partner in crime and drummer Ben Thatcher makes a mighty ruckus from behind the kit.

This power duo arrangement would occasionally be bolstered by the work of touring keyboardist Darren James from further back, but in terms of the stage show, Kerr and Thatcher made this a two-man extravaganza between their unconventional stylings and off-the-hook movements. From the loud and pulsing intensity of the opening foray "Out Of The Black", to other rocking yet unconventional entries like "Lights Out" and "Pull Me Through", their set would leave an impression for the rest of the day.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

Son of a colossal and now sadly fallen icon, guitarist and vocalist Wolfgang Van Halen, would be next to shake the pillars beneath Daytona Beach via his project Mammoth WVH. Now sporting a much longer mane and his signature husky build, Wolf would bring the energy in spades to a swelled-to-capacity crowd below. Flanked by his touring mates, consisting of fellow guitarist Frank Sidoris and Jon Jourdan, with bassist Ronnie Ficarro, and drummer Garrett Whitlock bringing the precision-based noise from the rear, what they'd bring to the table was an exercise in stellar musicianship and stage presence, further dispelling the potential notion that Wolf wouldn't be in his present place in the hard rock food chain without the pedigree of his surname.

Their comparatively short set would span both entries from their two existing studio albums, with opening cruiser and mouthful "Another Celebration at The End Of The World", "Like A Pastime" and "Take A Bow" being my personal favorites, delivering up a sound that is unmistakably modern and in line with present-day rock trends, but possessed of a similar spirit to the glory days of Wolf's namesake.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

The air of nostalgia would thicken considerably as the afternoon progressed, typified by the entry of 90s alternative rock legends Stone Temple Pilots. Often seen as the odd ones out during the height of the grunge craze, they have lost nothing in terms of delivering a heavy experience in the years since, sounding all but like an absolute ringer of their former selves during the days of 1992's debut Core and its legendary follow up Purple.

Vocalist Jeff Gutt proved a master in not only channeling the spirit of original helmsman Scott Weiland, but also in crowd work as he was observed repeatedly descending to the photo pit via an aluminum ladder from center stage, delivering the lion's share of radio hit and banger "Vasoline" and segments of other entries right from the barricade. The DeLeo brothers and drummer Eric Kretz would be similarly charismatic from their positions on the stage, as the classic odes "Wicked Garden", "Plush", "Big Empty" and especially the rousing concluding rendition of "Sex Type Thing" brought ceaseless cheers from the frenzied audience.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

The flavor of things would become a bit more nonchalant with the chunky grooves of Nashville natives All Them Witches. Sporting their unique mix of psychedelic rock, blues, and a sludgy edge; they brought what could be best described as a dense yet almost static presentation that was an interesting change of pace from the largely animated performances of similarly styled retro rocking acts earlier in the day. One couldn't help but notice the lack of movement among the entire quartet – especially in comparison with the on-stage demeanor of the bands that preceded them – with bassist/vocalist Charles Parks Jr. and guitarist/vocalist Ben McLeod staying close to their microphones and focusing on their instruments, but it was a fitting visual given the spacey character of the songs they presented during their performance.

This was a performance where musicianship took precedence over theatricality, as underscored by the showing put forth by keyboardist Allan Van Cleave as he shifted back and forth between the keys and the violin to further deepen the aesthetic of a quartet of music storytellers in a rustic setting. "When God Comes Back" and "Enemy of My Enemy" would be the highlights of their set, but the entire medley of quasi-meditative rockers culminated in a uniform experience greeted with the dutiful attention of the audience.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

The eccentricity levels would be launched into the proverbial stratosphere as the afternoon wore on and the quirky antics of progressive rock veterans Primus took center stage. Embodying every trait of the quintessential power trio from virtuoso musicianship to a full-bodied sound that most bands with five or more members wish they could attain, they effortlessly cycled through an 8-song set of their most well-known blends of disparate musical stylings and comedic bordering on nonsensical narratives.

At the center of it all was bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, sporting one of the most bizarre outfits to ever grace a Florida stage during such an early and hot hour, as he effortlessly slapped and popped funky virtuosic bass lines that have undoubtedly been frustrating bass students for the past 30 years, with Larry LaLonde wailing away on the guitar in a fashion no less distinctive, and long time drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander bringing up the rear with a drumming display reminiscent of Neil Peart. It was hard to miss how crazy the crowd went during the zany performances of "Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver", "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver" and especially the show-closing rendition of "My Name Is Mud".

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

The largely retro character of the day was broken in the later afternoon in favor of a modern metallic edge when metalcore mainstays A Day To Remember took the reins. Though it has now been roughly 3 years since last being granted the privilege of photographing them at the Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2021, the level of popularity that they enjoyed this time around had comparatively skyrocketed to the point of being jarring.

A massive crowd congregated and embodied every possible facet of audience participation, replete with frenzied crowd-surfing coming at security from all angles, to speak nothing for the veritable sea of voices singing along with every chorus section. Vocalist Jeremy McKinnon was a pinnacle of showmanship, rushing about the stage and revving things up at every opportunity while guitarists Neil Westfall and Kevin Skaff delivered pummeling riffs with their heads perpetually banging. Hitting just about every base of what might be dubbed typical post-hardcore for the past 20 years, compact and utterly infectious anthems like "The Downfall Of Us All", "Miracle" and "Have Faith In Me" were apex points of a finely tuned 12-song set, one that certainly left the ever-participating crowds gasping for a break.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

Such kinetic energy level would be dialed back a tad while losing none of the aggression factor with the arrival of sludge-steeped progressive rockers Baroness. Their more drawn-out craft and punchy take on dirty rocking was a welcome change of pace, descending as a sludgy maelstrom of fuzzy guitars, frantic drumming, and busy bass work, rounded up with the signature raspy voice of John Baizley commanding the entire delivery.

Lead guitarist Gina Gleason was her usual expressive self, head-banging her way through every song during heavy passages and tapering off to a slow, static sway during the more subdued parts. The rest of the band was no less enthusiastic in how they put their entire bodies into every note and beat that was struck. Though their performance overlapped with the massive aforementioned showing of A Day To Remember, the crowd that they attracted was similarly massive and about as boisterous, as their responses to entries like "Last Word", "March To The Sea", "Shock Me" and especially the show closing banger performance of "Isak" being especially of note.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

The retro rock vibes would return with a vengeance courtesy of Michigan-born sensation Greta Van Fleet. The utterly insane size of the multitude that they would attract might as well have been the entirety of the festival's attendees, to speak nothing for the noise it would generate as this wildly popular outfit proceeded to cycle through their 7-song medley of 1970s-oriented odes.

Though they've opted for what one might dub a more sophisticated look, most notably the stylish haircut of frontman Josh Kiszka, it wasn't reflected in the youthful exuberance they'd bring to the stage. Then again, this new look did bring along a performance that was a bit more polished and professional, with Josh's former vocal problems being a thing of the past as he wailed his way through each song in Robert Plant-like fashion. Their production show proved plenty elaborate, with explosions of confetti following their opening rendition of "The Falling Sky", and the instrumental prowess of the fold was on full display during their performance of "Safari Song", preceded by an extended and highly impressive drum solo by Daniel Wagner and a sweet acoustic intro to segue into the body of the song. The entire set was a rock-solid affair, though the screams and adulation from the female-dominated audience at every single thing they did occasionally overpowered the actual music in a fashion reminiscent of Beatlemania.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

With the evening now coming into view and the masses swelling to their utmost, the arrival of Queens Of The Stone Age would up the ante even further. To say that Josh Homme and company brought the goods would be an understatement, and the 13-song slough that they'd deliver to a capacity crowd from what was essentially the second stage of importance was one for the ages.

The heaviness and edge steaming from their presentation was greater than usual, sometimes bordering on metallic in character, and the corresponding movement from band and audience alike reflected the explosive energy that was being exchanged. Right from the ultra-catchy beginnings of "No One Knows", through the resounding hurrah of "A Song for The Dead", it was an earthshattering affair, with other noteworthy performances of banger entries "Paper Machete", "I Appear Missing" and the good-natured with a whimsical edge of a song "Make It Wit Chu" standing tall upon the mount of a highly consistent and compelling performance.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

The night sky now firmly hanging in the air and the anticipation at a boiling point following the succession of amazing acts, the headliner of the day, rock legends Foo Fighters would bring it all to a head. It's a silly affair at this point to emphasize David Grohl's incredible achievements and success after the ending of his tenure with Nirvana, roughly 30 years to the day – a journey certainly sprinkled with personal losses, tragedies, and catharsis – yet he and his bandmates would enter the stage as if they still had something to prove.

The poignancy of longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins' passing two years prior still hung in the air as Josh Freeze manned the kit and gave his all to fill the mighty shoes he'd been placed in, while guitarist Pat Smear and bassist Nate Mendel moved about the stage amid a sea of elaborate lighting and stage effects. Signature classics from this band's extensive back catalog like "My Hero" – dedicated to Wolfgang & Eddie Van Halen –, "Learn to Fly", "Monkey Wrench", "Aurora"- honoring Taylor Hawkins – and the concluding blast of "Everlong," with a booming dedication to the fans and the festival by Grohl, were staples of their 21-songs massive setlist. Comedic high jinks were also a key feature, with Wolfgang Van Halen appearing to deliver a rendition of "Eruption" (which Grohl goofily mimed before the former was revealed), and even a snippet of "Stairway to Heaven" was played while security dealt with an issue in the crowd. But above all else, it was a moving show by a band that has weathered any possible life storms, and both fans and casual listeners alike should have been proud to have witnessed it all.

Welcome To Rockville 2024: Day Three Recap

A more varied and musically nuanced day ended with the last note of Foo Fighters, and unless my eyes deceived me, Welcome to Rockville 2024 is well on its way to breaking attendance records. With a slight and needed reprieve from the merciless heat that flirted with Sub-Saharan temperatures during the opening day, Saturday only served to bring the expectations even higher. How the bands and the staff hope to outdo what has already been accomplished remains to be seen, but as with prior installments of this event, they always seem to find a way to beat the odds, and in this particular case also the heat. 

Show Comments / Reactions

You May Also Like

Show Recap

Overcast skies witness the final musical hurrah.

Show Recap

Modern grooves and visual showmanship take over the second day.

Tour Dates

Danny Wimmer Presents have revealed the full lineup for Welcome to Rockville, and it's pretty massive. The festival takes place May 19-22 at the...

Latest News

Including Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Disturbed, Mudvayne, and more.