This is a second in our daily recaps for the festival events written and photographed by Joel Barrios. In case you missed the article for day one, you can read it here.
The one drawback to the concept of an outdoor festival of any sort, and also the greatest fear of fan and promoter alike, is the scourge of an unwelcome change in climate activity and no event is immune to it. With such an impressive array of heavy-hitters having been booked to fill out its four day extravaganza that played a major hand in reviving the live music scene following the COVID lockdowns, the sky seemed to be the limit in terms of what the average concertgoer was poised to experience during the second day of Welcome to Rockville, though sadly it would be the sky itself that saw fit to limit things to a lesser than expected result.
Riding high off the euphoria generated from a successful first day out of four and poised to outdo the record attendance that was achieved the previous year, 2022’s version of this celebration of sonic splendor entered its second day without much of a hitch. Kicking things off on the Octane stage was the Stephenville, Texas-based quintet Giovannie & The Hired Guns, an outfit that one might mistake for a Suicidal Tendencies-styled thrash/crossover outfit, but in actuality are a promising new face in the modern melodic rock scene with a country twist. Spearheaded by the husky and gravelly voice of helmsman Giovannie Yanez and an enthusiast blend of seriousness and humor, the crowd warmed to their concise and catchy repertoire immediately, with their latest single “I Don’t Mind” eliciting the biggest response. A more enthusiastic response would be claimed a half hour later on the Space Zebra Stage by rising rock star with a pop edge and Boston-born Diamante, balancing heavy riffs with a highly infectious set of radio-friendly hooks that resulted in constant audience participation, particularly during their rendition of the Goo Goo Dolls’ hit “Iris”.
As the afternoon progressed, the lighter and comparatively bouncy vibes that entered with Day Two's instigation began to give way to heavier fair. Forbidding nu-metal newcomers DED brought the fury at the Octane stage with painted faces and grungy attire, despite having to perform as a 3-piece with no bassist present, and left a high energy aura at the first appearance at Rockville. True to the psychedelic trappings of its name, the Space Zebra stage saw a brilliant blend of classic southern rock trappings with some strong Alice In Chains overtones with the set put on by Texas quartet Blacktop Mojo, replete with soaring vocals courtesy of front man Matt James and impressive guitar solo gymnastics by axe-man Chuck Wepfer. Meanwhile, as the afternoon began to wane an air of older alternative metal gravitas and seriousness would hit the Octane stage with Sevendust, with the level of energy and crowd response being rivaled by a truly poignant moment just prior to their performance of "Rumble Fish" as vocalist Lajon Witherspoon made a heartfelt dedication to a recently deceased friend.
As the evening drew close, so too did the looming clouds of a coming storm, and what had been a solid continuation of the brilliance of yesterday was put on hold, with the festival ground vacated as the thunderstorms made presence. Undaunted, the huddled and drenched masses waited through a near 2-hour delay of passing showers and lightning until the show continued with classic rock-tinged sludge doomers Baroness riding the Space Zebra stage and bringing the house with no walls down, albeit via a shortened set with upbeat banger "Take My Bones Away" and the spacey cruiser "Shock Me" being the highlight moments. Though the pinnacle of auditory aggression would be reached at the DWPresents stage courtesy of deathcore pioneers Whitechapel, the Octane stage would become the center of attention with the entry of long-running post-grunge trustees Seether, who managed to field an entire set despite all of the setbacks and had their vast audience roaring to the angst-steeped refrains of radio hits "Broken," "Rise Above This" and show closer "Remedy".
The insurmountable desire of the fans for more following a respectable restart to facilities unfortunately proved futile as the weather continued to reap havoc upon Daytona, Florida. Taking their place upon the Space Zebra stage, veteran industrial metal icons Ministry would commence what would be a short yet valiant last stand that featured riveting renditions of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" and their fast-paced 1989 crusher "Burning Inside," though only four songs deep and in the midst of revving things up further with their early 90s breakout hit "N.W.O." the sky-shattering roars of Thor's lightning bolts would put the final nail in the coffin of what became the de facto headlining performance of the day. For his part, Uncle Al Jourgensen took the blow with a balance of humor and stoicism, as he wrapped up his announcement that the show was over with a laconic "They have told us we have to stop. Listen to them. We tried. Mother Nature 1, Ministry 0," a fitting final thought on the proverbial winds being taken out of everyone's sails as they were still roaring everywhere else.
If the two years of forced isolation has taught the music world of anything, it is that moments of defeat such as these should never become the final word. Call it naïve optimism on the part of a lifelong rock and metal junkie who continues to search for "Just One (More) Fix" (pun intended), but this fan sees times of deflated elation as an opportunity for philosophical reflection. The road always seems dark when one braves the uncertain climate of coastal Florida expecting an explosion of excellence as only the likes of Megadeth and Korn can deliver and come away with a partial picture of the acts billed just before them and a drenched t-shirt, to speak nothing for the looming specter of a similar forecast for tomorrow, but in the almighty words of the dearly departed Freddy Mercury, "The Show Must Go On".