A big lineup served as the inaugural annual Big Orlando Music Festival at Central Florida Fairgrounds. Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Young The Giant, New Politics, Big Data, Bear Hands, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Dirty Heads, Sleeper Agent, Knox Hamilton, Kasson, The Crazy Carls, A Hero’s Fate, The Hip Abduction, Felicity, and Bothering Dennis, all donned the schedule which set the tone for a promising day of fun and loud.
The cold Florida air and light rain didn’t keep us from staying the entire day to experience this event as a whole. Big Data, Young The Giant, J. Roddy, and Weezer topped the chart of our favorite performances. Jeff was onsite taking some fantastic photos, like this one of Weezer (see a bunch more below).
Knox Hamilton and Bear Hands got things off to a bright start in the middle of the day on the Monster Energy sponsored Main Stage. I’m still partial to Bear Hand’s breakout single, “Giants.” The crowd was certainly clapping along through the intro before the band broke out into “Two Words!”
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I then caught The Hip Abduction, who I’m newly obsessed with after catching them open for Passafire a week earlier at The Social. They take percussion to a new level of fun and energy. That capture the audience through their passion and caused festival goers to stop dead in their tracks to observe and ask “Who the F is that?!” Luckily for Orlando, they are somewhat local, stemming from St. Petersburg, FL, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them soon.
Big Data was a pleasant surprise. Prior to their performance at The Big Orlando, I had only heard their single “Dangerous” which has steadily carried them to semi-mainstream popularity. They played their single last in their set, as expected. However, the standout was a new song they performed titled, “The Business Of Emotion.” Wow. That song fucking hit hard and stung. My friend and I agreed that Big Data is a more electronic version of Muse with a stunning female co-lead vocalist.
Sleeper Agent performed next on the Jagermeister sponsored stage and lit the audience up with their electrically charged indie rock. Frontwoman Alex Kandel knows how to move and get people moving. The last time I caught them was at Warped Tour at the same fairgrounds.
The Dirty Heads performed a fantastic version of their hit, “My Sweet Summer,” and I found understanding as to why Martin enjoys them so much, and wrote a raving review about their last Orlando show at The Beacham. Here’s a video I caught of them on the Shows I Go To Instagram.
Roddy Walston & The Business fucking blew me away. The night had fully set in. The cold was creeping lower and lower down the temperature gauge but J. Roddy was high on fire! I’ve been hooked on J. Roddy ever since I heard his single “Heavy Bells.” Now watching his mid-back length hair swing around as his rocked out on his piano was as Rock and Roll as you could get. He’s someone surely not to miss on tour.
Young The Giant stole the show. Hands down. The passion that frontman Sameer Gadhia pours out is simply spine-chilling. All the while he remains on key. Me and about ten thousand other freezing fans were warming up together, shouting the words to “My Body” at the top of our lungs. Throughout the bridge, we were swaying our arms back and forth and reaching higher and higher into the air as if there were a field of energy above us and we yearned to reach it again and again, recharging our souls with every touch.
We caught the majority of New Politics’ set before heading to find the right spot for Weezer. We’ve caught New Politics a few times this year – New Politics in Tampa, FL on July 26, 2014, New Politics in Orlando, FL on January 18. 2014, so we have a lot of love for those dudes.
I was beside myself excited about seeing Weezer for the first time. I’ve been a fan for almost two decades and never seemed to cross paths with Rivers Cuomo and Co. Tonight was my night. Tonight was all of our night. “Hash Pipe” rang loud and clear through the damp cold air to get things started.
Tonight was also Alex Kendel of Sleeper Agents’ night! Cuomo invited her out to perform a new song, “Go Away,” about halfway through their set. As we moved through favorites like “Beverly Hills,” “Island In The Sun,” and “Say It Ain’t So,” it became clear that they were preparing us for a big ending, fitting for the Big O. And after “Pork And Beans” they gave it to us, loud:
“Undone (The Sweater Song)” followed by an encore of “Buddy Holly.” We howled and howled and smiled and sang loud as we could. All those years, all those songs, all came together and that’s for all time. 😉
Fall Out Boy are showman. They focus each song as an individual event and makes their sets unique and entertaining. They fucking blew the roof off the stage and sent everyone spiraling down a nostalgia-generated rabbit hole, complete with cheshire grins on our faces. A perfect way to end the night. Light em up!
The Big Orlando is something I feel I will look forward to perpetually now. If this inaugural year’s lineup is any indicator of future years’ expectations, this will be a festival to stick around for a nice, long time. It’s exactly what Orlando needed.
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