Rockstar Disrupt Festival | Festival Stage w/ Sleeping With Sirens, Andy Black, Four Year Strong, Memphis May Fire, and Juliet Simms | Photos + Review

Rockstar Disrupt Festival – Festival Stage

Venue: Five Point Amphitheatre on 7/20/19

Entering into the amphitheater and seeing a familiar layout, it felt like a return to form for me. I went to the Vans Warped Tour yearly with my Dad from 2011 – 2018 so seeing the Five Point Amphitheater with merch tents and a Rockstar booth, I felt like a new tradition starting that still held close ties to the previous one. The Rockstar Disrupt Festival had two tiers of bands: the festival stage bands and the main stage bands. On my date, however, all of the bands played on the same stage. So, the festival stage bands were treated like Kings and Queens for a day.

I unfortunately missed Hyro the Hero, due to a family emergency, but arrived just in time to catch Juliet Simms. Juliet Simms was in a few bands but really hit it big once she competed on the reality competition show “The Voice” where she placed second. Since then, she has garnered a large following, especially in the Warped Tour and alternative scenes, which lead to her signing to Sumerian Records in 2019. She has released 3 albums over her career, which she showcased in her 6-song set. Juliet pleasantly surprised me with her stage presence and vocal style. I would describe her musical style as a mixture of alternative rock, indie rock, and pop rock. Her vocals are very raspy, and I was thoroughly impressed. I was slightly getting some Janis Joplin vibes. Her backing band consisted of drummer Lindsay Martin, guitarist Evan Potter, and bassist Justus Dixon. Juliet put her heart on that stage, and I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.

SETLIST

  1. 100 Little Deaths
  2. Say Hello
  3. Trouble Finds You
  4. Take Me
  5. Wild Child
  6. Bad Love

Next up was Memphis May Fire from Denton, Texas. Memphis May Fire is one of the first bands I got into when I was getting more into metalcore. When I found out that I would finally be photographing them, I was ecstatic to say the least. Memphis May Fire brought out songs from five of their six albums for their set, showcasing how diverse of a band they are. I personally got to photograph them during one of my favorite songs in their entire discography “Prove Me Right” from their 2012 release “Challenger”, which is still the bands bestselling record to date, reaching 16 on the top 200 Billboard Charts. Memphis May Fire would best be described as on the border between metalcore and post-hardcore, with some songs more on the hard rock side. The current lineup consists of vocalist Matty Mullens, lead guitarist Kellen McGregor, bassist Cory Elder, drummer Jake Garland, and touring rhythm guitarist Samuel Penner. Not only does Memphis May Fire truly slay in terms of sound, their stage presence was insane. I always love seeing Memphis May Fire and am so glad I finally got the chance to photograph them!

SETLIST

  1. The Old Me
  2. Prove Me Right
  3. Carry On
  4. No Ordinary Love
  5. Heavy Is The Weight
  6. Vices
  7. The Sinner

The next band up was Four Year Strong from Worcester, Massachusetts. Their sound is commonly referred to as “Easycore”, as they mix pop punk with post-hardcore and melodic hardcore. Coming on after Memphis May Fire would be hard for many bands to top. But, despite not moving to much, no one could deny Four Year Strong’s sound was truly amazing that day. They played four songs from their 2010 album “Enemy of the World”, which is still their bestselling album to date. Along with those four songs, they played two songs from their 2015 self-titled album “Four Year Strong”, two songs from their 2007 album “Rise or Die Trying”, and one from their 2014 EP “Go Down In History”. This band has had a long history in the scene, and the reason for their popularity is shown through their catchy music with riff-heavy melodic verses and choruses mixed with breakdowns. I have lived for Four Year Strong for years and am so glad to see them still going strong.

SETLIST

  1. Maniac (R.O.D.)
  2. Go Down In History
  3. Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die
  4. What the Hell is a Gigawatt?
  5. Who Cares?
  6. Find My Way Back
  7. It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now
  8. We All Float Down Here
  9. Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)

Andy Black came up to the stage next. Andy Black is also known as Andy Biersack or as his previous stage name “Andy Six”. I used to listen to his band Black Veil Brides almost religiously, but even though I don’t listen to them anymore, I was looking forward to seeing what he had to offer in a solo performance. While Black Veil Brides’ sound centers around hard rock and heavy metal, Andy’s solo music is a good mixture of alternative rock, pop rock, and synth pop. Andy played a 7-song setlist, showcasing songs from his’ two albums “The Ghost of Ohio”, which was released in 2019 via Republic Records, and “The Shadow Side” which was released in 2016 via Republic Records. He also played a Billy Idol cover, which was pretty cool to hear. During the first song of his’ set, Andy went into the crowd and hi fived a bunch of the crowd members. It was cool to see him interacting with fans and truly engaging with the crowd. The support band behind him consists of drummer Sage Webber, bassist Niles Gibbs, and guitarist Lonny Eagleton. Although I am not the biggest Andy Black fan in the world, I was still thoroughly impressed by his’ showmanship and his musical style!

SETLIST

  1. Ribcage
  2. They Don’t Need To Understand
  3. Stay Alive
  4. Westwood Road
  5. Dancing With Myself (Billy Idol Cover)
  6. Ghost of Ohio
  7. We Don’t Have To Dance

Closing out the Festival Stage was Sleeping With Sirens from Orlando, Florida. Sleeping With Sirens, like Memphis May Fire, was one of the first bands I got into in the scene. I fell in love with their post-hardcore style and unique vocals courtesy of Kellin Quinn. The rest of this very talented band consists of drummer Gabe Barham, guitarists Jack Fowler and Nick Martin, and bassist Justin Hills. The band played a 7-song set, filled with fan favorites and 2 songs off their upcoming album “How It Feels To Be Lost”, which will be released via Sumerian Records on September 6th, 2019. One thing Sleeping With Sirens delivers consistently is a stellar performance. They are extremely tight as a band and are extremely high energy. They utilize every inch of the stage and truly slay. Sleeping With Sirens also delivers on sounding even better live. They are already stellar on record, but that unbeatable energy drives each song further and engraves that live experience into the brains of their viewers. It truly brought me back to how I felt when I first discovered their music years and years back. I loved their set and believe they were the perfect band to close out the festival stage.

SETLIST

  1. Kick Me
  2. Do It Now, Remember It Later
  3. Leave It All Behind
  4. Better Off Dead
  5. Break Me Down
  6. If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn
  7. If You Can’t Hang

The festival stage bands on the Rockstar Disrupt Festival showcased a variety of bands of many different styles that meshed beautifully. It truly set the stage for the main stage bands to come. I was truly excited to see bands like Sleeping With Sirens and Memphis May Fire again, and to finally photograph them, so it was a dream come true.

Sleeping With Sirens | Andy Black | Four Year Strong | Memphis May Fire | Juliet Simms

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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