A little more than a month had gone by since Kraken Music Fest exploded back on the Orlando scene and tonight was going to be the second phase of their rock “n” roll one-two punch. On hand to complete the task was Taking Back Sunday, Emery and Evergreen Terrace. Ace Cafe Orlando is a top-notch venue and its partnership with CSC Orlando ( Contemporary Services Corporation) should not go unmentioned. The CSC staff provide security and crowd management and they do so with professionalism. All Music Magazine was fortunate enough to be able to cover this event and it was undoubtedly going to be special.
When I learned that the stage was going to be located in the parking lot instead of on the backyard lawn, I wondered what precipitated the change. I found the answer to this question as soon as I arrived. Not only was the stage huge, but a crowd of 4,000 was anticipated. If there’s two things that you can expect from Kraken Music Fest, it’s preparedness and adaptability. There were no delays entering the venue and an adequate number food, beverage and merchandise were distributed to allow easy access. As I got to the pit area I was surprised to see that a sizeable crowd had already gathered directly in front of the stage. I also spotted a lone worker high atop a crane and he appeared to be content with his viewing position.
First up was Evergreen Terrace, who hail from Jacksonville Florida. The band is named for the iconic street where the Simpsons reside. They took the stage with a vengeance and never looked back. The band jumped right into their hit “Chaney Can’t Quite Riff Like Helmet’s Page Hamilton” which is from their 2007 album “Wolfbiker.” If I didn’t know any better I’d swear that founding member and vocalist Andrew Carey, had been kept locked up in a glass bottle throughout the pandemic along with a label that read ” break glass in case of emergency.” That emergency was now and Carey wasted no time in leaping from the stage to the metal guardrail separating the fans from the pit. From there he went into the crowd for an up close and interactive fan experience. It should be noted that this would be the first of several crowd visitations during the set.
Evergreen Terrace had the place rocking and the circles formed early on. Fellow bandmates Craig Chaney, Christopher Brown, Jason Southwell and Alex Varian were able to match Carey’s energy and enthusiasm much to the delight of the appreciative crowd. Carey and Chaney shared vocal duties throughout the set including a phenomenal performance of “Dead Horses” from their 2013 album of the same name. Toward the end of the set the band performed an alluring rendition of “Mad World” from the group Tears For Fears. After the set the guys hung out, chatted with fans and watched the rest of the show. It was great to see these guys together again and I’ll be eagerly awaiting any new music that might be on the horizon.
Andrew “Drew” Carey – Unclean Vocals
Christopher “Panama Al” Brown – Drums
Craig Chaney – Lead Guitar, Clean Vocals
Jason Southwell – Bass
Alex Varian – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
As 7:30 drew closer, Emery was poised to take the stage. To be honest, I really wasn’t familiar with the band so the last week or so consisted of binge-watching Youtube videos. This five-piece post-hardcore group originated in South Carolina but now call Seattle Washington home. The set kicked off with “Studying Politics” from the 2005 hit album “The Question” and was followed up with “The Ponytail Parades.” Lead singer, Toby Morrell, exclaimed that he was happy to be back in Orlando. So happy in fact, that he invited the crowd to go out clubbing with him after the show.
When I first saw keyboardist/vocalist Josh Head come out, I already had a notion of what to expect. Clad in overalls and boots, and sporting long gray hair and a beard. This guy screamed intensity. It didn’t take long to realize I was spot on. Whether he was pounding the ivories, belting out lyrics, or taunting the fans with the mic stand, Josh Head could easily have walked off the set of the TV series Vikings. He also took the time to venture out to the crowd, keeping the CSC staff busy. As the crowd surfers made their appearance, the band continued to play hit after hit before concluding their 12-song set with the always popular “Walls.” Although the band members have had numerous side projects over the years, four of the original members are still with Emery 20 years later.
Toby Morrell – Lead Vocals
Devin Shelton – Vocals/Guitar
Josh Head – Unclean Vocals/Keyboards
Matt Carter – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Dave Powell – Drums
Chris Keene – Touring Bass/Guitar
The Ponytail Parades
Playing With Fire
Can’t Stop the Killer
The Party Song
Listening to Freddie Mercury
In a Win, Win Situation
In Shallow Seas We Sail
So Cold I Could See My Breath
The last time Taking Back Sunday (TBS) was in Orlando they sold out consecutive nights at the House of Blues. This was in a pre-pandemic world back in 2019 and it’s no wonder why so many fans turned out for tonight’s show. TBS are a product of Long Island, New York. They have earned their stripes with more than 21 years in the business which includs 7 studio albums, 5 live albums, 2 compilation albums and numerous tours. Despite lineup changes and the traditional hardships most bands face, TBS were here tonight to show that not only are they back but that they’re stronger than ever.
After a brief introduction from WJRR‘s Supa Dave, TBS greeted fans with “A Decade Under The Influence” from their 2004 album “Where You Want to Be.” Wearing a jean jacket and with a long blonde mane partially covering his face, Adam Lazaarra took center stage and by the response from the crowd it was clear that this was destined to become one giant sing-a-long. The microphone twirling Lazarra was spot on all night the band seemed to emulate his passion. Guitarist John Nolan shares the vocals with Lazzarra and is also an accomplished songwriter. Nolan, along with drummer Mark O’Connell founded the band Straylight Run and has produced his own solo album called “Height.” Drummer Mark O’Connell has been with TBS since 2001 was outstanding. Bassist Shaun Copper got his first bass at 12 years old and was in the band Breaking Pangea prior to joining TBS.
The band’s chemistry was obvious as they turned out hit after hit. My personal favorite was “You’re So Last Summer” which was spawned from the band’s 2002 debut album “Tell All Your Friends”. Whether it was the effervescent “Liar” or the melancholy “…Slowdance On The Inside”, the band’s expansive 18 song set had it all. TBS arguably saved the best for last as they closed out the night with “Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team)” and “MakeDamnSure”. “MakeDamnSure” originated from the 2006 album “Louder Now” which sold close to a million copies and made it all the way to the number 2 spot on the Billboard 200.
Adam Lazzarra – Lead Vocals
John Nolan – Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Mark O’Connell – Drums
Shaun Cooper – Bass
A Decade Under the Influence
What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?
Liar (It Takes One to Know One)
You’re So Last Summer
Set Phasers to Stun
Better Homes and Gardens
Timberwolves at New Jersey
My Blue Heaven
You Know How I Do
One-Eighty by Summer
You Can’t Look Back
…Slowdance on the Inside
Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)
This was the largest attendance for a concert that I’ve covered in more than a year. I can’t say enough about Kraken Music Fest, Ace Cafe and the Contemporary Services Corporation. This team puts together events that can be enjoyed by all and always puts an emphasis on quality. One of the things that has made a lasting impression is the fact that Freddy Escobar the Co-Founder and creator of Kraken Music Fest, always takes the time to come over and say hello. He then checks back later to make sure you’re still good. This is a guy that has a hundred things going on, but still goes out of his way to make you welcome. I’m convinced that everyone left tonight’s event happy and satisfied, and why wouldn’t they? Three great bands and three awesome performances, what more could you possibly ask for? I would really love for Kraken’s events to become a monthly thing, hint hint, and you can bet I’ll have my eye on their social media accounts for future announcements.
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