Another backpack fully stocked with large amounts of unneeded things and on the road again. The destination this trip is Orlando. Mother nature had yet to consume her daily cocktail of 'chill' with the weather switching throughout the day into the night. The wind picked up and a severe sand storm hit us as we watched actual tumbleweeds roll by. Once in the Orlando Ampitheater, part of the Central Florida Fairgrounds, I felt a cozy comfort. There is something about any ampitheater that takes me back to the summer before high school and childhood innocence... This venue sits directly next to Lake Lawne and is loved by fans, as well as the band's that play here.
"What the photograph don't show, is where we're heading tomorrow..."
After a rainstorm of epic proportions, the bands were left to dry out their equipment, some with hair dryers and some with hope. Huntington Beach natives Pacific Dub were first up and totally are worth arriving early for. Many people were still slowing making their way to the stage, stopping for band merch, food and drinks. If you caught it, PD's live performance was pretty tight, even with the conditions beforehand. They played their single that everyone sang along to, "California Girl", and definitely got the crowd amped up. Florida loved you classy and kind guys.
Next up, The Movement – fiery hot like the unholy Florida humity. The band just released another bangah' – "Loud Enough" – which, like the song "Siren", is another track fully-charged with awareness and true to the times with 'issues' and real life problems that aren't being heard. So, we speak through The Movement's main man Joshua Swain's lyrics because bothh of these new singles evoke you to get up and be proactive in a world full of quick reactions. The guys hit us with ALL of the newly released songs, including "Cool Me Down" which is already a feel good summer anthem. They played those three songs, as well as older jams, and killed it!
With Iration on deck, you could feel the intensity in the air. I had to step back for a minute before they hit the stage to take the experience in. They played a set that would make you think the show was over, but it was far from it. I ran back to get some shots of the crowd and was greeted by many smiling faces. Next thing I know, "Falling" starts to play and I begin dancing the color off of my Converses. Iration will always be a band I absolutely love, and it should be easy to understand why. If you haven't listened to their newest self-titled album, I highly suggest you do.
Next thing I know, "Falling" starts to play and I begin dancing the color off of my Converses.
Around this point of the night, the hype and excitement for Dirty Heads was off the charts. They hadn't even hit the stage and their light show alone was bringing the Orlando Amph to life. Dirty Heads hit the stage like a freight train with the type of excitement and energy you have to see to believe. The set list went from the beginning days of DH to the band's newest album Swim Team. Every part of their set has a high point, but one moment and memory takes the cake: as tiny rain drops began to fall, I screamed these lyrics up to the full moon-filled sky; I never took the lyrics in so deeply as I did in that moment, in the crowd and with my music family.
I sang to my mother part of "Celebrate":
"Mom, if you can hear me, I think I made it.
20,000 fans from the stage I'm standing on.
I want you to know I appreciate it.
One day I'll come home, we can celebrate..."
It was emotional, memorable and I love this band for the truth they portray. As the night came to a close, I thanked all my new security friends, especially Tim. I say this because it is the truth: Memorial Day 2018 was something otherworldly. Don't miss this tour my friends. It was unforgettable!
Photography by Jay Cohen