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WJRR’s Earthday Birthday (w/ Shinedown, Bush, Fozzy) @ Central Florida Fairgrounds (Orlando, FL) on April 21, 2018 [Show Review w/ Photos]

From lands far and wide, the faithful had come to praise and worship. They’d come to party. They’d come to rock with the likes of Shinedown, Bush, Fozzy, Seether and Three Days Grace. Welcome to WJRR’s Earthday Birthday 2018!

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Like a self-appointed, one-man welcoming committee, the potbellied, bearded 30-something stood proudly at 1pm. With his pony keg-sized can of beer held high, he proclaimed, “Woo-hoo! Drink up!” as he leaned in to greet each car pulling onto the rapidly overflowing lot. Strolling across the sprawling property towards Will Call, one couldn’t help but notice immediately the near-endless sea of people lined up for blocks, all basking beneath the partly-sunny skies brimming with a barrage of helicopter traffic. Sporting an array of eye-catching body art and a variety of black concert T-shirts adorned with various iconic band logos, the flock waited semi-patiently to be ushered through the gate. From lands far and wide, the faithful had come to praise and worship. They’d come to party. They’d come to rock! Welcome to Earthday Birthday 2018.

Before Coachella, before Ozzfest, and even before Vans Warped Tour, Orlando’s celebrated rock radio station, WJRR, staged the first of what now has become a famed, multi-band, outdoor music festival. The kickoff year was 1993. Since then, 12,000+ fans have converged annually onto the Central Florida Fairgrounds to experience live concert performances from some of the biggest names in rock. Boasting its 25th anniversary, WJRR endeavored to make this year’s daylong event the best yet. And it proved to be a highlight-packed shindig, indeed!

“We played Tampa the other night. What the fuck’s wrong with those people?” Pitting one city against the other successfully in true rock and roll fashion, founding frontman Spider One energized Orlando early birds in short order, as his super-charged combo, Powerman 5000 annihilated the EDBD Lipton stage at 2:15. Seguing seamlessly from 2009’s “Super Villian” into 2001’s “Bombshell,” he added, “This is no longer a concert. This is fucking war!” Colorful and crunchy, the PM5K set proved a non-stop, guitar-driven nut-buster, to be sure.

Shirtless and muscular, co-founding frontman Philip Labonte looked as if he could have taken on the entire EDBD crowd easily (and won) as his veteran metal troupe All That Remains stormed the Bud Light stage at 3pm. Along with fellow co-founder, guitarist Oli Herbert, Labonte led the Massachusetts-based band through a sweat-soaked, 45-minute set that included such fan favorites as “The Last Time” and an epic remake of the Garth Brooks classic, “Thunder Rolls.” However, despite the overall brutality of the band’s performance, it was the 2012 power ballad, “What If I Was Nothing” that stood tallest among All That Remains’ cavalcade of skull crushers.

It was pure pandemonium, as the crowd erupted into a crazed chant of FOZZY! FOZZY! FOZZY! while the ear-splitting splendor of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” blasted from the stadium-sized sound system. “ORLANDO! ARE YOU READY FOR FOZZY?” inquired charismatic frontman Chris Jericho with tremendous fervor as his Atlanta-birthed brigade commandeered the Lipton stage at 3:50. Amid blasting smoke machines and spinning police beacons, FOZZY kicked off the raucous rampage with the title track from their latest record, Judas. Described best (by me) as the old “Judas Priest” you get when you’re no longer interested in the new Judas Priest, FOZZY delivered a bona fide, “Turbo Lover” circa ‘86-caliber rock show. As they carved out additional cuts from their latest record – savory slices including “Drinkin’ with Jesus” and “Painless,” it became clear as crystal that FOZZY possesses EXACTLY what most of their contemporaries lack. And that’s songs – fist-pounding, blood-pumping, arena-sized sing-alongs. In sum, FOZZY rocked, dude – sparkling brighter than Jericho’s sequin-studded stage swag.

A cool overview video highlighting the 2018 event.


A cool and comfy breeze soon drifted through the fairgrounds, as Bush prepared to hit the stage at 4:20. While the super-chill chords of the Allman Brothers’ “Jessica” and the less cerebral riffs of Starship’s “We Built This City” rolled from the Bud Light stage PA, drummer Robin Goodridge had arrived on the scene and taken his place behind the striking, basic black, four-piece kit. Within moments, he was joined by ‘90s poster boy and frontman, Gavin Rossdale, along with perennial members, guitarist Chris Traynor and bassist Corey Britz. Kicking off with a couple of the band’s early signature anthems, “Machinehead” and “Little Things,” Bush dazzled and delighted the throngs with a razor-sharp, high-energy set – one in which Rossdale mixed it up in the pit during 2017’s “This is War.”

Earthday Birthday #25 came to a smashing conclusion as the platinum-selling pride of Jacksonville, Florida, Shinedown wrapped up the show. Described by dedicated disciples as “magnificent” and “amazing,” the 75-minute hit parade featured such staples as, “I’ll Follow You,” “45,” “If You Only Knew,” “Sound Of Madness,” and “Second Chance.” Founding frontman Brent Smith thanked the Orlando fans for giving Shinedown a chance years ago, as he led the band into the set-closing new single, “Devil.”

Happy 25th anniversary, WJRR! Congrats on another successful EDBD mission – and here’s to many more!

Christopher Long is an author, show biz analyst, TV / radio contributor, award-winning musician and entertainment personality. Referred to once as “the rock and roll Erma Bombeck,” Long is known for his conversational, common sense writing style and passion for sharing his unique perspectives on pop culture. Raised in Missouri's rugged Ozark Mountains and on Florida's sunny Space Coast, Long currently lives in Cocoa Beach. (AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com)

Album Review

The Eighty Six Seas – ‘Scenes from an Art Heist’ [Album Review]

Overall, this album does exactly what it sets out to do in encapsulating a fictionalized version of a famous art heist. Well done, The Eighty Six Seas!

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The Eighty Six Seas ‘Scenes from an Art Heist’ album artwork
The Eighty Six Seas ‘Scenes from an Art Heist’ album artwork

On February 23, 2024, The Eighty Six Seas released their first 11-track full-length album, Scenes from an Art Heist. Each track on this album is meant to represent a fictionalized story of the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

The first track sets out an eerie aura that aligns with the track’s title, a dedication to Isabella Stewart Gardner. The next song is a quick switch up from the first, with flighty strings and a whispered voice from lead singer Nick Stevens.

Moving on to track number three, “Coffee and Art,” you’ll hear a faster-paced, nearly techno piece that feels like caffeine hitting your bloodstream for the first time in the morning. Their next song, “Jenny,” is a piano-led ballad spotlighting Steven’s melancholy voice. With “Lonely Afternoon,” the track transforms back into the techno feel of “Coffee and Art,” but with a darker twist.

The next song, “Cat/Mouse,” sounds exactly as you’d expect—like a tense cat-and-mouse standoff, with the music accenting this push-and-pull dynamic. “Hey Little Bird” is more or less an instrumental, with occasional lyrics included, but it is clearly meant to be the interlude.

Moving on, we arrive at a track called “The Day I Die,” a techno piece with a fabulous crescendo after its quiet beginnings. Following that, “The Eighty Six Seas” provides its track, “Portrait of a Smuggler,” which quite literally encapsulates the feeling you have while walking through a park on a sunny day.

Next, we come to “Ghost in the Cityscape,” which has darker undertones, a sorrowful cello, and a slower tempo. The final piece is titled “Frames,” which will remind you of a love letter saying goodbye or a beautiful lullaby. Overall, this album does exactly what it sets out to do in encapsulating a fictionalized version of a famous art heist. Well done, The Eighty Six Seas.

Scenes from an Art Heist Track Listing:

1. For Isabella, March 1990
2. Scenes from an Art Heist
3. Coffee and Art
4. Jenny
5. Lonely Afternoon
6. Cat / Mouse
7. Hey Little Bird
8. The Day I Die
9. Portrait of a Smuggler
10. Ghost in the Cityscape
11. Frames

Run Time:
Release Date: February 23, 2024
Record Label: Independent

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Alternative/Rock

Glixen – “foreversoon” [Song Review]

On “foreversoon,” Glixen created a song where youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear,

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Glixen “foreversoon” single artwork
Glixen “foreversoon” single artwork

It’s been less than a year since Glixen released their debut EP, She Only Said, on Julia’s War Records. Still, the Phoenix shoegazers have already dug their heels into the DIY music scene and are heading out on an extensive US tour this year alongside the likes of Interpol, Softcult, Glitterer, and fish narc. Appearances at SXSW and Treefort will only further cement their reputation as a new band worthy of note.

To herald the busy year ahead, the band has released a new single, “foreversoon,” via the AWAL label, and it’s well worth a listen.

Says lead vocalist Aislinn Ritchie:

“‘foreversoon’ represents blissful moments of new love and intimacy. The song harnesses melancholy chords, layered with fuzzy red melodies and gliding guitars that pull you in deeper. I wanted my lyrics to feel like a conversation that expresses my infatuation and sensuality. Time is relentless and memories are fleeting, this song encapsulates those emotions forever.”

It’s a fair summation. Its youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear, think Ride, Curve and Slowdive, but with the fuzz cranked up possibly higher. Ritchie’s vocals certainly share that dreamlike quality of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and with many of those bands back on the road this year, perhaps the time is ripe to inject fresh blood into the genre.

Glixen, photo by Jesse Beecher

Glixen, photo by Jesse Beecher

Run Time: 3:43
Release Date: February 9, 2024
Record Label: AWAL Recordings

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Dance/Electronic

Mieko Shimizu Premieres Music Video for “Unworldy” Single “My Tentacles”

Get stoked, cause radical multi-instrumentalist Mieko Shimizu premieres the video for the reworked single “My Tentacles.”

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Mieko Shimizu, photo by Ruta Zemmere
Mieko Shimizu, photo by Ruta Zemmere

Radical, nonconformist Japanese singer and multi-instrumentalist Mieko Shimizu recently re-released her offbeat, unworldly single “My Tentacles.”

The single is the offbeat, unworldly title track of Mieko’s soon-to-be-released album. It is be-thronged by chimeric fusions, dysfunctional beats and startling mutations. The single is unaccompanied by an equally radical video created by diz_qo.

Speaking about the track, Mieko tells us:

“‘Emergence,’ the book by Steve Johnson, fascinated me; a colony of ants, a sprawling metropolis, and human brain cells, are all features of the unknown science of self-organisation. I wanted to cut down into society and sing a simple song about people as single cells.”

The multi-instrumentalist explains further:

“They interconnect with the multitude and conjure up a whole that is wiser together than we are individually. When my tentacles reach out and touch you, communicate with you then we become something else, something more than just an individual.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Mieko has played at Sonar alongside Kraftwerk, as well as support for Goldfrapp and Massive Attack at their Melt Down Festival. She is currently an artist in residence for Wonky Plonky Electronk, an experimental, electronic live event which is touring the UK throughout 2024, the next show being on 28th March at The Cinema Room at All Is Joy in London.

Mieko has worked with an extensive range of artists, including Japan’s Mick Karn, Nitin Sawhney, Riz MC, David Cunningham, Robert Lippok and has also remixed the likes of Coldcut and Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra.

For more information on diz_qo, check him out online here. To check out more of Mieko’s work or to pre-order the upcoming album, click here.

Mieko Shimizu ‘My Tentacles’ Album Artwork

Mieko Shimizu ‘My Tentacles’ Album Artwork

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