(Review and pics by Shelby Skaarer) The sixth annual Bud Light River City Rockfest returns with a massive rock lineup Saturday, September 22, 2018 at the AT&T center. While the two main stages felt as if they were a mile apart, we were blessed with a cloudy day, no rain in sight, and a slight breeze that befell the concert goers. It seems every year RCRF finds a new one to step up its game, not only with the set up, but also how they had everything so organized. I was very much impressed, and I could probably say the same for others.
UPON A BURNING BODY and THE HEROINE
Upon a Burning Body is an American metal band from San Antonio, Texas, formed in 2005. The band currently consists of vocalist Danny Leal, guitarist Ruben Alvarez, bassist Joe Antonellis and drummer Tito Felix. Their setlist was definitely one for the books, and kept the crowd full of high energy and pumped with their bangers. Two of the songs I was waiting for was Sin City and of course, everyone’s favorite, Texas Blood Money with its infamous lyrics, “The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas.”
The Heroine is an American rock ‘n roll blues band from San Antonio, Texas. The band consists of Lynnwood Presley King, The Kid, David Arias “Lil Juice”, Guile Vargulish. Dibby Disaster, Johnny Lightning, and Damian Sisca. I always enjoy watching the high and driven energy of The Heroine. Hard, Dirty, Soulful Rock n Roll is the only and best way to describe these local boys. From the moment I saw The Heroine perform live for the first time at the Sunken Garden, for the first ever RCRF, they were destined for something great.
Two of San Antonio’s favorite local bands shared the same stage this year; both killing it without a doubt. It’s always incredible to see bands like these two grow into something bigger each and every day, and watch how much they progress throughout the years.
Living Colour, I absolutely have no words. I was so impressed by this 80’s all African-American rock band. The lead vocalist, Corey Glover, has an impeccable voice, and definitely has not lost his edge. He can definitely belt out some tunes at his age. He was able to keep the crowd entertain from start to finish, even with himself interacting with the crowd and walking through to meet fans. All the members have such strong vibes and charisma on stage, I just wanted to dance and sing, of course, to the little songs I did know. I would recommend seeing them if you ever have a chance, because you’d definitely would not be disappointed, I can tell you that. It was cute to see all the adults with smiles on their faces as they sung along.
I SEE STARS
I can’t say this enough, I See Stars will forever be one of my favorite bands. I’ve been listening to them since I was in 7th grade, and I know that doesn’t say much, but I’ve been supporting them for 8 years and more to come. I can’t deny that I was psyched when I saw their name on the lineup, or that they were one of the main reasons I wanted to attend this year – besides some of the bigger acts. Due to technical difficulties, their set was cut short and only played 4 songs. Devin Oliver truly has a remarkable voice, and I’ve always loved all the content they put out. I was skeptical about the album ‘Trees’ released after the changes in band members, but I kept an open mind and I was highly impressed. I’m not going to lie, the little fan girl I am spotted the boys in the crowd while watching NIN wanted to get a picture, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to disturb them; after a good debate with myself, I finally went up to them, and they’re always the nicest people – took the time to take a picture with me and have a chat.
First of all, From Ashes to New caught my attention. From Ashes to New is an American rock band from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The band’s lineup frequently shifts, vocalist Matt Brandyberry being the founding and sole constant member. I’ve heard the name before, but haven’t had a chance to see them until now. I wasn’t able to catch their whole set, but after The Heroine played, RCRF screened the Monster stage at the Bud Light stage while others awaited for the next band to come on, and that’s how I was able to hear a snippet of FATN, and that was enough to get me to the other side in a hot minute.
I have to say that besides Living Colour, Bush and Nine Inch Nails stole the show. I’ve been listening to both bands for years, and I wouldn’t have gotten into this music if it wasn’t for my siblings, so being able to finally see both these top notch bands was enticing. Honestly, I thought I knew a few songs from Bush, but I ended up singing along to more than just a few, and I was impressed with myself. And when NIN came on, wow, the crowd was insanely huge. The crowd went crazy throughout the performance, and for generations, Reznor, age 53, has tapped into the seething anger and hurt so many are reluctant or unable to express themselves, providing an outlet to unleash and a mind with which to commiserate. That right there is the beauty in music. Hits such as Head Like a Hole, Wish and Hurt may get the nostalgia juices flowing, but Closer and The Hand That Feeds are two that really get the hype going.
I really wish I could talk about every single band, but I might end up writing a short story about it. If you were there to experience all these amazing bands, then you’re able to tell your own story, but if you weren’t, I hope this gave you a small idea on the turnout was. Honestly, I’m ready to see what RCRF comes up with next year, and hopefully it’s around this time of year again. It usually lands on a Sunday and in May for memorial weekend, but that time is insanely hot and humid. I probably used some of the same words over and over throughout this entire article, but it’s hard not to when the festival was just a huge success. I want to thank the crew members of the event for giving me this opportunity to attend, cover, and support every year, and this is one of my top events I look forward to. I love rock ‘n roll and that’s never going to change.
All That Remains
From Ashes to New
I See Stars
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Nine Inch Nails
Stone Temple Pilots
The Fever 333
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown
Upon A Burning Body