May 4, 2015 Flyleaf & The Agonist lead female fueled rock to Charlotte, NC 4-21-15 w/ Fit For Rivals, Diamante, & Falling For Scarlet
While Hard Rock and Metal has predominantly been associated with men, that stereotype could not be more wrong. Women have proven throughout the history of the genre that they can rock just as hard, even or even harder, than the opposite sex. To celebrate the presence of women in Rock, Revolver Magazine first came up with the concept of The Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock to showcase some of the scene’s most impressive women. While some may think the title is merely based on the idea of sex appeal, the truth is these women have the talent to back-up their beauty. Taking the cover piece a step further, a tour was put together a few years back, and ever since, a new lineup of band’s featuring women has toured North America each year together. While in years past the tour has seen In This Moment, Lacuna Coil, and Eyes Set to Kill, among others, 2015’s culmination featured Flyleaf, The Agonist (on select dates), Falling for Scarlet, Fit For Rivals , and Diamante. Set out to hit sixteen cities between April and May from Iowa to Georgia, on Tuesday April 21st, they decided to take it to the Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina for a night of excitement.
First up was the local, Charlotte, North Carolina independent band Tattermask. Vocalist Amanda Caines came on stage with her bandmates anxious to greet the hometown crowd. Caines knew exactly how to grab everyone’s attention performing the Seal classic “Kiss From A Rose” that had fans singing along. Fading into the end of the song, they entered one of their singles “Concerned,” giving the band some time to show off their dancing side and being interactive with the crowd. At the end of their session they thanked everyone for coming and wanted to let them know they bought pizza for the venue and to have a slice otherwise there will be, “No More,” which was also the last final song they played. Their EP Carpe Noctem, engineered/produced by Cory Plaugh (Weaving The Fate, Crossfade), is out now and is a promising step forward for the young band. Be sure to give them a listen.
Next up was Vancouver, Canada’s Falling for Scarlet. Led by actress, reality star, and former beauty queen Lee Tomaschefski on vocals, the cast consists of guitarist Luke Danelon, bassist Steve Booth, and drummer Ricardo Viana. Building a name for themselves in the Rock scene, this spot on the Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock tour could be a big chance for the band to spread more awareness of who they are. Ready to go, Danelon came out saying, “You all ready for some Rock and Roll Charlotte!?” The crowd provided a wild response as the band began. Very entertaining to watch live, Tomaschefski’s movements with her bandmates in-between songs was confident, making the crowd stay as they were. Intrigued by their songs, “Breakup” was a faster tempo piece which had people surprised by the band’s diverse style . Mixing in a cover of “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age, the band had everyone moving around and having a blast as Viana capped the set off with an extra long drum outro. Their debut EP Army Of One is out now, but stay tuned for new material in the Summer of 2015.
The eighteen year old with a Hard Rock sound and lovable stage appearance, Diamante, followed after Falling for Scarlet. Originally from the East Coast, but relocated to the West Coast, Diamante is a bright young rocker on a mission to make it big in the Rock world. Do not let her young age deter as she has a vast amount of experience receiving two consecutive Indie Music Awards in 2012 and 2013 and winning the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands; landing her a spot on the Vans Warped Tour 2012. Coming to the stage with an all female backing band, the crowd immediately moved forward to see what the band was all about. With that said, Diamante came ready to entertain as a drum intro saw her taking over with a massive stage presence prior to even singing a note. Once she began singing, the room was immediately won by her amazing sound when she played “Dirty Blonde” and “Bite Your Kiss,” possibly her top two popular singles to date. Mixing in a killer cover of Skid Row’s “Youth Gone Wild,” Diamante showed that age is just a number and this girl has the chops of a seasoned vet. Ending her set with new single “There’s A Party In My Pants (And You’re All Invited),” there was a great atmosphere as her band performed solos with Diamante finishing the drum ending along with the drummer. It is highly recommended to check out the video for the new single, it is a lot of fun and a bold statement by this promising artist.
Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Fit for Rivals was the next band to hold title to the showcase. No stranger to Charlotte, the band visited the city a few months prior with Flyleaf as part of the Snocore Tour. Fronted by Renee Phoenix, along with Thomas Amason, Eli Clark, Rufino Lomboy, Dorman Pantfoeder, this band does not get caught up with labels and prefer just to simply be called a Rock band.
Beginning their set mellow, the tempo immediately picked up with the tracks like “Crash” and their latest single “Freak Machine,” making for a very intense sensation. Igniting the crowd to head-bang and sing along with Phoenix, the rougher vocal approach was pleasantly welcomed by all. Showing a mix of styles from Punk, to Grunge, and everything in between, the band dominated the stage with their original tunes from start to finish. Phoenix, comfortable on stage, put on a fantastic performance as she moved around the stage enticing the audience and even interacting with a fan which was filming the set closer “Hit Me.” Whatever one would like to label Fit for Rivals, this band knows how to rock and bring energy to the stage.
As direct support for the evening, Charlotte was treated to Montreal, Canada’s The Agonist. Only included on select dates on the tour, the band has been going strong for over a decade now when they were originally formed with vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, guitarist Danny Marino, bassist Chris Kells, and joining in 2007, drummer Simon McKay for their debut album Once Only Imagined. Releasing three records together with guitarist Pascal “Paco” Jobin, who joined up in 2010, in 2014 White-Gluz was asked to join Arch Enemy in place of Angela Gossow, thus prompting The Agonist to call on American vocalist Vicky Psarakis. Releasing their new album, Eye of Providence, in February of this year, it is the dawning of a new era for the band, which they are facing with open arms.
Coming out guns blazing with “Danse Macabre,” the thrashing guitars of Marino and Jobin were matched by the powerful singing voice of Psarakis. A different direction for The Agonist, Psarakis’ presence seemed to work extremely well as the band went into more new tracks like “Gates of Horn and Ivory” and “My Witness, Your Victim” where the vocalist had a chance to mix some harsh Death Metal bellows in. Impressive to see her go from soft singing to raw growls, the audience embraced her as they mixed in older tunes like “Panophobia” and “Dead Ocean.” With synchronized head-banging, long-hair windmills shared by the members on the stage, the crowd lost themselves in the adrenaline rush as the set went on and concluded with “Business Suits and Combat Boots” and “Follow the Crossed Line.” Thanking Charlotte, the band received a huge ovation and proved they are as strong as ever.
The time had come for Texas based Hard Rock leaders Flyleaf. Beginning their legacy back in 2002, the band quickly rose to stardom in 2005 upon the release of their debut full-length self-titled album. Attaining platinum status with this record, the years to follow would see equal success for the band as they released chart topping Rock albums Memento Mori in 2009 and New Horizons in 2012. Faced with the departure of Lacey Sturm after the completion of New Horizon, bassist Pat Seals, drummer James Culpepper, and guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann quickly found a replacement in Kristen May. While a daunting task to replace any lead vocalist, May immediately began to win over audiences with her powerful vocal style and solidified herself as the new voice of Flyleaf in a dramatic way on 2014’s Between the Stars. Now comfortably at home with themselves and their fans, Flyleaf were ready to continue supporting the new album at Tremont Music Hall.
Immediately jump-starting the energy, May came up on stage and greeted the crowd with high fives and holding hands. Matching May’s enthusiasm, Bhattacharya and Seals came out running with energy to their positions as cheers came down on the stage as they began with “Set Me on Fire”, “Traitor”, and older piece “Cassie.” Continuously bringing energy, their latest single “Thread” kept things moving along with no downtime. Between May’s amazing vocals, the almost semi-acrobatic moves from Bhattacharya and Seals, as well as tight performances Hartmann along with Culpepper, had the room feeling as if everyone was completely lost in the performance. Treating everyone to what they wanted to hear, favorites like “Again,” “Call Me Out,” and “Fully Alive” showed a band who are proud of their past.
Toward the midway point of the set, “Magnetic” and “Platonic” allowed the crowd a moment to mellow out and enjoy colorful, textured new songs of Flyleaf. Of course, more adored songs like “All Around Me” and “Sorrow” found their place in the night, but perhaps one of the most touching moments came during the band’s rendition of Hillsong United’s “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail).” Rounding out the main portion of their performance with “City Kids,” an encore began with “Well of Lies,” before the icing on the cake, “I’m So Sick.” Recreated in her own light, May had everyone going insane as the venue sang along. Pumped full of energetic noise, fans were jumping and yelling until the final notes.
Revolver Magazine’s The Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock Tour 2015 was one that was a blast. Between the different sounds and expressions of the all the different bands, this was an amazing mix of upcoming and established bands on the scene that everyone enjoyed. While the tour may be over, hopes are each of these bands will find themselves on the road later this Summer somewhere on the globe.