February 20, 2015 SnoCore 2015 opens with a bang Charlotte, NC 2-3-15 w/ Flyleaf, Adelitas Way, Framing Hanley, & Fit For Rivals
With the winter season upon us, music lovers have had the pleasure of seeing the unveiling of several amazing tours, bringing together some unexpected but incredible talent. December saw the revealing of the Snocore 2015 line-up, which includes Fit For Rivals, Framing Hanley, Adelitas Way, and Flyleaf. For headliners Flyleaf, their return to the tour marks a sort of homecoming for the band, as they were a supporting act on the tour in 2006. On the opening night of this mega-tour at Amos Southend in Charlotte, NC on Tuesday February 3rd, the South had the distinction of being the first to experience the energy-packed power of this lively tour.
Living in Gomorrah, a local band from Charlotte, opened up the evening’s festivities. Performing their first live show, the North Carolina outfit worked to fire up the crowd for what was to come. The band was well-received and appeared to gain a few new fans that night even though they were new to the stage.
When Fit For Rivals took the stage, there was electricity in the air and a wave of anticipation as the energetic quintet took their places. They wasted no time kicking things up as the band ripped right into their set with ferocity. Vocalist Renee Phoenix is a powerhouse performer with unyielding energy that was shared by the entire band and carried throughout their set. Phoenix’s style, balls to the wall rawness and vocal grittiness, bear comparisons to rock sirens like Suzi Quatro and Joan Jett. Ripping through songs from their repertoire like “Crash,” “Damage,” and “Better Off (Alone),” Fit For Rivals leapt and raced across the stage in a dizzying frenzy. Their dedicated riffs and prominent drum beats created a Rock n’ Roll whirlwind in which most of Amos happily joined. Before leaving the stage, Phoenix and company knocked it out of the park with their 2014 single “Hit Me,” which had the audience jumping along with the band in excitement.
Framing Hanley was next up, and from the swell of the crowd as their set began, it was obvious that the Nashville, TN band had more than a few fans in the audience that night. Led by Kenneth Nixon, also known as “Nixon,” Framing Hanley has been making music since 2005. Like many others, the band recently jumped on the crowd funding bandwagon to bring their latest endeavor to light, their third studio album The Sum Of Who We Are, which was released in April of 2014. The Charlotte crowd welcomed the Alt-Rockers with open arms as they kick started their set with the single “Collide” from their latest album. The men of the strings, Ryan Belcher (guitar), Brandon Wootten (guitar), and newest member Jonathan Stoye (bass) were right alongside Nixon working up the crowd and throwing themselves into their performance, while drummer Chris Vest could be seen assailing the kit. As their set progressed, the band captivated the audience with more songs from The Sum Of Who We Are including “Simple Life.” Of course fans were not going to let the guys go without hearing the song that gained them notoriety in the early days of their career, their cover of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop.” Closing out their set, the guys wrapped things up with their single “You Stupid Girl” from their second album A Promise To Burn (2010) and seemed to have the whole venue singing along with them.
Adelitas Way sprung into action from the jump, kicking off their set with their hit single “The Collapse” from their second studio album in 2011, Home School Valedictorian. The song rang out throughout the venue and stirred the crowd immediately, making some audience members move for the first time all night. Frontman Rick DeJesus attacked the stage with an unimaginable fierceness. DeJesus’ every movement and expression were rife with emotion and intensity that permeated the club. Guitarist Rob Zakaryan and bassist Trevor “Tre” Stafford were right alongside DeJesus, throwing their entire beings into the performance. This kickoff was just the beginning of what would be a power-packed, sweat-inducing, full-frontal assault on the senses. Adelitas Way spared no expense in the energy department when it came to being fully involved on stage. Their presence and impact was among the best of the night so far, and their set list, packed with songs from across their catalogue, fueled the fire. Songs like “Dog On A Leash,” “Sick,” and “Criticize” kept the momentum rolling despite the interjection of some slower songs like “Stuck,” the title track off their 2014 release. Throughout the performance, DeJesus could be seen doing aerial tricks, spins, and swirls with his corded microphone. During their set, the band announced that they were working on new material for their fourth album but would be releasing an EP in late March to tide fans over until then. Adelitas Way closed things out on a high note performing “Invincible” from their 2009 self-titled debut album.
Finally, it was time for the moment many had been waiting for: Flyleaf. Original vocalist Lacey Sturm exited the band in 2012 to pursue other life ventures, and the band sought to bring in a new voice and fresh ideas, while retaining the same symbiosis. So, armed with new vocalist Kristen May, who joined the band in 2012, the band released their first album with May on vocals, Between the Stars. On this night the band began their set with their single “Set Me On Fire” from Between the Stars. Watching Flyleaf live is like watching acrobats at the circus. The entire band seems to take flight-jumping, bouncing, and leaping across the stage and from the carefully placed risers onstage. May jumps and twirls about the stage with an infectious excitement that is unlike many others. Her tenacity and fervor only serve to further enhance the viewer’s experience. Even despite the effervescence of May and her band mates, there is also something very calm and grounded about Flyleaf, stirring a sense of familiarity and ease when they interact with the crowd. It is this eccentricity that made this night at Amos especially enjoyable for many in attendance.
As expected, Flyleaf played old classics from the Lacey era including “Cassie,” “Fully Alive,” and “All Around Me.” They also worked in some newer material like “Magnetic,” which saw them being joined in dance onstage by select fans who had purchased a special edition Flyleaf scarf. By the end of the night, Flyleaf and Amos had experienced something both phenomenal and personal. Of course, as to be expected, no Flyleaf show is complete without the crowd begging to hear the song that started it all for the Christian quintet, “I’m So Sick,” their debut single from their self-titled release. The band left the stage for a bit, and the audience cheered and whooped until it seemed like they might actually not return. Then May appeared with a big smile and chuckled, “Well, okay, for those of you that tried,” as the band rolled into “Call You Out” from 2012’s New Horizons. This was the time many had been waiting for, and Flyleaf kicked into the hit single to the uproarious cheers and excitement of the entire venue.
This year, SnoCore hosts a lineup that is unparalleled in their energy and entertainment value. From young Floridians Fit For Rivals to the newly reformed Flyleaf, each ensemble brings something special and intangible to the table. While all of these artists’ passion and dedication is to be admired and respected, Flyleaf’s new leading lady, Kristen May, was definitely the showstopper of the evening with her unstoppable energy, warm presence, and connection to the crowd. May was so enchanted by the love of the crowd that near the end of their set, she actually leaped into the audience and crowd-surfed across the clamoring and adoring throng. Her bright spirit and genial soul paired with a brave modernism and fire in the gut make her an enthralling performer to watch. We can only hope that this is a sign of more great things to come from the Texas outfit . There are still some SnoCore dates left, and fans looking for an action-packed evening filled with passion, fire and force, find a date near by before it is too late.