For the dedicated heavy metal fans who wanted to see the inaugural 12-hour River City Rockfest from the beginning, a trio of Texas bands made it worth their while by starting things off the right way.
San Antonio favorites The Heroine and Memory of a Melody took the second stage Sunday and did their thing as usual, with each performing songs slated to be on their sophomore albums later this year.
Having the honor (or disadvantage, based on the 1 p.m. time slot, humidity and threatening skies that undoubtedly kept many away from the AT&T Center) of kicking things off was a band out of McAllen simply branded as Texas, which energetically set the tone for the day. Vocalist Mark Morales, guitarists Jon Olivares and Jes De Hoyos, bassist Nick Villareal and drummer Mike Villareal made the most of their 20 minutes by pumping up the early-birds with a heavy set and wearing T-shirts of their influences (click slideshow at top).
Technical difficulties forced Memory of a Melody to take the stage five minutes late, which might not sound like much. But when you’re only allotted 20 minutes, it makes all the difference. As a result, when vocalist Mario Galdos announced the third song would be the band’s last, it marked the only time throughout the festival the crowd groaned.
Opening with brand new tune “Between The Eyes,” Memory of a Melody closed with the title track to Things That Make You Scream and never once expressed displeasure or anger at the unfortunate circumstances that dictated their afternoon. A demonstration of professionalism to go with their rock show, for sure.
The Heroine, arguably San Antonio’s hardest-working and hardest-touring band, followed Memory of a Melody on the second stage and had the benefit of British band Young Guns opening the main stage before going on. The Heroine was afforded a 30-minute set that also included a tune from a coming-this-year-CD, called “Who Do You Love.”
If you’re unfamiliar with The Heroine or saw them at the fest for the first time — quite possible given that the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner met folks from New Mexico and Mississippi — the group made the final six out of roughly 10,000 entries in a 2008 Guitar Center contest to see who would open for Motley Crue. Making the finals enabled them to play a song in front of all four Crue members on Hollywood’s famed Sunset Strip.
As usual, vocalist Lynnwood King, guitarists Dibby Disaster and The Kid, bassist Wes “Gulie” Vargulish and drummer Johnny Lightning put on a high-intensity performance (click on the SAMME’s video at bottom to watch how their show ended). Later that evening, they wound down with an acoustic set on the cooling-off shed’s third stage. They’ll also be playing Fri. June 7 at Nightrocker Live, 605 San Pedro Ave. (more info here).
The Rockfest was headlined by Guns N’ Roses and featured Alice In Chains, Halestorm, Bullet For My Valentine, All That Remains, Asking Alexandria, Clutch and The Sword. It was attended by “a very unofficial 12,000-14,000” according to a venue staffer — not a bad festival debut at all for Memorial Day weekend.
Since the RCR has dreams of becoming an annual event that one day rivals the three-day Rocklahoma held the same weekend, booking quality San Antonio and Lone Star State bands such as these is a sure-fire way to not only give the fest something Rocklahoma can’t. It’s an effective method of ensuring that Texas bands which deserve greater exposure have a forum where they can turn their music on to the masses from all over the country in their own backyard.
And there’s no technical difficulties with that game plan.
For the SAMME’s rockfest reviews of Guns N’ Roses and Halestorm, plus more on The Heroine and Memory of a Melody, click on the “Suggested by the author” links in blue below, and stay tuned for more coverage.
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