By Matt “Rabit” Martinez, Red Hare Images
With the Vans Warped Tour ending last year, and now being an event that just takes place in three locations, summer is missing a massive touring festival. That’s where energy drink manufacturer Rockstar is stepping in to try and fill the void. With their very first outing being this summer, Rockstar Disrupt Festival is travelling across the United States to try and bring a big summer tour consisting of 14 of the best up and coming and established Warped Tour style bands. When the Disrupt Festival came to the FivePoint Amphitheater in Irvine, CA we only got eleven of the bands, but they were still ready to bring a memorable show to Southern California. One confusing aspect was that FivePoint’s decided not to erect a second stage and instead put all the bands on the main stage. Which had its upsides and downsides, but the biggest downside was for the fans who a lot of us wound up walking around the venue grounds look for the second stage that didn’t exist. It didn’t help that the venue staff did not know where to direct the patrons either, but once we discovered all the bands were on the main stage the fans that showed up early headed down to the stage to see the start of Rockstar Disrupt Festival.
Kicking off the Festival was SoCal native Hyro the Hero. As Hyro hit the stage you could already see some of the positives and negatives to holding the festival performs on the main stage. The larger stage benefited Hyro as he is a very energetic performer running across the stage and jumping off anything he could climb on. However, he was playing to a 5,000 seat Amphitheater that had maybe 200 people scattered across the venue. This was not going to stop Hyro though, as he put all his energy to hype up those 200 patrons who decided to come to see him. At one point even jumping into the pit and trying to get the first mosh pit of the day started with the few fans who were able to get to the barricade. Playing songs from his debut album Flagged Channel, and ending with a cover of Rage Against The Machine’s classic “Killing In the Name of.” This was my third time seeing Hyro the Hero and this day showed me just how much of a great performer he is. No matter how large, or in this case small, the crowd is Hyro is the kind of performer to bring his A game to anyone that is willing to come early and see him.
Full Hyro the Hero gallery below:
Up next to the stage was Juliet Simms. Though Simms was the only act on the bill that I was not familiar with, I was still excited to see what she brought to the tour. By the time Simms hit the stage, maybe another couple hundred people entered the venue, but the crowd was still sparsely scattered across the venue. None the less Juliet Simms proved her showmanship to the audience in attendance by giving them some old school dirty rock style songs. Playing songs like “100 Little Deaths,” “Trouble Finds you,” and “Wild Child.” Simms strutted her stuff across the stage belting to the back of the venue. Her stage presence and voice reminded me of Janis Joplin. Not holding anything back or being reserve but singing with pure emotion and letting the energy of the song move her across the stage. Ending her set with “Bad Love” Simms created a few new fans that day, including myself.
Full Juliet Simms gallery below:
Following Juliet Simms to the stage, we finally got to bring out the metalcore sound with Memphis May Fire. I last saw them back in December, and they created a new fan back then, and I was excited to see them again on this tour. Opening their set with “The Old Me,” lead singer Matty Mullins brings a dual set of energy mixing his clean vocals and his screams on songs like “Vices” and “The Sinner.” Trading heavy guitar licks are guitarists Samuel Penner and Kellen McGregor, while bassist Cory Elder and drummer Jake Garland maintain the low end and keep the beat strong. Memphis May Fire is a band that has solid songs like “Carry On,” “Heavy is the Weight,” and “Vices” with great beats and can really get the crowd moving. I would love to see them headlining their on tour in the future as they have a catalog of songs to fill an hour and a half easily. But they are still making waves and new fans performing as a solid supporting act.
Full Memphis May Fire gallery below:
Up next to the “Festival” main stage was Four Year Strong. I managed to catch this band last year at the Vans Warped Tour Pomona stop. With Four Year Strong I would consider them to be the most “Warped Tour” style band on this tour, as they have the perfect blend of pop punk and easycore. With songs like “Go Down in History,” “What the Hell is a Gigawatt,” “It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now,” and “We All Float Down Here,” guitarists and vocalist Alan Day and Dan O’Connor create an atmosphere with big chorus’s that get the whole crowd singing along and jumping in the pit. With Joe Weiss filling in those grand choruses on bass, and Jake Massucco crafting the perfect break downs to head bang to. I wasn’t too impressed with Four Year Strong when I saw them at Warped Tour last year but being on the Disrupt stage I feel they gave a much better and grander performance to the audience in Irvine.
Full Four Year Strong gallery below:
Coming up to the stage was the artist that most would probably consider the biggest heartthrob of the tour, Andy Black. Black is coming on the Rockstar Disrupt tour performing his solo work when he’s away from Black Veil Brides. Just walking onto the stage Black had the cutest smile on his face, and the swagger of Jim Morrison that was going to captivate anyone watching him. You could also already hear the fan girls screaming and going crazy in the pit. Starting off his set with “Ribcage” Black’s melodic voice is such a pleasure to the ears, soft and soothing but able to get a bit raspier for the heavier sections without every losing the soothing sound. During his third song Black decided to get a little personal and jumped into the pit to give every fan a high five before jumping back on stage. Feeling that wasn’t sufficient enough, he walked around the entire Amphitheater giving the rest of the fans a personal high five as well. Playing songs like “Westwood Road,” “Stay Alive,” and “Ghost of Ohio,” Black was nothing short of enjoyable to watch for his complete set.
Full Andy Black gallery below:
The final Festival band to come to the main stage is a band my buddy Jamie was hyping to me all day, Sleeping with Sirens. And they did not disappoint. Starting off with their song “Kick Me,” singer Kellin Quinn had the biggest burst of energy of any band so far. Running to the foot of the stage to sing right into the faces of the fans on the barricade. Guitarists Jack Fowler and Nick Martin traded off heavy riffs that head every head banging in the crowd. Bassist Justin hills was dancing around the stage while drummer Gabe Barham rode his cymbals for songs like “Leave it All Behind,” “Better Off Dead,” and “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn.” During one song Kellin Quinn started whipping the mic by its chord almost like a rope dart, while the other members had to duck for cover, yet never missing a beat in the music. Ending their set with “If You Can’t Hang,” Sleeping with Sirens were the perfect way to end the festival side of the Rockstar Disrupt lineup. They were able to elevate the energy of the crowd and set the stage for the main stage acts that were to come.
Full Sleeping with Sirens gallery below:
Rockstar Disrupt Festival crafted their festival line up with a great blend of different style artists. From Hyro the Hero being the perfect high energy performer to kick off a show like this. To the Warped Tour style bands like Four Year Strong, Memphis May Fire, and Sleeping with Sirens. And perfect solo acts Juliet Simms and Andy Black. Not having an actual second stage I feel did hinder the first four acts quite a bit as they were playing to a mostly empty amphitheater. If we had a real second stage, the performs could have had a much more intimate show with the early bird fans, but that did not stop any of them from giving the true fans a show as if the place was packed. After a short break, we are ready to see the Main Stage performers.
You can find the Rockstar Disrupt Festival: Main Stage article HERE