Show review written by Jewels the Rock Hobbyt. Photography by Jewels the Rock Hobbyt and WDibble Photography.
In an act of solidarity in support of a music scene that has given them so much, 14 bands shared two stages at The Rock Shop in Fayetteville, NC on Saturday, September 24th for The NC Allstar Rock Music Festival, a celebration of the vibrant music scene that North Carolina has to offer.
“This event was designed to celebrate NC’s ever growing rock music scene and its musicians,” said Michael Harris, the festival’s creator and founder of HF Music and Media Group. “The goal was to bring the entire scene together—spectators, promoters, band members, photographers, and venue owners from all over the state—to celebrate what we love and live for. Music. We all work together and we all love what we do.”
The bill included a variety of top rock bands from across North Carolina performing on two stages: Something Clever (Charlotte), Fiftywatt Freight Train (Charlotte), The Gray (Fayetteville), Breathe New Life(Fayetteville), Raimee (Greensboro), Motorjunkie (Fayetteville), Soapbox Arson (Greensboro), A Light Divided (Winston-Salem), 4th Hour (Fayetteville), Knightmare (Raleigh), Aurora (Lumberton), LaureNicole (Raleigh), Kiss The Curse (Raleigh), and Trailer Park Orchestra (Greensboro.) The 14-band festival also featured two sound engineers, two stage coordinators, five promoters, and countless volunteers dedicated to making the massive show a success.
Trailer Park Orchestra (Southern Rock from Greensboro, NC) kicked off the NC Allstar Rock Music Festival in a distinctive, memorable way. The Greensboro rockers have noted their sound on social media as “If Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Ramones had an illegitimate love child”, and it is clearly present in songs like “Twisted Love” which displays their southern rock roots and punk rock edge. TPO’s frontman, Louis Money, performed with unbelievable energy, rarely staying still through an entire phrase and drawing the crowd in from the first song.
The LaureNicole Band, whose namesake frontwoman Lauren Nicole was this year’s winner of the Carolina Music Award for Best Rock Female, kicked off The Rock Shop’s Goliath stage, delivering their own unique form of rock to the All-Star Festival; a smooth, grooving country-infused style of rock and roll with a side order of the blues. Lauren’s rich, powerful voice was suspended beautifully above the instrumentation, instantly grabbing the crowd’s attention.
Kiss the Curse kicked into their set at the All-Star Festival with an aspiring disposition and a zealous presence. The Raleigh-based quintet performed hard-driving, modern-rock inspired songs off of their EP “Shot in the Dark” as well as tracks like “Spare Me” and “The Fool” off of their second forthcoming EP, “Woes and Reasons.”
Greensboro rockers Soapbox Arson rocked the weekend festivities, displaying a distinct, collective sound; a mixture of hard/alternative rock with a grunge rock feel, accompanied by an infectious punk rock attitude in the band’s performance. Songs like “The King of Nothing” highlights these notions and visibly moved the energetic audience who were entranced from beginning to end.
Bonus: Jewels the Rock Hobbyt interviews Soapbox Arson before their set!
Hometown rockers Aurora delivered a progressive rock edge to Saturday night’s festival, creating an atmospheric feel, captivating the crowd. Songs like “Dreamcatcher” entice the ears, generating a feel-good mood with its upbeat tempo, crisp guitar sound, and tranquil vocals.
Knightmare served up a power metal, sonic delight Saturday evening; a performance packed full of melodious, guitar harmonies, multiple vocal talents, a classic metal feel, and an undying energy that never let up from the first note until the very end.
Bonus: Rei Haycraft interviews Knightmare before their set! (coming soon)
Fiftywatt Freight Train took to the stage Saturday night with their heavy-hitting, melodic set composed of songs reminiscent of 80’s metal merged with modern-day hard rock. Tracks such as “Hellbent Halo” prove as such with a beefed up drum pattern, sleazy guitar solos, and an anthemic-like group chant to accent the overall style.
A Light Divided concluded their Unshowered and Unashamed Tour on the night of the festival, after nearly nine consecutive days on the road touring the Southeast, with the exception of a brief break day. However, their performance said otherwise. The Winston-Salem hard rock/metal act rocked The Rock Shop to their fullest, fiery and ambitiously pounding out tracks such as “You Can’t Miss The Bear” and “Save The Cheerleader, Save The World” with high energy performances, catchy, fun melodies, and hardcore-inspired riffs and breakdowns.
Bonus: Jewels interviews A Light Divided before their set at The NC Allstar Rock Music Festival!
Triad-based hard rock/metal quintet Raimee enchanted the stage and mesmerized the audience, revealing a melancholic, soothing mood laced with forlorn, heartfelt lyrics, haunting vocals, and soaring guitar solos. With a gothic charm and memorable melodies, the audience was spellbound by the band’s performance, energy, and honesty.
As a special treat, Raimee frontwoman Rei Haycraft took time at the end of their set to present Anna Harris (daughter of HF Media Group’s founder, Michael Harris) with a unique birthday present: a set of tails just like the singer’s own that the young fan had often asked to wear. The joy on Anna’s face—and the resounding cheers from the crowd—reminded us all why we love our music scene.
Hometown rockers The Gray performed a set that was a perfect mix of straight edge rock, southern rock, and old school metal. Songs such as “Beneath Me” and “Little Miss Sexy” consist of grooves, licks, and attitudes matching said music genres, blending effortlessly together, which visibly met the satisfaction of all music fans that evening.
Charlotte rockers Something Clever closed out the night with a bang. The hard rock/metal band blazed into the set with songs from their latest release “Season of Darkness”, as well as debuting a few new songs from their upcoming album, “Season of Light”, wowing the crowd with their heavy, dynamic sound, blistering guitar solos, powerhouse vocals, and tight-knit musicianship. Something Clever kept the audience on the edge of their nonexistent seats with the intensity, passion, and drive that is ever present at their shows, and was a refreshing close to the night’s celebration of our outstanding local rock music scene.
Bonus: Rei Haycraft interviews Something Clever before their set!
Note: Due to the overlapping interview and set schedules and the fact that we have not yet been successful in our attempts to clone our correspondents, we were unable to photograph all of the bands featured on the bill—but hope that our coverage captures the spirit of the marvelous event.