The City Rockfest Tour roared through Massillon Ohio on March 31 fueled by high anticipation. Being the a mid- run stop, pictures and videos of the performances had been surfacing for weeks. Each one promising a high energy rock show that the attendees would never forget, and fans were not disappointed.
Children 18:3 took the stage first by storm performing a rather short set that left the audience craving more. This energetic set included front man David Hostetter playing complicated guitar riffs while maintaining a calm complexion and complex stage theatrics. Bassist and back up vocalist Lee Marie’s actions complimented the duo making them the most fun band to watch the entire night. Children’s drummer, Seth Hostetter, quickly became a crowd favorite with his unbelievable skill. His grooves had a highlighted moment during his incredible drum solo that caught everyone’s attention. In short, Children 18:3 left the crowd wondering why they did not have a longer set, and wanting more. Both very good sentiments to have left an audience with.
The night was continued with the rock band Spoken. Having only seen Spoken’s lead singer, Matt Baird, perform solo acoustic performances, I was having a rather hard time picturing him as a singer for a rock band. However, he was proven to be in his element as Spoken began their guitar driven set that caused several heads to turn. If the band did not have my attention before, they certainly had it now. The word that would describe this performance would be passionate. It was obvious that each member was giving their all during their set, and while they had a much different in sound than Children’s music, they did a great job at holding the momentum. Disciple’s guitarist, Josiah Prince, joined Spoken as their guitarist for the set. His usual energy only added to the performance. Spoken played slightly longer than Children 18:3 but brought the same amount of energy and prowess, thus continuing what was so far a great show.
As Spoken’s set ended, Deycfer Down began to set up and take the stage. This would be the only let down of the whole show. While the two bands before put on extremely high-energy sets, Deycfer Down as a whole tended to remain in one spot. This could be due to the music itself. It seemed as though they were concentrating more on the notes than the show, which is great for a band that primarily puts out music, but for a performing band, it broke the momentum of the show. That’s not to say they did not play their tunes well. Every note was very well executed and in the right place, just not quite as much fun to watch.
Deycfer Down’s set came to a close and Seventh Day Slumber took the stage. This was the band I was the most unsure about. My last experience with Seventh Day Slumber was a passing glance while at a summer festival last year. One of the most notable things about them is their drummer, who just so happens to be 14 years old. His father Joesph Rojas is the singer of the group. I was more curious than anything, and then I was blown away. While not my usual taste in music, Seventh Day Slumber brought back all of the energy that had had been missing from the last set and more. Their drummer absolutely nailed every groove, and the rest of the band followed suit. It was one of the cleanest and most well executed sets I have ever seen. As they ended their set I was quite impressed by their showmanship, and soon would be with their hearts. During Joseph’s speech about Food for the Hungry, a concertgoer who was located in the front row apparently passed out from the heat in the room. Immediately Joe called for help from the stage and prayed for her as help arrived. It was done with love and care rather than for show, and had definitely earned respect from myself and everyone else in the audience.
With the night winding down, and full of good music, a buzz settled into the air. Disciple was set to close out the show, and by the sea of Disciple t-shirts that I saw, I could assume that everyone’s excitement was building. They were not kept waiting either. Starting with the hymn “Tis So Sweet” the band kicked in at full tilt rocketing the show forward to a really great ending. Kevin Young owned the stage with his presence and vocal abilities. From his singing to his preaching, it is obvious that he has both been around the block a few times in his showmanship, but is also very genuine and as passionate as he came across to be. Josiah and Andrew were also extremely entertaining to watch, as they got up to their own antics while playing. They did everything from messing with Jeremy who was running sound, to messing with each other while they each played. They were a show in and of themselves. Joey West, the band’s drummer gave an impressive show of stick tricks and hair flipping which combined Josiah and Andrew’s antics made for one incredible show.
All in all the City RockFest Tour is one for the books. Each artist was impressive, and apart from one instance the show never lost momentum. Of you can, make sure to catch the a show on the remainder of the tour!