January 25th House of Blues Orlando was welcoming Drowning Pool to their stage along with Adelitas Way and Joyous Wolf. There was a good size crowd waiting patiently for the doors to open when I arrived and a fair number of them decked out in their Drowning Pool merch. There was also a large number of fans who were wearing ShipRocked 2018 merch as their cruise had just returned to port earlier that day. This was bound to be a fun show for the fans as all three bands are great performers on the stage.
First up was Joyous Wolf. I will not lie, they have become a personal favorite of mine since I saw them perform at Louder Than Life in October 2017. The band from Orange County in Southern California has been on the rise over the past few years. Starting off in 2014 the four “brothers”, because that’s how they see each other, of Nick Reese (vocals), Blake Allard (guitars), Greg Braccio (bass), and Robert Sodaro (drums) have worked extremely hard to get where they are today. From playing in the Viper Room multiple times over to playing Danny Wimmer Presents Festivals to going now on tour with Drowning Pool, the band is willing to take on any challenge and provide the fans with a show they won’t forget. And this night wasn’t going to be any different. They had also just come off ShipRocked 2018 and the fans who were on the cruise were happy to cheer them on again at House of Blues.
They took the stage to a cheer and Nick introducing who they were and then ripped into the first chords of “Mountain Man”, which probably their most well-known single. Within a few seconds, Nick goes out and somersaults right on the stage. The fans looked surprised as he stood up and began to sing. The soulful sound of this song has attracted a lot of attention and the House of Blues crowd was right there eyes glues to Joyous Wolf. It’s a song that also has this beautiful rhythm that brings the song up high and then low and back to high again. The band was rocking it on stage that night.
One song I was truly impressed with was “Turning Blue”. It starts with this slow deep groove before jumping into a nice rock sound. Greg lays down this great bass line for the song and Blake merges in this spine-tingling guitar riff. Robert keeps this great pace going through the song and Nick showcases his amazing vocals. And with the stage highlighted all in blue it was the perfect moment. I loved seeing Blake getting completely lost in the music, as he does with many of his performances, and Nick’s facial expressions show how much emotion he pours into his performance.
Nick engaged the crowd to get them to scream and cheer. I learned from Nick during our interview the more the fans give out energy the more Nick gives back to them. When they performed “Sleep Weep Stomp” Joyous Wolf was will full let loose mode. Nick was dancing and grooving all over the stage. Blake and Greg were playing hard and Robert was banging so hard I thought he’d knock something over. The crowd was cheering them on and the band was absolutely having fun on stage. Keep your eyes out for Joyous Wolf, who is performing at many Danny Wimmer Presents festivals this Spring.
Next up was Adelitas Way from Las Vegas, NV. The band formed back in 2006 and immediately broke out into mainstream with their first single, “Invincible”, from their debut self-titled album. The song ended up being used on television by the WWE and CSI Miami. They had strong success since their debut releasing 1 EP and 4 additional studio albums with the last one in 2016 titled “Notorious”. The band had recently come through Orlando as part of the Make America Rock Again tour and like some of the fans also just came off the ShipRocked 2018 cruise. Rick DeJesus (vocals), Trevor “Tre” Stafford (drums), Andrew Cushing (bass) and Ryan Guanzon (guitar) were ready to rock.
The band was providing a solid performance for the crowd. Rick’s vocals sounded great, Ryan was lost in the music feeling out every riff he played, Andrew laid down deep thumping bass riffs, and Trevor hammered away on drums. Rick interacted with the crowd often telling them how much he appreciated their support, especially the crew from ShipRocked 2018. You could easily tell how much fun the band was having on stage performing again. Some of the songs they played included “Bad Reputation”, “Ready For War (Pray For Peace)”, and “Invincible”.
Finally, the headliners from Dallas, TX, Drowning Pool, were ready to take the stage. The band that formed in 1996 is well known for their hardcore metal music and their love for the fans. The band’s first album, ‘Sinner’, was a tremendous hit being certified Platinum in just 6 weeks. Unfortunately, the founding vocalist, Dave Williams, died of an undiagnosed heart condition while on their tour bus. Since then, the core band members have stayed together with different vocalists perform with them on various albums. The band has released 5 additional studio albums, a re-issue of ‘Sinner’, and one live album. ‘Hellulujah’ is their latest album released in 2016. Jasen Moreno (vocalist), C.J. Pierce (guitar), Stevie Benton (bass), and Mike Luce (drums) came out to screams and cheers from the crowd.
They kicked it off with “Sinner” the title track from their debut album and sounded great. The music was heavy, the band was loving being on stage, and the fans were rocking along. They followed up with “Think” from their second album, ‘Desensitized’ and rolled into “Step Up”, one of my favorite songs from them. By the point the crowd was jumping up and down screaming the band’s lyrics as they performed. Jasen interacted with the crowd in between songs to keep the energy going. He was smiling and looked very happy even at one point asking for House of Blues Orlando to invite them back as they were enjoying the crowd. The ShipRocked fans were especially happy to see them as C.J. and Stevie were also on the cruise as part of a guest group known as The Stowaways.
I was extremely impressed with the band that night seeing the crowd’s reaction to their performance. C.J. is a wild man as he performs, jumping, moving around, holding his guitar up as he plays, and overall having fun. Stevie gets absorbed in the music and you can see through his playing and facial expressions the love he has for the music they play. Mike is a monster on the drums ripping away some awesome sounds during their songs. And Jasen’s vocals are solid work providing the crowd with the Drowning Pool experience they expect. Some of the other songs they performed included “Told You So”, “Drop”, “Feel Like I Do”, and phenomenal performance of “Tear Away”, and of course closing it out with “Bodies”.
Overall it was a solid show from all three bands and if you have yet to see any of them live, definitely check them out while they are still on tour.