Alien Ant Farm
with Local H
Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg, FL • August 18, 2013
It was an old-fashioned rock and roll hoo-ha, to be sure. From babies to grannies, thousands of enthusiasts baked in the scorching August sun. There was music blasting, pot smoking, and beer swilling — all of the standard rock festival foolishness — and even a bare-chested, tattoo-covered woman. Wait a second. How did Aunt Frieda get in here?
The much-hyped Big Night Out event also featured chart-busting heavyweights Hoobastank and Fuel. However, at the halfway point, a storm of near biblical proportions rolled in over the bay in St. Petersburg, putting an untimely kibosh on the outdoor celebration, but not before fans were treated to spirited matinee performances from alterno kingpins, Local H and Alien Ant Farm.
“Thanks for coming up front. That’s really cool of you,” announced Local H frontman/guitarist Scott Lucas upon the Illinois-based duo taking the stage under sunny skies at 4:30pm. “This song is about the ’80s and Aerosmith records,” Lucas further apprised the 1000+ early birds, as he and drummer Brian St. Clair kicked off their set with “Hands on the Bible.”
Both donning standard-issue black tees and jeans, Lucas and St. Clair kept it “real” for the people, offering fans a high-energy set punctuated with excessive F-bombs, GDs, and MFers. Hey Gladys — you best take little Billy Bob and Cathy Sue back to our minivan, ’til them Hoobastank fellers come on.
The duo’s repertoire also included the catalog classics, “Eddie Vedder,” “High-Fiving MF,” “Deep Cut,” “Heavy Metal Bakesale,” and their 1996 hit “Bound for the Floor,” as well as “Another February,” from their latest album Hallelujah! I’m a Bum! Thirty minutes in, the Local H show came to a rather noisy conclusion.
As the sun gave way to cloud cover at 5:30, the iconic Dukes of Hazzard TV show theme song blared over the Nugent-sized PA, ushering So-Cal’s punk/pop poster boys, Alien Ant Farm, onto the stage. The quirky quartet rebounded quickly from an early audio tailspin and proceeded to steal the show in short order.
“Rock and Roll sucks!” frontman Dryden Mitchell proclaimed boldly early in the set. “No it doesn’t,” he added, amid mild jeers from the crowd. “Yeah it does,” he concluded. Wow, honest commentary. Refreshing.
Further engaging the crowd of now 2,000+ with his dubious tales of alcohol-related issues, cocaine, and strippers, Mitchell proved to be a compelling and effective storyteller. “They won’t let me drink beer on the bus,” he confessed. “I’m a bad boy.” The truth will set you free, brother!
Detonating such old-school staples as “Courage” and fresh nuggets “Let ‘Em Know” and their signature 2001 hit “Smooth Criminal,” AAF shamelessly brutalized the masses with their rib-cracking, thirty-minute set.
Yet despite the band’s unified sonic supremacy, the real ace, the true Cracker Jack prize of the day was bassist Tye Zamora. Combining a cartoon-like persona with furious, nut-busting, musical precision, Zamora became an instant superhero to all who had eyes to see and ears to hear. Enthusiastic kudos also must be extended to drummer Mike Cosgrove for having perhaps the most flippin’ awesome-looking kit EVER: purple sparkle DWs with hot pink trim. Simply spectacular, dude!
Although the ensuing torrential downpour would bring the daylong tour de force to a premature conclusion, the two unsuspecting headliners more than delivered fans their $20 worth of rock.