Guest writer, Donna McDowell
Day two of The DeLuna Fest started much like the first, minus the minor technical issues. The Florida weather, once again, greeted spectators with a warm hug and a gentle breeze.
Heritage, Florida’s winner of the “Take Your Shot the Opening Slot” contest, presented by radio station TK101 and Go Pensacola.com kicked of the day to a sparse crowd. Their reggae rock sound had fans bouncing to the beat. They played some original tunes and put their own twist on the hits of classic artists like Men at Work and Bob Marley. The crowd had thickened by the time they left the Stage.
Nameless, a two man D.J. act , was warming up fans at the Wind Creek Casino stage with their techno sound. D.J. Eddie Gold and Bill May-who goes by The Dills during solo gigs- joined forces for the performance at DeLuna Fest.
Neon Trees set the Bud Light stage and fans on fire with their original tunes, and electrifying energy. The highlight of their set was when they played their current radio hit, Animal. These guys were almost as incredible leaving the stage as when they were on it. After giving 110 percent on stage, the band still stayed to talk to fans, sign autographs, and take pictures. It was obvious that they are in the business for the right reasons-the fans. This was a great bunch of down to earth guys, very impressive!
The Gills jammed their indie rock tunes on the smaller stage in their bare feet and beach attire. Originally a local band, they recently relocated to Nashville to broaden their fan base and to launch their non profit organization, Breathe. Guitarist/vocalist, Jesse Wheeler, is a cancer survivor. Through Breathe, the band hopes to use their musical endeavors to reach out to individuals and families affected by cancer.
Making a stop on its “Give Thanks” tour to perform at DeLuna Fest, Rebelution, pumped up the crowds with their classic reggae rock sound. The band recently released a Bob Marley compilation CD in more than 100 countries.
Aussie band, Long-Reef, has only been in America a few months and is already a local favorite with their smooth voices, lyrics, and style. They rocked the stage at 2:30.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, an opening act for Stone Temple Pilots on its new tour, was the grittiest rock heard on any stage today up until this point. This powerful group included recently brought in drummer Leah Shapiro of The Raveonettes. Out of San Francisco, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is a hard core jam band full of flavor.
One man D.J. act, Scratch and Sniff, Normally a D.J. Duo, was a one-man act for the festival. DJ Mike Czech kept the crowd on their toes with their successful radio show idea of mixing tunes from every genre. Original mixes on Scratch and Sniff’s radio show include Bush vs LL Cool J, Korn vs Eminem and many other opposing combinations of music styles.
Michael Franti and Spearhead was one of the jewels of the day. Their fusion of genres with a reggae backbone was a crowd pleaser. Michael jumped off the Wind Creek Casino stage and spent much time traveling through the audience. Fans were jazzed to be so close the entertainer; they loved him and he loved them back through his enthusiasm. Michael was a favorite at DeLuna Fest.
New Politics performed on the Go Pensacola stage. This Danish rock-n-roll group signed with Sony Music-RCA/Jive shortly after moving to America. They recently released their debut self titled album which includes their hit “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” They are the opening act for 30 Seconds to Mars on their current tour. Lead Singer, David Boyd, belted out meaningful political lyrics with unmatched zeal.
Just as the sun was starting to set, 30 Seconds to Mars took the stage to the sound of thousands of screaming fans- young and old. Though not a PG-rated performance (Lead singer, Jared Leto, dropped the “F bomb” more than a handful of times), 30 Seconds to Mars rock the crowd into a frenzy with a slew of their hits including; “This is War,” The Kill,” and “From Yesterday.” For the finale, Jared called about 30 ecstatic fans up on the stage to join the band while they played “Kings and Queens.”
311, with its lead singer’s funky dance moves worked the packed crowd Saturday night on the Wind Creek Casino stage. This band is rich with hits after 20 years of playing together. Their 22 song set was well received by the screaming fans, as it was packed with hits like “Down,” Amber,” “Come Original” and “Hey You.” For their finale they did an extended version of “Creatures (for a while)” The crowd hated to see 311 leave the stage, because they were thirsty for more.
The fans were frenzied as Stone Temple Pilots took the stage at 9:30 on Saturday night. Front man Scott Weiland, looking sharp and healthy, belted out many of the bands hits through a megaphone and mic. Affectionately known as STP, this 1990s iconic group brought the crowd to a climax performing hits such as; “Wicked Garden,” “Vaseline,” Plush,” and “Interstate Love Song,” The band encored with a favorite from their third album “Trippin on a Hole in a Paper Heart.”
From the minute 30 Seconds took the stage, through 311, to the last note of STP’s encore, the beach was a sea of happy faces and pulsating bodies. This was a perfect end to an excellent day of the DeLuna Fest. The after parties were packed and rightfully so; no one wanted this day to end.