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by Rachelle Flava Rae Greenberg Photos by Raul Toro

This past weekend, 98ROCK’s RockFest 2021 started outside Amelie Arena in downtown Tampa. Headliners for this outdoor portion of the festival are 2 artists that impressed an eager crowd. Aryon Jones a singer/songwriter and guitarist from Seattle who blends Seattle grunge and rock with hip-hop to create a very unique genre of music. Zero 9:36 is a rapper, singer and musician who made a name for himself in the hip-hop community of Philadelphia.

Moving the festival inside, Dirty Honey was the first of 4 bands. This American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 2017, consists of Marc LaBelle–vocals, John Notto–guitar, Justin Smolian–bass and Corey Coverstone-drums. Performing their hits “Gypsy”, “California Dreamin’”,”The Wire”, ”Another Last Time”, “When I’m Gone” and ending with ”Rolling 7’s”. It seems like every song Dirty Honey puts out becomes a hit. Did you know that they are the 1st unsigned band to ever top the charts?
2nd band to take Amelie Arenas stage was Fozzy. Being a wrestling fan, I have known this band for awhile and thrilled to finally be able to see them. Fozzy is a heavy metal rock band that consists of Chris Jericho–vocals, Rich Ward–guitar, Frank Fontsere–drums, Billy Grey–guitar and Randy Drake-bass. Just like in the ring, Chris Jericho took command of the stage! Fozzy is a great band, with a terrific sound. Songs ranged from a cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds” to originals such as “Judas” & “Sane”. Chris Jericho connects with the music crowd just as well as the wrestling crowd.

Candlebox was next to perform. Formed back in 1990, was one of the original Seattle bands that introduced a new genre to us Gen X-er’s. Candlebox is Kevin Martin-vocals, Brian Quinn-guitar, Island styles-guitar, Adam Kury-bass & Robin Diaz-drums. Still going strong and sounding just as they did 30 years ago, their set list for the evening was a variety of their hits. From new songs such as “Riptide” & “We” to old ones, “You” & “Far Behind”. Following Rockfest they will be on tour for their new album “Wolves”, which was released on Sept 17. of this year.
South African hard rock band, Seether changed the overtone of the evening. Seether is Shaun Morgan-vocals, guitar, Corey Lowery-guitar, Dale Stewart-bass, and John Humphrey-drums. Monitors were placed on stage displaying images of anime type cartoons and a light-show that the first 3 bands did not have. They played favorites such as “Gasoline”, “Broken” and “Remedy”. Many had come to Rockfest specifically for this band, and I can see why. What a show!
Closing this year’s 98rockfest was Shinedown, an alternative metal band from Jacksonville, Florida. Members are Brent Smith-vocals, Barry Kerch-drums, Zach Myers-guitar and Eric Bass-bass. Not only did they play hits such as “If You Only Knew”, “I’ll Follow You”, “Enemies” or “Second Chance”, they also gave us a show with fire, cannons with fireworks and leading us all in singing a “Happy Birthday” to California Mike. Such a fun end to an incredible night of music.
98ROCK – iHeartRadio put together an amazing lineup. Everyone had a fantastic time at Amelie Arena for another year of Rockfest (which was postponed for almost a year and a half). I am already looking forward to the next one. Come on out and support live music! Flava Rae will be there, Rockin’ Out…’cause that’s what I do!