Review: 95 X Fest

Twenty Two bands for $20! What!!! With a lineup that consists of Sick Puppies, Adam Gontier, Nonpoint, Trapt, Otherwise and more, how can you go wrong for $20!!! Add eleven of some of the area’s best local talent and you have this year’s 95 X fest.

Held at the F Shed in Syracuse N.Y., I was kind of skeptical of this venue until I got there. The F Shed is like a big warehouse or, like its name, a shed. A huge shed, in fact, but really nice inside. So, like me, don’t judge the place until you actually see it, because it’s actually a really good venue for a concert.

There were eleven local area bands, and they all sounded pretty good. So all you concert promoters out there looking for some good opening acts for future shows, check out the list of local bands that kicked @$$ on this show. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.

First on the main stage was Another Lost Year. This is a really good up-and-coming band. Their singles are getting a lot of airplay on XM Octane. Their sound check went a little longer than they wanted, so they had to cut their set a little short, but this band still rocked the place. They connected and played to the crowd really well.

Next up was a band I knew nothing about, but now I know very well. Allele took the main stage second. Front man Wally Wood has endless energy. I think he stood on the rail and sang with the crowd for half his performance.

Girl On Fire is now the third band to play on the main stage. Their current single, “The Takedown,” is really hot. These guys put on a great live performance. During one song, singer Austin Held’s mic went dead, which prompted him to slam it on the ground in frustration. He then grabbed another mic and hit the next note right on cue.

Mindset Evolution was the fourth band to play the main stage. Their current single, “Burn It Down,” is also played a lot on XM Octane. These guys won Battle Of The Bands in 2012, and they have really grown since a year ago when they were on the Uproar Festival. ME put in a really good live performance.

Devour The Day was the fifth band to grace the main stage. Former Egypt Central members Joey Chicago and Blake Allison make up half the band. Their current single, “Good Man,” is in heavy rotation on the radio. I forgot how much energy these guys have. Insane! They will be touring with Hinder later this year so make sure you go and check them out.

One of my favorite up and coming bands that were a late addition to this show’s lineup were slated in the sixth spot on the main stage. Otherwise took the stage next and brought the house down. Otherwise is one of the best live bands you could see. I love watching Adrian and the boys rock it. If you have never seen Otherwise, all I can say is what the hell are you waiting for? Adrian just connects with the crowd and pulls you in. Bassist Vassilios and Guitarist Andrew were so energized, I think they drank a whole case of Red Bull or something before the show. Vassilios even jumped in the crowd and played bass around all the fans for an entire song, which prompted Adrian to say “please don’t kill our bassist”.

Disturbed members Mike and Dan, along with Evans Blue Member and singer Dan, make up the next band that were in the seventh spot on the main stage. Fight Or Flight were up next and they were better than I thought. I wasn’t feeling their cd that much yet, and their single, “First Of The Last,” is OK, but their live performance is really good. In fact, they were so good live you would think that they were a band for many years performing together.

Trapt gets the eighth spot on the show. Trapt played a good mix of old and new tracks. They always put in a great live performance, but I prefer them on a more intimate stage setting. Singer Chris Taylor Brown makes you feel his emotions as he sings and is a great performer. Their current single, “Eye Of The Storm,” is starting to get a lot of airplay on the radio.

This next band is another must-see band if you have never seen them. In the ninth spot on the main stage was Nonpoint. Elias and the boys are so much fun to watch live. They just come out and Kick @$$ form start to finish. I had the chance to hang out with the boys for a little bit on their tour bus, and we had a really random discussion about mushrooms. We also had a debate on who has better pizza, New York or Chicago?

Former front man for Three Days Grace, Adam Gontier, was slated in the tenth spot for this show. I haven’t ever seen 3DG with Adam. Matt is a great fill in, but when I heard Adam sing those songs I was blown away. Adam said to the crowd, “Isn’t it nice to hear the guy who wrote the songs, sing the songs?” Adam is just amazing live, and at one point near the end of his set he climbed the scaffolding all the way up to the lights and just hung there for a bit. I thought he was going to jump into the crowd, but after hanging for a couple of minutes he came back down.

Sick Puppies is slated as the headliners for this event. Shimon and the gang always put on a great show. I was watching them pump each other up backstage before their performance. Shimon really likes talking to the crowd before every song, which can be a little overkill. When you have been at a festival all day and you’re the last act please keep the talking to a minimum. A large stage means more room for Emma to jump and spin around on stage. This girl is just amazing live, and I don’t think I would ever get tired of watching her play. Anzai is of the best bassists you could ever see live.

This was a really good event and one of my favorite concerts of the year. This event was very fan-friendly with all of the bands signing autographs at different times under the autograph tent. That, to me, is what a music festival should have. It’s really nice to shoot the $#!t with your favorite artist for a couple of minutes and get something signed or take a picture with them.

Photographer JT Gilbert took a lot of really nice pictures of this event, and his one of Nonpoint is f’in awesome. If Nonpoint ever makes a live dvd, that pic should be the cover.

I also got to exchange a few words with Dan from Disturbed/Fight or Flight. He was drinking some really good red wine in a plastic solo cup. After I asked him what he was drinking, he told me, “Hey I have to switch it up from beer every now and then.” Funny.

I also got to hold Adam Gontier’s Terminator-inspired mic stand which had to weigh about fifty pounds.

Congrats to 95 X for putting on a really great event, despite the fact that a rival radio station that had their own event a week earlier pulled a classless move and held a free concert the same time and day of this event. I didn’t matter though, because on this day this was the place to be.

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