Review by: Mariusz Rdultowski
Photos by: Nicholas Smarra
On Sunday, I had the exciting opportunity to visit the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, CT and experience what is shaping up to be one of the hottest rock scenes of the summer, Rockstar Energy’s Disrupt Festival. Disrupt is a brand-new touring festival that has brought together a dynamite cast including The Used, Thrice, Atreyu, Four Year Strong, and many more. My day on the grounds was filled with taurine and great jams, providing me with a fantastic time that I wish never ended!
The XFINITY Theatre provided a fantastic venue for the bands to rock out for the day. Two stages were prepared for the shows, with the first located outside of the theatre in an open area (Festival Stage) while the second was the main amphitheater itself (Main Stage). The way this show was organized was great, as only one band played at any given time. This allowed fans to be able to experience all of the acts scheduled for the day without having to debate whether they wanted to see one show over another. If a band you were not particularly interested in was slated to go next, there were plenty of merch booths and food/drink stalls around to keep you occupied before the next set. However, I personally found it difficult to pull myself away for even a second with the lineup that was presented there.
The Festival Stage held the first set of performances, hosting Hyro the Hero, Juliet Simms, Trophy Eyes, Memphis May Fire, Four Year Strong, and Sleeping with Sirens, with set times of approximately 30 minutes a piece. This stage was the smaller of the two, with a large open area in front of it, allowing for an intimate experience between the performers and the screaming fans.
Hyro The Hero:
Hyro the Hero (Houston, TX) led the charge as the first band on stage, and they brought an extraordinary energy with them. Throughout the set, Hyro could be found all over the stage (including on top of equipment) singing and rapping his heart out with songs from his latest album Flagged Channel. At one point, he really got the crowd going as he hopped over the barrier and jammed with the fans! After their show, Inside the Setlist had the opportunity to meet with Hyro. The full interview can be found HERE!
Juliet Simms (Clearwater, FL) was next in line, and she put on a fantastic show. The 2012 The Voice finalist had a stellar performance at the festival, bringing amazing rock vibes that had the audience going wild. I had not closely followed Juliet Simms prior to Sunday, but after witnessing her style first hand I will be sure to have her music in my rotation!
Trophy Eyes (Newcastle, Australia) is another band that has flown under my radar over the years. I managed to catch a glimpse of them at Vans Warped Tour in Atlantic City a couple weeks ago, but on Sunday I was able to immerse myself in their full set and I loved it. Their punk rock style really meshed with me and they were very entertaining to watch on the stage.
Memphis May Fire:
Memphis May Fire (Denton, TX) walked onto the stage and got the fans immediately headbanging. The pit was filled to the brim with people rocking out to the band. I’ve been listening to Memphis May Fire for a few years now, but this was my first time seeing the band live. The experience was phenomenal and I had a blast screaming and jumping around with the rest of the crowd.
Four Year Strong:
As the afternoon progressed, Four Year Strong (Worcester, MA) greeted everyone with their typical high energy and amazing act. Perhaps I am slightly biased as they are from my hometown, but Four Year Strong put on consistently intense shows that are immensely fun and entertaining, and Sunday was no exception. Between all the mosh pits and crowd surfers, you had loads of fans screaming every song into the sky while the band rocked out on stage.
Sleeping with Sirens:
Wrapping up the afternoon performances was Sleeping with Sirens (Orlando, FL). After all the amazing sets so far that day, Sleeping with Sirens was met with a crowd that was already floating on cloud 9 and ready to keep throwing down. And Sleeping with Sirens delivered, providing an energy that flowed through the grounds and had people really jamming along. This is another band that I have never seen live, but after Sunday I will be sure to catch them every time they roll through the area.
After Sleeping with Sirens completed their show, the festival shifted gears and moved into the amphitheater of XFINITY Theatre. This area boasted a central stage with a pit zone right in front. Three sections of seats radiated outward from the stage, with a lawn to sit on in the far back. The amphitheater allowed for festival-goers to have the choice of sitting and relaxing in the stands while watching the next bands perform, or going up into the pit to continue letting loose (if you bought the corresponding ticket). The Main Stage hosted Atreyu, The Story So Far, Circa Survive, The Used, and Thrice, each playing for around 45 minutes per set.
Atreyu (Yorba Linda, CA) initiated the second half of the festival with an amazing performance comprised of fantastic lighting and great fan interaction. Atreyu was the perfect band to kick off the evening festivities, pumping in high levels of intense enthusiasm and excitement into the amphitheater.
The Story So Far:
Next up was The Story So Far (Walnut Creek, CA), another band with a load of great music out in the world. And they came to Disrupt with the intent to share it! Although I would have liked to see a little more energy up on the stage, The Story So Far delivered a killer set that had the whole pit roiling and going wild.
Circa Survive (Philadelphia, PA) slayed during their time on stage, providing captivating light displays that, along with their sound, made them such a treat to watch. Everyone around was having a blast vibing along to their music, myself included!
As the evening progressed, The Used (Orem, Utah) made their way into the amphitheater. Everything about their performance was surreal, easily becoming my favorite set of the night. From the intro video based off of their album In Love and In Death, to the stage setup including a hanging heart hovering over everyone, I was mesmerized and loving the whole experience. The band played many of their classics, hyping up everyone at the venue!
To cap off the night, Thrice (Irvine, CA) played the final set of the festival. The show Thrice put on was fantastic, showing a lot of excitement and fun on stage that resonated into the fans rocking along below. Riding off the high of the previous performances, the XFINITY Theatre’s attendees really gave Thrice all of their oomph, ensuring the night ended on an insanely high note.
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