As A Rocket to the Moon blasted its way into Atlanta with Valencia, Anarbor, Runner Runner and Go Radio, there could be no doubt–there was something different going on, something special, familiar even. I knew what it was before I even pulled up to the venue, the miles of soccer mom minivans packed full of screaming girls kind of gave it away.
I arrived two hours before the show so I could meet the guys from A Rocket to the Moon, Eric Halvorsen and Andrew Cook, for our live interview, but already the lines were wrapped around the block. I knew that it was going to get interesting, and quickly, we would be shooting outside the venue.
The Masquerade is just a cool venue: a facade of Gothic stone and broken down black-painted wood, graffiti here and there reminds you that you aren’t about to enter some dungeon from the past–but close. Very, very close. If you’re going to interview at the Masquerade, along the stone walls is where you do it. It’s like a tradition, or a ritual; the macabre old place becomes another personality in the interview, as it does for those lucky enough to get decent concert photos inside the dark interior. I know many photographers who don’t even bother to shoot there, its like trying to shoot in my grandma’s creepy old basement.
It’s like a dungeon inside, no matter which level you’re on–Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. Some even say the old place, once a mill, is haunted, which is just stupid. Of course it’s haunted.
Watch the Video: A ROCKET TO THE MOON – Live Interview Eric Halvo rsen and Andrew Cook
I’ve seen and shot some of the most incredible shows there, Sevendust, Dimmu Borgir, Winds of Plague, Otep, Diabolic–I saw Cradle of Filth there for the first time. I missed them the last time they came through, sadly. Of course they played the Masquerade–though their audience has out-grown the venue. Some bands just belong there. So imagine my surprise at seeing about 50 teenage girls, some decked out in sundresses, others sporting braces, a few dolled themselves up in eye-liner in the way that only teenage girls do–like they had stolen the eye black from big brother’s football bag.
Of course mom’s were in tow, supposed to be keeping an eye on the lasses, though it did little good when they seemed more excited than the young girls did. As I sat outside shooting our interview I had no idea that there was a crowd growing behind me. I heard the occasional honks from the street and from time to time the guys I was talking to, Eric and Andrew, would get distracted and look over my shoulder while talking, but I almost threw my video camera up in the air as I turned from our shoot to find the entire front lawn packed with girls.
They had crept up, unexpectedly quiet for their ages… and very serious, listening as we interviewed. I looked at the Rocket boys’ tour bus about 20 feet away, then looked at the girls… then at the bus… then at the girls. Fat chance these guys would survive if they decided to make a run for it. But I could make it–if I decided to give in to self-preservation and leave them to the feeding frenzy that was surely coming. And that’s exactly what I decided to do. Screw them, save yourself.
Sure, I could have become motherly and taken charge, had the girls line up for autographs and photos, but what fun is that? I stuffed my camera into my bag and sat for a couple of photos with the guys, but I was already checking for escape routes, had to find a cool spot to watch the carnage from what was sure to become a very Beatles-esque moment. Unfortunately the guys from A Rocket to the Moon are pros. Easy to forget that because they look so young, but they’ve obviously been dealing with this sort of thing a lot since joining the band. They immediately took control and began handling the crowd starting by throwing their arms up in the air as if to say, “Ah well ladies, you got us. We give.” They sort of motioned the girls in a few at a time, talked to them a minute, snapped a photo or two, signed autographs, then onto the next group. Wow. I was as impressed with them as I am with pre-school teachers, personally I would have been ready to start throwin’ ‘bows… which is probably why I’ll never get hired as a pre-school teacher.
I probably should have expected that Eric and Andrew would know how to handle the situation, in our interview just minutes before we had discussed their festival experiences. Andrew had been the last member to join A Rocket to the Moon, brought on board by the band’s producer when they were going into the studio to record their first full length album which titled the tour, On Your Side. Formerly with The Receiving End Of Sirens he had plenty of touring and recording experience under his belt. Eric however, was the first bandmate of founding member Nick Santino who, finding himself a sudden internet music success had been thrown onto the festival tour circuit… with no band. It didn’t take long for him to realize that this just wasn’t working, he needed a band. And fast.
Andrew and Eric also talked about the people they’ve learned the most from on the road, some of the ways in which the “idea” of being a touring band and the realities of life on the road differ. They also talked about their tattoos, what it’s like being a “young” band on the tour circuit and individually, each of the four bands supporting them on On Your Side (Read the Concert Review), their first major headlining tour.
Watch the video: A ROCKET TO THE MOON – Concert Review Slideshow Video
Watch the video: ANARBOR, RUNNER RUNNER and GO RADIO – Concert Review Slideshow Video (Check out Runner Runner’s special goodbye at the end of the video-awesome!)
Watch the video: VALENCIA – Concert Review Slideshow Video (Watch for the up-coming interview with Valencia – ValenciaMusic.net)
Although A Rocket to the Moon is still fairly fresh out of the gate: two E.P.s and one full length album, their infectious music and incredible stage performance are the two key factors that have allowed them to jump queue and headline a major national tour, and sell out most dates. When you consider the size of their actual recorded catalogue compared to their hit catalogue, hugely popular songs like “If Only They Knew,” “Dakota,” “Baby Blue Eyes,” “Mr. Right,” “Like We Used To” and one of my personal favorites, “Life of the Party,” you begin to realize that A Rocket to the Moon isn’t just another “flavor-of-the-month” alternative pop band. These are young, talented musicians whose passion for music defies even the genre label that strains to contain them.
Another important factor in the A Rocket to the Moon equation is that they’re signed to Fueled By Ramen, which is a cool label that doesn’t shy from breaking the rules, allowing their artists creative license, and supporting their efforts strongly. That refusal to leash or lasso artists is what has made their signed bands like Paramore and Panic! at the Disco so incredibly popular and it bodes well for the success of A Rocket to the Moon.
Their latest release, The Rainy Day Sessions E.P., pushes at that fabric harder than ever, showcasing A Rocket to the Moons’ ability to create and re-create music with such diversity that they have made even Beyonce’s mega-hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)” an entirely different and unique song. This E.P. also sees some of their most popular songs re-born completely, “Like We Used To” has been given a country edge that has made it popular again with old fans, and introduced the band to a whole other audience as well.
I was honored to have had the opportunity to review their incredible, energetic On Your Side tour and more so to have been given the opportunity to meet and talk with the guys in the band. If A Rocket to the Moon is playing near you I’d definitely recommend checking them out. Definitely one of the most fun, refreshing concerts I’ve ever attended; these guys are having a blast and it is highly contagious. A kick-ass alt pop band playing kick-ass music–Finally! A band to restore my faith in pop culture. We’ll be seeing, and hearing, a lot more from A Rocket to the Moon in the future, I’m sure.
Tour news and updates can be found at ARockettotheMoon.net
Originally published: Interview: A Rocket to the Moon – On Your Side Tour For more concert coverage check out the Duran Duran – All You Need is Now World Tour Buckcherry Jagermeister Music Tour – Ozzy Osbourne and Slash Scream Tour and Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns World Tour reviews. Coming next Avenged Sevenfold with Seether and Alter Bridge and Welcome to Rockville with Godsmack, Stone Sour, Seether, Puddle of Mudd, Skillet, Halestorm and many more.