An Afternoon at Rock School

My family is pretty random. No, let me rephrase that. My mother is pretty random. And you can definitely chalk this family outing under the random category. This past spring (while both my sister and I were away at school), mom went to the Spring concert of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s Patel Conservatory Rock School class, because the son of one of her close friends participated. Yesterday was the Summer 2008 session’s “recital” so to speak, and we went to see what was going on this time around.

The PAC is right by our underachieving skyline in downtown Tampa.


Walking around to the entrance of the conservatory, I found this:


The Phantom of the Opera is coming to town soon!!! Where can I get my tickets?!?

Here’s a pic of the PAC


Which is situated right by the river (and some school spirited graffiti artists, if you look closely!)


We were actually some of the last people to enter the performance hall, as numerous parents and other relatives and supporters had already filled it to capacity. Many people were asking us, “So who are you here to see?” To which we had to answer that we were here just for the show. I must admit, while I was at first hesitant to come, as soon as I saw the set up and the songs the bands were going to cover, I was excited.

set up

The great thing about PC’s Rock School is that it invites ALL talent levels from beginner to pro as well as ALL age groups! There had been some performers that had been doing Rock School courses for 6 cycles (Fall, Summer, Spring… twice)! And of course, all the adorable elementary school kids (boys AND girls!) that wanted to let their inner rocker out! One can only support any musical endeavors by anyone!!! *Sidenote: Mom was telling me that in the Spring session, there were more adults participating, and that she felt that many were local business executives just trying something new! How cool!*

The opening act was called Organically Grown, and they started off the afternoon with Blink 182’s catchy “All the Small Things.” If that didn’t get the older crowd into in, the band’s cover of Kiss’ “Rock n’ Roll All Night” surely had many a parent clapping along and moving in their seats! A great performance by these young ones, who seemed to be between 6-10 years old! Kudos to the drummer who was excellent, who kept a steady beat and had exciting drum fills!

org grown

Up next was the same age group of performers, but an all GIRL band! Freedom Runs Deep delivered a very cute performance, though a bit of stage shyness was evident! Yet it is these girls’ talent which the audience will remember, as they delivered memorable performances of Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What it’s Worth.”


They were followed by early teen band Delayed Reaction, who picked up the pace of the concert with “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones. They managed to top themselves with Guns n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine,” as the vocals were pleasant, and the guitar player absolutely nailed the riff at the beginning of the song, as well as wild guitar solo in the middle of the song. I’ve got two clips of them!

Next was Cruzn’uy, a three member band of teens, who attempted some tough songs! They opened with Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” which was immediately recognized by many of the adults on hand. The well played guitar riffs and the stellar drumming may have suggested to some that the band may have opened with their best song. This was not the case, as the guitarist’s played the opening riff to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” to the excited crowd, and their rendition surely did not disappoint. I’ve got two more clips!

They were followed by my favorite performance, by the band Flegm Wad. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t a big fan of the songs they played, which were Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK” and “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix. But again, the talent of the performers, as well as the overall outgoing performance (they actually interacted and moved around and FELT the music) really delighted the audience. Of course, the fact that their lead singer and guitarist was dressed as The Joker may have added to my overall preference of band at the concert!


And here he is in action!

The last band to perform was Mannequin Riot, and they were clearly the best band talent-wise, as their members had been doing Rock School for numerous sessions. Their set began with an original song written by the band called “Fever.” And they closed with Muse’s “Starlight.” I was impressed by pretty much all the members, but particularly the vocals and the keyboard- who managed to nail the synthesized filling melody in “Starlight.” A clip from “Fever.”

I was so sad it ended! I will definitely be at the Fall 08 concert later this year! A round of applause to all performers, and as one of the teachers stated, “These kids are the real guitar heroes!”