Earthday Birthday Brings The Heat

Seether at Earth Day Birthday | Central FL Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Photo by Kyle Martin.

Orlando, FL – Summer swelter couldn’t compete with the hottest rock played at the annual Earthday Birthday bash hosted by 101.1 WJRR. 

Headliners Staind and Seether capped a full day of 13 acts at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, including longtime favorites SOiL and up-and-coming trailblazers like Austin Meade and Ayron Jones. 

Staind closed the day with a powerful 90 minute set that dug deep into a catalog stretching back almost 30 years (almost as old as Earthday Birthday, Orlando’s longest running festival).  While I’ve followed Staind since Break the Cycle, I never really considered them that hard of a band. Hearing them live for the first time at volumes that would shame an airport tarmac changed my mind. Aaron Lewis’ vocals were pitch perfect, both his soaring cleans and drawn out screams that instantly inspired a push pit. 

As a casual fan, I recognized the radio hits like “So Far Away” and “Right Here.” (And I’m old enough to remember when the Family Values Tour version of “It’s Been Awhile” was inescapable on the airwaves.) Other tracks like “Paper Wings” showed me I have some catching up to do on Staind’s discography. As a disciple of the nu-metal age, encore closer “Mudshovel” was everything I wanted it to be. 


  • Lowest in Me
  • Eyes Wide Open
  • Fade
  • Raw
  • Not Again
  • Here and Now
  • Something to Remind You
  • Right Here
  • Wannabe
  • Outside
  • Better Days
  • Paper Wings
  • So Far Away
  • For You


  • It’s Been Awhile
  • Mudshovel

STAIND – Website | Facebook | Instagram 


Hot on their heels was Seether, playing their second show after a two-year hiatus. (The first was the day before in Tampa at 98RockFest.) 

Seether’s debut album Disclaimer was a revelation for me when it first came out in 2002, a defiant claim that grunge will never die. While the band’s sound evolved over the years to something a little more radio ready, they never lost that original DNA of crunchy guitars and saccharine melodies. 

“Gasoline” kicked off the set, chased by “Fine Again” before the energy dipped for “Broken.” The usual suspects were there: “Remedy,” “Wasteland” and “Fake It.” “Country Song” reminded me just how many singles the band have produced, while “Dangerous” from 2022 showcased the band’s growth over the years. The only real deep cut was “Praying for Me,” which gave the band and the overheated crowd a breather. 


  • Gasoline
  • Fine Again
  • Broken
  • Country Song
  • Rise Above This
  • Bruised and Bloodied
  • Wasteland
  • Nobody Praying for Me
  • Let You Down
  • Dangerous
  • Fake It
  • Remedy

SEETHER – Website | Facebook | Instagram


Keeping them company was an arsenal of acts, each hungry and eager to showcase their own unique talents and sounds. Some of the highlights: 

“Cave In” was my introduction to Austin Meade last year and his bluesy brand of alt rock ticks all of my boxes. The long hair and tattoos (and a shirt proclaiming “howdy fuckers”) promises old fashioned rock-and-roll attitude, and there’s enough bite in the guitar solos to deliver that promise. It’s paired though with a laidback, barely discernible Texas twang that brings his music back closer to the country spectrum. Intrigued? Start with “Cave In” and pretty much everything off Black Sheep before digging deeper on Abstract Art of an Unstable Mind and the back catalog. 

New-to-me was Ayron Jones, who delivered an incredible high-energy set. Playing in direct sunshine at the hottest part of the day did nothing to slow them from delivering take-no-prisoners, vicious rock with blistering solos. Tracks like “Emily” take notes from Chicago blues, while they paid homage to their Seattle roots with a furious cover of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings.” 

Just before Fozzy took the stage, the photographers who had experienced the show before were buzzing with excitement. The reputation was well-earned. Chris Jericho, decked out in a leopard print jacket with spikes on the shoulders, led a high-energy set of back-to-basics rock. Tracks like “Bad Tattoo” picked up a crowd wilting in the heat and didn’t let them go until the end. 

SOiL was another one I knew from a handful of singles and was instantly wowed by the power of their performance. Their dark, sludgy sound was a thunderhead on a sunny afternoon, with Ryan McCombs’ powerful vocals carrying far over the fairgrounds. Bringing to mind the best elements of Sevendust and Down, don’t miss a chance to see SOiL live. 


Asking Alexandria

Earthday Birthday Crowd

ALL PHOTOS Kyle Martin
Show Date: Saturday, April 20th 2024