Wednesday, March 29, 2017

JULE VERA: The Greatest Band on Earth?

The Greatest Band on Earth?

Perfect timing for a couple
of rock and roll road trips!

There I was, standing front-and-center — twisting and turning, racked with pain. I needed to pee, desperately — worse than I ever had in my entire life. But my buddy RV and I had just driven nearly four hours — from Melbourne, Florida to New Port Richey, and I wasn't about to budge from my bird's-eye perch located just spitting distance from the stage. I mean, what if something horrible happened while en route to the Port-a-Potty? What if I was abducted? What if I was murdered? Or even worse, what if my prime spot got swiped by those suspicious-looking teenage girls standing close by? Nope, I wasn't taking any chances. I'd just have to "hold it" until after the show — a very small price to pay to see the greatest band on earth.

Ansley Newman - Orlando, FL (3.22.17)
*Photo: Sara Taylor
The story of Jule Vera reflects nothing short of a spectacular rocket ride. Rewind, 2014 — a few fresh-faced kids from Lee County, Alabama win the rock and roll "lotto" — signing their first record deal while barely out of high school. Oozing infectious earworms, the band's acclaimed debut album, Friendly Enemies, arrived in the summer of 2015 — just in time to embark on the 40-city Vans Warped Tour. Following three rapid-fire U.S. outings and one European jaunt, Jule Vera had become anointed media darlings by the spring of 2016. And after being holed up in the studio for the last year, they're finally set in 2017 to drop their highly-anticipated sophomore release — while also gearing-up for their second Warped Tour summer excursion. But not before sliding down to Florida for a couple of Spring Break warm-up dates.

Kyle Horvath - New Port Richey, FL (3.19.17)
*Photo: Christopher Long
Lined with arts and crafts booths and brimming with food and beverage vendors, Jule Vera's aforementioned New Port Richey show was part of the weekend-long St. Patty's Day festival held outdoors at Fiddlers Green Irish Pub on Sunday, March 19th. Hundreds of sun-burnt music fans were in attendance for the 5pm showtime. And from my "Jack Ruby" locale I continued gawking like a bona fide "belieber" as the band burned through a turbo-charged, 30-minute set. Ahh — finally, time to pee!

Jake Roland - Orlando, FL (3.22.17)
*Photo: Sara Taylor
Wednesday, March 22nd — after taking a couple of days to recuperate, I was back on the road, heading off to Orlando's Full Sail University with my teenage compadre, Vance. Our mission — to cover the 2017 Vans Warped Tour official kick-off press event for

For more than an hour, a sea of fashion-conscious fans, and an army of culturally-enlightened journalists all waited patiently in hopes of being passed through the very thorough Full Sail Live security checkpoint in time for the event's 6pm commencement.

Will Stacey - Orlando, FL (3.22.17)
*Photo: Sara Taylor
Hosted by the Warped Tour’s founding visionary, Kevin Lyman, the media-centered soiree proved ultimately to be more of a fast-paced, high-energy, state-of-the-art rock show than a stuffy, pretentious press conference. Including such marquee names as BlessTheFall and Memphis May Fire, the night's five-act roster was impressive, to be sure. And in short order, Lyman introduced the first live band of the evening, Jule Vera — much to the delight of the Full Sail Live crowd.

Chase Haws - Orlando, FL (3.22.17)
*Photo: Sara Taylor
I've seen some short Jule Vera sets over the last year, but this two-song showcase featuring their concert staple, "Chemical Machine" and the irresistible, just-released single, "Lifeline" was one for the record books. But in true "get 'em on, and get 'em off" Warped Tour fashion, none of the bands on the show played more than two songs, and it made for an exhilarating concert experience.

Now, was a 30-minute mini set and a two-song micro set really worth the two-day, 600-mile 'round trip effort? Abso-freaking-lutely! And do I really believe that Jule Vera is the greatest band on earth? Doesn't everybody? #GreatestBandOnEarth

-Christopher Long
(March 2017)

*Concert photography courtesy of
Sara Taylor @

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