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Lunatic Luau // Live @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater // 5.20.22

Article and Photography by Wendy Podmenik Woodell

VA Beach, VA– After an unusually cool spring, a taste of summer heat kicked in just as radio FM99 WNOR’s Lunatic Luau did a takeover in Virginia Beach’s amphitheater. Moods were high and excitement was palpable as music enthusiasts return to the festival scene. Featuring a well- curated slew of both established and upcoming acts, there was non-stop action rotating between two stages.


On the local scene, Virginia/ Hampton Roads represented with three bands: Magg Dylan, Dead Friends, and “Battle of the Bands” winner One Shot Fired. Blended in the hard rock mix were some fresh national touring acts. Crobot‘s frontman Brandon Yeagley did a total workout onstage, clad in gold pants and wrestling shoes as he tossed his mic stand around the stage and shimmied back and forth. All-girl greatness shined with band Plush, proving that the ladies can get just as heavy as the guys. And interestingly enough, 70’s bell bottoms and swagger are now in style again, Dirty Honey blended in some of that earthy bluesy goodness with rock, reminiscent of early Black Crowes. Aayron Jones continued in that same vein, talented and soulful.

Girl power was a theme, with both Lilith Czar and Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless working the stage like a runway, each with incredible vocals and an unabashed stage presence. Throwbacks Living Colour are local favorites, their set reviews were positive across social media. Bad Wolves’ popularity is steadily rising, new lead singer Daniel “DL” Laskiewicz is a seamless fit for the hard rock band.


Headliner Disturbed put on a solid performance, and earlier in the day vocalist David Draiman took the time to watch, greet, and encourage the opening bands personally. Mid-set Draiman teased the audience with references to Disturbed’s upcoming album, promising that it would be as heavy as earlier material. “Getting back to our roots”, he mentioned, with the observation that the band was “itching to get it out”. A great end to a great day- a ticket packed with talent, and a promise of a new Disturbed album- perfect start to a summer of music.

Wendy Podmenik Woodell
Since entering the world of photography in 2013, WENDY PODMENIK has focused her interest on live music. Her ultimate goal is to successfully present the live music genre as an art form which preserves the expression, emotion, and energy of specific moments in time. ////// GLENN WOODELL spends his musical time working both on and around the stage. He's spent decades behind the lens as a visual artist, and for his career, studied human vision as a scientific researcher. His time on the stage these days is either spent holding on to a bass guitar or a camera.