There's a notion that Rock died when Nirvana released the legendary album “Nevermind”. Kurt Cobain was supposed to strike the final blow with his simple guitar riffs and disdain for cheesy ballads and bland lyrics. But the true soul of Rock did linger on. That soul may have transformed a bit, absorbed the elements of other types of music, but it's always been true to its roots and lives in the hearts of Rock music lovers. The three bands that made a huge impact in the past year are proof of that.
Greta Van Fleet was formed in 2012, and even though the band is nine years old, two of its members aren’t even out of their teens.
Greta Van Fleet, Bad Wolves, and Wallows are new forces in the Rock world and they've all managed to become quite huge in the last year or so. They'll all be on the road in 2020, and their tours are among the most desirable ones.
Greta Van Fleet: On the road with Metallica
American blues-rockers Greta Van Fleet are definitely one of the hottest rock acts in recent years. In 2020, they're going on the WorldWired tour in South America with Metallica (if Hetfield doesn’t end up at the Betty Ford Center before that). The tour starts in Providencia, Chile, on 15 April 2020, and ends in Brazil on 27 April.
So how did Greta Van Fleet go from garage band to supporting Metallica? Ever since their first EP “Black Smoke Rising” in 2017, they've been gaining a lot of media attention. But after they published their debut album “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” in October 2018, they've become the source of a hot debate.
A lot of Led Zeppelin fans are accusing them that they're just copying (even stealing from) the legendary band, while others defend them that they’ve just taken the Zeppelin style and made it their own. It was actually all the debates that helped them get global fame. In just one year, they got almost 400k new followers on Instagram, and almost 600k on Spotify.
The fans went crazy for the song “Highway Tune”, released in April 2017, and the video has gotten over 500M views since then – a sure sign that Greta Van Fleet will be big.
In the last year, their YouTube channel got about 5M views a month on average. The band has released a lot of live performance videos and the fans love them. There’s no doubt about it, the Kiszka brothers Josh, Jake, and Sam and Danny Wagner on drums are first-class musicians.
The cherry on the cake was when their EP “From the Fires” won a Grammy for Best Rock Album in February 2019. The band already have a few famous followers on social media, such as Foo Fighters and guitar legend Joe Satriani. They 're definitely hot at this point, and the South American tour is one of the most anticipated in 2020 (also thanks to Metallica, of course).
Wallows: Playing through the USA
Fans all over the USA were thrilled when American Indie rockers Wallows announced the “Nothing Happens Tour 2020”. The tour will start on 13 February at Iron City in Birmingham, Alabama, and end on 2 March in Providence, Rhode Island. After that, they’ll be touring South America on the Lollapalooza festival tour, with Guns N’ Roses, Lana Del Rey, and The Strokes, among others.
Wallows have definitely had a great year. In March 2019, just two years after they were formed, they released their debut album “Nothing Happens”, which was very well received among fans. In one year, they doubled their followers on Instagram and YouTube, and more than tripled them on Spotify. In February 2019, they released a music video for the song “Are You Bored Yet?”, a collaboration with Clairo, and it's gotten over 6M views since the release. The song has had a positive effect on all of their social media channels, tripling their YouTube and SoundCloud plays at the time. About a month before the release of their debut, they played on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, making a big splash for the then-upcoming album.
There's one important reason why they're so popular – or rather, 13. Singer Dylan Minnette is an actor, best known for his performance in the Netflix hit series “13 Reasons Why”, which first aired in 2017.
Minnette already had a huge fanbase by the time the band was formed. He did sing in other bands before Wallows, but none came close to the success of his latest musical project. Of course, just being on a hit show isn't enough. Wallows have released one of the most popular Indie Rock albums of the year, subsequently becoming one of the hottest rock bands in the USA. And that also landed them on our list of most desirable newcomer tours in 2020.
Bad Wolves: Rock meets Metal
Formed in LA in 2017, Bad Wolves are a cross between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, and they found worldwide success after releasing a cover of the song “Zombie” by The Cranberries at the end of February 2018. The video has gotten 260M views in just a year and a half since its release, rocketing the band towards the top fast. The Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan was supposed to record the song with the band, but the Irish singer sadly died before the collaboration could happen. Bad Wolves released their debut album “Disobey” in May 2018, and it was liked by both fans and critics. In just one year, the band have doubled their followers on Instagram and Spotify.
Some might accuse the "Big Bad Wolves" that their success only came on the back of the “Zombie” cover, but that would be unfair, as their album ranked quite high on the global charts – it was #23 on the Billboard 200, and #9 in Australia, among others. They're also followed by superstars such as Nickelback, Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, and Of Mice & Men on social media, definitely not without reason.
Bad Wolves refused to be a one-hit-(cover)wonder and shared the YouTube video for the song “Hear Me Now” at the end of April 2018 (featuring singer DIAMANTE), scoring over 50M views since the release.
In August, they also published two songs, “Killing Me Slowly” and “I'll Be There”, ahead of their second album “N.A.T.I.O.N.”, creating quite the buzz before its release in October. They'll hit the stages in Europe in 2020, starting in Helsinki on 20 January and ending in Sofia on 22 February. And the best part is, they'll be touring with legendary groups Megadeth and Five Finger Death Punch – talk about a veteran/new blood mix.
Wallows might have gotten more attention because of “13 Reasons Why”, and Bad Wolves were spot on with their “Zombie” cover, and you could argue that Greta Van Fleet ride on the wings of Led Zeppelin, but all three have released albums that shook the global rock scene, and fans just love them. We can definitely be excited about their live performances in 2020 and curious about what they'll do next.
Cover photo: Markus Spiske (Unsplash)
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