Like A Storm blew into Birch Run, Michigan and brought the thunder down upon the crowd at Dirt Fest!

Dirt Fest was everything a festival should be. There was tons of great music, great vendors and perfect weather with everyone enjoying themselves. It had a back yard family get together feeling to it as everyone was hanging out and having a good time. This made the perfect platform for Like A Storm to make their Dirt Fest début as the band themselves treat their fans as family!

We here at National Rock Review were honored to have many great bands playing at our Dirt Fest stage. At numerous times, the crowd gathering around our stage matched the amount of people gathering around the main stages. Like A Storm is one of the reasons for this as hundreds of fans gathered around the stage anxiously awaiting their arrival. Many of these were first timers who had heard their Love The Way You Hate Me single recently taking over the FM airwaves.

“We never stopped writing as we were touring. Our fans were hungry for new music, and we were hungry to put something out.”

One of the hottest independent ‘buzz’ bands out there now, Like A Storm is on the verge of hitting the big time. Known as one of the hardest working bands, they fought hard to get their music heard. Chris Brooks, Kent Brooks, and Matt Brooks formed the band in their home town of Auckland, New Zealand. Shortly after, they moved to North America, not knowing a single person over here, to chase their dreams of playing music. They built a die-hard fan base by tirelessly touring to promote their début album, The End of the Beginning, with top acts such as Creed, Shinedown, and Alter Bridge, as well as numerous headlining tours of their own. These guys are as dedicated to their fans as their fans are dedicated to them.

While supporting Creed on their 2012 tour, the band would immediately retreat to their dressing room or hotel after each show and begin recording new music. According to the bands bio, “This intense work ethic fostered a fertile creative spell for the boys.” These songs they recorded, while out on tour with Creed, turned into their Chaos Theory Pt. 1 album.

According to Chris Books, “We never stopped writing as we were touring. Our fans were hungry for new music, and we were hungry to put something out. We didn’t want to sit around and wait to see which label came knocking at our door. So, we decided to make the album ourselves, produce it, tour it, and preserve this awesome connection we’re lucky to have with our fans. We made a mobile studio rig and brought it everywhere.” Included within this collection of intensely personal songs, was their new hit single, Love The Way You Hate Me.

Love The Way You Hate Me a surprise hit!
The band had not intended to release LTWYHM as a single. According to them, they never thought radio would give the song a chance due to it being six minutes long and having a didgeridoo breakdown in the middle of it. They figured radio would want a ‘radio’ remix of the song to make it fit however the song was too important to the band for them to want to alter it. Little did they know, Flint rock radio station 101.5FM The Banana decided to put the song up on their Cage Match competition. The song broke the station’s record by having the most consecutive wins and has been retired awaiting another song to come along and challenge it!

Breaking The Banana’s record gave the song life as other stations started to follow The Banana’s lead by adding LTWYHM to their rotation. Soon after, Sirius XM’s rock station, Octane caught wind of it as well, and it seized #1 on their nationwide Big ‘Uns countdown for five weeks. The song eventually went Top 30 on the US active rock charts, hitting #22, making the band the highest-charting New Zealand hard rock act in the US active rock charts. This is a major achievement for a completely independent band. Like A Storm have also made history in their home country as the only New Zealand Act ever to chart in any US chart with no record label.

As LTWYHM exploded onto the airwaves, Century Media reached out and signed the band earlier this year. They immediately jumped back into recording, converting a remote lake house in Michigan into a recording studio and self-producing their début for Century Media, titled Awaken The Fire. They brought Roye Robley in to play drums on the new songs as Robley was the one who played drums on Chaos Theory Pt. 1.

According to Chris Brooks, instead of releasing a Chaos Theory Pt. 2, the band decided to take the songs from Chaos Theory Pt. 1 and add in the new songs that would have made up Chaos Theory Pt. 2 and put them all together as Awaken The Fire. Matt Brooks added that it made sense for them to bring Robley back to play drums on the new songs as he was a creative force on Chaos Theory Pt. 1.

Like A Storm plays Dirt Fest 2014
One for never taking a break, the band continued to tour around the recording of the new album. One of these tour stops was their début here at Dirt Fest. These three brothers are rounded out by their touring drummer, Jesse Shelley. Although only playing a 30-minute set, the band took full advantage of it and crammed in as many of their anthemic rock songs as possible. They made polite conversation with everyone, constantly thanking them for their support making sure to let everyone know that the band wouldn’t be where they are today if it was not for their support. Chris even took a moment to get up close and personal by jumping down into the crowd to sing along with them on a song. These guys love their fans as much as their fans love them. As soon as their performance was over, they walked right off the stage and down into the crowd to mingle with their long-time ‘family’ and new-found converted Stormtroopers (Like A Storm fan)!

Our photographer, Thom Seling, was on hand to catch these guys rockin’ out the National Rock Review stage at Dirt Fest. Here are his images from that performance.

Chris and Matt talk with NRR
During the day, Like A Storm spent some time doing a signing at the Arnar Clothing booth as well as their own booth where tons of fans bought up practically all of their merch. The guys were also seen walking up and down the aisles meeting and greeting every one of the other vendors and fans hanging out around these various booths. They even jumped on air to broadcast live with Raw Radio X and Tap Detroit. The guys took full advantage of their time at Dirt Fest and seemed to be on a mission to meet everyone who was present that day, proving that they really are one of the most fan-friendly bands out there!

I had some time to sit down with Chris and Matt to ask them some questions about their new record label, the new album, their touring drummer, playing Dirt Fest and the band’s future. Here is that interview.

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About The Author

Erik's interest in music began at an early age. In high school, he was the co-host of the underground metal show the Social Mutilation Hour, on 89.5 WAHS, under the name of Neurotik Erik. During this period of his life, he independently promoted shows under the name of Ding Dong Ditch Productions. Erik would rent out local VFW Halls, use space at Oakland Community College Auburn Hills Campus, or simply throw basement parties around the Detroit area. While at college at Ferris State University, he became head of the student run organization, Entertainment Unlimited, and continued to promote shows, but on a larger scale. He also helped start an underground magazine, 'Outpunk', where he interviewed bands and wrote music reviews. Additionally, Erik joined the staff at the Ferris State University Torch and wrote on a larger scale.

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