Thursday, September 23, 2010

UPROAR Festval Blazes Through Charlotte, NC

Summertime and major concerts go hand in hand. It seems like all of your favorite bands sit the road when the hot days of summer arrive. Even with the economy in a state of disarray, there were quite a few new tours this year. One of the most anticipated was the inaugural year of the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival.
This is Rockstar’s second festival this summer, coming on the heels of the highly successful Mayhem Festival. UPROAR is a smaller version of that tour with only one side stage and not as many bands on the bill. Now, these bands may not be as heavy as some featured on Mayhem, but there was still plenty of rock for your money.

UPROAR made its North Carolina stop in Charlotte on September 1 and the weather that day was just as hot as the pyro featured during Avenged Sevenfold’s set. After a local band, whose name was as forgettable as their set, attempted to get the crowd charged up, Hail the Villain took the stage. This Canadian band unleashed a surprisingly impressive 25 minute set on the crowd that definitely got them fired up. Met up with these guys after their set and I have to say that they are a very nice bunch of crazy guys and the band even has their own comic book. You really need to check out this band’s amazing interactive website.

New Medicine was up next and performed a pretty good set as more of the crowd started to fill up the stage area. Australia’s Airbourne really got the crowd fired up with a high energy stage show that focused heavily on their outrageous lead guitarist/singer Joel O’Keefe. This guy is a poster child for rock and roll rydlin when he is on-stage. He was climbing on top of speakers and shredding out solos and at one point even ventured out into the crowd on the shoulders of a crew member
while shredding the entire time!

HELLYEAH closed out the Jagermeister stage and ripped the other bands on that stage a new one with a set worthy of their name. This “super group” of sorts, consisting of Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray, former Mudvayne member Greg Tribbett on guitar, Tom Maxwell of Nothingface on guitar, Bobzilla of Damageplan on bass and the legendary Vinnie Paul of Pantera and Damageplan on drums, is dead set on bringing fun back to rock and roll and they are doing so with a vengeance.

The Rockstar main stage was up next with, even though they have been performing for ten years plus, the “still referred to as” overnight sensation Halestorm. Now, lead singer Lzzy Hale is the lone female performer on the tour, but she most certainly proves that she’s got the balls to front the stage just as impressive as any guy on the tour. Sporting a newer, shorter do, Lzzy and the boys commanded the main stage and got even the most skeptical metal fans in the crowd throwing horns by the end of their set. Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor’s side project Stone Sour were up next and Corey displayed a side of him that most fans do not get to see or hear. The dynamics that he brings to this band is so different than that of Slipknot in that he is a totally different artist by lyrically and vocally. The band ran the gauntlet of musical styles with several heavy numbers performed, mixed with a softer side on songs like “Through Glass”.

Avenged Sevenfold have definetly been the focus of a lot of media attention going into the tour. Mid-way through recording their highly anticipated new album, they lost their drummer and brother in music Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. Then the album, “Nightmare” debuted at number one and brought the band screaming back to the forefront with a sound that defies labels. I, along with a great deal of fans there, thought that these guys should be headlining this tour. All one had to do was look into the crowd and see that they were in agreement. I mean, there was like five Avenged t-shirts to everyone Disturbed shirt in the audience.

The Avenged show started with a road crew member hanging himself front and center as they screamed into “Nightmare” and began their pyro heavy assault on the senses. The band, with Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy sitting in on drums, unleashed on the audience an arsenal of songs that spanned their entire catalog, yet after a 55 minute set left all of us wanting more. M. Shadow's vocals were dead on target and lead guitarist Synester Gates proved he is a force to reckon with. Another summer tour where the next to last band on the bill stole the show from the headliner. Disturbed closed out the show with a less than inspiring set. They sounded good and they had a great intro to the show, but maybe it was the fact that they had to follow-up such an impressive set from Avenged Sevenfold. It was just a little boring on the senses after the set that was just witnessed.

Overall, the crowd was not as huge as anticipated, but they were appreciative of the fine music being performed for them all day long. Most bands did autograph sessions similar to Mayhem with some bands actually doing two different sessions with one at their tent earlier in the day for free and another at the FYE tent with purchase of their CD. I hope that this tour is around next year, for they really showcased some smaller groups that may have been overlooked on the summer tour circuit given the state of the economy. I guess we will just have to wait to see how much “roaring” will be done next year.

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