When I learned that Avenged Sevenfold was going to be playing at the Uproar Festival this year I had to go. My husband did his best to talk me out of the “insanity” of going to an all day outdoor music festival while still recovering from major surgery and gave in only after I promised no mosh pit tickets. Despite the almost 100 degree weather taking it’s toll on me within 10 minutes of entering Jiffy Lube Live in Bristol VA, I can say I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
This years event put nine heavy metal bands on two stages. Ironically, the Jagermeister Stage was set up in one of the parking lots outside the fence area of the venue where alcoholic beverages were not permitted. Each of the bands performing had fun making fun of this fact between songs. I had not previously heard of any of the bands performing on the Jagermeister Stage but enjoyed their performances from a nicely shaded patch of grass next to the first aid station since I was dealing with dehydration that came on out of nowhere. I blame both the heat and still being the end recovery phase of that surgery I mentioned.
The first band to play the festival I did not catch their name, nor were they listed in the program. It was a local band that won a local Jagermeister Battle of the Bands contest earlier in the year. They were able to hold their own with Hail the Villain, New Medicine, Airbourne and Hell Yeah. I really wish that I had been able to see these bands up close and personal but there was no way I was going to be able to stand directly in the sun for the three plus hours that these bands played for. I did a get a glimpse of Hail the Villain as we briefly checked out the vendors that were stationed on both sides of the stage.
It goes without saying that Rockstar Energy Drink was there giving out samples and even though Jagermeister was a main promoter they were not giving out free samples. Skull Candy was there promoting their 2XL earbuds, THQ was there giving festival goers the first glimpse of Raw vs. Smackdown 2011 along with a chance to play the game with some of the musicians after the concert. Roadrunner Records, Guitar Player, D’Addario, Krank Audio, Sabian, Schecter Guitars and a number of others had booths set up where you could purchase albums and check out their goods. I have to add that the free program that Guitar Player put together for the event is an awesome momento of the event.
Somewhat surprising is that two worthy non-profits also had a huge presence at the show. Child Find of America had a booth set up and Shirts for Cure were out selling t-shirts, many of the designs were donated by the bands performing.
Airbourne was easily my favorite band to perform on the Jagermeister Stage. They are out of Australia and signed on to Uproar to promote their new album, No Guts, No Glory.
Even though I wasn’t doing too much mingling I did have an awesome view from the grass to people watch. At some point everyone passed us going to the Jagermeister stage and half the vendors. Experiencing the other people at a concert of any time is half the fun in going. It’s the other attendees that provide the ambiance and part of the concert going experience. I really thought that this was going to be one of the few places that, with my purple mohawk, I wasn’t going to stick out, but I soon found out that I was one of those people providing that part of the Uproar experience for others.
Under the pavilion the four main bands, Halestorm, Stone Sour, Avenged Svenfold and Disturbed, played. Halestom has gotten some radio time so I at least knew who they were. I had a laugh when the friend that went with me and my husband had an epiphany about the band and turned to me and said “The lead singer is a chick!” He must not have been paying attention because it took him 15 minutes to realize this. Halestorm put on an awesome performance and you really couldn’t tell that they were on their fifth show in a row without a break. I became an instant fan when each of the four band members pulled out trashcans affixed with drum heads for the “drum solo” portion of their show.
They were followed up by Stone Sour who counts Cory Taylor and Jim Rooth from Slipnot as band members. While they really didn’t do much ini the way of theatrics to show off, they did rock hard and their performance ranked up there with Halestorm. As soon as I can find somewhere that has their new album, Audio Secrecy in stock, I plan on picking it up. I can honestly say this is the first time I have gone to a concert and then looked for a bands album. Usually it’s the other way around.
Next up was Avenged Sevenfold, who is, without a doubt, my favorite band. I am upset that I missed their last tour and didn’t get to see Rev perform live. Michael Portney filled in on drums on both the album and the tour and he really impressed me. Less than two minutes into the opening song, Nightmare, he broke a drum stick and continued to play with the broken stick and then dropped in and continued the song with one stick and his hand before being able to procure a replacement. The stage show was awesome, complete with a “hanging” performed by a stunt man on a harness at the beginning of Nightmare, which opened the show. The stunt man remained in his noose from the ceiling through the entire song. You won’t see something like that anywhere else. There was a creative use of pyrotechnics that I haven’t seen before. I am used to pyros in stage shows being almost limited to explosions but A7X made fire part of the backdrop. Mid-set they did a very touching tribute to Rev that had everyone on their feet with lighters and cell phones.
After such an awesome performance and stage show we were wondering how Disturbed was going to follow up and top everything. Sadly they fell a bit short. Our friend that attended with us had really built up our expectations of their stage performance by telling us of the last two or three times he had seen them live. Playing five nights in a row had taken it’s toll on Disturbed. Don Drainman’s voice was starting to show strain and tiredness. Their performance was far from bad, but it wasn’t everything that it could have been. They really came across, at least to the three of us, that they were going to be happy when they got off stage and could rest up some before the next show.
I wish that I could relive the Uproar Music Festival, only without the heat and dehydration. I can’t wait to find out who is playing next year!