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Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival - Irvine, CA

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Monday, October 18, 2010 @ 5:28 PM


Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

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A diverse group of bands were put together for the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival. Despite the varied musical flavor, the event had many memorable moments.

The Jagermeister second stage acts were performing by mid-afternoon, and as expected, the crowd would be light until the main stage sets began. Canada's Hail the Villain played a bruising set under a clear, Southern California sky, with vocalist Bryan Crouch leading the charge, making humorous cracks between songs. Catchy as flypaper sprinkled with cocaine was the next band, New Medicine, who performed a powerful display of guitar-driven, punk-infused metal, busting out rhymes with aggression and a beat. Great vocals in this four-piece band. The refreshing thing about New Medicine is their crossover appeal.

On site was KNAC.COM's on-air personality and ambassador of love and kindness, Junkman. When Junkie's on the grounds or in the house it's a sure thing there will be a lot of fun had in between sets. We wandered the grounds together and eventually found our way over to the Hellyeah camp, where we got to catch up with Rita Haney, Vinnie Paul, and a host of others. Junkie knows just about everybody, be they rocker or janitor, and it was cool to see drum legend Simon Wright walk up to him and the two just started talking like old buddies.

Speaking of Simon Wright, the Airbourne set was unfuckingbelievable. Wright, a drummer of AC/DC, Rhino Bucket, and Dio cred, sat in and jammed with Airbourne at the end of their set. Singer/guitarist Joel O'Keeffe exhibited so much aggression running and jumping, it's hard to believe he didn't make himself bleed. What a show they gave, playing hits like "Runnin' Wild," "Diamond in the Rough," along with "Blonde, Bad, and Beautiful," from their latest release, No Guts. No Glory. I had never seen these guys play live. Now I'm a lifelong fan.

Hellyeah, the party band comprised of members from Pantera, Mudvayne, Nothingface, and Damageplan, was the main act on the Jagermeister stage and hit the floor around 6:00 as the sun was still had things heated up. In the spirit of titties, beer, blacktooth grins, and rock and roll, Hellyeah appropriately opened their set with "Hellyeah," with frontman Chad Gray trying to incite some mayhem. "You Wouldn't Know" was a crowd pleaser, striking a familiar chord among the crowd. Drummer Vinnie Paul, looking armed and ready, exploded behind the kit, while guitar duo Greg Tribbett and Tom Maxwell played fiercely. It became evident by an overwhelming number of Avenged Sevenfold t-shirts that the lack of movement in the pit near the Jagermeister stage was understandable. But Hellyeah ripped it apart, nonetheless, and it would be a safe bet that a lot of A7F'ers who hadn't given Hellyeah a fair hearing prior to seeing them at Uproar, walked to the main stage after their set with a case of tinnitus and a big grin.

Jagermeister Stage

The opener on the Uproar main stage was Halestorm, the hard-rocking Pennsylvania quartet fronted by singer/guitarist, soul sister, Lzzy Hale. Lzzy's brother, Arejay, is an extremely talented young drummer, who displayed power and his usual bag of "tricks with sticks." A svelte Lzzy was sporting a Joan Jett look, wearing a much shorter hairdo and more makeup than the last time I had seen her. The four members performed their trash can-beating drum line routine, a staple of a Halestorm show.

Stone Sour played an impressive enough set, starting it off with "Mission Statement" from their new release, Audio Secrecy. A maskless, fit, shorn-headed Corey Taylor was up front singing vocals with energetic aplomb. Taylor's Slipknotian bandmate, Jim Root, appeared tired compared to the other members, who worked the stage with boundless energy. Most of the Sour set was of songs from Come What(ever) May, although a brutal "Get Inside" was picked from the band's 2002 self-titled debut.

Orange County is home turf for Avenged Sevenfold and when the curtain rose the Irvine crowd made that loudly evident. The first notes of "Nightmare" rang out and from the smoky stage emerged guitarist Synyster Gates eerily positioned under a dead man hanged from a noose overhead. The rest of the band became visible and standing at the drum throne was an exuberant Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), who was all smiles, looking ready to give his all. Singer M. Shadows confidently moved about the stage and sang his ass off. Despite the loss of their brother and drummer, James "The Rev" Sullivan, the spirit of the band was high and the big sound was spectacularly balanced. Pyros, theatrics, big stage Haunted Mansion shit. This was a rock show and Avenged Sevenfold's absolutely owned the main stage and gave the audience their money's worth.

The Disturbed set was disappointing in comparison to what had just been seen and heard a half-hour before when Avenged Sevenfold leveled the place. There was a palpable lack of power with Disturbed that had nothing to do with electricity. They had just had been upstaged by the hometown heroes. Totally acceptable. Enough said.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD

  • Nightmare
  • Critical Acclaim
  • Welcome to the Family
  • Beast and the Harlot
  • Buried Alive
  • So Far Away
  • Afterlife
  • God Hates Us
  • Unholy Confessions
  • Almost Easy
DISTURBED
  • Remnants
  • Asylum
  • The Game
  • Prayer
  • Liberate
  • Land of Confusion
  • Inside the Fire
  • Stricken
  • Fear/Meaning of Life/Numb/Voices
  • Another Way to Die
  • Stupify
  • Ten Thousand Fists
  • Indestructible
  • Down With the Sickness
Rockstar Uproar Stage

All photos by Charlie Steffens 2010



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