By Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Darien, NY- The Rockstar Uproar festival featuring hard rock bands Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Halestrom, Hellyeah and Airbourne played to a jammed packed crowd at the Darien Lake amphitheater yesterday. With the concert industry struggling like it has this summer; it was great to see such a great turn-out. Maybe, Livenation can turn this thing around after all. This concert was divided into a main stage and a second stage. I was fortunate enough to have a photo pit pass for the second stage and let me tell you, the second stage pit area was like a war zone especially for Airbourne and Hellyeah. Nothing like having people flying over the barrier and kicking you in the head while taking photos. But whatever, I’ve done it all before and I welcomed the challenge and little bit of adversity.
This festival had an interesting and good mix of bands, and all of them were well received. However, the band that stole the show and won over the audience was Avenged Sevenfold. This band has taken it up a couple notches and this tour will definitely catapult this band to major arena headlining status. Avenged Sevenfold had an incredible stage show, featuring tons of pyro with a cool backdrop based on their recent “Nightmare” Cd. (Spoiler alert!!) The band began their show with a crew member walking on the lightning rig hanging top of the stage. He then put a noose around his neck and jumped and remained hanging there while the band performed their first song of the night “Nightmare.” Vocalist M. Shadows had the crowd in the palm of his hand the entire night. He really knows how to work the stage. Guitarist Synyster Gates played impressive leads flawlessly throughout the show. He really has a lot of energy and maybe one of the best guitarists out right now.
One of the many highlights included the track “So Far Away” which was written by Gates for the band’s former drummer The Rev, who died last December. A huge stage back drop, which had a picture of The Rev’s tattooed back huddling with his band mates suddenly appeared. Shadows then asked the crowd to hold up their cell phones so that the Rev could see us from the heavens above. Mention must go out to drummer Mike Portnoy of Dream Theather who has replaced The Rev on this tour. Portnoy was one of The Rev’s biggest influences. Portnoy really seemed to be enjoying himself and was all smiles through most of the bands 10 song set.
Avenged Sevenfold’s setlist 1.Nightmare 2.Critical Acclaim 3.Welcome to the Family 4.Beast and the Harlot 5.Buried Alive 6.God Hates Us 7.So Far Away 8.Afterlife 9.Unholy Confessions 10.Almost Easy
The rough and rowdy, hell raising supergroup, Hellyeah, (featuring ex-Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul and Mudvayne’s Chad Gray –vocals and Greg Tribbett –guitar), played an awesome set on the second stage. With a basic stage and no help of special effects, it was the music that did the talking here, and it was LOUD (I’m still suffering hearing loss in one ear, and I was wearing ear plugs). The band has done a great job on their two releases of mixing metal and southern rock, creating kind of a hillbilly-metal type of style. Chad Grey was all over the stage roaming it like a man possessed. The band had thousands of people packed in to the smaller second stage area. Bodies were flying everywhere and the pit was by far the most intense of the evening. Highlights included the bands new single “Hell of a Time” and the closer “Alcohaulin’ Ass.”
The Australian band Airbourne had an extremely energetic and fun set. This band may lack originally, many disregard them as an AC/DC clone band, but my god can they put on a show. Vocalist/guitarist Joel O’Keeffe was a madman. He was running all over the stage and even had a roadie piggyback ride him through the crazy ass crowd, just like AC/DC’s Angus Young use to do many years back.
Stone Sour and Halestrom each played intense sets. Halestorm’s set included:”It’s Not You,” “What Were You Expecting,” “Dirty Work,” “Familiar Taste of Poison,””Circle,” “Nothing to Do with Love,”” I Get Off.” Stone Sour performed a crowd pleasing set, but lost a little momentum by playing three songs from their new CD “Audio Secrecy” schedule to be released on Sept 7. Their set which included:“Mission Statement “ “Reborn” “ Made of Scars” “Say You’ll Haunt Me” “Your God” “Through Glass” “Hell and Consequences” “Come(what)ever.”
The headliners Disturbed performed a solid set that featured many of their well known hits, plus a few from their new Cd “Asylum” which is scheduled for release on Aug 31. The bands stage show was incredible, although I do feel that many in the audience getting a bit tired from a long hard rocking day. Highlights of their performances included intense versions of “Down with the Sickness” and the closer “Indestructible.” If you weren’t a fan of the band before, you certainly were after their performance.
Overall, this was a pretty solid festival. The turn-out was awesome and every band gave it everything. If RockStar Uproar comes to your town, I highly recommend getting off your ass and checking it out.
3:15pm As Summer Dies (local Jägermeister-sponsored opener)
3:45pm Hail The Villain
4:25pm New Medicine
5:10 pm Airbourne
Rockstar Main Stage
7:30pm Stone Sour
8:35pm Avenged Sevenfold
9:55 pm Disturbed