Live Sounds: Uproar Festival 2012 Review

So this is the second year in a row I’ve attended the Uproar Festival and it’s definitely solidifying itself as one of the “must see” summer tours. This year I made the stop at Saratoga, NY at the gorgeous Saratoga Performing Arts Center, better known as SPAC. Last year’s power-packed lineup consisted of Hell or Highwater, Art of Dying, Sevendust, Black Tide, Three Days Grace, Bullet For My Valentine, Seether and headliners, Avenged Sevenfold. This year’s tour was just as strong with In This Moment, Candlelight Red, Fozzy, P.O.D., Adelitas Way, Staind, Godsmack and headliner, Shinedown. The festival usually runs around the middle of August to the end of September.

My day started off on the Jagermeister and Ernie Ball stages with Candlelight Red, a decent up and coming band that I’ve heard a few times on the Octane station on my satellite radio. They put on a good show, sounded good and were probably the best diamond in the rough of the day. They played their hits ‘Closer’, ‘Demons’ and a few others, playing around 5-6 songs total in their 25 minute set. Next up, I checked out In This Moment, who I was also pretty amazed by. Maria Brink’s voice fits in perfectly with this metal band and she’s pretty easy on the eyes as well. I definitely think they could make it to the main stage one day. Following In This Moment, was a performer called Deuce, co-founder of the band Hollywood Undead. Wearing a mask, and the fact that he had a “rap” sound to him, did not impress me at all. I personally felt that he was out of place on this tour. This was by far the worst performance of the day to me. When he asked the women in the crowd to “show their tits”, it really made me ask what the fuck was I doing at his performance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of tits, but true “rockers” don’t need to ask women to flash their tits, it just happens. It seemed a little desperate to me.

The first band that I was looking forward to seeing was Fozzy. With Chris Jericho being the front man, and probably better known for his abilities in the WWE, I was curious to see how his stage presence would roll over from the ring to the stage. I have to say, he’s a performer through and through. Interacting with the crowd, getting them clapping and cheering, he knew how to play to a crowd. I’ve heard their stuff before on XM radio, Youtube and other spots, but I was really curious to see how they sounded live. I was very shocked to hear how well they sounded, to be honest.

The second band I was looking forward to checking out was P.O.D., a band that everyone knows at least one song from. Lead vocalist Sonny Sandoval was a man on a mission. He was going to get the crowd into it whether they wanted to or not, at one point he even jumped into the crowd. This was another band that sounded great live and one that the fans responded well to. Sonny requested that people get moving and crowd surfing, which led to bodies being moved high above the heads of other concert goers to the awaiting security guards at the front barriers. I definitely wouldn’t mind checking out a full set from these guys.

That brings us to the mainstage and the first act, Adelitas Way. Another band I’ve heard a lot of on XM radio and one that I was looking forward to seeing for the first time. They played a mix of songs off their newest album, Home School Valedictorian and their self-titled debut album. Lead singer Rick DeJesus is in constant motion on stage, rocking out while belting out the tunes. His energy is channeled to the crowd and really gets them moving too. They’re definitely a band that could be headlining in the near future.

The rest of the night was all seasoned veterans. Next up was Staind, who’s hometown of Springfield, Mass., is a short trip down the road from Saratoga, NY. In support of their latest, self-titled album, Staind brought their harder side, with a set list that featured ‘Paper Wings’, ‘For You’, ‘MudShovel’ and ‘Not Again’. Aaron Lewis’ voice is stellar and his growls are almost frightening. I love how he can go from a kick you in the face song like ‘Paper Wings’, to something softer like ‘It’s Been Awhile’. Staind shows are almost like an emotional roller coaster that brings you from the point of wanting to kick someone’s ass, to wanting to make out with your significant other. They closed the show with a song off their new album, ‘Something to Remind You’, which was the first song I had to play after the show when I got back to my car. I knew they’d kick ass as I’ve seen them twice before and I wasn’t let down.

Another band that I was looking forward to seeing live for the first time was Godsmack. I’ve been a fan of front man Sully Erna’s voice since I first heard him. Their set list almost mirrored their new live album, ‘Live & Inspired’, with the exception of ‘Cryin’ Like a Bitch’, which is off their album, ‘The Oracle’. The highlight of their show was their dual drum solo performed by Sully and drummer Shannon Larkin. The song they perform during the solo is called ‘Batalla De Los Tambores’ on their live album. At one point during the song ‘Whatever’, Sully pulled about a dozen kids on stage and said they were the future of rock. They got to hang out with the band for the remainder of the song, then returned to the crowd. They are definitely a band I could see live over and over again.

Now for the headliner, Shinedown. I was actually shocked that they were the headliner over Staind or Godsmack. While I wasn’t sure that they should’ve been the headliner, I can definitely say they played like headliners. Brent Smith probably has one of the best and widest vocal ranges of all the singers out there today. His voice portrays emotion in the songs very well. I never say this about remakes, but their version of ‘Simple Man’, in my opinion, is better than the original done by Lynyrd Skynyrd. To me it has more feelings invested in it when done by Shinedown. When it was time for them to play (Simple Man), Smith and guitarist Zach Myers nestled their way into the center of the crowd and belted out the song with the entire audience singing along. The show was packed full of pyrotechnics as well and ended with quite a finale.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Uproar Festival once again. At the end of the day I was wishing I could just rewind it and do it all over again. The bands all sounded amazing, with the one exception, and I was very entertained. This tour will definitely be an annual event for me. The one thing I didn’t care for in general with the tour this year was how they handled the band signings. Last year, you waited in line and could meet basically any of the bands. This year, they required you to purchase the band’s latest CD in order to meet them and get autographs, which really sucked in my opinion because I already own all the band’s CDs that I wanted autographs from. That didn’t rain on my parade though and I enjoyed the day regardless. Make sure to hit the Festival when it comes to a city near you!

For more info on the Rockstar Uproar Festival check out their site… http://www.rockstaruproar.com/

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