Concert Recap: Rockstar Uproar Festival
Published: Sunday, October 9, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 17:10
The Rockstar Uproar Festival brought a surprisingly varied line-up to the Ashley HomeStore Pavilion's main stage Saturday afternoon. Nearly every set began with some kind of mournful cathedral music, which was pretty contrived. However, it was probably one of the few things that felt continuous about the line-up. From young bands to established bands across the pond and from low-budget stage get-ups to extremely architectural ones, no band really came off as too much like the one before or after it. Which, sometimes, doesn't always happen at these kind of rock feasts.
Maybe the Phoenicians were excited about the tame weather or maybe the Valley is just that excited about Avenged Sevenfold (I saw very few concert go-ers with shirts endorsing the supporting bands), but the crowd was incredibly present, giving the bands energy that lasted through all five main stage sets.
Escape the Fate, fronted by Glendale native Craig Mabbitt, got the main stage going with "Gorgeous Nightmare," the local edge, "This War Is Ours" and some impressive microphone tricks. Mabbitt, who left Phoenix band blessthefall to spend time with his daughter didn't fail to mention Layla (or his mom) at least once on the stage. And he was overheard by the box office before the band went onstage introducing her to people and giving her a brief lecture on the importance of confidence and her beauty.
It was ironic, then, to be remembering this before the "Miss Uproar" contest, judged by members of Shadow Play, The Art of Dying and Escape the Fate. About seven or eight girls paraded onstage in thongs (to show off their "ass tats"), asked an asinine question, then to spin around. Before winning, contestant Stephanie (although it may not be spelled that way) ripped off her Uproar half-shirt and did some high kicks and stripper-style booty shaking. She won shortly thereafter to a girl with Little Mermaid (or as she said, vampire) red hair.
With great, short-lived relief, Welsh band Bullet for My Valentine took the stage. Vocalist and guitarist Matt Tuck wore and Avenged Sevenfold cut-off shirt and powered through "Your Betrayal," "Pleasure and Pain" and "Waking the Demon." The band took a few second between each song and the crowd decided to start filling the gaps with chants of "Bullet." When the guitar kicked in for "Scream Aim Fire" the crowd started clapping and the band really picked up on the energy, taking a moment for dueling guitar action. Guitarist Michael Paget was killing it all night, but when Tuck took his moment to show off some sick tapping during the second-to-last song, "Alone."
Next up was Seether, the smallest group to take the stage and also the one with the simplest of stage props. In fact, it was almost comical and backwoods creepy, with red Christmas lights wound around both mic stands (one of which had a rubber ball sac at the base of the microphone) and the drum riser and two piles of televisions stage left and right with static-heavy images of disturbed clowns, baby dolls and spiders. Front man and guitarist Shaun Morgan looked like Kurt Cobain with shoulder-length hair that hung stringy in his face, a red flannel shirt and a kind of unstable stoic stage presence that would eventually lead to Morgan rubbing his guitar against his amp then throwing it head first into the drums. Seether started things off with "Gasoline" and "Fine Again" before Dale Stewart took up an acoustic for "Broken," which everyone in the crowd seemed to know the words to (a precursor of the things to come with Three Days Grace and Avenged Sevenfold). This was one of the only songs Morgan didn't have his hair in his face for. Seether followed one of the band's best singles with its newest "Tonight," which may have been even more of a highlight than "Broken" was, surprisingly. With the crowd now worshipping the house of Seether, the all-to-familiar blues riff of "Country Song" pushed the energy level to the highest it had been all night — this may have been the first song Morgan really moved during. The band followed up "Rise Above" and yet another single, "Fake It." After a brief moment of "WTF" following Morgan apparently humping his guitar, the band went into "Remedy" and closed out the show as stated above.
Three Days Grace delivered the most surprising and perhaps most non-musically entertaining of the main stage performances. Vocalist Adam Gontier not really giving the crowd the option of not singing along or encouraging him by knowing every single word, introducing most songs with a variation of, "I'm sure you all know this one." The set started with "The Good Life" followed by "Break," during which he was gesture-happy doing air quotes around apparently sarcastic lines like, "At night I feel like a vampire." Continuing the tongue-in-cheek vibe, Gontier introduced "(I Hate) Everything About You" as a love ballad and "Home" as a song about being stuck at home with nothing to do. This song was interrupted by Gontier breaking into the rap at the beginning of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and shining a handheld spotlight onto different sectionals of the crowd while guitarist Barry Stock threw guitar picks out into the pit, which didn't look completely unlike someone serving breadcrumbs to a pond of starving ducks. "Never Too Late" preceded Gontier claimed the band had been asked to not play "Riot" at the show that night. This was, obviously, met with booing a Gontier-led chanting of "Fuck you" and then a performance of "Riot." The last song of the night, "Animal I Have Become" was the weirdest of the night, when halfway through Gontier role-played a dialog with a mic stand personified with the help of a black hat.