2013 Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival

Friday, September 13, 2013

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine, CA

The lineup for this year’s Uproar Festival  featured Alice In Chains, Jane’s Addiction, Coheed and Cambria, and Circa Survive on the main stage.  The Zippo Encore Stage Powered by Ernie Ball had Walking Papers, Danko Jones, Middle Class Rut, and New Politics.  The Coldcock Herbal Whisky Showcase Stage Powered by Ernie Ball had The Dead Daisies, Beware of Darkness, Chuck Shaffer Picture Show and Charming Liars.  Count ‘em up, that’s twelve awesome acts.

The Verizon Ampitheater turned out to be well suited for the Festival.  It’s been a few years since I have been there, and it used to be called Irvine Meadows.  Parking was a breeze, and free.  Yes, you read that right, free parking.  After a short stroll, myself and photographer Julee Watson, cruised thru security.

We arrived in the afternoon, right about showtime which was posted as 2pm.  The Zippo and Coldcock Stages were facing the same direction, about 50 feet apart.  The area where these stages were also had booths for every band, and some other music related tables.  Ernie Ball of course had a large presence.  Thankfully Rockstar was providing free energy drinks and they came in handy.

Since the two Festival Stages were adjacent, one act would be playing on one stage while the other was setting up.  It was a very convenient set up.  All the bands on the two stages were great.  The Dead Daisies really ramped it up. The band consisted of Jon Stevens (Noiseworks, INXS) on vocals, lead guitarist Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy), rhythm guitarist David Lowy (Mink), bassist Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake), drummer Frank Ferrer (Guns N’ Roses) and keyboardist Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses).  After their set, the band was gracious and accommodating.  I think they signed and took pics with almost everyone who was lucky enough to see their set.  Their debut album is self titled. “The Dead Daisies”, The first single, “Lock ’N’ Load,” was co-written by and features Slash and Rolling Stone recently named it their Daily Download. The track was also a “Sixx Pick” on Nikki Sixx’s Sixx Sense radio show and just gone straight onto A list rotation on UK’s Planet Rock radio and the B list on Team Rock.

This band kicks ass.

The Main Stage was about a two minute walk from the festival stages.  Circa Survive hit the stage about 6:20pm.  They powered thru a very well received set.  Next up was Coheed and Cambria and once again, we were treated to a great set of music.  Coheed’s frontman Claudio Sanchez has a great vocal range, and his guitar playing was stellar.  They definitely laid it down.

For this writer, Jane’s Addiction was the big winner on the night.  Taking the stage near 8:30, the place was almost full.  I’m not extremely well versed in the Jane’s Addiction Catalog, and I think that served me well.  They ran thru a set of tunes that was musical, dynamic, and the musicianship and vocals were just about flawless.  News to Earth………..Dave Navarro kicks ass on guitar.  He just walked around like he owned the joint and his leads were impeccable.  So refreshing.  Perry Ferrell, their lead vocalist was spot on, and had a great time with the crowd.  Stephen Perkins very musical drumming really stood out.  I had a look at his DW Drum Kit backstage.  During the show he used every wood block and other percussion he had set up and I could hear it all with a very good mix.  Chris Chaney laid down the bass of course, and all in all, I can’t really say enough.  I am late to the party for sure, but I now have a heck of lot of Jane’s Addiction on my IPOD.

Co-headlining with Jane’s Addiction was Alice in Chains.  William DuVall, Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez are the current Alice in Chains lineup.  AIC is so freakin heavy in concert. I could feel Mike Inez’s bass from our feet on up thru my brain!.  Jerry Cantrell had such a killer tone and all the riffs I have heard for years stood out and were everything they needed to be.  Man in the Box was epic of course and the crowd pretty much sang the whole song.  Sean Kinney kept even the slower songs moving along and his snare tone was perfect. I was very impressed with William DuVall’s vocal range.  There are some AIC songs that seem to go from a baritone to a high tenor in the blink of an eye.  He did a masterful job, and he had great stage presence to boot.

Uproar 2013 was a great Festival to experience.  I am glad we arrived early enough to see the daytime bands.  Being a Friday, it took a while for the place to fill with people, but those of us who saw the early bands were really treated to some quality, kick ass music.  The mix of veterans like Alice in Chains, and Jane’s Addition with Coheed and Cambria along with a band like The Dead Daisies made for a Festival that I think, would make any rocker happy.  I know Julee and I had a great time.

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