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Rock Star Energy Drink Uproar Festival: featuring Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Halestorm, Hellyeah, and Airbourne


Date: 8/27/10
Venue: Toyota Pavilion, Scranton, PA
Reviewed by: Kevin Alba
 

 

The summer's hottest new touring festival sponsored by Rock Star Energy Drink, Uproar, rolled into Scranton, PA at the Toyota Pavilion and took no prisoners. Highlighting many of today's most popular hard rock and metal bands including a main stage featuring Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour and Halestorm, fans showed up in droves. Having recently gotten in tune with a lot of today's metal I was curious to see what this evening would bring as my tastes are constantly evolving and I have not experienced any of tonight's bands live before with the exception of Disturbed (who in my opinion always put on a killer show).

It was a breath of fresh air arriving to the venue and seeing lots of normal fans of hard rock and metal who were just out to have a good time and enjoy a great evening as opposed to the circus that I had witnessed in attendance at Ozzfest a week earlier in Camden (see Rich's review to read about that fiasco). This was my first time at the Toyota Pavilion which sits atop a mountain and I must say that I was very impressed with this venue. I would put it right up there with the PNC Bank Art Center in Holmdel which is the outdoor venue that I am most familiar with, I may have even liked this spot better, especially due to the great outdoor feel you get when traveling here. Those who purchased regular seats sit under a huge white pavilion. Anywhere you are sitting has a great view of the stage. The sound at this venue was also top notch and reaches all of the fans wherever they are.

I arrived at the second stage just in time to catch Airbourne who are just a blast. Good ol fashion ass kickin rock and roll ala AC/DC. Once Angus and the boys call it quits Airbourne are without a doubt the succesors who are going to keep on carrying that torch. The fans were really digging these guys and they played a very enjoyable set highlighting songs off of their only two albums.

Hellyeah! headlined the second stage and this would be my first time hearing Vinnie Paul's (Pantera) current band. I was beyond impressed and feel that these guys play a great style of just alcohol fueled traditional metal that can really get a crowd moving. Chad Gray (of Mudvayne fame) is a great frontman and often connects with the crowd talking to them between songs. He let us know that the only difference between the fans and the band were the five feet between the barricade and the stage and that we are all one big family, very cool guy. Wish we could have gotten a Pantera oldie but the bands current material was enough to make me want to go investigate their latest album.

The main stage opened up with Halestorm, one of my favorite new bands. The pipes on Lzzy Hale are just amazing. This girl can sing her ass off and then some. The crowd was really digging this band and Lzzy mentioned that PA is their home state and without she wouldn't be who she is and the band wouldn't be where they are. A minor drum solo in the middle saw the band bring out trash cans and do their own little reenactment of Broadway spectacle Stomp which was very cool. Drummer Arejay Hale (Lzzy's younger brother) is just a trip constantly goofing off behind the kit while playing flawlessly. Lzzy really shined on 'Familiar Taste of Poison' giving me goose bumps with some of those notes she was hitting. The band was super tight and the ending song 'I Get Off' was a true highlight which saw the packed house on its feet with fists and horns in the air. Nickelback better watch themselves because with the track this storm is on I can see them blowing right through them and going straight to the top in a few years time.

Stone Sour was one of the bands I was most excited to see this evening. "Come What(ever) May" was one of my top albums from 2006 and the songs I had heard from their forthcoming album have sounded great so far. Having seen Corey with Slipknot twice I knew what kind of energy to expect and with Stone Sour he delivered that and then some. He is truly a great front man who can keep a crowd on their toes and wanting more. The excellent new track 'Mission Statement' (from “Audio Secrecy”) kicked things off and this was a sure sign that a very heavy set list was underway. 'Say You'll Haunt Me' (first single off the new album) and 'Digital (Did You Tell)', both very catchy yet effective tracks, were also represented from the upcoming album making me even more anxious to own it. Corey made us break into a September 7th chant just to make sure that we knew when the new album was coming out. The rest of the set was all from “Come What(ever) May” and while I am not complaining would have loved to hear 'Bother' or 'Get Inside' from the first album. The mega hit from 2006 'Through Glass' was surely a crowd pleaser and had many singing along. Can't wait to see these guys headline at some point, they are truly ready to excel to superstardom.

Avenged Sevenfold to my surprise were really the band that everyone was here to see. I have been completely in the dark on these guys and had never listened to them before tonight. All I knew was that their drummer The Rev sadly passed away earlier this year and my drum hero Mike Portnoy from progressive metal giants Dream Theater was filling in as he was also The Rev's hero. Portnoy, honored by the gesture from the band to do some work with them went ahead and played on their new album and is doing this tour. I must start by saying that these guys had one of the best stage setups that I had ever seen; cemetery gates, pillars that spewed fire, complete with a backdrop of an actual insane asylum. As the creepy nursery rhyme began to play of their opening song "Nightmare", a man jumped from the top of the asylum with a noose around his neck and hung in the air as the band took the stage. A very dark but cool opening. The band came out firing on all cylinders and Portnoy sounded great. As lead vocalist Shadows introduced 'Welcome to the Family' he shouted “Mr. Portnoy” before announcing the song title which was a good crowd response. All in all, A7X blew me away and fooled all along. Dressing the part of trendy Hot Topic rock stars the band play very much in the vein of traditional heavy metal and during many moments of the night drew similarities to older Metallica and even Iron Maiden with their great guitar harmonies which I did not expect. Just goes to show that you cannot judge a book by its cover. All of the girls in attendance were screaming at the top of their lungs throughout the entire set. I actually had to do a double take to make sure Justin Bieber was not on stage because of the female response, hahaha. Their set was filled with lots of pyro and fire which truly looked great with their killer stage set. The band played a moving tribute to their fallen drummer in which you can hear the emotion through their instruments which was touching. I truly walked away from this performance a brand new fan.

I found out during A7X's set that the band had not played in the area since the 2005 Ozzfest so that could have had a lot to do with the super excitement in the air for them this evening.

After seeing Avenged I had almost forgot that Disturbed were still to come, easily one of my favorite bands of the past ten years. The crowd was actually a bit tamer for Disturbed, not by much but you can tell it was Avenged Sevenfold's night. Disturbed, minus David Draiman, hit the stage and began performing 'Remnants', the opening instrumental to the band's new album “Asylum”. While this was going on a video was shown of Draiman passed out in an asylum and being strapped onto a stretcher to be transferred to another hospital. While all this was going on he is having flash backs in his head to him as a child and dealing with his abusive father who spewed lots hateful words toward him. Once in the ambulance the EMT goes to give him a shot of some sort which when injected actually brings David back to life, destroying all in his path. The ambulance is then brought to a stop as he escapes out the backdoor and runs away. Suddenly the band rips into 'Asylum' as David now appears on stage and ready to kick some ass. Quite a good opening if ya ask me. The stage set was much simpler when compared to A7X's but the music and energy set forth speak in large volumes as Disturbed proves they do not need distractions to get a reaction. All five albums were represented tonight which included the excellent Genesis cover 'Land of Confusion' from "Ten Thousand Fists". A female friend who was with me had never seen Disturbed live before and only knew one of their songs going into this performance. By the time the third song hit she was jumping up and down, fist in the air, having such a good time, this just goes to show what kind of energy they create. Short on time tonight due to playing with so many bands Disturbed played for about 65 minutes but did not miss a beat. By the time they were done with 'Down with the Sickness' you still felt as if you were subject to a standard 90 minute set.

All in all this was a great evening and a very well put together festival. These bands are clearly the present and future of hard rock in the United States and are not going anywhere anytime soon. I am looking forward for sure to this festivals return next year as well as seeing all of these great bands again when they return for headlining tours.

 

Setlists:
Halestorm: It's Not You, What Were You Expecting, Dirty Work, Familiar Taste of Poison, Drum Solo/Group Circle, Nothing to Do with Love, I Get Off
Stone Sour: Mission Statement, Reborn, Say You'll Haunt Me, Come What(ever) May, Your God, Through Glass, Digital (Did You Tell), Hell & Consequences, 30/30-150.
Avenged Sevenfold: Nightmare, Critical Acclaim, Welcome to the Family, Buried Alive, Beast and the Harlot, So far Away, Afterlife, God Hates Us, Unholy Confessions, Almost Easy.
Disturbed: Remnants, Asylum, The Game, Prayer, Liberate, Land of Confusion (Genesis cover), Inside the Fire, Stricken, Fear/Meaning of Life/Numb/Voices medley, Another Way to Die, Ten Thousand Fists, Indestructible, Down with the Sickness.

 
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