Monday, September 27, 2010

Monster Uproar Festival - Sacramento (a review)

Monster Uproar Festival
Sleep Train Amphitheater (Sacramento, CA)


I’ve only been to this venue once or twice before… I can’t quite remember, it also doesn’t help that venue’s change their names with the coming and going of whomever has the most money to throw at them. Either way, I pretty much treated this venue as my first visit. I can honestly say, I’ve never been to a massive concert of this magnitude where you didn’t have to pay for parking, that was a nice surprise. You could pay $20.00 if you wanted for the deluxe parking, but fuck it.. that’s half a shirt. 

I’ve been spoiled, I realized as I wandered around. I haven’t been to a major/festival concert in I don’t know how long. I’ve been attending local shows (in Sacramento), or seeing bands I adore, who might not be as popular here as I think they should be, at clubs in San Francisco. There was a LOT of people there. The line to the merch table took quite a while, though it seemed that if you wanted a tasty beverage or food, it wasn’t that long of a wait; then again, we got there about 4 or so, and the doors opened around 2ish.

After the concert necessary purchase of a tour shirt, and a five dollar bottle of water (rip off, as usual) for hydration for the day, we headed to the venue lazily. There were shows going on at the jagermeister stage, but considering the line up, I wasn’t going to waste my time and energy there. The line up, at various times were: The Chimpz, Hail the Villain, New Medicine, Airbourne and Hellyeah. I really could give a rat’s ass about all of them, since the only two reasons I was there was to see Hailstorm (again) and Avenged Sevenfold (first time).

There was also scheduled autographs at various locations, but, again, I could give a crap about any of them, even though I am quite the autograph whore. Halestorm WAS signing, but, since I already met them in Santa Rosa earlier this year, and got my autograph fill, I didn’t want to take the chance to lose my place in line and get a good spot in the front of the pitt. Don’t get my wrong, I would have loved to meet them again, and show support, but I weighed my options and I took the awesome spot over a handshake and an autographed mini-poster.

So, let’s jump ahead to where we’re actually in the Pit and waiting for the bands to play. So far, so good. Things are pretty laid back. Everyone is respecting eachother’s space and there’s no real crowding to the front of the mass. We stayed to the right side of the stage, just past the speakers and stuff, so we had not only a great view of the stage (without the angry mob pressing us into the rails, but we got to see what was going on behind the curtains before A7X played.

Halestorm started off first. The stage was empty, sans Arejay’s drum kit, but as soon as the stage appeared ready, you can hear Lzzy’s sultry vocal melodies from the speakers. She finally comes out on stage to say hey to us, while Arejay (dressed in an amazing band outfit with a skull mask), Joe Hottinger (Guitar) and Josh Smith (Bass) followed. I think, for starters, it seemed like not a lot of people knew who they were or liked them. That changed pretty quick as what started off with a few fists in the air, turned into a huge part of the crowd fist pumping, jumping up and down and throwing up the devil horns. They only had a 30 minute set, but they definitely made the most of their time.

I was really happy they performed my favourite song, A Familiar Taste of Poison. Before it started, Lzzy grabbed a bottle of wine and a glass, poured herself some, and toasted the fallen rock Gods we’ve lost this year. She never mentioned any names, but for me personally, I envisioned Dio, Paul Gray and Jimmy Sullivan as she drank the wine. Somewhere during the song she tossed the glass to a fan, which I thought was pretty awesome. Here’s a video of that performance (not filmed by me, because my camera sucks). Enjoy.

After that, Arejay had a nice little drum solo, which I was pretty much expecting, because he’s such a bad-ass and HIGHLY entertaining drummer. After his Animal attack on his drum kit, which gigantic drum sticks, the band came out and all banged away on these garbage can looking drums. It was pretty spectacular. Here’s a video (from another Uproar festival) to give you an idea of what I walk talking about and then tell me you don’t get an image of Animal (from the Muppet Show)..

I really thought they did an amazing job, and hopefully made some new fans. As for their set, here’s the list, painstakingly taken by me during the show.

It’s Not You
Dirty Work
Familiar Taste of Poison
Arejay Drum Solo
Nothing To Do With Love
I Get Off

Following Halestorm was Stone Sour. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan. Though I do like some Slipnot, I wasn’t impressed with Corey Taylor and his inability to command a stage. The songs they played were sometimes unfamiliar, sometimes recognizable, but for the most part, really uninspiring. Anyways, out of their setlist, which I did not write down as they played, they did this new song, which I am happy to say, I actually liked. This is their newest song, from their upcoming CD, called “Say You’ll Haunt Me”. Here’s a video of that performance, again not from me.

Skipping ahead to the main reason why I was there; Avenged Sevenfold. So, as I mentioned earlier, the stage was covered with a big black cloth to obscure the view from the majority of the crowd. What they didn’t see was the construction of the stage. An INCREDIBLY bad-ass backdrop of a haunted house, complete with brick veneer stands for the band to stand on as well as cemetery gates in front of the backdrop. They also didn’t see the magic happening. A man, being harnessed into a cable and climbing on a scaffolding. I had assumed he would be dropping something like snow or whatever cheesy image came into my mind. Once the lights went out and the curtain pulled back the crowd goes insane. As you can see from the video below, this is what happened to bring Nightmare to life.

They toured through past hits and newer songs from their latest CD and all the while I was amazed on how much time and effort Mike Portnoy took to really learn those songs. I’ve talked shit about him in the past, and though personally speaking, even though I’ll always prefer the Rev as a drummer, I have to give him some respect for what he did for A7X. That was really cool of him.

After about five songs, M. Shadows talked about his fallen brother, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, thanked Portnoy again and again, and dedicated the next song to him. The image in the back changed to a beautiful image of the band of brothers hugging it out, with Sullivan in the forefront. The image is also on their CD, Nightmare. It’s amazing. They asked everyone to light up lighters, cellphones, anything they had that gave off light for Jimmy and played this song “So Far Away”. It was a beautiful sight.. here’s a little bit of that moment.

Even though I can talk for hours about how amazing this show was, I have to jump to the last song, and something that really got the lump stuck in my throat, more that the heartfelt loss we all felt remembering the Rev, when they played the last song, Almost Easy, they had left Jimmy’s vocals in their and played them during the performance. For a moment, I had forgotten he was gone and looked for him at the drum kit. It was just the perfect way to end the evening..

All in all, this is one of the best shows I’ve been to in a long time. Though I missed Disturbed, because of having to get up early the next day, I really enjoyed this experience a LOT. I haven’t been to a large festival in a long time, having been relishing in the intimacy of bar shows and smaller venues for the past few years.. If you have a chance to catch anymore Uproar shows, I highly recommend you go.. And although I did take a LOT of pics, I really wanted to get this post in, to capture the essence of this amazing show from the cobwebs of my memories before they all faded away. I'll try to post a couple of them later.. keep an eye out for them. Here’s Avenged Sevenfold’s setlist (again, written down by me during the show) for your entertainment.

Critical Acclaim
Welcome to the Family
Beast and the Harlot
Buried Alive
So Far Away
God Hates Us
Unholy Confessions
Almost Easy

Before I forget, I have to share this. Rockstar made a program for the events, sharing information about the bands, their music, the instruments they play and interviews and whatnot. Here's a brilliant pic, taken by my camera phone, of the Disturbed band interview and review. Read through it and check out Disurbed's new lead singer "Don Draiman". LOL FAIL.



Rob Liz said...

I'm not digging Lizzy's Joan Jett look. But it looks like they put on a decent show.

Corey Taylor is a douche.

It's too bad about Disturbed. I would have liked to have heard about a comparison to the big and famous Disturbed as opposed to the club scene version back in the day.

Rob Liz said...

I forgot to mention that Animal is awesome and I still don't know how in the world he lost that drum duel to Buddy Rich.

Draeden Wren said...

I'll have to check that out.. On the Disturbed thing, yeah, I was curious to stay because I have seem them before (on their first album) and I wanted to see how much they've grown (if any).. oh well.. next time.