2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival
When the lineup for the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival was announced, I was hit with mixed emotions mostly due to the fact that some old favorites were on the lineup. However, there were a few unfamiliar faces as well and let’s just say I haven’t been the biggest fan of rock for quite a while. Over time, I became more of a fan of metal and its extreme characteristic. After a long-term “hiatus”, I decided to give the Uproar tour a go and hopefully find a rekindling of the forgotten genre of music. I was lucky in this endeavor, as I had a better time than I expected.
Uproar was taking place at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater, an outside venue located in Bonner Springs, KS (kind of a middle of nowhere spot a good distance away from Kansas City). This venue had housed a few Mayhem Fest’s previously (until they had decided to skip the location altogether since 2010) with the smaller stage(s) taking place at the backside of the venue on a “parking lot” alongside the merch tents and a few other attractions. The weather was clear and it felt like it was going to be a pretty solid experience.
The Reality of Yourself, from Springfield, MO, took up the secondary stage first, presenting a bluesy rock persona that was enjoyable but soon wore off before they finished. I loved the sound they presented, but I felt that they had too much of the same pace throughout their set. Although they’ve been around since 2004, I felt that they just didn’t have the right amount of stage experience to grip an audience for a long amount of time. Their set was short and that really played into their favor. Still a band worth checking out.
Sons of Revelry soon followed, a rock band from Canada, playing in the style of a hippy psychedelic rock (or something of similar nature, it was pretty difficult to narrow down). I’m not too big a fan of the psych element, but the personality and energy was fantastic and made up for that. They ended up winning some Battle of the Bands contest, working for their spot on the tour, all the while remaining independent. Being a fan of the independent scene, this really stuck out to me and it was really nice in hearing these kind of bands still trying their damndest to get to the big time.
Within Reason was a surprise, as they played a slightly synth-driven hard rock, much like Linkin Park and similar bands. Funnily enough, they ended up covering “Lost In The Echo” by Linkin Park in the finality of their set, and were pretty damn good doing so. It was nice to hear a band with differing pace in their performance. These guys are seasoned and know what they are doing, even if they didn’t come off as the most original, covering another band’s song. Definitely a project to check out.
Escape the Fate took the stage and I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, given that these guys are the obvious opposite of the spectrum of tunes that I listen to on a regular basis. Surprisingly, their performance was heavier than expected. Sure, Craig still used some of those post-hardcore clean vocals but other than that, these guys drove it home in a great fashion. At the end of their performance, rain started up and it became a downpour right into the next performance by Buckcherry.
Now, I wasn’t up close to Buckcherry’s performance as I would have liked to have been, but they sounded a lot better than when I previously saw them at Rockfest (a local festival that always ends up with about 50,000ish people in attendance for one day) where they just didn’t perform as well as I was hoping. They were on point and in sync, almost flawless to certain standards. They played the usual hits, “Lit Up” and “Crazy Bitch”, but they also played something unusual off of their latest EP called “Say Fuck It”, a “remake” of Icona Pop’s “I Love It”. I thought it was pretty funny but overall a novelty that just didn’t have to be created.
Michigan’s Pop Evil, riding high on the success of its current hit album, Onyx, lit it up as the openers of the main stage, coming off as bombastic and charismatic right from the get go. I wasn’t too big of a fan of their song choices, even if it made their performance differentiated, but they still get high marks for their showmanship. They played a short six-song set, that was culled almost entirely from the new record, including their three hit singles, “Torn to Pieces”, “Deal With the Devil” and “Trenches”. It would have been nice to hear more than a single track, “Last Man Standing” from the band’s mammoth 2011 release, War of Angels.
Skillet then took the stage with a surprising addition of a violinist and cellist starting the performance. The band erupted soon after with many of their energetic anthems such as “Awake and Alive”, “Hero”, and “Comatose”, many songs that I found interesting in the band’s catalog and was happy to hear when they were performed. I’d have to say that this band’s performance was one of the best of the night, even if they were not the headliner..
Seether was the second to last act, with a stage presence that just ended up sucking the life out of me and not in a good way. A few years back I had witnessed this band with a set that seemed like it was just dragging on and on, a dragging that resembled the styles of a shoegaze band, but without any atmosphere whatsoever. Sure, some songs were good and fit in with this pace, but it always feels like they just weren’t up for it. I can dig the persona, I’m just not a fan of how long they play it out.
As the night was ending, the headlining act, Godsmack, took the stage and simply blew everyone out of the water. Pyrotechnics and a huge “secondary stage” was set up behind the drummer showcasing just how much room these guys had to work with. I had witnessed these guys two times before and they always put on one of the best rock shows I’ve ever seen. Although I wasn’t too much of a fan of their latest album, the live performances of some of the tracks may have me coming back to investigate further. Godsmack still manages to impress. They hammered away at the crowd with hit after hit, including “Voodoo”, “Keep Away”, “Cryin’ Like a Bitch”, “1000hp”, and the finale, “I Stand Alone”. I’m glad to see that these guys are still accomplishing a great show even with their share of problems in the past.
Ultimately, this festival was quite the surprise. I wasn’t expecting to become interested in rock music once again when attending this event, but it happened regardless. Uproar Festival reminded me of where I came from and what the rock scene still had to offer. I’m hoping future line-ups will bring in new and refreshing bands and also groups that know how to put on a good show every single night. Rock fans should definitely attend this festival and I even urge some of my heavy metal brethren to give it a shot as well.