Unless you have been dwelling in a dingy hole somewhere, hard rock fans, you should know by now that the Uproar Tour, 2010, sported one of the best line ups of the summer. Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Stone Sour, Halestorm, Hellyeah, Airbourne and others made up for one roaring kick in the ass good time in Dallas on Friday, September 10. The Uproar Tour is no different than other commercially driven (ah, that would be sponsored) event. This was set up as a festival in the hot Texas sun, starting around 3:30p. There were two stages: the main and a large side stage. The bands began on the side stage. I did not arrive until a bit later in the afternoon….and after the necessary beers in the parking lot, we went in and unfortunately missed half of the first band: Airbourne. I really wanted to see their whole set…oh well, two parking lot beers too many apparently.
Airbourne is an Australian outfit that brings back a sound from the metal 80′s. Sounding like a mix of Motley Crue and early AC/DC, these guys have received moderate airplay in the last year. This is no easy task for this type of band in today’s fragmented and ailing popular music scene. Their set was tight, the songs recognizable, and the antics were in your face. Really, maybe just a bit too much, too contrived. The lead singer seemed to graduate from Headbanger University teaching lead singers the 10 sound bites to say on stage. He passed, A+. He needed a bit more creativity. Overall, still, I liked these guys and look forward to more beyond the Uproar Tour.
Hellyeah. This band is always a Dallas favorite because of its roots here with drummer Vinnie Paul. It does not hurt to have the Pantera legacy as well. Every time I see these guys I think the same thing. Consistent. Enjoyable. Crowd pleasing. These guys are a little more grunge in approach. Recently they have enjoyed air play as well. But the songs that get air play really are kind of flat on a Hellyeah set. Performance wise, they are tight. This is a cohesive group. Not one of my personal favorites, but I do enjoy seeing them. I just would not go see them as a headliner. They are best suited on bills like the Uproar Tour.
Halestorm. Brother/sister act Halestorm proved to be more than the title song of Voyuers everywhere (I Get Off ). Upon stage arrival, it took a a few minutes to get over the fact that Lizzi Hale looks (and sounds) like she could be the daughter of Pat Benetar. Nice looks. But Lizzi needs to just say “no” to spandex. A somewhat squatty lower body made this a bad look. But the tunes were good.
In fact, I down loaded some to my iPod. As a band, it is clear they are young and a bit raw. Stage presence was decent, and even understated until they did what I consider a really bad sign….a drum solo. Let me explain. This band had a 30 minute slot to play and impress. They used over 5 of it for a useless drum solo. Tells me they are short on music…at least rock music that fits the flavor of the Uproar Tour. The brother drummer was also a pretty boy. Clearly, part of the act is to sell looks for this group. Give them a listen. A decent group, that, if they solve their apparent playlist issue and get even more airplay, they will be touring alot on shows such as this.
Stone Sour. This is a group I struggle to understand. First, how does lead Corey Taylor strike gold twice with Slipknot and Stone Sour? Why not translate the music to Slipknot, he just need a reason to get rid of the on stage outfit? This questions will never get answered. This is the fourth time seeing Stone Sour. They have a no nonsense stage approach, with the sparse stage back drop to match. They do not, however, loose any energy. Sound wise, their harder stuff blends a little too much together. Could be mixing. But I cannot separate any specific guitar work from voice, bass, etc. You get the picture. As a lead without the get up, Taylor makes for an odd front man. He offsets his nakedness by running back and forth as if possessed, but in a friendly sort of way
Ironically, Stone Sour’s most popular songs, judging by airplay and audience expectation are softer, acoustic guitar based songs. Melodic, and with striking lyrics. Those songs do not translate well in a show with this bill. So they left one of them on the table. Their new song received decent acceptance, less than I thought it would given the airplay it now gets. Overall, this was just an average outing for a group that has a lot of talent. They were better on other nights that I have seen them…but still, do not pass a chance to go see them.
Disturbed. Right up front, I do not like these guys, never did. I was not here to see them. And it is not like I have not seen them before, this is the fifth time to see them. One thing is for certain, they sure do have a lot of recognizable songs from massive airplay. All I will say about this performance is that their act has gone a bit more mainstream. More corporate, if you will. It is less edgy as in the past, and the audience reaction followed suit. Not taking anything away from hard core fans, again, this is just my personal tastes.
Avenged Sevenfold. This is the group I was here to see. This is the first tour after the loss of their drummer, DOA for who knows what reason. Replaced by Dream Theaters drummer, they march on. Lead guy M Shadows voice was in great form. Recall they had to cancel a tour mid way two years back due to voice issues. Their brand of rock is very difficult to pull off. Listen to their music on iTunes or CDs, it is very complex, almost Kansas like in machine gun musical directions within one song. It takes a talented group to pull this off live, and they most certainly do,
Blessed with an elaborate stage set up that changed it flavors several times throughout the one hour set, the group did not miss a beat in playing or energy. They are musically a superior band. Audience reaction was great as well. In fact, we thought Avenged Sevenfold was the headliner as billed. They must switch nights with Disturbed on headlining. Bad news for Disturbed when they are headlining as in tonight as audience reaction is much stronger for Avenged Sevenfold, and 20% of the audience left before Disturbed closed the night. This group has never been more popular as witnessed by their hit “Nightmare” which charted at #2 in the overall singles chart recently….yes the overall charts, not just the rock charts. Go see this band. They are curious. Their themes are dark. Their personality matches. Yet their lyrics are lace with interesting religious implications. This was my third time seeing them, and this was the best.
Business Results. As many of you know, I like to summarize the business side of the concerts I attend. There is no doubt this has been one of the most difficult concert seasons in years with cancellations, low attendance, etc. Tonight was no different. I believe this line up was stellar (sans Disturbed). This venue holds 20,000. Tonight I estimate that there were 11,000 in attendance on a Friday night. As with festivals that are sponsored, it is difficult to assess the sponsorship money. The festival approach yields a myriad of vendor tents selling things to concert goers. Then there is the alcohol….bottom line, I estimate this event grossed less than $600,000. There was not the normal bullshit $15 charge for parking. My pit ticket cost $105 with all the Ticketmaster bullshit fees. The hillside lawns were about $40. Clearly organizers were hoping for more, and it just depneds on the sponsorship money to know whether this floated the costs of the event.
Go see these bands. This is a great tour.