Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival @ USANA 10.04

Posted October 6, 2011 in
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Tuesday, Oct.4 started out as a rainy one, but the tickets to Rockstar Energy Drink’s UPROAR Festival said rain or shine, so that meant the show must go on. I had been to shows at USANA before, but none were as massive as this one. Thousands of individuals showed up for this event, all ready to rock. The smell of men’s cologne, L.A. Looks and Affliction cotton was in the air, but the best thing was that all these people were here to kick some ass and rock and roll.

The venue was set up a little bit differently than I had ever seen. They had a huge second stage area that was surrounded by various tents and vendors. Some of these vendors were selling nothing but band merch and others were selling items that you'd find at Hot Topic like weird dragon rings, necklaces, cut-off gloves, studded belts of every color and other rocker merchandise. My favorites were the Mary Jane driven tents. Yes, plural. There were multiple tents just selling products with pot leaves on ‘em, various Rasta-colored hats, tees, Bob Marley gear, etc.

The second stage was home to Orange Blossom Special, Hell or Highwater, Black Tide, Art of Dying and Sevendust. All of these band’s homepages are available on the website,, so if you’re a rocker who is technologically inclined, go ahead and check them out, “follow” their twitters and “like” their Facebook pages. SLUG photographer Eric Scott Russell shot photos the entire day of the event, so check them out here and see these guys doin’ what they do.

I arrived just as the second stage area was closing, so I didn't have the pleasure of seeing those bands, but I could tell that they had done their job by the condition the audience was in: It was 4:30 p.m. and people were already losing their balance and some even their lunch. But hey, it's all fair in rock n' roll. I then paid eight bucks for a 24 oz. can of Coors and was on my way to my seat.

First up on the Main Stage was Escape the Fate. I had never heard of them, but this four piece is pretty wild. The bass and double bass for this band sounded monstrous. Rumbling and screaming is what they were going for, and that is what they delivered. They have an album out called This War is Ours on Epitaph records, and from what I heard, it’s a heavy one.

Next we had a “hot girl contest.” This was hosted by two British chaps, Calla and Kalvin. They introduced the babes one by one so all of the crowd could show based on loudness who they thought was “the hottest.” A panel of drum techs were also the judges. They had the hard decision of crowning the main chick. Some of the women were Salt Lake locals, and others from various locations. Once they cut the competition down to two, they had the finalists preform a “booty shake” for the judges. I’m proud to say that a local took home the trophy this night. Congrats to Sarah whatever-your-last-name. Your stems are bodacious and the crowd loved you for them. You need to work on your booty shake, though.

Then we had Bullet For My Valentine. These guys had a huge following at the show. These guys have been around since the early 2000s and are jamming harder than ever. Their latest album, Fever, is one they said is aimed at motivating young adults and late teens into creating a band. Honestly, after hearing their epic set, I wanted to create a heavy metal screamo band. The crowd ate up every riff and drumstick twirl. Kids about 16 years old loved these guys. Some had eyeliner on and since they were in the twisting circle pit sweating, they looked like a bunch of girls crying with mascara running down their faces. It was awesome. Check out Fever if you haven't already heard all those hits. My favorite live song was “Last Fight,” which is a track based on drug abuse. I just liked how it sounded honest.

Seether switched up the pace with their pop rock grooves and catchy harmonies. At times, I was honestly reminded of Nirvana. Not on every song, (don't mean to offend you Cobain elitists) but lead vocalist Shaun Morgan kills it and had a Cobain-esque presence about him. Flannel shirt and a steady stance just looking forward and jammin’. The track “Country Song” was my favorite of theirs. Their newest album, Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray, has the typical radio rock feel, which isn't a bad thing if you’re into that. I think these guys have a lot to offer their fans. And their stage setup was pretty cool as well. They just had a bunch of TVs plugged in, all just rolling static no images. It was weird, simple and perfect for them.

Then, as everyone got hammered, the show really got wild. Three Days Grace came on and people just lost their shit. The lead vocalist was wearing all of the clothing accessories from the vendors, making him look like a Hot Topic mold, but these guys came out blazing, playing hits like “Pain” and “Never Too Late.” They got the crowd even more hyped by playing hits from their first album: “I Hate Everything About You” and “Better Off Alone,” in the middle of which vocalist Adam Gontier rapped the first verse of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” The mosh pit was more live than it had been the entire night. Multiple items were flung into the air: a shoe, some sunglasses, a hoodie and a shirt, and even a pair of pants. I was thinking that there was gonna be some sweaty, naked emo kid in the pit getting wild with everyone, but I didn't see one. They played “Riot” and it became fist-pump city. I don't know what it is about guitars and the fist pump, but the collaboration just makes sense.

And now, the headliner. I don't know if God is an Avenged Sevenfold fan, but all-of-a-sudden, just before they came on stage, a lightning show started and a few sprinkles fell. Then a voice said, “Two seals walk into a club … ” and that was it. The curtain dropped, unveiling a massive skull with wings glowing in a gloomy red light. The Dustin Dollin lookalike lead guitarist strolled out and began playing a single from their newest album, Nightmare. I gotta give props to the stage techs that made that epicness possible, their show was incredible. They reminded me of a modern day KISS with all the fire and the solos. Obviously they don't sound like KISS, but their show was on par. Massive fire balls shooting up into the sky, fireworks, smoke machines, you name it, Avenged has it. They did hits off their earlier albums: “Bat Country,” “Almost Easy” and “Second Heartbeat.” One thing that was pretty funny to me was the fact that their lead singer is actually a massive man. Based on the assumption I made upon hearing his voice, the dude is the exact opposite. I pictured a little Dio-like man, not a Christopher Reeves in the Superman suit lookalike. The new album has been getting great reviews, and from what I saw, was received well by all of their fans.

I would like to thank Rockstar for putting this on and USANA for being such a rad place to see shows. To all the bands, keep up the great work. This was an awesome show and all of the fans enjoyed themselves to the fullest. When you hear Avenged Sevenfold playing in all of the cars in the parking lot as you leave the venue, you know that the fans didn't get enough and had a good time—rock n' roll.

Zacky Vengeance on guitar and Johnny Christ on bass. Photo: Eric Scott Russell Avenged Sevenfold has arrived. Photo: Eric Scott Russell Three Days Grace, Adam Gontier on guitar and vocals. Photo: Eric Scott Russell Bullet For My Valentine takes the stage (Matthew Tuck and Padge). Photo: Eric Scott Russell Main stage openers Escape The Fate (singer Craig Mabbitt). Photo: Eric Scott Russell SLUG Magazine writer Eric Hess at the Rockstar Engergy Drink UPROAR Festival. Photo: Eric Scott Russell