X-Fest/Uproar Festival is heralded as the last great summer festival. Am I allowed to say it was the greatest summer festival? I would, because it did what a festival should: I am severely sunburned, exhausted beyond all comprehension, I made a new friend while there, I saw some of the best performances in a very long time and I cried of happiness at the end.
Uncrowned was the first band of an incredibly long, extremely fun day. I hadn't heard of Uncrowned before then, but I enjoyed their set very much. The lead singer had a fantastic range, from deep, throaty screams to extreme, almost falsetto highs. During one of the breaks between songs, the singer revealed that he had just finished radiation for cancer and the experience had deepened both his love for music and his appreciation that we came to cheer him and his band on.
The BOTB winners, Seven Days Away, were absolutely amazing. If someone hasn't signed these guys already they desperately need to. Seven Days Away were incredibly impressive from the vocalist's gravelly but still pleasant voice, to the guitarists' fast paced mastery, to the throbbing bass and slamming drums. One of my favorite performances of the entire day, I will definitely be looking for more of this band.
Cruz was listed as performing, but they never did. Instead, Moonshine Collective performed, but the guitarist was the only one of his band that was on time. He joked that his band were too drunk on moonshine to be there, but I'm not sure if it was really a joke or if he was serious. Zach Myers from Shinedown filled in on bass for a few songs of jamming with Redlight King's drummer providing drums. After a few songs, Redlight King's bassist filled in for most of the rest of the songs, with Zach coming back for the last two or three, and Adelitas Way's and Mindset Evolution's drummers taking up drums for the rest of the set. Pulling a show out of his rear end that was both just about seamless and was entertaining must have been incredibly hard, and I applaud Moonshine Collective's guitarist. He was a great, bluesy rock guitarist that had a really nice voice. I just hope the rest of Moonshine Collective is as great as he is.
I'd heard a few of Candlelight Red's songs on Sirius XM Octane, so I was pretty excited to see them. I was unaware of the fact beforehand, but Candlelight Red has a pretty rabid fan base. Within one song they had the whole crowd fist pumping and screaming their lungs out. That, paired with the fact I was standing next to apparently their biggest fan, who between songs proceeded to tell me each and every factoid there is to know about them, officially converted me into a Candlelight Red fan.
Seeing Deuce live changed my opinion about him. I thought he sounded terrible on his album, but his live performance proved that I was wrong. He's actually much worse than I originally thought. I've been a Hollywood Undead fan for about six years, but I never could get into Deuce's nasal, whiny voice, and when he split from them, I considered it to be the best for the band. So, I didn't have high hopes for his concert, and I shouldn't have. Most people left the crowd during his performance, including me, to go get food or buy things. I came back to catch the last half of his set to find that his voice, while nasal and whiny on his albums, was at least in tune. In concert? Not so much. His microphone was up so loud I could barely hear his backing band, which doesn't surprise me considering Deuce's legendary ego. There was a very large, unnecessary man; his only purposes seemed to be to point at Deuce, nod his head and shout, "Yeah! Yeah," every few seconds, making me want to smack him after a minute. In between songs, Deuce blathered on so long, he ran over into Redlight King's set time and apparently I'm not the only one who doesn't like Deuce. Redlight King began playing on the stage next door while Deuce was still talking, furthering my suspicion that he's not all that popular with his fellow artists. After a couple of minutes Deuce seemed to get the hint that he should stop, and left the stage. By that time, three-fourths of the crowd had moved over to see Redlight King anyway. Deuce is a fitting name, because that's exactly what he dropped with this performance.
I was really looking forward to seeing Redlight King, because they're a fantastic band. Imagine my chagrin, when, a minute into their second song, I was kicked in the back of the head by an errant crowd surfer, who then proceeded to land on me and completely knock me out cold. I spent the whole of their performance in the medic's tent, cursing whoever it was that used me as a landing pad for their stupidity. From what I could hear, which were only the last two songs, Redlight King are even better live than they are on cd. I really hope I can be conscious for their whole performance next time they're in town.
As you may well know, Fozzy's lead singer is professional wrestler Chris Jericho. If you don't, then where have you been, because that's all the interviews with them are about, annoyingly enough. So as both a huge WWE fan, and a Fozzy fan, I was extremely excited by the time they took the stage. In wrestling, Chris's catchphrase is, "I am the best in the world!" and by my opinion it should become his phrase when speaking of his front man skills as well. He lit up the stage, keeping the entire audience captivated so that when he announced they were about to play their last song, it received the loudest chorus of boos I'd heard all day, including the ones at Deuce's set. He started the only mosh pit of the entire day and rightfully so, because Fozzy is a great, heavy band. They had the largest and loudest crowd of the day for the small stages. I heard some people saying that they only came for Fozzy, and were in fact leaving when they were done.
I wasn't a P.O.D. fan before I went to Uproar, thinking they were a bit too rap-heavy for my taste. Key word there: before. Seeing them live is like an experience more than a show. The crowd lost their minds when P.O.D. arrived onstage and people began crowd surfing on the downbeat of the first song. There were so many people flying around that security had to call in every guy within the southern pavilion to keep people from falling off the front of the crowd. Front man Sonny Sandoval voiced his concerns about the wellbeing of crowd surfers, saying at least twice each song, "Don't let anyone fall!" P.O.D. makes it seem like everyone is a gang, hanging out together, instead of the usual artist-crowd performance. Sandoval regularly went into the front of the crowd to grab hands with various fans. P.O.D. were so heavy and impressive that I almost didn't believe that it was the same band that I found too anything when hearing them on Sirius XM Octane.
Adelitas Way has been a favorite of mine for a while, so I was very anxious to see them, and they certainly did not disappoint. For a relatively young band, AW has accomplished a lot, and deservingly. Only having two albums, but already three top five hit songs, two being #1's, and already co-headlining X-Fest is no small feat, and Adelitas Way certainly proved they can keep up with the other more experienced bands. Their drummer, Tre Stafford was particularly fantastic, hitting his drums so hard I thought his sticks were going to snap and upon a closer look, I realized he was actually twirling them in between every impossibly fast upbeat.
Staind has never really stood out to me, but their latest album has really gotten me around to liking them a lot more. Following Adelitas Way, who were very energetic and crowd-engaging, Staind was sort of a step back. Front man Aaron Lewis barely spoke in between songs, only saying the title of a few of them and staying silent otherwise. The rest of the band pretty much stayed in place the entire performance. And when they were performing some of their old singles, the songs just seemed to run together, becoming one long, monotonous song. I recently learned that Staind were going to be taking a break in 2013, and maybe that break can't come soon enough, because this performance seemed to be signaling that they need one desperately.
Fortunately Godsmack came on next, blowing the roof off the pavilion. Front man Sully Erna was in his element, the lights were flashing, the crowd was hanging on his every word, and he had all of us in the palm of his hand. No one sat down during their performance, because there was so much to see. Not only were there the usual incredible Godsmack songs, but they treated the capacity crowd to a drum off between Erna and Godsmack drummer, Shannon Larkin, on drum risers that lit up, moved, and spun. We also saw a very long drum solo by Erna that took place on tribal drums, adding in some culture to the face-melting metal. When Erna encouraged the crowd to sing along, I couldn't even hear him anymore, that's how loud of a reaction they received. Pure adrenaline, is really the only word to describe Godsmack's performance.
Shinedown, oh how I love Shinedown. This was my first time seeing them live and I was coming apart at the seams waiting for them to perform. I essentially drove everyone around me crazy with my thinking out loud of, "Do you think they'll play 'Call Me'? Shh! Listen! Is that them?! I saw Zach earlier and he shook my hand!" On and on I went until my friend had the good sense to zip my hood over my face until they actually came out, at which I sprang out of my seat like a madwoman. They were just as beautiful and wonderful as I hoped they would be.
For over an hour they held 15,000 people spell bound with their amazing show that included flames shooting up into the air, and concussions so loud I thought we were going to have to evacuate after the first one. Seeing them, they were so inviting and personable onstage, you'd have felt that they were only playing to you, and you never wanted it to end. I know I didn't, so imagine my happiness when I was told that since I bought their album earlier in the day, I could go meet the band.
After being told to go five different places by security, my new friend Lindsey (who I met during Shinedown's set after front man Brent Smith said to introduce ourselves to the person next to us. The power of Shinedown people, it cannot be denied)and I finally found the right place to meet Shinedown. Lindsey and I were holding each other up because we were so excited we couldn't support ourselves on our own. Shinedown received raucous cheers when they arrived.
Except, one thing was different. Guitarist Zach Myers had suddenly grown half a foot and had an entirely different outfit on. It was Fozzy singer, and WWE wrestler Chris Jericho pretending to be him! And what was strange is, I was the only one who noticed it seemed. I remarked out loud as soon as he walked in, "That's not Zach. It's Chris Jericho," only to have the real Zach Myers come up behind me and shush me quietly to much palpitations of my heart. Wouldn't other fans have realized that the man signing their cd was in fact not the man pictured? I don't know, that's just me. Maybe I watch too much wrestling and listen to too much Shinedown.
Meeting Chris Jericho and the members of Shinedown is now one of my most cherished memories. They were the most honest, pleasant people I've ever had the honor of meeting. Each member talked to every single individual fan, and signed their cd and gave them a hug when asked (of course I asked for hugs, who wouldn't?). Chris Jericho, who apparently no one still recognized but me, was only too happy to sign my ticket when I walked up to him and gushed that I loved his band and watching him on Monday Night RAW. When revealing to Brent Smith that his music helped through a particularly rough spot of my life, Brent was so kind and thankful that it made me well up, and he hugged me tight. I honestly did not want to ever leave the presence of these wonderful, amazingly kind guys. I am now an even bigger Shinedown fan than I was before, and I cannot wait until I can see them in concert, and hopefully meet them again.
[Music] Jazz + Blues + R&B
[Music] DJs + Dancing
[Music] DJs + Dancing
[Music] DJs + Dancing
[Music] DJs + Dancing