Posted by: pop-break | August 31, 2012

Pop-Break Live: Uproar Festival [Holmdel, NJ]

lisa pikaard tears it up at the uproar festival in words and photos…

The Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival returned to Holmdel, New Jersey [on Friday August 24] with a powerful lineup to the delight of local rock and roll enthusiasts. Although it is only a one day festival, it is jam packed with talent. I may not have known all the bands in the line up, but I had a great time discovering new music and watching the crowds respond to the overwhelming talent that was present all day. The day was filled with powerful rock and roll, meet and greets left and right, and crowds of people everywhere just enjoying live music.

The festival featured three stages: the Rockstar Energy Main Stage, the Jagermeister Stage, and the Ernie Ball Stage. Starting at 1:05 and running through approximately 5:30, the festival alternated between the Jagermeister and Ernie Ball stages so there were only mere minutes between each band. The day then closed with the Main Stage taking over.

Prior to the day beginning, there were many people saddened to hear that Papa Roach withdrew from the festival because lead singer, Jacoby Shaddix, needs throat surgery to remove a nodule from his vocal cord. The main stage began 40 minutes later than scheduled because of this move. Also, a void on the Jagermeister Stage, caused by the decision to leave the tour by the band Greek Fire was filled by the band Cruz, who was scheduled to join the tour on a variety of other dates.

Here’s a rundown of the various bands of the day, the crowds, and the sounds.

The Jager Band:
The Uproar experience begins with the Jager band revving up the crowd immediately as the gates open on the Jagermeister Stage. I wasn’t expecting much to come from this band but they seemed to have gotten the crowd into the rock mood as soon as they entered the stage area. The set was just under 20 minutes and gave the crowds time to get in before the Battle of the Bands winner graced the Ernie Ball Stage.

Scarlet Carson:
Local rockers Scarlet Carson helped bring in the early crowd, which was surprisingly quite large. As the winners of the local Battle of the Bands, Scarlet Carson is now competing to win a spot on next year’s tour. The band’s performance was full of energy and had the crowd instantly. Scarlet Carson came out with overwhelming confidence and found a way to fill the area in front of the Ernie Ball Stage. The boldest moment of the set was when rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist, Tommy Herres, jumped into the crowd, hopped on shoulders, and got everyone participating in the song, “West Coast Dreamer.” Last year’s BOTB winner, Mindset Evolution’s lead singer even said that it seems like Scarlet Carson is the most well-rounded local band to have taken the stage as a BOTB winner yet this tour.

Many people wondered who would be filling the time slot allotted to Greek Fire on the Jager Stage. Cruz, a band from Brazil, filled that void and, although people didn’t seem to rush over to the stage the minute they began, people slowly found their way to that part of the venue to catch a song or two.

Mindset Evolution:
Last year’s Battle of the Band winner, Mindset Evolution took the Ernie Ball Stage next. The crowd didn’t seem quite sure of what to make of the band at the onset but quickly found the beat and began to get absorbed in the energy and sound.

There is a certain power that singer Rob Ulrich exuded in his performance that instantly hooked people in. The band certainly had a following, but it could not possibly account for everyone that was quickly lining up afterwards to meet the band. They made a lot of new fans thanks to their performance. The guys of Mindset Evolution were highly accessible to the crowd, running around, making friends, and getting the word of the band out there. They were put on this tour by fans and have not forgotten that. It’s easy to see when a band has a true passion for music and its fans and Mindset Evolution certainly has that. The band has a very high level of obvious respect for the fans and the audience and are a sight to see. I definitely want to see more of this band and, if you’ve never heard of them, research them. NOW.

Candlelight Red:
Candlelight Red, looking to solidify its place in rock music, brought as much passion and energy as they could muster in the 90 plus degree weather, which was a lot, and got the crowd really going. I’ve seen this band twice before and they have always impressed me.

For the first time all day, the audience was singing all of the words along with the band on stage. The songs that brought the biggest crowd reaction were “She’s Got the Look” and “The Wreckage.” Candlelight Red also decided to try out some of its new material from the EP Demons on the crowd and the response was awesome. It’s great to see up and coming bands really making a splash on this tour.

Redlight King:
Jersey rock radio seems to have been playing a lot of Redlight King these days and the crowd most certainly made that known. The crowd in front of the Ernie Ball Stage was insane and people ran over as fast as they could so they wouldn’t miss a beat of this performance. The biggest hit the band performed was “Bullet in My Hand.” People just walking by the stage couldn’t help but sing along.

In This Moment:
The only female lead singer to take the stage was In This Moment’s Maria Brink. I have never seen this band before and had absolutely no idea what to expect. My initial reaction was that Maria is the Lady Gaga of the rock world. The band’s theatrics were intense and well received. I was shocked to discover that In This Moment brought the hardest rock yet. The crowd was bigger than ever and the band had them hypnotized.

Well, I wasn’t sure how Deuce would fit in with the audience because the band’s sound is a bit different from all of the other bands on this tour. Deuce brought to the table not only rock, but also rap, hip hop, and dance. The crowd was dancing, and partying and having a ball. This was the first time all day that crowd surfers took to the air. The crowd got rowdy and were not put off by the unfiltered lyrics and attitude of the oft masked lead singer. The masks were eventually thrown off and the sound just got better.

Finally it was time for the Jagermeister Stage headliner, Fozzy. Before the band even took the stage there was an overwhelming chant of Y2J from the crowd to welcome lead singer Chris Jericho. Jericho strutted on stage and the crowd exploded. I had never seen Fozzy before either but the stage presence Jericho is known for in the WWE obviously carried over to the music world. He was one of the most passionate and energetic musicians of the day.

The headliner of the Ernie Ball Stage was P.O.D. Although the sun was beating on us all and access to the main stage was open, so many people packed in to hear P.O.D. take the stage. The band played a wide range of tracks including its classics, “Southtown,” and “Youth of the Nation,” new songs, and even a Sublime cover. P.O.D. certainly claimed the spot of biggest band on the side stages. I am so fortunate to have seen this rock band take the stage. If you’ve never seen the band before, make time to do so. The passion is hypnotizing and inspiring not only for the crowds but the other bands on tour. A lot of the other bands on tour were on the side of the stage watching these guys kill it.

Adelitas Way:
I, unfortunately, missed the first two songs of Adelitas Way’s set because I was in an interview but, when I finally got to the main stage, I was impressed by the sound. I have seen the band perform a few times already and knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. The band sounds even better live than on its albums.Although Adelitas Way was the first band on the Main Stage, the sun was shining, and the people in the crowd weren’t all on their feet and feeling the sound, lead singer Rick DeJesus didn’t seem to care. He was singing hard, dancing all over the stage, and putting on a show.

Adelitas Way is a great band to see live but, it felt a bit off since not everyone in the crowd was into it. This band needs to have a room that is already absorbed in the concert rather than be an opener in charge of getting the room going. One person in the crowd suggested that P.O.D. and Adelitas Way should have traded places making Adelitas Way the headliner on the Ernie Ball stage and P.O.D. would be moved to the main stage and I think she could not have been more right. On a more positive note, the band officially has another number one single, “Criticize.” The band absolutely loves to perform this song and it was probably the best of the set.

Staind got the crowd very fast at the beginning of its set. The entire first tier of the venue was on their feet. The rest of the crowd finally got involved when Staind pulled out its classic, “Its Been Awhile.” Staind was good, not great, but good The band’s live performance sounds like a match to the album; it didn’t impress me but it didn’t let me down either.

Godsmack stole the show. There is no other way to put it than that. The band did not resort to pyrotechnics or any theatrics to take over; Godsmack wowed everyone with sheer skill. By the time the band hit its third song, “Cryin’ like a Bitch,” it was impossible to not be swept up by Godsmack. One thing that the band is known for is a drum battle between lead singer Sully Erna, and drummer Shannon Larkin. They play back and forth for over five minutes and then bust out some rock classics like “Walk This Way” and “Back in Black.” They throw their sticks, get spun around, and still rock harder than you could imagine.

One of the fun moments for the crowd was when Sully mentioned Jersey Shore. He said to the delight of the crowd, “Jersey Shore fucking ruined you. Fucking asses.” Well, it appeared as though most of the Jersey crowd agreed and were appreciative of the insult. This band was the highlight of the tour. Simple as that.

The co-headliner of the Main Stage was Shinedown. I will admit, other than “Second Chance,” I don’t know many Shinedown songs; it appears as though a fair portion of the crowd were in that same boat. After playing that song about halfway through the set, a steady flow of people began to exit the venue. “Second Chance,” however, was well received by the crowd. The crowd was actually louder than the speakers and were drowning out the band.

Shinedown seemed to waver between seriously hard rock and pop rock leaving some of the crowd a bit bewildered; the audience seemed to enjoy the show none the less. When In This Moment’s Maria took the stage to sing “Devour” with Shinedown, the crowd went wild. One other highlight was when the band decided to venture out into the crowd to perform “Simple Man” from the middle of the venue. Shinedown was good but it was simply eclipsed by Godsmack.


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