Rockstar Energy Drink: Uproar Festival 2014

By on September 5, 2014

 

Buck Cherry's Kelly LeMieux (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Buckcherry’s Kelly LeMieux (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

The 2014 version of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Tour stormed into the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa on Saturday. This year’s tour consisted of up and coming bands like Sons of Revelry and established hitmakers in Godsmack and Seether.

The festival stage promptly opened at 2:25pm with the “Battle of the Bands” winner Black Jacket from Miami, Florida.  They entertained the early crowd with straight ahead rock n roll that contained catchy lyrics and quality  solos. They also excelled in entertaining and interacting with the crowd by throwing their band swag out into the audience.  Providing quality rock-n-roll with free koozies and shirts is a great way for an audience that isn’t familiar with your music to become fans very quickly. Check out Black Jacket’s music at reverbnation.com

Following Black Jacket was the Canadian band, Sons of Revelry. Toby Black, their lead singer, moved from Scotland to North America when he was sixteen years old to follow his dream of playing ice hockey. Sons of Revelry contains bandmates, Toby Black on vocals & guitar, Corey Brouwer on guitar, Arron Rayner on bass and Sean Boyle on drums.

Sons of Revelry’s frenetic energy and wall of sound have created a “cult like” following of enthusiastic fans only after a few performances. Incorporating Jack White type of vocals and song structures, Sons of Revelry have created a buzz in the music industry and are on the verge of taking the next big step.   Being on this tour is obviously a start in the right direction.  Highlights from Sons of Revelry’s set included “Time” and “Born with a Bigger Goal.” Check out their videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/sonsofrevelry/videos

Sully Erna - GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Sully Erna – GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

I missed the next couple bands in Tattered and Within Reason but engaged with their fans after their sets.  We found out that the fans were very happy with the performance despite having to deal with 100-degree weather.  The security staff was very friendly and knowledgeable about what was going on with the heat and mosh pits, and they were able to provide the relief the crowd needed.

Escape the Fate was next on the side stage and up until this point, they were the band that I was most familiar with. Being played in regular rotation on Sirius XM’s Octane has provided Escape the Fate a huge spark and following which I didn’t realize until their set started. I have never seen Escape the Fate live before and to say their performance was great would be an understatement. Opening with “Your Insane,” “Issues” and then one of their bigger hits in “Gorgeous Nightmare,” Escape The Fate could have and probably should have been playing on the main stage. The whole band, but especially vocalist Craig Mabbitt and the twin guitar attack of TJ Bell and Thrasher, played up to the crowd throughout the set without skipping a beat and gave the rest of the bill a hard act to follow.  Another highlight of Escape the Fate’s set was their recent hit “One For The Money” in which the crowd was singing in unison with Mabbit. If you like high energy, catchy song writing and quality live entertainment, check out Escape the Fate.

Craig Mabbit - ESCAPE THE FAITH (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Craig Mabbit – ESCAPE THE FATE (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

As Escape The Fate was exiting the stage, an ominous but familiar presence was developing behind us. Thick black clouds had formed and even though it hadn’t started to rain yet, we wondered how the upcoming storm was going to affect the rest of the lineup especially Buckcherry’s set on the side stage. I’m not really sure why a band of this quality, which have had their fair share of hits, continues to play on the smaller festival stages. I’ve covered them a few times now and every time I see them I swear they sound even better. These guys are veteran musicians and vocalist Josh Todd and guitarist Stevie D are worth watching even if you don’t care for Buckcherry’s brand of rock-n-roll.

Crazy Bitch, Josh todd - BUCK CHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Crazy Bitch, Josh todd – BUCKCHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Touring in support of their recent release and appropriately titled Fuck EP, much of Buckcherry’s set was dirtier than normal, but they also played their familiar hits. They opened the set with “Lit Up”, and then moved on to “Dead Again” and then another hit with “All Night Long.” As Josh Todd started to talk about the release of the new EP and the next track to be played in “Somebody Fucked with Me,” it was obvious that their set would most likely be shortened as the rain started to trickle down. The photographers, including myself, started scurrying for cover, which if you have ever been to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater, you know that there isn’t much cover if the main stage area isn’t open. After finding shelter (along with 40 others) underneath the awning of the outer hall that leads to the men’s bathroom, the light rain turned into a Florida August monsoon that lasted longer than normal and then someone had a seizure and the paramedics came to the rescue. While all this was occurring, we were able to hear Buckcherry playing their biggest hit in “Crazy Bitch” and then they got the hell off the stage due to a massive lightning storm. Even though you could barely hear them on stage, the girls in the hall were still dancing and singing like Todd was talking about them. You gotta love it when people can turn an unfortunate situation into a positive one.

After the storm let up a little and everyone was able to make it to the main seating area, many, including myself, wondered what was next. Earlier we found out that one of the four main bands on the Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage in These Raven Skies cancelled due to delays with their travel visas.  There also seemed to be an extended delay getting the equipment set up due to the weather for one of the hardest working bands I’ve seen come around in Pop Evil.

Leigh Kakaty - POP EVIL (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Leigh Kakaty – POP EVIL (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Pop Evil is an American rock band that was formed in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2001 and they consist of  Leigh Kakaty on vocals, Nick Fuelling and Dave Grahs on guitar, the always flamboyant Matt DiRito on bass and my favorite drummer to photograph, Chachi Riot (AKA Josh Marunde). If Chachi already didn’t have a nickname, he would be called “Animal.” The way he attacks the skins and performs for the crowd is like the character from The Muppet Show. He alone is worth the price of admission.

Pop Evil opened with “Last Man Standing,” which was the first single from their 2011 album War of Angels.  They continued with “Goodbye My Friend” then “Sick Sense.” Pop Evil then slowed it down with another hit, “Torn to Pieces,” which was a song that Kakaty wrote to cope the loss of his father in 2011. Pop Evil finished their shortened set with “Deal with the Devil” and then the anthem “Trenches” from their 2013 album Onyx. I was surprised that Pop Evil didn’t play more especially since These Raven Skies didn’t perform tonight.  But Pop Evil put on a solid show and I didn’t hear any fans complaining.

Bryan Wickman - SEETHER (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Bryan Wickman – SEETHER (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

The post grunge alternative metal band Seether, whose origin started in South Africa as the name “Saron Gas” in 1999, put on a wicked performance at Uproar this year with their deep tone of sounds. I’ve never seen Seether live until tonight, and I always considered them “soft rock,” but I was mistaken. Current members Shaun Morgan on vocals & guitar, Dale Stewart on bass, John Humphrey on drums & touring member on guitar in Bryan Wickmann played a thunderous set of their hits and kept the fans wanting more. Seether opened up their set with “Gasoline” from their first album Disclaimer and added in a mix of slow and brooding material with crushing radio rock staples. The lights and backdrops were dark and simple but put together perfectly. These guys are pros and it showed why they were on the big stage and will be headlining their own tour soon. Highlights of Seether’s set were their recent single in “Words as Weapons,””Broken,” “Country Song,”  “Fake It,” and “Remedy,” a little something from each of Seether’s albums.

On the drums, Shannon Larkin - GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

On the drums, Shannon Larkin – GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

The headliner was up next in the Massachusetts natives, Godsmack. One of the most accomplished rock bands of the 2000s, Godsmack has had three consecutive number-one albums (FacelessIV, and The Oracle) on the Billboard 200 and the band also has 20 top ten rock radio hits, including 15 songs in the top five, a record number of top ten singles by a rock artist. Out in support of the recent release in 1000 HP, Godsmack has shown no signs of slowing down and tonight’s crowd showed their appreciation by staying throughout their whole song set.

Opening with “Generation Day” and then playing fan favorite “Crying Like A Bitch,” Godsmack started the crowd on a journey through their catalog of hits and threw in a couple new ones. Most bands know that the crowd is there for the hits and not the new releases and lead singer and guitarist Sully Erna mentioned it to the crowd. Erna is a powerhouse talent and is backed by comparable musicians in guitarist Tony Rombola, bassist Robbie Merrill, and drummer Shannon Larkin.  Larkin hits the skins like Bonham with a touch of Neil Peart, and is amazing live. Throw in the duel drum battle between Larkin and Erna and the extreme use of pyrotechnics throughout their set, and you walk away from a Godsmack show almost exhausted from the sight and sound intoxication. Godsmack’s 15 song setlist including standouts, “Straight Out Of Line,” “Voodoo,” “1000 HP,” and closing out the festival with “I Stand Alone.” Godsmack proved to all in attendance that they need to be included in the same conversation of great American born bands like Aerosmith etc.

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

The Tampa stop of the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Tour wasn’t without its hiccups but these were due to circumstances beyond its control. The venue and security did their best dealing with the natural elements and handling the agitated and sometimes injured crowd.  Seether and Godsmack proved why they were the headliners and provided their fans with memorable performances and smiles as they exited the venue. For more information and future tour dates, check out http://www.rockstaruproar.com/

FULL PHOTO GALLERY BY TRAVIS FAILEY

XAVIER MURIEL - BUCKCHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

XAVIER MURIEL – BUCKCHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

KEITH NELSON - BUCK CHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

KEITH NELSON – BUCKCHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

KEVIN THRASHER - GRUFT (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

KEVIN THRASHER – GRUFT (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

CHACHI RIOT - POP EVIL (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

CHACHI RIOT – POP EVIL (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

DAVE GRAHS - POP EVIL (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

DAVE GRAHS – POP EVIL (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

DALE STEWART - SEETHER (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

DALE STEWART – SEETHER (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

SULLY ERNA - GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

SULLY ERNA – GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

JOSH TODD - BUCK CHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

JOSH TODD – BUCKCHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

STEVIE B. - BUCK CHERRY  (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

STEVIE D. – BUCKCHERRY (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

CHACHI RIOT - POP EVIL (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

CHACHI RIOT – POP EVIL (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

SULLY ERNA - GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

SULLY ERNA – GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

(photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

SHANNON LARKIN - GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

SHANNON LARKIN – GODSMACK (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

BYRAN WICKMAN - SEETHER (photo Travis Failey)

BYRAN WICKMAN – SEETHER (photo Travis Failey)

 

Categories: Entertainment, Featured, Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment