"Uproar in Chicago with Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed." – Concert Review

Last Saturday Jason and I got a chance to check out The Rock Star Energy Drink Uproar Festival show in Chicago, IL. If you haven’t had a chance, read about Jason’s account here regarding Halestorm and here regarding Disturbed and check out pics here regarding the festival.

For whatever reason Jason only decided to review Halestorm and Disturbed (Jason reviews all of my reviews before they get posted, so right now he’s steaming because I’m pretending to call him out, which makes that last comment funny). Between you and me I think he prefers a band with a female front woman; at the Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem festival all he could talk about was In This Moment.

At first it seemed as if Uproar was the smaller version of Mayhem. There was only one side stage, and the bands almost seemed to be more rock n roll than heavy metal. Airbourne was the first band we got to see in their entirety, due to ticket controversy. Airbourne came out with their AC/DC style of rock. I only know Airbourne from the video game Guitar Hero, but they were very good. The show featured some amazing guitar work out of front man Joel O’Keeffe. At one point O’Keeffe went out into the middle of the crowd to shred for maybe three straight minutes.

After Airbourne performed the stage was set for Hell Yeah. Once the stage was ready to go, AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” played through the PA system. The band, featuring two members of Mudvayne and the late great brother of Dimebag Darrell, Vinnie Paul, took the stage. Vinnie picked up the AC/DC drum beat and the rest of the band finished the riff, before they jumped into the first song off of their debut album appropriately titled “Hell Yeah.”

As a big Pantera and Mudvayne fan, Hell Yeah is a breath of fresh air. They’re definitely not a band who takes themselves too seriously, with songs titled, “Hell Yeah,” “Goddamn” and “Alcohaulin’ Ass.” Who could take that seriously? Chad Gray is a great front man no matter which band he’s fronting and he did not disappoint that day either. Whether he was telling the crowd to, “punch the next mother fucker in the mouth who throws something at the stage, because I’d do it for you,” or if he was introducing the song “Alcohaulin’ Ass” by saying that when he went to a rock show he wanted to get fucked up and find a little hottie, Chad put on a great show. The crowd was however there to see Vinnie Paul, who did not disappoint.

I really wanted to catch Hell Yeah; Jason really wanted to catch Halestorm. Halestorm started immediately after Hell Yeah (who was on a different stage). Needless to say we caught all of Hell Yeah. It kind of sucked to miss a couple minutes of Halestorm’s first set, but you’re not going to leave a Hell Yeah set early, or Chad Gray is going to call you out, which he did to the few that had the nerve to cut out early. “Fuck You, that’s very rude, we don’t need you anyway…I love you guys though, but fuck them,” said Gray of the people cutting out early. Halestorm rocked, but check the link above for Jason’s review of the show.

After Halestorm finished their set, Corey Taylor and his other band Stone Sour took the stage. I like Stone Sour. Their straight forward approach to rock music is a nice change of pace from Taylor’s (along with guitarist Jim Root’s) other band Slipknot. Stone Sour has three big hits in “Bother,” “Through Glass,” and “Silly World.” The only hit they played was “Through Glass.” I love the hits, but they’re all ballads and Stone Sour kept the show heavy which was awesome. They finished up their set with “30/30-150” which got the crowd ready for Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed.

I’ve never gotten a chance to see Avenged Sevenfold. I once had tickets to see them and Buckcherry (with Shinedown and Saving Abel), but Avenged Sevenfold couldn’t make the show leaving me disappointed in what was probably a great show. As you all know, founding member and drummer The Rev passed away this last year, while they were writing the new album. The Rev’s favorite drummer is Dream Theater drummer extraordinaire Mike Portnoy. Portnoy is Neil Peart good. Who’s the best rock drummer ever? One of those two guys. Mike Portnoy filled in for The Rev during the recording of their newest album, along with all A7X 2010 tour dates.

I’m getting off track here, but I mentioned earlier that Uproar appeared to be a smaller version of Rock Star’s other festival, Mayhem. This wasn’t the case by the time Avenged Sevenfold hit the stage. Granted it was raining during the Mayhem show (which featured Korn and Rob Zombie), but this place was packed for Avenged Sevenfold. Avenged Sevenfold teased the crowd much like KISS does prior to starting their set. First the curtain drops, but no band, then the fire starts up, but no band, then some lights turn on, still no band. Finally all the lights go out, one of the rafters above the stage falls. A guy falls off of the rafter and hangs himself, then the boys in Avenged Sevenfold bust into their newest hit “Nightmare.”

When they got to the chorus of “Nightmare” the crowd went ape shit singing “It’s Your Fucking Nightmare.” The show just grew from there. This crowd loved Avenged Sevenfold; they felt the pain the band was experiencing with the loss of The Rev. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a crowd into a band like this. Avenged Sevenfold gave the crowd a ton of energy and the crowd gave it back….sevenfold.

I remember the first time I heard Avenged Sevenfold, it was the song “Bat Country.” They had been around for awhile, but they had this huge hit with “Bat Country.” I couldn’t decide if I liked them or not, because it was a different sound. It was like they were merging the sound of Metallica and Guns N Roses together, and throwing in a little Good Charlotte for good measure. It’s a sound that doesn’t sound like it would work, but Avenged Sevenfold make it work.

What’s most impressive about A7X is their musicianship. Everybody in the band has chops, up and down. I mentioned their biggest hit “Bat Country,” but guess what, they didn’t play it. While I would have loved to hear it, I think it is awesome when bands don’t play their hits. The diehard fans want to hear the deeper tracks and most bands don’t have the guts to do that, but not Avenged Sevenfold. They risked alienating the casual fan to perform to the diehards; however in Chicago they were all diehards.


Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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