Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction Lead Uproar Fest Into Southern California
The Rock Star Energy Drink Uproar Festival touched down in Irvine, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 13, and despite the tradition of the day, it was a lucky one for all fans in attendance. One of the more popular alt rock festivals in the country, over the years Uproar has featured such headliners as Shinedown and Avenged Sevenfold. On this year's run, veteran acts Jane’s Addiction and Alice in Chains would be delivering the big blows on main stage, but before that assault, there was plenty of interesting action happening earlier on the hot and sunny afternoon at the smaller festival stages located on a hill adjacent to the main arena.
On a pair of small rollout stages surrounded by the now familiar merch and vendor booths was an interesting collection of up and comers and veterans. Newer bands like Beware of Darkness and Middle Class Rut cranked away before typically smallish crowds earlier in the afternoon. Hardworking Danko Jones was solid but would have been better off not getting into it with a fan that he felt was not paying attention to his music.
Perhaps most interesting opportunity on the outer stages was the chance to see a pair of Guns N' Roses legends playing in their separate respective outfits. Current Guns member keyboardist Dizzy Reed (who has been in the band longer than anyone except Axl Rose) is also part of the Dead Daisies, fronted by former INXS lead singer Jon Stevens. The gruff, charismatic Aussie performed most of the set on a chair due to a walking boot he is forced to wear from an injury (he explained to Loudwire before the show that he experienced a recent fishing accident down under when a shark approached one of his crab traps). The Daisies delivered a rough and ready set which dutifully featured Stevens’ deep rasp. As busy as most of the guys in this band are with other projects, they also shared that they are in the process of wrapping up a new EP. We look forward to it.
A former Guns member, bassist Duff McKagan, presented his new band Walking Papers, a bluesy, boozy outfit that delivered a nice old-school rumble for the many young fans that seem to have skipped high school that afternoon.
Then it was time to move into the main arena were Circa Survive and Coheed & Cambria would be kicking things off. Circa front man Anthony Green was his usual earnest and energetic self, bopping and hopping through the bands eclectic mix of post-hardcore tunes that are also flavored with traces of psychedelic and jazzy undertones. It's always tough to be the first in line in the main stage given how sparse the crowd typically is. But Circa Survive plowed ahead delivered an effective, efficient set.
Next up was Coheed & Cambria, who continue to distinguish themselves as an impressive, impossible-to-pigeonhole rock band that manages to blend prog, metal, punk and a myriad of other influences into one extremely satisfying experience. Wild haired front man Claudio Sanchez was on his game in Irvine, one part manic metal cartoon, and another part cinematic guitar hero. Closing out the set with a rousing version of their Zeppelin-flavored standard ‘Welcome Home,’ Coheed no doubt won over more than a few fans that had entered the outdoor arena with little knowledge of the band.
Then it was time for Jane’s Addiction, who clearly were responsible for many bodies in the house. After all, Jane’s came of age in Los Angeles, so this was as much a hometown show as anything and many of their now grown-up fan base disciples were on hand to pay tribute to one of the defining bands of their generation.
Even though the Verizon Amphitheater was noticeably not sold out, perhaps do to a competing show in San Bernardino featuring Iron Maiden along with several other metal legends, those in attendance reveled through the hit-packed set.
Serpentine lead singer Perry Farrell mentioned the fact that this was the site of the very first Lollapalooza festival, the groundbreaking music carnival he created back in 1991. He also named everyone in the house an honorary Jew in view of the fact that it was the day before Yom Kippur. But kidding aside, Farrell got down to business and helped his band deliver a mostly satisfying and dramatic (if slightly shortened) set. Though the production featured beautiful young women swinging on trapezes and performing various sultry dances throughout the night, the crowd seemed riveted by the music which included standouts like ‘Been Caught Stealing’ and ‘Just Because.’ Guitarist Dave Navarro was particularly impressive, delivering a number of searing solos that were tasteful without being too flashy. After a drum solo featuring members of the band but Farrell, Jane’s set came to an abrupt close for reasons unexplained. Based on the set list we saw, there were two other songs to come including their signature tune ‘Jane Says.’ Some scattered boos were heard by fans that no doubt felt a bit jilted.
Closing the night out was main headliner Alice in Chains, who at once established a dark and foreboding tone with an elaborate set of giant projection screens featuring abstract, electronic images. It reminded everyone in the house just how heavy this band can be, and as Jerry Cantrell’s guitar work thundered in the open air, the fans became more and more hypnotized. The set list included songs from the Layne Staley-era combined with more modern William DuVall cuts. ‘Check My Brain’ and ‘Hollow’ were notable standouts. Dark and layered, mysterious and metallic, Alice in Chains delivered not just on their legacy, but also on their future which seems destined for more musical magic.
Check out our pics from Uproar's Irvine, Calif., stop below: