FEATURING AVENGED SEVENFOLD AND DISTURBED
My A.D.D was kicking in I had to wander over to the Jager stage, where ‘HellYeah’ was rocking out. Arrived mid set I missed my first three, but did get a crowd shot.
I wanted to take some of the band but I didn’t want to piss people off since my three songs were over, those are the media rules, unnecessary drama is to be avoided. ‘HellYeah’ is Chad Gray – Vocals (Mudvayne), Greg Tribbett – Guitar (Mudvayne), NothingFace’s Tom Maxwell also on the Axe, Damageplan’s Bob Zilla on Bass and Legendary Drummaster Vinnie Paul (Pantera, Damageplan) smashing those cans. They did incredibly well for a bunch of old dudes (Laughs) you could tell they were veteran musicians; the dexterity stood out and sounded fantastic. The crowd loved them; they all have crazy organic chemistry together and that transcended into the atmosphere. Near the end of the set singer Chad Gray gave a shout out to Vinnie’s Younger Bro ‘Dimebag Darrell’ who I’m sure was there in spirit like at every show, RIP Axemaster. I do have to see them again to give a full assessment but I really did like them, you most definitely have to see ‘HellYeah’ if you can. We always ran into them as we migrated back and forth from stage to stage a bunch of loud larries, trying to get our attention. Really wanted to stop and jibber but I was focusing on trying to get as much coverage as possible.
Back it was to Stone Sour’s set, after five minutes I was dying they were just not entertaining enough! The crowd was enjoying themselves and the musicianship was good but thank God they were almost done. I wanted to wander but I needed to stay in the area to reach the pit for Avenged Sevenfold and actually get some shots instead of getting lost in the migrations again. I was trying to devise a strategy where I could hit up Avenged Sevenfold and be able to catch some of Hail The Villain’s set. Yeah, no such luck, once my three songs were up I flew over to Jager stage but HTV’s set was a wrap, boo for me. I can’t believe three songs plus the trek to the Bstage was the entire length of the bands whole set, should have figured they were done when the crowd was floating to see Avenged Sevenfold as I was heading the opposite direction to the Bstage. Anyways back to Avenged Sevenfold, I knew about them through an ex, he gave me their third record ‘City of Evil’ back when it was released. That was A7X’s Warner Bros. debut I liked the record, the vocals needed work but I have never seen them live and completely forgot about them. I was lost in the indie scene for a while, now I’m trying to keep up with both and do a whole bunch of other things at the same time. Avenged Sevenfold like many other bands are living through their own real tragic ‘Nightmare’, last December their close friend, a brother and founding member drummer James (Jimmy “The Rev”) Sullivan was found dead in his home at the age of 28. Another tremendously gifted soul gone to a toxic rock n’ roll cocktail, so many live fast to die young. ‘Live your life to the fullest because tomorrow is not a guarantee but also think of others instead of living so careless and selfishly.’ Preceding Sullivan’s death the band was in the midst of recording their sixth studio LP titled ‘Nightmare’, the record was eventually finished and released July 27th 2010.
The first single and title track ‘Nightmare’ is the tune they opened with. Prior to the music there was a dude on a platform above the stage, he wrapped a noose around his neck and jumped.
As he dangled the creepy intro set in, I loved it. I’ve always been a huge fan of horror films this track felt like it was pulled right out of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’. The crowd exploded once the guitars came in with some crazy pyro to the beat of the drum causing the illusion of setting the hauntedish house of Nightmares in the backdrop a blaze (I love fire). The band is: Singer M. Shadows (Matthew Sanders), Zacky Vengeance (Zachary Baker) on Rhythm Guitar, Johnny Christ (Jonathan Seward) on Bass, Synyster Gates (Brian Elwin Haner, Jr. ) as Lead Axemaster and Mike Portnoy of ‘Dream Theater’ as the current Drummer. I was seriously impressed with this band; they had solid harmonies the whole set, backing up lead Vox on cue when he was out of breath. The skills on these larries were obvious you could hear and see the legends in the making. It didn’t matter whether I was up close or kicking it on the lawns, the sound was impeccable, lead vocals were the closest to flawless I’ve heard in years from a major rock band. Sanders can sing; he has a nice full tone, grit and a blend of screamage with melodic singing. On record it sounds as if he’s congested and forcing it, I guess the vocal sessions are paying off, you would never know he had surgery on his chords recently.
A7X actually sounds much better live than on record, I am telling you! If you haven’t seen this band live you have to go check them out, you will not be disappointed that is a guarantee. After they took down the hanging Larry from the noose and rolled him away on a gurney ‘Critical Acclaim’ kicked in. This tune is off their fourth record ‘Avenged Sevenfold’ and it came in with a bang, literally! Sanders (M. Shadows) on the Organ playing the intro as a few fireworks went blasting off, Portnoy then came in on drums as Haner Jr. (Synyster Gates) infused some magic on that axe riffing it out beside Baker (Zacky Vengeance) in unison, echoing perfection. ‘Critical Acclaim’ is harder in sound with more screamo vocals and catchy kicks. There was minimal screaming in the set opener ‘Nightmare’, I was hearing that Matt doesn’t do screams or growls anymore but that’s a lie because I heard many. Either way I don’t blame him for changing it up, he can’t do the same shit forever, it would be pretty boring to rerun the same sounds on every track plus all that yelling is extremely harsh on the vocals. If you have the talent you don’t need to rely on publicity stunts, staples or gimmicks. Sanders had a great vocal day; he sang and screamed with authority and retribution giving this performance his everything. Matt entertained the crowd as he should and didn’t look at all discomfited, I wish I could do screams and growls like that but I can’t, my vocals are not capable they have a lighter soulful melodic tone. Many have tried but I’ve only heard very few females actually pull it off live. It would be such a great way to let go of the stress, screaming it all out for a few minutes to a sick beat with a few guitars, I would be absolutely Zen afterwards. The band played a ten track set, most of the tunes were from the new record. They did play “Beast and The Harlot” off City Of Evil but not the track that launched them into the mainstream “Bat Country”. Avenged Sevenfold closed their set with ‘Almost Easy’ another smash hit single off their fourth record, this is where you could hear Shadow’s vocals getting tired but he still pulled through.
Avenged Sevenfold entertain thoroughly, the music and performance is equally as spectacular as the pyro, they should have headlined this tour. There was still another band to hit the main stage for the Rockstar Uproar Festival and that was the headliner ‘Disturbed’. They are David Draiman – Vocals, Dan Donegan – Guitar, Mike Wengren – Drums and John Moyer on Bass. I haven’t listened to Disturbed in years! I couldn’t even remember any of their tracks, the first few were off the new record ‘Asylum’ which just dropped August 31st and is sitting at number one on the charts. It was not a problem at all, it gave me a chance to hear the new material live, they started the set with a filmed skit of an Asylum where front man Draiman is having flashbacks and eventually escaped the Asylum running away. As the skit played the fog set in and out popped Donegan shredding the axe on a sick solo, timed perfectly with Wengren and Moyer giving him a beat to riff with. The track was ‘Remnants’ from the new record ‘Asylum’, the skit continued to play Draiman was running to escape from the asylum eventually he ran on the stage. This kind of reminded me of the Backstreet Boys intro but when David started singing and the music picked up guitar speed that’s where the similarities ended.
Phenomenal musicians, Moyer on Bass rocked out he was as entertaining to watch as Donegan playing that axe with ease and precision. By the third tune I noticed my ears were not feeling Draiman’s vocals sounding dry and nasally, this was my first time seeing Disturbed live, I recognized tunes like the hit ‘Inside The Fire’ where they had the sickest pyro of the set, the backdrop had flames on the screen as well. I laughed when I saw a chick’s tank top fly just past my head almost landing on the stage. It reminded me of when I was doing research for one of my films a few years back. I was sitting there in the lobby of a hotel in Toronto writing in my notebook and I noticed these two women in the lobby wandering around, one looked so cracked out, her outfit mismatched looking like a ‘clash clown’. Anyways they disappeared again and these larries came into the lobby standing close to where I was sitting, they looked so familiar to me but I couldn’t remember where I’ve seen them. I continued writing as they lingered, all of a sudden I hear a bunch of screams as I look up I saw flashes coming from those two ‘Clash Clowns’ taking pictures with these larries. At this point I’m confused still trying to place the dudes as these girls were doing a photo shoot and asking for what seemed like fifty autographs. Not long after the commotion, hotel security wandered over to the girls and told them they had to leave if they weren’t guests of the hotel. The females migrated once they obtained what they wanted, squealing like a couple of Teenies (Teenies = Younger Diehard fans) as they left. Both of the women were probably about forty five or so, they were pretty old. I floated outside soon after to find those chicks and figure out who those larries were, I honestly could not remember and they kept staring at me. I asked one of the clowns when I went outside and she rudley replied with “Disturbed” her face had the dirtiest look like I was completely retarded meanwhile she looked like Mimi from the Drew Carey show.
The Rockstar Uproar festival had an alright line up, wish I caught all of the sets but sorry folks I cannot fly, I did try. As always you can find the photographs I took at the bottom of the article in a slideshow. HellYeah was a great discovery for me, Avenged Sevenfold are unbelievable live they are headlining a European tour very soon. Disturbed was a disappointment in terms of vocals, the performance was decent but the musicians were the magic! Donegan, Wengren and Moyer killed it, the music was flawless not a beat missed.
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