by Jeff Niesel
Coming on the heels of day-long heavy metal festivals such as Warped, Mayhem, Trespass, and Summer Slaughter, the Uproar Festival, which stopped at Blossom Music Center yesterday, seemed like an afterthought. It didn’t really need to pass itself as a festival. In fact, if the tour had just featured Shinedown, Godsmack, and Staind, it probably would have drawn just fine. Adding a side stage seemed superfluous, and not too many fans arrived early enough yesterday to see bands such as Fozzy, Deuce and Mindset Evolution. In fact, even POD, probably the best-known of the acts that played on the side stage, drew only a small crowd.
While the bands playing the main stage all came from slightly different eras, they had one thing in common. They encouraged their fans to go nuts. Godsmack frontman Sully Erna encouraged the audience to “go nuts” at the end of “Whatever,” telling fans that they needed to be louder and crazier than the audiences the band had just played to in Indianapolis and Detroit. Shinedown singer Brent Smith encouraged fans to jump during “Enemies” and then enthused, “This is your moment and these are your memories.” And — in a moment that echoed Clint Eastwood’s speech at the recent Republican National Convention — Adelita’s Way singer Rick DeJesus told fans to turn to the empty pavilion chairs next to them and berate the patrons who didn’t arrive early enough to catch their set. While none of these groups outright sucked, they didn’t exactly push any musical boundaries. Godsmack’s post-grunge anthems suffered from a certain sameness and Adelita’s Way didn’t offer anything truly distinctive. Shinedown’s Smith has an incredible voice, but his backing band didn’t offer anything outstanding in terms of chops.
Only Staind offered something slightly different. Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, singer Aaron Lewis looked more like a truck driver than a rock singer. He didn’t resort to the usual clichés about putting fists in the air and making "some fucking noise," either. He even joked that “It’s Been Awhile,” perhaps the band’s biggest hit, was a “new song” and he hoped that everyone liked it. His emphasis on the music rather than the hype made the band’s set truly refreshing even if it didn’t exactly create much of an “uproar.”