Uproar Festival Outroars Tropical Storm in Biloxi Appearance [PHOTOS]
I was passed out cold after the Texas Hippie Coalition show at the Warehouse when I got the call from my friend Jeanne, who works at a radio station in New Orleans: "Seether! Avenged Sevenfold! Three Days Grace! It's the Uproar Festival in Biloxi! Wait! Wait! Wait! SEVENDUST IS PLAYING TOO! I've already booked rooms! YOU HAVE TO COME"! I'm sure some Incoherent mumbling followed. Incoherent mumbling that she later assured me was my promise that I would be there - hell or high water. If I'd only known...
THE ROAD TRIP
I came face-to-face with Tropical Storm Lee three times on my way to Biloxi for the Uproar Festival Saturday. First, sheets of rain pounded me for miles between Natchitoches and Alexandria. Tornado warnings in Lafayette. But, the worst was yet to come. Sandstorms on Beach Boulevard between Gulfport and Biloxi! The roads so covered with sand you couldn't tell if you were on the road or on the beach. I figured if I hit water, just vear left, I'd be okay, right?
I had no choice. I had made promises. And if Lee couldn't stop Uproar...I wasn't going to let it stop me!
POSSIBLE WEATHER CANCELLATION?
There was a lot of concern that the weather would cause the Festival to be postponed, or even worse, canceled. But through the worst of the storm, the promoters keep reassuring us that the show, Lee or no Lee, would go on. Hey, Hurricane Katrina couldn't get these people down, what chance did a "tropical depression" have? No chance!
WAITING FOR THE SHOW. AND WAITING. AND WAITING...
Sunday morning, my crew of fellow Festival heathens and I woke to a beautiful, sun-drenched morning. What a great day for an all-day concert! Interviews were to be taped, and photos were to taken, so we got an early start, so we could get to the box office and pick up our credentials. A stop at Five Guys for a burger, and then we were on our way to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum for what promised to be a stellar line-up of brain-numbing rock! Too good to be true? Of course. With the Coliseum within view, the monsoon hit. And it poured. And poured. We eventually gave in, and sludged our way to will call, where, we found our photo-passes, but alas, no tickets. But, since we were assured that the list would be coming right up, we opted to wait. In the rain. Thankfully the ticket window chick was hot. Two hours later, when the tickets showed up, we were hardly in the mood for interviews...which was okay, since we had missed them all anyway. But enough of that. On to the show!
Because of the rain, the outdoor '2nd Stage' part of Uproar had been moved to the Convention Center across the parking lot. My concern that the mass of people waiting in line for the Coliseum doors to open at 5:00 would leave no one to watch the 2nd Stage acts was ill-founded. The Convention Center was packed! We got to the stage just in time for Black Tide, a veteran of the Mayhem Festival, Ozz-Fest, and the Warped tour. Not familiar with the band, they made of a fan of me with their great sense of dynamics - acoustic intros into pummeling choruses. Ahhhh...just the way i like it! A perfect set to lead into Sevendust...one of my favorites for years, and one of the main reasons i made the trek.
The short set was a disappointment - 30 minutes??!?!? Really?!?!? But, Lajon Witherspoon and company made the best of it, throwing in tracks from their latest 'Cold Day Memory', all the way back to 'Black' from their first CD. Not as much Sevendust as I wanted, but enough to get me through. Then it was time to shuffle our rain-soaked carcasses to the Coliseum for the main-stage acts.
ART OF DYING - BIKINI CONTEST
By the time we made it to the floor of the Coliseum, the first act, Art of Dying, had already finished their set. Kayla Keys was very interested in hearing about their performance. I understand they were very happy to be in "Biloxi, Missouri". That's all I've got for ya, Kayla...sorry...
Then it was time for the "Miss Uproar Bikini Contest". I'm opting out of this one. I'll let the photos do the talking.
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE - SURPRISE OF THE DAY
Up next, the biggest surprise (well, biggest positive surprise) of the day for me - Bullet For My Valentine. I'd heard of them, knew they were Welsh, and knew they had a few albums out. But i couldn't name a single song. Megan - one of our crew members, is a huge fan though, and told us to pay attention to this band. And she was 100% correct. After their performance, I have to say BFMV is my favorite new band. They may never headline an arena, but in a smaller venue...better yet, a club, these guys would kill every time!
SEETHER - UNDER THE WEATHER?
I like to think that Bullet For My Valentine were so good, that Seether, by comparison, had to look bad. Truth is, Seether just wasn't good. And that's hard for me to say - I love Seether. Down to a three-piece now, they just didn't have the power or the energy that I remember from a couple of years ago. Sad. I hope Shaun Morgan and his band recharge the batteries soon, before it's too late. Or maybe they just had a bad night.
THE CONUNDRUM OF THREE DAYS GRACE
Another band I expected big things from - Three Days Grace - were up next. I can't find anything wrong with their show. Hooky songs, spot-on performances, and all the right arena dialog. Why was I yawning halfway through their set? Was it because I was wet all day? Tired from the ridiculous drive the day before? Or because they just phoned in their set? Only they know for sure.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD - KILLER SHOW...AND THE BEST MERCH SINCE MAIDEN
The Headliners, Avenged Sevenfold, do everything right. Killer stage, Texas wildfire type pyro, a great frontman (M. Shadows is a grade-A rockstar), dual guitars, a rhythm section that would shake down lesser buildings, and great songs. And have I mentioned that they have great t-shirts?!? The best merch since Maiden. They've learned from their influences (Iron Maiden, Pantera, Metallica, Slayer...), and it shows. I takes a special kind of band to own a room the size of the Coliseum, and from minute one, A7X owned it! Opening up with 'Nightmare' and blazing through a list of fan favorites like 'Welcome to the Family', 'Scream', and 'A Little Piece of Heaven', before closing with with 'Bat Country' and 'Unholy Confessions'. A7X brought their A-game to Biloxi. Lee didn't have a chance.