In the ’90s and ’00s, rock fans spent their cash each summer on a variety of traveling summer festivals. Spearheaded by Perry Farrell’s brainchild Lollapalooza (which busted down traditional genre barriers by combining alternative rock, punk, goth, industrial and hip-hop acts) there were a plethora of themed tours: Lilith Fair featured female-fronted bands and singer/songwriters; the H.O.R.D.E. featured the biggest jam bands, the Warped Tour spotlighted punk rock and Ozzfest had heavy metal’s legends alongside up-and-comers. It’s clear that Rockstar Energy Drink must have some fans of Ozzfest and Lollapalooza on its staff, as it has created decent updates of both. Their Mayhem Festival is now the premiere metal tour of the summer (this year, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch and Mastodon were among the headliners), and the now-in-progress Uproar Festival, which came to New Jersey’s PNC Bank Arts Center on Saturday (August 17) treads on Lollapalooza’s former turf.
While Rockstar probably wouldn’t like the comparison, several Mayhem bands played Ozzfest back in the day. And while in past years, some Uproar bands seem like they could fit in with Mayhem (Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour and Hellyeah would probably do fine on that bill), this year they’ve put some distance between the two summer festivals by naming Lollapalooza veterans Alice In Chains and Jane’s Addiction as Uproar headliners. Coheed & Cambria, also on the main stage, may well have been a Lolla headliner if that tour lasted a few more years.
Uproar follows Mayhem’s format: lesser-known bands play on two small stages in the early hours of the day, and by late afternoon, the action moves to the venue’s main stage for four headliners. The crowds got progressively larger as they day went on, and the biggest three draws all veered towards dirty, trashy blues-rock, which was generally unfashionable in the ’90s – although that’s changed with post-Lolla bands like the White Stripes and the Black Keys.