The Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival launched its fourth go-round at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Friday, bringing with it three stages, 11 bands and close to eight hours of music.
At the first of this year’s 25 stops, Scranton’s lingering rain and humidity for the early hours of the festival could not dampen the spirits of the smallish gathering of fans or stifle the uproarious music of co-headliners Jane’s Addiction and Alice In Chains.
The festivities got underway around 3 p.m. as a band called Charming Liars took to one of the two satellite stages set up in the facility’s parking lot. Other bands playing the early part of the festival included Chuck Shaffer Picture Show, New Politics, Beware of Darkness, Middle Class Rut and Dead Daisies.
Last up on the smaller stages was Walking Papers, a four-piece supergroup of sorts from Seattle consisting of bassist Duff McKagan (formerly of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver), drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season) and vocalist/guitarist Jeff Angell and keyboardist Benjamin Anderson, both formerly of The Missionary Position.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer McKagan still looks pretty much as he did nearly 25 years ago when GNR first hit the big time. Angell is a great front man, body surfing and making his way through the crowd during one song, and ripping off some great runs on the guitar the next. Highpoints of the band’s much-too-short 30-minute set (they definitely should have been on the main stage) included opener “The Whole World’s Watching,” “The Butcher” and “Capital T,” all from the group’s self-titled debut album.
First up on the main stage was Circa Survive, a five-piece band from the Philadelphia suburb of Doylestown, which has released four albums since 2005. Didn’t care much for lead singer Anthony Green’s voice, but the band seemed to connect with the crowd on tunes from its 2012 self-released album “Violent Waves.”
Coheed and Cambria, named after characters in its “Amory Wars” series of albums written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez, then treated the crowd to 50 minutes of tunes from its science fiction-inspired mixture of prog rock, punk rock, pop, metal and metalcore. Standouts included cuts from its latest two albums, “The Aftermath: Ascension” and “The Aftermath: Descension.”
Late 1980s/early 1990s favorites Jane’s Addiction, still featuring original lead singer Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins despite two past breakups, took over for the next hour, with a high-spirited set mostly from its first two multi-platinum albums, 1988’s “Nothing’s Shocking” and 1990’s “Ritual de lo habitual.”
The band, whose first “farewell tour” in 1991 led to the establishment of the annual Lollapalooza Festival, is still a must-see, especially the highly entertaining Farrell and Navarro, who is a guitar slinger of the highest order. Highlights included the group’s best-known song “Been Caught Stealing” and other early tunes such as “Ain’t No Right,” “Mountain Song” and “Ocean Size,” plus 2003’s “Just Because.”
Alice In Chains, the foursome that saw massive success in the ’90s with original lead singer Layne Staley and renewed interest since regrouping in 2005 with singer William DuVall, wrapped up the long day at 9:45 as it tore through 70 minutes of signature tunes from both incarnations.
Along with DuVall, guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney did a great job of alternating between songs such as “Them Bones” and “No Excuses” from the early days and “Stone” and “Hollow” from its latest album “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”
It was one highlight after another from the time the quartet took the stage with “Check My Brain” (from 2009’s “Black Gives Way To Blue” comeback album) and closed with 1992’s “Would?” and 1993’s “Rooster.”
Other Alice In Chains standouts included 2009’s “Your Decision” and early-period favorites “We Die Young,” “Man in the Box” and “Down in a Hole.”