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Concert Reviews:
Uproar makes good noise for Detroit rock city

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- If someone gave a dollar to each fan who attended the

Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the DTE Energy Show every time one of the 11 bands shouted "Detroit rock city!," everybody's tickets would have been reimbursed.

Headliner Alice in Chains even toyed around with actually playing the Kiss anthem before frontman William DuVall declared it "a slippery slope."

Uproar, however, was definitely a show for rock fans, definitely the most diverse and arguably the best of the summer's heavy music touring festival packages. The nearly nine-hour show packed combined heritage star power with up-and-comers -- in the same band in the case of "supergroups" Walking Papers and Dead Daisies, both of which released their debut albums this month. And the fourth annual Uproar -- which also boasted a variety of midway games and contests as well as free beef jerky samples -- moved at a brisk pace that befitted its name, meaning it was hard to get bored with any one act and perhaps didn't get enough of others.

As Walking Papers frontman Jeff Angell aptly noted at one point, "It's rare in this world when everything delivers, but today is one of those days."

The latter was certainly the case for Alice in Chains, whose sturdy headline set seemed more like a trailer than a concert. The group's hour on stage, played on a tri-level stage with 10 video panels hanging above and behind -- gave the Seattle quartet just enough time to play a couple songs each from its latest album, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" ("Hollow" and "Phantom Limb") and from its 2009 predecessor, "Black Gives Way to Blue," as well as a selection of greatest hits such as "Them Bones," a slamming "Man in the Box," the dirgey "Rooster" and "Would?" The acoustic-flavored "Nutshell" was a welcome deep-dig into the catalog, while DuVall -- who joined during 2006 in place of the late Layne Staley -- showed even greater confidence in fronting the band, although guitarist Jerry Cantrell remained the group's dominant presence.

Jane's Addiction preceded Alice in Chains with a characteristically theatrical presentation, similar to its 2012 headline show at the Fillmore Detroit. A pair of dancers swung on trapezes above the stage, long skirts flowing, during the opening "Underground" and vamped with frontman Perry Farrell during an epic rendition of "Three Days." Two onstage video panels showed prepared footage during several songs, while Farrell, who strained to deliver a few of the 11 songs, vamped like a demented circus ringmaster. Jane's music hardly got short shrift, however, thanks to Dave Navarro's sharp guitar leads, the forceful rhythm section work of bassist Chris Chaney and drummer Stephen Perkins and a crowd-pleasing setlist that included "Mountain Song," "Just Because," "Pigs in Zen," "Ocean Size," "Stop!" and an encore of "Jane Says."

Coheed and Cambria dazzled the prog-minded side of the Uproar crowd with its nimbly played epics, with Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green thanked the main stage crowd "for being so nice to us while we play." Green also gave some love to a Slash lookalike -- top hat and shades included -- even giving him the microphone to bellow a quick "Detroit! What's up!?"

Two of the real Slash's former Guns N' Roses bandmates, meanwhile, were part of the closing bands on the Zippo and Coldcock stages in the DTE parking lot. Ex-GNR bassist Duff McKagan is the best-known member of Seattle's Walking Papers, but singer-guitarist Angell was the real star of the group's half-hour set, leading the group through six songs from its self-titled debut album -- as well as a non-album track called "Climber" -- and even diving into the crowd during "Your Secret's Safe."

Just before that, the Dead Daisies -- with remaining GNR keyboardist Dizzy Reed -- played a hard-hitting half-hour of its own, made all the more dramatic since Australian singer Jon Stevens, hopped around the stage "like a (expletive) kangaroo" because of a recently broken leg. He spent much of the set in a chair, but the group -- whose other members hail from nine inch nails, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy and Ted Nugent's band -- kept the crowd moving to debut album songs such as "Lock'N'Load" and "Miles in Front of Me," plus a cover of the Bealtes' "Helter Skelter."

Uproar isn't quite as well established as packages such as the Vans Warped Tour, Rockstar's Mayhem Festival and Megadeth's Gigantour, but this year's edition showed that it's catching up quickly.

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