Gexa Energy Pavilion (Dallas, TX)
– Words by Krishen Anthony / Photos by James Villa –
“A Side Stage, a Side-Side Stage, AND a Main Stage? Rockstar Energy Indeed!”
Dallas’ Gexa Energy Pavilion hosted the Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival this week, headlined by 90’s alt-rock legends Alice in Chains and Jane’s Addiction. The throngs of rock fans burned in the Texas heat at multiple stages blasting out all manner of alt imaginable. Yet perhaps due to the fest’s namesake, neither the fans, nor the artist’s vigor seemed to wane throughout, making it a day full of both great finds, and estimated greatness.
Uproar’s side stage talent level proved almost as excessive as the main stage, riven squarely between newer bands and supergroups. On the first side stage newcomers Charming Liars, Chuck Shaffer Picture Show, and Beware of Darkness were solid, but it was supergroup number one, The Dead Daisies who truly flourished. Upbeat and full of texture, the coalesced stage prowess of the founding members of Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy and Guns N’ Roses, were on full spectacle.
A second side stage proved to be just as endowed as the first, bursting with straight-forward rock and a second supergroup. Three-piece Danko Jones was a special treat, electrifying the crowd with their brand of high octane punk blues. Not to be outdone, two-piece alternative band Middle Class Rut showcased a similar wheels-off approach to the delight of the main stage idlers. All-star conglomerate, Walking Papers, featuring confiscated members of Post Stardom Depression, Guns N’ Roses, Screaming Trees and The Missionary Position showcased a more groove-based vibe, and their sound was a welcome respite from some of the heavy redundancies of the day. A personal highlight came when Walking Papers brought Texas blues guitar legend Cedell Davis on-stage to rekindle classic licks reminiscent of the vaunted Deep Ellum blues of yore.
As significant as the talent on the side stages were, the main stage acts were not to be slighted, trumping the depraved Texas sun with rousing highlights of their own. Circa Survive opened up with verve, but soon the crowd grew unsettled, beckoning for Coheed and Cambria. Coheed did well with their intense brand of moody, intelligent rock, but again, the Dallas crowd summoned for more.
As the punishing sun finally began to fade into the evening, the ageless Perry Ferrell and his forever-shirtless cohort Dave Navarro took the stage, and the place absolutely lost their collective minds. With another-day-in-the-office demeanor Jane’s Addiction lived up to their legendary status, cruising through all of their hits and throwing in a few collector’s gems too. The crowd ate up every nugget, and at Jane’s Addiction conclusion one would think a letdown was imminent. Nope.
Alice in Chains was back in town and towing new vocalist William DuVall. So, for avid fans, a need to impress was cutting tangible throughout the crowd leading up to their set. How would DuVall fare?
Within literal seconds of the first song, any early qualms were smashed as the band totally crushed them with hard backbeats, soaring lead vocals and distinct harmonies. DuVall and company performed songs from throughout their storied catalog; vintage hits from Jar of Flies, Dirt and Facelift along with their most recent records, Black Gives Way to Blue and The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. The crowd was deafening throughout, and one of the 90’s brightest stars showed that not only have they not missed a step, they’ve refilled their own shoes with even bigger feet.