Avenged Sevenfold 10/01/11
Uproar Festival – Auburn, WA
Words/Photos by Jakob Ross
Last year, Mayhem Festival’s little sister Uproar Festival took flight for the first time and was headlined by Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and Stone Sour. I wasn’t able to attend last year to do me seeing Primus the night before, but I wasn’t too heartbroken. This year, the lineup was significantly worse, with like two bands worth seeing: Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet for My Valentine. So I passed.
Well, funny story…You know how sometimes I don’t like the lineup of a certain show/festival, and then I win tickets to that festival? Well, it happened again! When other opening act Escape the Fate (whom I follow on Twitter for some weird reason) tweeted that they had two extra tickets for Uproar Festival in Auburn, WA, I couldn’t help but say: “Sure, why not?”
Then I won.
So, I am emailing this dude back in forth who works at the Collective, a management company (maybe he manages Escape the Fate?), and next thing I know, Jakob Ross+1 is on the list. With Avenged Sevenfold being the only band I care about and the only band I have time to see, we left at 8:15 to catch their 9:40 set that closes the show. So, at 9:20 we get to the Will Call booth and explain how my name is on the list and I hand the lady my ID and I expect a quick “oh, here you go!” But, sadly, no I wasn’t on the list. So why am I writing this confession? Surely, I went right back home and sulked! Well, the ladies at the Will Call booth were so nice and we were so patient that they just handed us two tickets as I was trying to open the email I had gotten from the dude at the Collective to prove that I wasn’t crazy. Well, we went in and got to our seats with little over 10 minutes to spare. And we were anxious to hear A7X blow away all 15,000 people in that amphitheater.
The lights went out at exactly 9:40, and the curtain went up, revealing a huge flying skull—the band’s logo—in 3D form on the stage. The opening xylophonic part of “Nightmare” played over the loud speaker, and the band came out. Fire and explosions galore lit up the stage like it was the Fourth of July. But really, it was the beginning of Oktoberfest. Cheers!
Lead guitarist Synyster Gates and bassist Johnny Christ were wearing lederhosen and drinking beer straight from the boot, as seen in the movie Beerfest. I was also curious to see how skilled the new drummer was. When original drummer The Rev—not to be confused with our own Rev—passed away in 2009, there was mourning, but the band continued with former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, who played drums on the most recent album Nightmare. Well, Mike Portnoy left both Dream Theater and A7X to form his own mediocre band, Adrenaline Mob.
Well, now they have a drummer who looked like he was younger than me when I first saw him on the big screen. His name is Arin Ilejay and he is actually 23. The set continued with “Critical Acclaim”, and then they broke into a song I never thought they would actually play, “Beast and the Harlot”, the song that made them famous. Thanks, Guitar Hero!
Wasting no time, they asked who was seeing Avenged Sevenfold for the first time, and I raised my hand. I was pretty far away so they didn’t see me, but no biggie. They welcomed all the newbie’s into the Family of A7X fans, which, according to lead singer M. Shadows, was the most tightly knit group of fans ever. I disagree; ever been to a Slipknot concert? They broke into “Welcome to the Family”, another song from the new album and Gates nailed just about every solo, hitting every note like it was destined to be hit. Next was “Buried Alive”, also from the Nightmare album.
And before I knew it, they were through with about half the setlist. And then the violin opening to “Afterlife” hit the speakers, and we all knew what would be going down. And M. Shadows sang very well. The vocal harmonies were almost perfect, and the new drummer played just as the Rev would have. And don’t worry, they haven’t forgotten their roots. M. Shadows sported a Black Flag tank top while rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance wore a NOFX shirt. They played through “Not Ready to Die”, which would be featured on the upcoming Call of Duty game, and then they played “Scream”, their ode to rape (“This song is for the ladies”).
So since they played that song, they figured they would counterbalance it with a love song……about murder and necrophilia, the latter of which the audience cheered for. A “Little Piece of Heaven” is the 8-minute psychotic Jack Skellington style love epic about a dude that kills his girlfriend because she doesn’t agree to marry him, and then she comes back from the dead and kills him (and they do unspeakable things to each others’ dead bodies) and then they get married in the afterlife.
There is a part of the song that The Rev himself actually sang, and that part was played over the loud speakers. They ended their set with “Bat Country” (which they didn’t play at last year’s festival) and “Unholy Confessions”, where a circle pit finally opened up after M. Shadows requested a large circle pit.
I enjoyed the show and A7X are one of the best hard rock bands out there today (because most of them suck), but I don’t think I would’ve paid to see A7X. If you get the chance, I recommend them. But please, for the sake of your own sanity, avoid Three Days Grace and Seether.