Alice In Chains, Jane’s Addiction & Coheed And Cambria @ Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival
PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ 08/17/2013
Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks
It’s been way too long folks, way too long. But your favorite self absorbed snob of an author is back to bring you the trials and tribulations of yet another Jay Porks Experience. Life kicks your ass sometimes, and at times it can keep you away from awesome shows for a four month span. But today that all ends as the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival hits PNC Bank Arts Center (one of my personal favorite venues) with Alice In Chains, Jane’s Addiction and Coheed and Cambria slotting one, two and three in our headlining spots. Other acts high on the list to check out, Duff McKagen’s Walking Papers and Middle Class Rut, a band that killed opening for the Meat Puppets at the Track 16 Gallery closing in Santa Monica not too long ago. So with tailgating permitted for today’s festivities, we headed out to Holmdel out in Dirty Jerz.
Interesting sidebar, the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival’s website has set times listed, and the set times included different stages. One might find this puzzling, because PNC Bank Arts Center has only one stage, and is not built in a way where other stages could be added. Wonder what their move here is, are we going to be walking through the parking lot and find a cheap, makeshift stage built outside the venue or something? Well, it didn’t matter because in the typical style that is this guy we didn’t roll into the parking lot until a little after 4PM, a parking lot that I thought would be a lot more packed out with cars than it was. We cracked the brews, along with the whiskey and cantaloupe and began the party that would be the rest of the day/evening. Note to the guy selling the bootleg tee shirts in the parking lot before the show: I really got you down from $20 to $5 BEFORE the show?? What kind of business man are you? Maybe I should grab one after the show from you for $1.50 or something. Idiot.
The plan was to get inside for Coheed and Cambria and take it from there. We’ve turned this “festival” into like a regular night at PNC with Coheed, Jane’s Addiction and Alice In Chains. I was with friends and got a ride and stuff, so I didn’t have to do my usual “show up 5 hours early to a show’ thing. As we were walking in Coheed was in the midst of their set, so I had to quickly dart to the seats (I bought one additional ticket down in the seated area for video/picture purposes. Why take chances on the lawn?) to record a song or two of theirs. This writer and Claudio have two things in common. One being the overly fluffed out hair and the other is being around bitchin’ music, and bitchin’ music is what Coheed and Cambria are all about. This is my first time seeing them live, coming in I honestly couldn’t name one of their songs. Gravity’s Union was the song I got to record most of and see up close. Taking it all in, with the wicked licks the drummer is shelling out and the shredding going on out in front of him, it’s safe to say this is a band I’m going to have to see again. Even if I was in a seat the entire time, a nine song set at a festival that’s not even really a festival while the sun is still up is a tough way to judge a band you’ve never seen. But I digged those guys for sure.
While I head back to the lawn and we’re groovin’ to Coheed and taking pictures (because the guy writing this lost 92 pounds over the last 14 months), we see a sea of empty seats and start game planning how we’re sneaking down. Not enough time to do it for Jane’s Addiction, because the lights have dimmed for them already, and here they come circa 8:20 kicking things off with a thundering “Underground”. I don’t know what it is but the darker it gets at this place the better it always seems to sound. During our drunken parking lot adventures earlier I kept saying “It’s all fun and games til we’re ‘COMING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN’!!”. Love that freaking song, and guess what came second.. you got it: Mountain Song. And during this I look over to enjoy the fatal riffs of one Dave Navarro. I follow him on Twitter, and I know he’s on some Tattoo show and hosts a radio show and stuff. Sideline reporting at the Adult Video Awards and all that, I almost forgot how awesome this guy was at his day job. Just Because followed, and later on the crowd pleasing Been Caught Stealing made an appearance before Ocean Size and Stop. In typical Jane’s Addiction fashion, there was almost naked models dancing along the stage at some point. Also, to keep things light hearted and cheery, Perry says at one point (anyone please correct me if I’m wrong) “My mom is buried in New Jersey”. Interesting factoid I guess.
Set closer, of course, Jane Says, which is being played in steady rotation at the restaurant I work because I control the tunes nowadays. Jane’s never disappoints, second time I’ve seen them all the way from the lawn and the second time I’ve enjoyed myself. Sometimes people like me get lost in the “trying to remember stuff to write about” aspect of a concert… it was good to find a happy medium tonight between that and having fun.
Before Alice In Chains, we need to get down to those seats while folks are fitting in bathroom breaks. So we spot some stairs where they let you exit the seated section, but you can’t enter. There’s two sides. These assholes actually are standing on the same side just shooting the breeze. I turned around to check if Pam was still with me, and she wasn’t. Text came in that she’s in. Okay, now only my other pals Nay and Meggo left to sneak in. So I pull out my ticket and show it to these two idiots working here. I ask if they can let me in through this entrance and 15 feet to my right I’m like waving my arms for them to skate through the fence. And they did. Now to find Pam, the boldest of bold. She’s not only sneaking down, she made sure to walk down to the front row of this section. Fuck yeah. Now we’re high fiving and stuff and gloating when the lights turn off.. it’s Alice In Chains time 3 seconds after we acquire the new digs.
The Hollow they opened up with hit me with so much more power tonight than I expected. As soon as they started banging the opening chords it was clear we were in for a memorable set. Them Bones followed by Dam That River and Again. I thought I was recording Again but I looked at the screen and saw no numbers moving on the ticker.
Damn. This no longer is a festival that isn’t really a festival, now this is Alice In Chains demolishing PNC Bank Arts Center and making everyone in the building forget about every other band that played here today.
Check My Brain followed, and by this time we’re packed down here in the seats, as compared to the absence of people down there earlier in the day. This feels like a packed house and not a show they’ve been trying to give tickets away to for 3 weeks. “Tears to fill my bong”, how cool is that lyric? Man In The Box up next. I look over at the rhythm section and recall that one time I scalped fake tickets to an Alice In Chains show and couldn’t get in, and Mike Inez and Sean Kinney signed my fake ticket after the show and expressed remorse for my predicament. These are not only guys that rock, but nice guys that rock. Everyone screaming the lyrics to Man In The Box, what a scene.
Tonight we got ourselves a Got Me Wrong. I saw video of them playing it on this tour and hoped we’d get the same treatment. Unbelievable. This set is amazing, it’s as if I made my own Alice In Chains mixtape or something! Well, almost. We haven’t heard Junkhead, and that’s probably my favorite song of theirs for several reasons.
Next up, Junkhead. Seriously?? Get the hell out of my head Mr. Cantrell, stop reading my thoughts.
You may or may not here me screaming the “Well what have you got” lyric on the video. Mike Inez’s bass work on this song is so crude and punishing, Jerry’s making his 6 string his absolute bitch over there. I don’t think he used the same guitar twice tonight.
Stone followed, to give us a taste of at least one other newer track before we broke into Grind followed by Nutshell (one of Pam’s favorites). Everyone stood for that one. Would and a harrowing Rooster would end the evenings festivities. Great times at the PNC Bank Arts Center stop of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival, let’s do this again sometime.
Hey Jerry, why’d you have to go and cut the hair for? The brotherhood of long locked folks shrinks by the day. Sad to see you leave, you’re welcomed back anytime.