What an inspired pairing of headliners for the annual Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival, which starts at 2 p.m. Sunday at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. Two groundbreaking heavy music acts, Jane’s Addiction and Alice in Chains, will claim the top slots, while a broad and diverse roster of younger, bubbling under or cult-level artists will fill the rest of the day’s program. More than simply a concert, this year’s Uproar feels more like a mini-Lollapalooza, which is fitting since Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell is the man who conceived of Lollapalooza.
Jane’s Addiction is clearly the leading light of the late 1980s Los Angeles music scene that found new hybrids of funk, hard rock, psychedelia and alternative music blending in service of a new vision. Though the band was plagued by drug issues and ultimately disbanded after a mere three albums, since re-forming with three of its original four members for the 2001 album “Strays”, the group has regained its stature as a mighty live act and a purveyor of a timeless funky/trippy hard rock aesthetic. That point was driven home by last year’s “The Great Escape Artist” album and tour, the latter of which included a stop at Artpark that turned out to be one of the most impressive shows of the 2012 summer concert season.
Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins remain at the top of their game, all these years after the release of 1988’s “Nothing’s Shocking,” the album that, for my money, sounded the death-knell for the hair-metal-happy ’80s, and heralded the arrival of the alternative music movement that would dominate the first half of the ’90s.
Like Jane’s Addiction, Alice in Chains struggled with substance issues, ultimately losing its charismatic and deeply talented singer Layne Staley to a heroin overdose. When the group re-formed in 2006 with new singer William Duvall, it did so without sacrificing its vocal harmony-heavy metallic muscle. The band’s last two albums, “Black Gives Way To Blue” and the recent “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” have been stuffed to the brim with epic alternative metal.
The all-day festival will also feature performances from progressive alternative outfit Coheed & Cambria, alt-prog-punk outfit Circa Survive, punk/eletronica trio New Politics, alt-rock duo Middle Class Rut, the Chuck Shaffer Picture Show (described on rockstaruproar.com as “Incubus meets Chevelle”), and Walking Papers, the new Duff McKagan (Guns ‘N Roses)/Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) “supergroup.”
Tickets are $29 to $85 for reserved seats, $20 for the lawn.