Carolina Uprising Day 2
Area Bands Shine Bright on a Chilly Day 2
Day two of the inaugural Carolina Uprising Music Festival brought cool temperatures and hot performances to the Rowan County Fairgrounds. After spending Friday in the sweltering, record-breaking October heat, Saturday’s weather was a welcome change. With cloudy skies and a temperature drop of thirty degrees, this was more like a fall music festival should be. The grounds were set up the same way but the bands started playing much earlier than the previous day so there was plenty to see and hear.
Things got rolling early on the main stage with Bless the Dead coming in from Georgia to knock one out of the park. The band brought a mixture of metal, punk, and thrash all with an underlying groove that can’t be denied. Having been around the scene since 2013, Bless the Dead was a perfect way to start the day.
There were a few changes in the day’s schedule with some bands having to pull out due to emergency situations. But that gave us time to listen to Army veteran Sgt. Big Country who founded the organization Motivating America. He is an excellent motivational speaker and an inspiration to us all as he forges forward bringing his positivity and patriotism to the community. Check them out and find out what they are all about! https://www.motivatingamerica.com/
Richmond, Virginia’s own Dividing Face was up next. Lead vocalist Garret Lamb proved to be a formidable frontman with his powerhouse vocals complementing the guitar work of Sonny Mao. The band released their debut EP Starting Over in the summer of 2018 and have kept busy performing and opening for national acts like Stone Temple Pilots, Saliva, and Pop Evil.
Den of Wolves was the first of many Charlotte-area bands to take the stage and kick some serious ass. The band tore up the stage with their powerful brand of metalcore. During their set, the first snafu of the festival occurred when the power unexpectedly went on in the middle of a song. Guitarist Khalil England addressed the crowd asking what happened and telling everyone that this was the very first time they had lost power during a set. He tried to keep the show going by telling some knock-knock jokes as the fans screamed for an acoustic set. After about a ten minute or so delay, the issue was fixed and the band finished up with a shortened set. This past March the band released a killer debut album, Lovesdead, and has been nominated in the Group of the Year category at the Queen City Awards. If you haven’t had the opportunity to catch these guys at a show yet, I strongly encourage you to get to one as soon as you can.
Hometown boys Key of Betrayal showed that metal is alive and well in Salisbury, North Carolina. With a solid set and a great vocal dichotomy between the cleans of Matt Church and the uncleans of Chad Wolford, Key of Betrayal hit like a punch to the face. They had unstoppable energy and Church is shaping up to be a superstar frontman in his own right. I look for this band to really take off so don’t miss your chance to see them the next time they do a show near you.
Another Charlotte band that is taking off and doing fantastic things is American Theory. The band’s debut album Your Local Politics is out now and their song “The Lion and the Liar” is featured on the NASCAR Heat 4 Soundtrack. These young men are all talented musicians and have a stage presence that is beyond their years.
Falling Through April has been making huge strides in recent years. 2019 saw the release of the single “Recover Relapse” which tackles the difficult topic of addiction and has been nominated for Best Rock Song at the HMMA Awards in Hollywood. The band also has three nominations for this year’s Queen City Music Awards including Best Rock Group, Best Male Rock Artist, and Best Female Rock Artist. Once they hit the stage, it became clear why. The band is tight with top-notch musicianship, the soaring vocals of Mikaela, and fantastic melodies and they made quite the impression on the crowd.
Just when you thought the day couldn’t get any better, Something Clever took the stage and owned it from the very first note. This year saw the band releasing not one but two new EPs, Moments Red, and Moments Blue, both packed with well-crafted, songs that run the gamut from an all-out metal assault to a haunting melody. What really sets Something Clever apart from the rest is the way the band interacts on the stage. They genuinely have fun with each other, doing what they love to do and it carries through to the audience. So when vocalist Adam Nelson screams “Is this the hill you wanna die on,” you can’t help but scream. There is a reason why this band always draws a crowd. Get your ass to a show and find out for yourself.
Music festivals are of course all about the music but they’re also about having a great time and no one brings the party to the stage quite like Testarossa. The band came out ready to rock and throw down. Buddy Radford was a madman behind his kit while vocalist Colten Bell boogied down and worked his mic stand like a champ. The fans were eating it up but at the conclusion of the first song, the band packed up their gear and began exiting the stage. No explanation was given for their abrupt departure. I won’t speculate on the reason behind it, but something was definitely up. Nevertheless, one song from Testarossa is enough to get the party in full swing and rocking and rock they did.
Scars Remain is a true underdog story, refusing to give up on their dreams and hitting it hard in 20149. They’ve got some new songs under their belt and have been nominated for Rock Band of the Year at the Queen City Music Awards as well as Male Rock Artist of the Year for frontman Travis Keziah. They put on a great set, showcasing what they can do to everyone who came out Saturday night. Look for more new music from the band coming soon and plenty of shows to catch them at.
After a short break, a roaring noise could be heard across the venue. What was that sound I wondered? Never fear, it’s only Fiftywatt Freight Train rolling in! All kidding aside, the band was a force to be reckoned with and they have never sounded better. They even threw in some classic Metallica tunes to really ignite the night. One thing is for sure, you can always count on Fiftywatt to put on a great show and tonight was no exception.
The final act I had the pleasure of checking out was professional wrestler Jeff Hardy, The Charismatic Enigma. I had no idea what to expect from Hardy musically and was pleasantly surprised. He took the stage accompanied only by a lone guitarist putting on an acoustic set that fans will always remember. It’s no secret that Hardy has had his fair share of problems and his music is both personal and thought-provoking. He even took the time to introduce some of the songs and explain what they meant to him. It was definitely something different and made for a nice addition to the festival.
The first year of Carolina Uprising is officially in the books and while there were a few minor snags, the overall experience was wonderful. It was a great way to showcase the incredible amount of talent in the area and a chance to check out many different bands all in the same weekend. I have faith that the powers that be will soon be hard at work, planning and preparing for next year. This really does have the potential of being an exceptional asset for our music scene. Show your support and get ready to rock in 2019!