Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
White River Amphitheatre
July 13, 2010
by: Charlene Tupper
Summer festival season is here and what better a way to kick off heavy metal festivals than with the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. In Auburn, Washington, for the last three years, the Mayhem Festival has passed through this city, showcasing numerous bands from around the globe including Slayer from the United States, Behemoth from Poland, Dragonforce from London, and so many other bands throughout the years.
This year, the tour consisted of many bands, leaning more towards hardcore and nu-metal genre bands, including Korn, Rob Zombie, Lamb of God, Hatebreed, and many more. There are 3 stages, with 5 bands each on the Jager and Silver Star stage, playing back to back from each other, and the Mainstage, consisting of the four big acts of the event.. This year, however, the Hot Topic stage was sponsored and renamed The Silver Star Stage.
The sun was beating down upon the metal fans lined up as far as the eye can see, some waiting for V.I.P. access, and some waiting for regular entry. The doors opened at 1:30pm and about 10 minutes after doors open, the venue was jam-packed, beer gardens full, and merchandise stands overwhelmed with fans dying to get their favourite band t-shirts. The first band performing at 1:50pm on the Silver stage, was “In This Moment”
“In This Moment”, a 5-piece metal core band from Los Angeles was the first band to start off the day of heavy metal chaos on the Silver Star Stage. Maria, singer of the band, walked on stage and took the crowd by force. Her stage presence unfortunately reminds me a lot of Avril Lavigne, from the converse shoes, to the bright blue dress and heavy eye makeup. Her stage performance just gave off that vibe, however, it was as if Avril was trying to be metal, instead of pop. Putting that aside, the crowd gave the band a great response with the members feeding off their energy; guitarists jumping into the crowds and performing their solos near the sound booth.
The second band to perform was Drown Mary from a band from Everett. They have played on numerous Jagermeister tours, and have played with many big names in the metal industry. The band formed in January, 2000 and got sponsorship from worldwide powerhouse Jagermeister soon after. Their set was about 20 minutes long, full of heavy metal riffs and deep throat vocals to rattle your chest cavity. The singer is new to the band, but that didn’t show as the fans loved them and enjoyed seeing them on the Jager Stage this hot afternoon.
Numerous other bands played during this scorching summer day, including Winds of Plague, Atreyu, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, and Vancouver metal band 3 Inches of Blood. It was a treat to see my home town represent and headline the Silver Star Stage. The boys had the audience at their grasp. Massive mosh pits, large amounts of head banging and most importantly, horns held high, as 3 Inches of Blood played for 35 minutes, belting out classics like “Deadly Sinner” and “Goatriders Horde”. There are strong classic influences, giving 3 Inches of Blood a traditional rock sound with a hint of heavy metal tied into the mix.
The Mainstage consisted of four bands, which were Five Finger Death Punch, Lamb of God, Rob Zombie, and to close the night, the nu-metal legends themselves, Korn. I was a little unhappy with the time setup of all the stages, there was very little time for people to take breaks between the bands and very little time to go grab a bite to eat, or even grab a very expensive bottle of water($4 US to be exact!). With only 5 minutes to get from the Silver Star stage, to the main stage was virtually impossible with so much traffic, but, I managed to get to the stage in time to catch the first act, Five Finger Death Punch.
A very energetic band from Los Angeles, formed in 2005, FFDP became a hit across the United States and instantly grew a large fan-base. Their stage presence was well conducted, with multiple outfit changes and some added pyrotechnics. Their drummer rose from the stage from a huge lift, carrying him quite a few feet into the air – his kit and all. It was quite the sight. After their performance, Lamb of God hit the stage. They are the one band known in almost all heavy metal households these days. This band has the term “American metal” perfected inside and out. Once Randy (vocals) walks on stage, fans go wild, singing along to every single word he screams out to the crowd. Their set list included “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” and “Black Label.” They also threw in some newer tracks like “In Your Passing” and “Set to Fail.”
The night sky is nowhere in sight at 8:30 when Rob Zombie entered the stage while walking out of a huge mechanical robot. John 5 (originally from Marilyn Manson) joined forces with Zombie to be his touring guitarist for the Mayhem Festival and that was a treat for all. Zombie’s stage presence is unbelievable. Fire along the back of the stage, Skeletons attached to all the mic stands, including a 6 armed skeleton attached to Zombie’s own stand. There were also giant robotic characters walking behind the band while they performed, flares everywhere, and best of all, lyrics flashing on the back screen, making it easy for anyone to sing along with their favourite horror icon. I was floored with his amazing performance. Too bad he only had an hour to perform, but he definitely went out with a bang, playing his most famous song, “Dragula.” Fans were singing as loud as they could, all the way from the front gate to the people in the lawn section. It was a performance that stole the evening.
At 9:30 it was still light outside, however, the sun started to set, just in time for the Korn to head on stage and perform for the fans. Their stage presence was similar to Rob Zombie, in the sense of pyrotechnics, fire, and stage props. On both sides of the stage, two oil pumps stand tall with a satellite tower standing so high, I could barely see the top of it. The stage was actually a replica of Bakersfield, California, the band’s hometown.
Showcasing “Korn III”, their latest album released on July 13, the sound went back to when the band first united. Opening the set with “Here to Stay” definitely got the crowd pumped. The song is heavy, with basic beat and gets your foot tapping and your fists held high. Jonathan Davis walked out in his Adidas tracksuit while grabbing his custom designed mic stand (designed/made by H.R.Giger) with the attitude and stage charisma that he has always had since day one. Most of the set list consisted of Korn’s older songs including “Blind”, “Clown/Got the Life” and the one and only, “Shoots and Ladders”, complete with nursery rhymes and an intro played on bagpipes by Jonathan himself. They had a very clean, crisp sound throughout the entire show.
With a heavy does of metal streaming in everyone’s veins, the crowd shifted to parking lot full cheering and smiling fans. After the show, there was a local band in a U-Haul truck giving a little bit of extra “metal juice” to those who didn’t quite get their fill.
I started the day a bit pessimistic and concerned it wouldn’t live up to last year, however, at the end of the night I walked out of the concert with a smile on my face. I did get to see Korn after all. They were the band that got me into the amazing world of Heavy Metal in the first place.