Rockstar Mayhem Festival 2010
August 6 - DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI
Seemingly picking up where Ozzfest left off as the annual touring metal festival, Mayhem ventures across the land with a veritable list of who's who in modern metal. Presenting bands on three different stages, the tour brought something for everyone's taste and ears. This year is no different as the festival brought with it the following list of performers:
Silver Star Stage:
I have my personal favorites on this tour and make sure I balance the schedule carefully to catch each of them in the act, so to speak. First up, I get the honor of sitting down with Paul Romanko, bass player for Shadows Fall for a few minutes. We discuss the festival and what he sees as the pros and cons of such a tour. He loves that the fans are getting a lot of bands for their money. He also thinks the multiple stages playing off each other from a timing standpoint is great, as it maximizes the concert area and the amount of time each band gets to play. His personal highlight for the tour was the hometown show in Mansfield, MA. He said it is always good going home and playing for close friends and family. Our time is drawing to a close and he answers one of my interview closing questions: What is the meaning of life? "Have fun and enjoy yourself." It doesn't get any simpler than that. (Special thanks to Natalie Camillo of Adrenaline PR for setting up this interview at the last minute)
Having met these guys earlier this year on tour with God Forbid, I know the Shadows Fall portion of the show is going to be high energy and well received. I jockey for position in the photo pit and await these guys. They do not disappoint… not for one second. Each band member makes his presence and contribution known as they tear the lid off the parking lot crowd huddled around one of the two side stages.
I am told by a friend that I should not miss up-and-comers 3 Inches of Blood. They are described to me as metal core with soaring vocals. That description was right on the money as the band moved through their set list making sure those who knew them were pleased. More importantly, they were out to gain some new fans. Based on the crowd reactions, they did just that.
3 Inches of Blood
Little did I know my attention was going to be focused on the Silver Star Stage for the rest of the afternoon, as one of my picks of the day, In This Moment, was due to rock the stage. I say hello to a couple friends (shout out here and name drop): Dimebagz Hag Rita and her roadie Jessica Hill. Rita has taken to the festival circuit to sell merchandise bearing Dimebag Darrell's image. I heard so many people thank her through the day for helping to keep his legacy alive. I count myself in that group, as it was less about the shameless promotion. Every person who walked up and talked to her got a little story to take home about Darrell, whether it was about the cowboy hats they sell that are only available in the size Dimebag wore. The coolest part of this was getting to have my photograph taken next to one of legends axes.
I make my way back to the stage and await In This Moment. I notice the Atreyu set up on stage. Time Change. That's okay, I have seen Atreyu before and they are entertaining. They are a bit poppy compared to most bands on today's bill, but they still fit in and get the crowd whipped into a frenzy. A high point for me was hearing them put a modern spin on Bon Jovi's hit, "You Give Love a Bad Name." I stand back and check out the rest of their set before disappearing to grab a quick bite to eat.
I again get a good spot in the photo pit for In This Moment. The guys all hit the stage and crank into the first song of their set. Just then, Maria enters the stage and you recognize her vocals immediately (if you are a fan you do). The band is tight and playing well together. The chemistry on stage is apparent. I spend most of my time in front of lead guitarist Chris Howorth and snap my photos, as he is entertaining the fans with his knowledge of his instrument. Maria makes her way to his side of the stage several times, so I am able to watch this siren work her magic over the masses. They play songs from all three of their albums, including the newest, 'A Star-Crossed Wasteland.'
In This Moment
Time for a visit to the main stage after Five Finger Death Punch. Missed them this time, but saw them earlier this year (with God Forbid and Shadows Fall). They are entertaining, but not my cup of tea… I would rather save my energy for the final three artists of the day.
Lamb of God storms the stage and is aimed at taking control of the day and making the crowd theirs. As they move through their catalog and pick songs sure to keep the fists pumping and people standing, they are making believers of those in the crowd who entered the venue knowing little of them. You can feel the intensity as the band members settle in and make the stage their home. Their fans have done the same with the seating area. Looking around the crowd, you know these guys are doing everything their fans have asked of them.
Lamb Of God
Next up is this reviewer's personal favorite on the main stage lineup, Rob Zombie. The photographers are trying to position themselves to ensure they get that golden picture. I prepare myself for the spectacle that is a Zombie show. Joey Jordison (on loan from The Murderdolls and Slipknot) and bassist Piggy D are the first two I see grace the stage, as John 5 is taking longer to move around due to being in a leg brace for a foot injury (according to John via his website: "During the show I jumped off one of the risers and broke my foot got up and played the rest of the show… Can’t stop the rock!") There is a big mechanical monster in the center of the stage. As the first song winds its way to the lyrics, Rob emerges from the statue and proceeds to throw down the gauntlet and moves briskly through three songs before taking a break to address the audience. The band is very cohesive and sounds very rehearsed on all of the Rob zombie solo tracks, including those from his newest release 'Hellbilly Deluxe 2', and the White Zombie hits. There is your complimentary John 5 guitar solo and a nice drum demonstration from Joey, who seems VERY comfortable pounding the skins for Zombie. Rob aims to please and can consider this show another success.
Last up on this long day is Korn. Due to a massive stage change over, the band hits the stage late, but wastes no time in getting to work once the curtain drops. Jonathan Davis and his henchmen power through their set with vigor and energy that some bands half their age don't. The crowd is loving the set and it seems they leave no stone unturned including a couple gems from the latest CD, 'Korn III: Remember Who You Are.' Having never heard anything yet, I find myself humming the chorus to the new track "Oildale" in the car on the way home later. They have converted another into a new fan.
I must say, it was all in all a great day of awesome music, friendship (thanks Skip and Jessica), and great photos. This day would not have been possible for me wouldn't have been possible without the major assistance of one man… thanks Greg Cortez from B|W|R - Los Angeles.