Thousands of metal lovers braved the hot sun and high heat on Tuesday as the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival made its yearly invasion to the Xfinity Center (formerly Comcast Center) in Mansfield, MA. This is not one for the faint of heart; it’s hot and it’s loud – but if you can take the heat then this festival is one bad*** kitchen to be in. Walking around the concourse and open lot where the main stages are always set up, the majority of the black-clad concert-goers had smiles on their faces and looked to be having fun, despite their sweat drenched torsos.
The Coldcock Whiskey, Sumerian and Victory Records stages each saw their share of packed performances from the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Suicide Silence, Miss May I, Mushroomhead, Emmure and more. There were also plenty of circle pits going, the best belonging to Suicide Silence, which was the width of the entire parking lot, side to side. The set times between all three stages seemed to be really on point this year, perhaps more so than in years past. When one band finished their set, the next would start almost immediately on the stage beside it. Sort of like a metal tennis match with the audience being the ball.
This held true for the main stage as well. Not only did all the bands play on time but this year the breaks between sets seemed to be much shorter, save for the half an hour between Korn and Avenged Sevenfold (in all fairness, they do have a massive skeleton sitting on a throne with a wall that shoots fire). Also noticeable was the small amount of stage space that each band seemed to use, with Avenged Sevenfold again the exception.
Trivium took the stage first, playing to a less filled audience than they probably would have liked. Never the less, they put on an excellent set for the ones who had come in early. Their seven song, half hour set included Black, Built to Fall and In Waves.
After a quick fifteen minutes of minor set changing it was Asking Alexandria’s turn. The crowd was still pretty mellow but it had filled in a little more, presumably because all the other stages were done and everyone had a chance to get hydrated. AA played for thirty-five minutes, pumping out upbeat tunes such as Don't Pray for Me, The Final Episode (Let's Change the Channel) Moving On and The Death of Me. On a humorous note, vocalist Danny Worsnop wore a black jacket and with a white scarf, saying that he was told it would “look cool”. As he comically pointed out “it was a stupid idea and I’m sweating.”
By the time Korn took the stage, the audience had filled in completely. As soon as the lights dimmed the crowd was up on its feet and cheering for them to play. They started off with the classic Falling Away From Me before launching into a high powered, electrifying string of hits like Twist, Got the Life, Did My Time, Spike in My Veins, Shoots and Ladders, Got The Life, and Freak On A Leash. They ended their set with Blind, which as Jonathan Davis said “is what got it all started” and brought out the ‘Korn Kids’ on stage to head bang and have fun.
The icing on the cake so to speak was Avenged Sevenfold, who not only played well but genuinely looked as if they were enjoying every minute of their hour and fifteen minute run. They came out on stage and went right into Shepherd of Fire from the new album Hail to the King, shifting previous opening song Nightmare into the second spot. The rest of the set was a well blended mix of old and new, from Bat Country and Hail to the King to Almost Easy, Buried Alive and So Far Away which the band dedicated to the late drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. Singer M Shadows talked about how the last time the group had played in Mansfield was one of the first shows after The Rev’s passing, saying that “the place would always be special to them”. A rousing rendition of Afterlife followed, which of course features The Rev on secondary vocals. Someone (probably in the front row) suggested they play Eternal Rest off of Waking the Fallen; when put to a vote against This Means War, it was easy to see that the old school fans prevailed. Shadows joked around about it because it had been so long since they had played it live that they might mess up. Eventually he declared “Who cares, let’s just play the song.” Although there were a few little mistakes, overall they played it fairly well. Quite memorably, Shadows sang it the way it is on the record; that is to say he screamed every part that is supposed to be screamed. In the past he has been known to sing parts of those types of vocals. Afterwards, he amusedly said “Oh I can’t wait to see that on Youtube to see how bad it was….you’re all going to make fun of us.”
They said goodnight as if it were the last song, and the arena darkened, leading the fans to erupt into chants of ‘Sevenfold’. In true Avenged Sevenfold fashion, they came back out and played a two song encore, A Little Piece Of Heaven and of course their signature show closer Unholy Confessions.
Mayhem Festival 2014 will be spreading love and chaos across the country until August 10th. Don’t miss the excitement when they come to your city. Here are the remaining dates:
July 25 – Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
July 26 – Burgettstown, PA – First Niagara Pavilion
July 27 – Hartford, CT – Xfinity Theatre
July 29 – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake
July 30 – Wantagh, NY – Nikon Theater at Jones Beach
August 01 – Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
August 02 – Scranton, PA – The Pavilion At Montage Mountain
August 03 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
August 05 – Atlanta, GA – Lakewood Amphitheatre
August 07 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Zoo Amphitheatre
August 09 – Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
August 10 – The Woodlands, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion