After taking a year off of playing in St. Louis last year the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival screamed back into the Gateway City Wednesday with a full day of metal mayhem to satisfy the throng of headbangers in attendance at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
And they couldn’t have asked for a better day. With Temperatures in the low 70’s for a high (a stark contrast form the past few years of 100+ temps) fans could enjoy the music instead of worrying about heat exhaustion.
The lineup for this year’s festival was downright hardcore from top to bottom. Lacking any other true metal festivals St. Louis fans certainly had to be satisfied with this year’s Mayhem Fest, and very tankful that it returned after a one year absence.
The side stages were comprised of three stages set up near the entrance and in the adjacent parking lot of the amphitheater. Although there were a few times bands were playing concurrently on different stages, for the most part the sets alternated so fans could see as much music as possible.
Bands such as Ill Nino and Emmure, on the Victory Records Stage, satisfied the crowd with a strong set each. Ill Nino brought their Latin influenced metal and rocked the crowd and lead vocalist Christian Machado made sure the crowd knew the name of their newest CD “’Til Death, La Familia”. Little did the crowd know there would be a test given out during the performance.
Emmure cruised through a strong set and featured songs such as “Bring a Gun to School” and “Children of Cybertron”.
Most bands shined (Mushroomhead, Miss May I) while only a couple others didn’t live up to their potential.
Suicide Silence, who certainly lost a major piece of their family when vocalist Mitch Lucker was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in late 2012, had an energetic show, but their new lead vocalist Eddie Hermida just doesn’t have the dynamic range and charisma that Lucker did. And as such the band, not through lack of trying unfortunately doesn’t have anything that sets them apart from other metalcore/Deathcore bands like Whitechapel and Impending Doom.
After Suicide Silence’s set most of the crowd packed its way to the Headbang for the Highway/Sumerian Stage to check out Body Count featuring Ice-T.
Throughout the set Ice-T doled out his brand of sage advice for anyone in the throng that packed to see Body Count perform. After a decade away from the scene Body Count (Ice-T on vocals, Ernie C on lead guitar, bassist incent Price, drummer Ill Will, guitarist Juan of the Dead and sampler, backing vocalist Sean E Sean) sounded fantastic, not skipping a beat and sounding very tight.
Ice-T stood defiant over the crowd in his own calm, cool, unflappable way, triumphantly playing through a setlist that appealed to both the older generation (“Cop Killer”) and the younger (“Talk Sh*t, Get Shot”). Guitarist Ernie C ripped through his solos effortlessly, showing off his licks, even going so far as to play his solo on “Manslaughter” entirely with one hand. Certainly one of the highlights of the side stages.
Closing out the side stages was a strong set from Death Metal veterans Cannibal Corpse. A great way to end a strong lineup of bands on the side stages.
An interesting note: For Cannibal Corpse’s set I shot entirely with Infrared, which is extremely difficult to do in a moving environment such as a concert. Attached on the slideshow is what is believed to be the first ever concert photograph published taken in infrared. The shot is of guitarist Rob Barrett. Look for an article later on detailing how this photograph was achieved and why it is so difficult to capture it in this environment.
Over on the Main Stage Trivium started off with a strong, albeit short set. The same can be said for Asking Aexandria. Both played tight sets that did not disappoint.
But it was the final two who stole the show. Korn musically ripped apart the stage with a superb set that featured fan favorites like “Got the Llife” and “Freak on a Leash”. Vocalist Jonathan Davis sounded better than he has in years and the band (guitarists James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu and drummer Ray Luzier) were tight and spot on. Even when “distracted” by a roadie trying to re-tape a new setlist to the stage during “Good God”. Fieldy and Head had a field day, pretending to kick the roadie giving him a hard time as he tried to redo his job. It was pretty funny.
Davis brought out his youngest son to dance (in an oddly Ozzy style) and the band made it a family affair by having several of their kids hang out during the last coupe songs onstage.
Their set was electric and dynamic and the band has shown why they have lasted over two decades with a set that was a standout and certainly worth the wait through the day.
Avenged Sevenfold had their strong act to follow, and they were up to the task with a set that was bombastic in every sense of word.
With their normal assault of an immense arsenal of flames and pyro combined with smoking guitar solos and catchy vocals A7X certainly grabbed your attention, beat you to a pulp, and had you happily begging for more.
Vocalist M. Shadows (Along with guitarists Zacky Vengence and Synyster Gates, bassist Johnny Christ and drummer Arin Ilejay) had a fun and intense show that featured staples such as “Hail to the King” and “Buried Alive” in a set that was formidable from top to bottom.
Shadows talked about the band playing at the old Creepy Crawl nightclub ten years ago to a grand total of three people, a stark contrast to the 15000 or so that saw them Wednesday. Needless to say, they shouldn’t have that problem again, ever.
Avenged Sevenfold Setlist:
Shepard of Fire
Hail to the King
So Far Away
This Means War
A Little Piece of Heaven
Falling Away From Me
Got the Life
Spike in My Veins
Shoots and Ladders/ Somebody Someone
Here to Stay
Freak on a Leash
Asking Alexandria Setlist:
Don’t Pray for Me
To the Stage
The Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel)
The Death of Me
Built to Fail
Through Blood and Dirt and Bone
Dying in Your Arms
Anthem (We Are the Fire)
Body Count Featuring Ice-T Setlist:
There Goes the Neighborhood
Bowels of the Devil
Disorder (The Exploited cover)
Talk Sh*t, Get Shot
Suicide Silence Setlist:
No Pity for a Coward
Cease to Exist
You Can’t Stop Me
You Only Live Once
Miss May I Setlist:
Refuse to Believe
Day By Day
Hero With No Name
You Want Me