The annual Rockstar Mayhem Festival is upon us. Every year Rockstar Energy Drink produce a metal filled lineup, and showcase in an all day festival. This years lineup in San Bernardino will be a little different from the rest of the tour. We will not see In Flames or Megadeth. In their place playing only 1 show this year, is Dethklok! I personally was a little let down to not be seeing Megadeth, but to have Dethklok fill their spot, yeah I'm OK with it now.
Every year comes with the announcement of the bands in January. People guess, and make wish lists, but they never seen to come close. I have tried not to do this, and just be surprised when they release the list. When ticket sales began, I was not financially able to purchase tickets. I had other priorities, and decided if I don't win them, then it wasn't meant to be...I kept my ears open for anyone giving away tickets, entering when I could. Revolver magazine seem to have a pretty simple giveaway, find the Mayhem Issue of their magazine and take a picture of yourself and send it in. I sent in my picture 4 days before the show, and WON! I received 2 lawn tickets for the show on July 9th. They over-night mailed the tickets to me from NY....(that cost wayyyy more than the tickets were worth!) but whatever I had 2 free tickets. I asked my sister's fiance if he wanted to go, he said yes, so it was all set.
I take a lot of precautions when going to Mayhem. This being my 6th all day festival (2 Ozzfests and 4th Mayhem Festival) I knew what to expect from the day. I try and drink as much water starting the night before. When I get up the day of the show, I start drinking water and don't stop till I leave my vehicle in the parking lot. There is no way I am paying $4.50 for a 20oz bottle of water! My loving wife, takes care of me as well. She packed me a lunch to eat on the way, and made sure I had a frozen gallon of water for after the show. She helped me sunblock and even sent sunblock for Jerry and 2 more cousins (Stephen and Oscar) who I was meeting at the show.
We all met in the parking lot, and ventured in together. The heat was in the mid 90's already (1:30pm) so we knew it would only be getting worse. We walked right over to the side stages, which are to the south of the main stage. While walking, I ran into a cousin of mine, who happened to be working the concession stands with his wife. He told us to come back and get water and sodas when we needed them. (THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!)
The Jägermeister stage started as scheduled, and thus began a day full of metal mayhem! Weeman from Jackass introduced the opening band. the Jägermeister and Revolver stages run back to back until the main stage begins later towards the evening. We ventured around the crowds, trying to stay close, but away from the mosh pits. (I had my camera and glasses with me...) The Rockstar tent gives out free Rockstar Energy Drinks, so we stopped in there to grab a few. The orange can was the best. Not sure exactly which one that is, but I know for sure it was the ORANGE can. We noticed a small line forming at the Revolver tent, so we headed there, and were able to meet Gene and Dino of Fear Factory! (See even Industrial music has a place in a Metal Festival lol) They signed posters and took a picture with me. Cool guys. Not snobbish at all.
Throughout the afternoon, the Metal Mulisha, performed crazy motor cycle stunts along the side of the Revolver stage. The band from "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory" was there playing while the motorcyclists were performing. They were still in the revamped mobile sound stage Rob had built for them. All we had to do was turn to the right and we could see everything. I like how Mayhem does the location planning. We never really have to move. The only reason we went back up the hill, away from the stages, was to see my cousin Michelle who hooked us up with cups of water.
By 5ish, Jerry was starting to burn. He had sunblock on, but it didn't stop the sun. He was turning red...lol We decided to head back up the hill to see where we could wait for a good spot in the grass. Jerry and I had the free lawn tickets, but Stephen and Oscar had purchased orchestra pit tickets. We were walking through the grass when I had an idea... I can't divulge such said idea, but I can tell you about the outcome of my wonderful scheme... Jerry and I were standing right next to Stephen and Oscar in the orchestra pit! All 4 of us made it to the front rail of the pit, which is only THE BEST PLACE TO SEE A CONCERT! I was excited. Never had I been so close at the San Manuel Amphitheater. I had been in the orchestra before, but in the seats. I was front row...FTW!
We were talking to the security guards, who by the way were really cool! One of them was telling us that we were standing in one of the two loudest spots in the entire amphitheater. The other spot was on the other side of the stage. He pointed up at a stack of speakers, and said, that's why it will be loud here... There were also huge stacks of speakers along the sides of the stage. I was getting really excited at this point.
Machine Head opened the main stage. (2nd time seeing them) They played well. They got the crowd wound up and ready to rock. They play well. I honestly don't know much of their stuff, but it was good metal to bang your head to. Machine Head thanked the crowd for being there early to see them play. I respect a band that respects its fans. They knew most people were there to hold a spot for the headliners later in the evening. I've learned to never underestimate the opening bands. They can put on a hell of a show. And you never know, you may actually like what they play. (for example Combichrist, who is now one of my favorite bands, opened for Tiger Army...)
After Machine Head, came Godsmack....Many fans were on hand today just for Godsmack...I had only seen Godsmack once before, and that was when they opened for Metallica at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Godsmack came out with a fury of fast paced songs. They played all of the fans favorites.starting with newer, and heading back into their past. During their set, the drummer started a mini solo, and then Sully (the lead singer) brought out his own drum set, and soloed with him. They jammed for a while, then started playing classics like Iron Man to get the crowd really into it. The solo lasted about 9 or 10 minutes. It was great. Really something different. ( I have been to a few metal shows where the guitarist likes to solo for a while...It all just kind of seems redundant, and a little boring. I know what your thinking, but I too play guitar! I know what it takes. I just get bored with hearing it) Godsmack played Voodoo during their set ( I had to call my wife so she could hear the song she liked best by them) After their set, the crew dismantled the gear, and the security guard nabbed the stage setlist for me :-) So I now have the set list that was taped to the bottom of the stage for the band to read...
Godsmack was great. I was there for another band though...Disturbed! I had seen Disturbed 3 other times, and knew it should be a great set. Disturbed was the co-headliner for the first Mayhem Festival. The time had arrived, and boy was I blown away....Disturbed rocked on stage that night! They utilized led screens all around the stage to play videos to match each song. They were the only band to use FIRE during their set.We were so close we could feel the heat from the flames. I was hyped. They played everything, and ended their set with Down With the Sickness. Being so close made the set even better. We could feel the energy coming from the band. After their set, the band thanked everyone and threw out guitar picks. All 4 of us, were able to nab a pick.
But the Mayhem continues... because of Megadeth and In Flames playing in Europe, Rockstar was able to ubtain a special fill in. None other than Metalocalypse own Dethklok!! I knew some of their songs, and I knew to prepare for full metal mayhem. The band came out on stage and played with fury. The huge screen in the background played Metalocalypse style videos for every song. The band did very little, but yet played with such feeling and emotion that the crowd was going nuts. Their metal goes back to the fast paced, drum beating, hair thrashing, long evolved songs of metal's past....6, 7 ,even 8 minute songs. None of which were boring. All had the correct song structure, and all were captivating. I was a little puzzled to see the lead singer come out on stage. Not what I had pictured. Maybe I was influenced from the cartoon, but the growling came from a guy whole looked like Adam from Mythbusters lol.He didn't look funny, but I think after years of seeing the band on Metalocalypse, I had a preconceived notion on how he was "supposed" to look.
Now for the after Mayhem...No not the partying or fun times your thinking of...but the recovery process from a long, sun beaten, water deprived day! I needed to eat and drink water. Even with the water during the day, I was dehydrated. The next morning, I woke up sore, and my ears were ringing pretty bad. The 4 of us all posted how it was worth the soreness.
I want to say thank you to my cousins Leonard and Michelle for the water and sodas. Without them we would have passed out early in the afternoon. I want to thank, the security guards in the pit. Without the water refills they gave us, we may not have survived the 5 hours in the pit! I want to thank Jerry, Stephen and Oscar. They hung out and made the day a pleasant day of metal! Most importantly, I want to thank my wife Jenny! without her, I would be sun burnt, with no food in my system, and without cold water for the ride home! I appreciate how you look out for me on my metal mayhem journeys. I love you babe!
For more pictures or videos, click the links at the top of this blog. My Youtube channel and Photobucket have all the pics and videos I shot at Mayhem Festival. Feel free to comment here and make sure to tell your friends about my blog. Thank you for reading!