A lot of people have stated that rock is losing its muster over the years. That may be true to some amidst hipster glasses and the huge electronic dance boom in America. I think that’s a bit over-dramatic in the sense that festivals like Rockstar Mayhem are still alive in kicking and delivering in its seventh year. There may have been some initial groans about the lineup, but the festival providers usually make a good distinction between old and new acts. This was my third time attending a Rockstar Mayhem festival but first as a photographer – which added to a different experience. It was nice to see that metal fans provided a good turnout on a cloudy and slightly rainy Friday. The showers only added to the atmosphere (which almost created havoc for my camera if it wasn’t for some slick DIY rain sleeve).
There was a good balance of up-and-coming bands vs nostalgic bands on the bill this year that created an interesting melting pot amongst attending fans. Earlier in the day, this was more prevalent with bands like Mushroomhead and Ice T’s lead Body Count who have been going strong for over 20 years now and had an older demographic. Acts like Miss May I and Emmure drew a younger base, but what caught my eye as I photographed these bands was the willingness of all ages to stop and check them out. That’s exactly what you want if you’re a festival promoter. It can’t survive if there isn’t something for everyone to enjoy.
One act in particular that I found awesome was Suicide Silence. Eddie Hermida, now the new lead singer definitely did their catalog justice as I envision Mitch Lucker giving his sign of approval straight from the skies above. There was even a point where there was a triple “wall of death”. Fans were really into their set given the high energy output.
On the main stage, you had a slice down the middle again. It was good to see how Trivium has grown over the years as more of a classic-sounding metal band. I had seen Asking Alexandria on Rockstar Mayhem a couple years back and they have improved their live sound, especially speaking from Danny Worsnop’s vocals. Their set was complete with bras being thrown at the band which was hilarious in its own right. Korn, which is 4/5 complete as Brian “Head” Welch returned to the fray, tore through their older songs like “Freak On a Leash” and “Falling Away From Me”. Their newer songs have yet to grow on me personally, but there was a good response from the crowd.
Last but definitely not least was Avenged Sevenfold, who I had only seen once before while “The Rev” was still alive. Complete with their crazy stage show, it was good to see these guys triumph, especially with all they have been through. Everyone keeps looking for the “next” Guns n Roses but this band is doing a good job caring their own pathway into staying power.
Will I go to another Mayhem Festival? Well, yeah. I’m very eclectic when it comes to my music tastes, but some days I just want to hear a damn guitar solo. Hopefully Rockstar Mayhem Festival keeps providing me that experience for years to come.