2009 Rockstar Mayhem Festival
Hardcore metal-head fans were out in force on the grounds of the White River Amphitheater in Auburn Tuesday for a hot day of loud music.
Three stages, 12 bands, and thousands of fans either drove, walked, bused, and were dropped off by their parents (in some cases) to take part in a 9+ hour music festival which went without a hitch.
Surprisingly enough, Marilyn Manson who was the headliner on this date was in the past considered a controversial performer, may have been seemed too mild by many of the fans in attendance at the festival. However out-of-place Manson may have seemed at the start of the day, the hardcore metal fans were there for a show, and his performance was a perfect closing to the long concert day.
My arrival at the venue started off just like any other event for me, drive up, check-in, and wait. I didn’t mind however since it was a nice sunny day.
Once I checked in, the madness of organizing and planning who was going to be interviewed and who I was going to shoot became reality. Sometimes I am just amazed at how the tour manager(s) handle the day-to-day and hourly stress and pressure of coordinating everything. You’ve seen it before at a show with two bands, now imagine having to deal with 10-12 bands and all the media involved. Me, I’d just rather stick to shooting and interviewing and leave the logistics up to the professionals. (Thanks Amanda!)
After looking over the list for the tenth time, I was getting excited to see some of these bands play who I have never seen before. I was really looking forward to seeing Trivium play, and they did not disappoint! Scorching guitar playing and screaming vocals pierced the air causing metal meltdown of the brain but I managed to find that sweet-spot in my brain, and focused on what I had to do, and that was capture some great shots of the guys.
Behemoth who I have seen before brought what they do best, and that is the rumble and gravel voice of Nergal (and guitar) and the thumping bass of Orion. These two guys along with Inferno on drums and Seth on guitar and backing vocals had hordes of fans shouting out “Behemoth, Behemoth,” as if they were calling out to some superhero to come to their rescue, and rescue they did, and they had the fans jumping and slamming into each other at their will.
Most of the bands including Trivium and Behemoth played on either one of two stages (Jagermeister or Hot Topics)which was dedicated to the supporting acts opening for the four main acts on the large main stage which was undercover and shaded from the hot sun. Don’t get the wrong idea and think that just because these opening bands played a supporting roll on the tour doesn’t mean that they were any less popular than the main stage acts, in fact judging by crowd response, I’d say a couple of them may have been the highlight of the day to many fans, and any one of these opening bands could headline their own show.
I would almost have to say that there were two different groups of fans, the in-your-face death/black metal till you die group, and the “I love it loud” group who are into this type of music but when they go home they live what society would say is a normal student’s life.
On to the main stage!
Bullet For My Valentine fronted by Matt Tuck and gang gave fans a dose of their music, and did a great job of charging up the crowd in anticipation of Slayer. Tuck in an interview earlier in the day said that they (the band) are hungry for success. Well, in my book they are successful, and for some young guys from the UK they are doing a bang-up job of playing for the crowd. I hope they find as much success here in the USA as they have in Europe. Killswitch Engage brought some needed hyper-energy to give the crowd a little boost with their pyro-technics and crazy antics of their caped crusading guitar player in sunglasses and shorts.
At the end, it was a real toss-up for who could or should headline that night’s tour, Slayer who have been around for many years had some faithful followers who would swear by their lives that this is hands-down the best band on the planet. On the other hand I saw a number of people wearing paint on their faces in some weird tribute, fashion statement, or something to Manson.
Either way both bands did not let anyone down. Their stages were first-class and on par with any show (yes show) that you could ask for or want at a concert. Slayer with their large emblem depicting their name hung high above the stage, once again engraving their sound, name, and image forevermore into the brains of their followers that they are still here to kick some serious ass.
Manson on the other hand was more theatrical and I enjoyed this a lot. I’ve always liked a handful of his music, and had seen him in the past, but this show and this tour to me, took him over the top with a great performance. There isn’t much for me to say about Manson, you’re either going to like his stuff or you’re not, but you’ll love the show and if you don’t, I don’t know what it is that you’d be looking more for in a stage show. My advise, find the nearest Rockstar Mayhem Festival, buy your ticket, and plan for a long day. If you think you can’t make for entire day and don’t want to pay the money just for the main stage performers, think again. I think you’ll be sorry if you miss your chance, even if you think you’d only like one of the bands on main stage you’ll get your monies worth just by seeing them.
Think of it this way, you buy a CD for a couple of songs that you’ve heard and liked, and the rest are a bonus and you might find a song or two that you end up liking- samething here, you might end-up liking something you never tried listening to before.