Mayhem Festival – [Live]

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Now in its fifth year, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival has not only become the premier metal tour of the Summer, it has also become one of the most highly anticipated tours of the year; and with the lineup of bands on the 2012 edition, it's easy to see why the anticipation has been particularly high this year. One look at the list of bands scheduled to play during the fest says it all, really, because each has a fantastic tradition of putting on high-energy shows before a bombastic, metallic backdrop.

Although Upon a Burning Body, Whitechapel, and As I Lay Dying all put on stellar sets of metal, they were just warming up the sold out crowd for longtime thrash legends Anthrax, who proved to be the absolute highlight of the day, and ruled all on the Jagermeister stage. With Joey Belladonna and Scott Ian in their usual fine form, Anthrax had the kids headbanging, pumping their fists, and flying over the barricade while belting out classics like “Caught In a Mosh,” “Got the Time,” and “I Am The Law,” and although they only had a limited amount of time, they still managed to squeeze in “Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't” off of their latest offering Worship Music. There did seem to be a few gripes in the crowd as to why the band was playing the second stage instead of the main, but they were the perfect band to close the first part of the day and got the fans pumped for what was to come.

After a short set from The Devil Wears Prada, it was time for the one and only Motörhead to hit the main stage and give the fans a dose of real, no bullshit metal. Even as the sun continued to set on him, Lemmy was as stoic as ever, and he, guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee belted out a forty-five minute set of all-killer, no-filler classic Motörhead anthems. “Bomber,” “Stay Clean,” “Going to Brazil” and “Killed By Death” all sounded spectacular and, by the time they wrapped their set with “Overkill,” it was quite apparent that the band are still on top of their game even after all these years, and still command respect from every person in attendance of a show they play.

There is really only one band who could follow Motörhead, and that would be the mighty Slayer. Although it's been nearly two years since Gary Holt of Exodus stepped in for Jeff Hanneman, the band still seems freshly energized, and have a renewed dynamic on stage. With a pair of flame-shooting inverted cross clusters of Marshall half stacks flanking either side of the stage, Slayer tore through a set infused with old school material including “Alter of Sacrifice,” “Jesus Saves,” and “Hell Awaits.” It was a surprise cover of the Exodus classic”'Strike of the Beast” that had the crowd going nuts, and only fueled the numerous pits out in the lawn area. 

Closing the festivities for the day was Slipknot who – love them or hate them – always put on one hell of an entertaining show. Supporting their just-released greatest hits record Antennas to Hell, the band had the capacity crowd in the palms of their hands and frontman Cory Taylor made sure it stayed that way for their entire set. It was almost two hours of pure chaos on stage, as well as a tribute to the late to their late bassist Paul Grey, who passed away in 2010.

This year's lineup of bands proved to be the festival's strongest yet, and one can only imagine what is in store next year.


Mayhem Festival – Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, Ca. – 07/01/12 – [Live]



The Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival tour continues. Click here for an updated list of shows.

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