Rockstar Mayhem Festival 2012

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I had the opportunity to cover more than one Mayhem Festival date for the second year in a row. While I felt the overall lineup lacked the same oomph as years past, bands like Slipknot, Anthrax and Motorhead definitely didn’t disappoint.

While the majority of photos are from the July 27th date in Camden, NJ, the Slipknot photos attached are from the July 29th date in Bristow, VA.

The Devil Wears Prada:

I’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada roughly six or seven times over the years at various festivals and tours and this was definitely my favorite to date. Vocalist Mike Hranica’s voice was a lot better than the last few times I’ve seen them; a lot more consistency and energy as well. The rest of the band had their usual amount of energy – lackluster at best. I still love hearing “Oh my God…they’re everywhere” before the breakdown in “Escape”, otherwise – basically the same set you always get from The Devil Wears Prada.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 8.5
Band Activity: 7
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. Born to Lose
2. Escape
3. Outnumbered
4. Assistant to the Regional Manager
5. Dead Throne
6. Constance
7. Danger: Wildman
8. Dez Moines

As I Lay Dying:

I haven’t seen As I Lay Dying since 2009’s No Fear Energy Music tour with Lamb of God and Children of Bodom. I wasn’t a big fan of them then but their music since has definitely gotten my attention. Their set list for this tour was definitely more focused on their older albums – Frail Worlds Collapse and Shadows are Security – which was definitely a treat for me since those are two of my favorite metal albums. The crowd went absolutely insane from the opening riff of “Condemned” and didn’t slow down until the final note of “The Sound of Truth”. Definitely one of the better sets of the day.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 9.5

Setlist:

1. Condemned
2. 94 Hours
3. Through Struggle
4. Nothing Left
5. Cauterize
6. Confined
7. The Sound of Truth

Anthrax:

Going into Mayhem, Anthrax was definitely my #2 band (behind Slipknot) and it wasn’t hard to see why. Singer Joey Belladonna has one of the better sounding voices of singers his age, which definitely helps Anthrax appeal to younger fans. Scott Ian is still the most recognizable member of the band with his signature bald head and long goatee and can shred like none other. It also doesn’t hurt to have a guy like bassist Frank Bello who had at least double the energy of every other band member.

While they unveiled their Mayhem setlist back in May at Rock on the Range, it was still a treat to hear songs like “I Am the Law” and “Antisocial Again”. Plus, it never hurts to open a set with “Caught in a Mosh”. Anthrax was easily the second best band there and arguably the best by some accounts. They completely blew fellow “Big 4” band Slayer off the stage.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 9.5

Setlist:

1. Caught in a Mosh
2. Got the Time [Joe Jackson cover]
3. Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
4. Antisocial [Trust cover]
5. Indians
6. Madhouse
7. I Am the Law

Asking Alexandria:

I was expecting The Devil Wears Prada to be the least accepted band on the bill but it turned out that Asking Alexandria would take over that role. While I enjoy Asking Alexandria, the rest of the crowd didn’t really seem to. There were definitely some hardcore Asking Alexandria fans in the crowd, but overall playing before Motorhead definitely didn’t suit them well.

Vocalist Danny Worsnop had the least amount of energy from the times that I’ve seen them and didn’t really seem as invested in the show as he usually did. Guitarists Cameron Liddell, Ben Bruce and bassist Sam Bettley tried to make up for his lack of effort, but even they fell short. They were definitely substantially better at last years Warped Tour; though I guess that was more their element – which probably had a lot to do with it. Still, they weren’t bad. Just not as good as they’ve been in times past.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 7
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 8.5

Setlist:

1. Welcome
2. Closure
3. Breathless
4. A Lesson Never Learned
5. To the Stage
6. Dear Insanity
7. Morte et Dabo

Motorhead:

I’m probably going to take a lot of flak for this, but damn Motorhead are boring. Don’t get me wrong, I love their music and totally respect what they’ve done for rock and metal, but good lord are they boring. Much like Scott Ian is for Anthrax, Motorhead singer Lemmy Kilmister is easily the face of the band and one of the most iconic figures in hard rock and metal. His voice is just as solid now as it was when he formed Motorhead in 1975. It was definitely nice to hear songs like “The Chase is Better Than the Catch” and “Ace of Spades”.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 3
Overall Rating: 7

Setlist:

1. Bomber
2. Damage Case
3. I Know How to Die
4. Stay Clean
5. Over the Top
6. The Chase is Better Than the Catch
7. The One to Sing the Blues
8. Going to Brazil
9. Killed by Death
10. Ace of Spades
11. Overkill

Slayer:

I don’t care how good a band sounds, if they’re boring live then they’re boring live. Slayer might write something amazing tunes and they all translate well live, but if there’s no energy to your live performance, it’s hard for people to stay tuned in if they’re not a huge fan of your band. That’s how I’ve always felt with Slayer.

Hearing songs like “Disciple”, “Jesus Saves” and “Angel of Death” is always good, but I just can’t get over how boring they are.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 6
Overall Rating: 8

Setlist:

1. Disciple
2. War Ensemble
3. Die by the Sword
4. Hate Worldwide
5. Mandatory Suicide
6. Altar of Sacrifice
7. Jesus Saves
8. Seasons in the Abyss
9. Hell Awaits
10. Dead Skin Mask
11. Angel of Death

Encore:

12. South of Heaven
13. Raining Blood

Slipknot:

Slipknot was the reason I wanted to cover Mayhem this year. I’ve seen Slipknot eight times since 2004 (including twice on this years Mayhem). Sadly I missed covering the 2008 installment of Mayhem (only one I haven’t covered) due to a family trip. Then in 2009 I was supposed to shoot their tour with direct support from Trivium and Coheed & Cambria but due to a mix up at the box office, a pass wasn’t there. Needless to say when I heard they were denying approximately 90% of photographers for this year’s performance, I was pretty disappointed; not to mention frustrated that it was looking like I’d never get to photograph my favorite band. Thankfully, a friend of mine who runs the website Pop Culture Madness was able to get a pass and she let me shoot for their publication. You can view those pictures HERE.

On to the actual show review…

As I’ve stated, Slipknot’s my favorite band. A lot of people question the necessity of having nine members in a band (eight after the passing of bassist Paul Gray in 2010), but if you’re a fan of Slipknot, you understand it. Each member has a role in the band. Not just in terms of the music, but their personality as well. Each member brings their own unique take on their music and visual aesthetic to an already over-the-top live show. Sure everyone knows front man (#8) Corey Taylor, drummer (#1) Joey Jordison and guitarist (#4) Jim Root, but a lot of what makes Slipknot shows special are the antics of “smaller” band members like percussionists (#6) – Clown and (#3) Chris Fehn, DJ/sampler tandem (#0) Sid Wilson and (#5) Craig Jones and fellow guitarist (#7) Mick Thomson.

Even though it’d been a few years since the last time I’d seen them, they were by far at the top of their game. Due to their ages, they’re nowhere near as over-the-top live as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean they’re slouches now. Clown and Sid are still easily the craziest on stage. Clown’s drum riser is constantly rising up and down in the air during their set and that’s soon followed by Sid leaving his DJ kit to hang and jump off of Clown’s riser. It’s truly a sight to behold.

Corey’s voice has definitely improved a lot. Not that it was ever below par, but I think his time in Stone Sour has helped the overall quality of his voice helping him move between screaming and singing verses.

One of the best parts of this show and tour was not just their actions on stage or their stage set up…it was their set list. Since they’re not touring in support of an album, they’re album to have the freedom to fully choose the setlist they want and I loved it. This set list features 9/14 songs coming from their first two albums including songs like “Disasterpiece”, “Gently” and “The Heretic Anthem” which I haven’t seen them play in awhile. Obviously there were other fan favorites like “Sulfur” and “Before I Forget”, which I could’ve personally done without, but overall one of the better setlists I’ve seen them use. I also loved the use of “‘Till we Die” as their outro, paying homage to recently deceased bassist Paul Gray. Touching and emotional.

One of the other perks for me was being able to watch their entire set from the second show I went to – July 29th in Bristow, VA – from the side of the stage (Pictured below). Easily one of the highlights of all the concerts I’ve been to and a fitting way to end my stint at Mayhem 2012.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 10

Setlist:

742617000027 [Intro]
1. (Sic)
2. Eyeless
3. Sulfur
4. Wait and Bleed
5. Before I Forget
6. Disasterpiece
7. Gently
8. Vermillion
9. The Heretic Anthem
10. Psychosocial
11. Duality
12. Spit it Out

Encore:

13. People = Shit
14. Surfacing
‘Till We Die [Outro]

Photos (Bands listed in Alphabetical Order):

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