Rockstar Mayhem Festival 2009

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Monday, August 17, 2009

Mayhem Festival 2009, sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink, came to Nissan Pavilion for it’s second year, bringing with them the very best of metal and hard rock. Of course the show just happened to be scheduled on the second hottest day of the summer with temperatures reaching upwards of 97 degrees and the heat index around 105, but the crowd still managed to muster up the energy to rock out all day long. Along with the main stage came two side stages running simultaneously with one another sponsored by Hot Topic and Extreme Metal and every metal show’s sponsor Jagermeister.

Though the show was scheduled to start at 2:15, the festival’s opening band, WhiteChapel, started almost 45 minutes early.

WhiteChapel:

Unfortunately by the time I picked up my press credentials and made my way over to the side stages, WhiteChapel was on their last song, but from what I did happen to catch the few fans inside the gates enjoyed them.

Saint Diablo:

A local band picked to open the Jagermeister stage Saint Diablo wasn’t a huge draw but the crowd seemed to like them for the most part.

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

Job For A Cowboy:

For a band that “everyone hates”, no one seemed to hate on them today. Being the first major band on the side stages they started getting the crowd amped up with “Knee Deep”adding in a new song “Unfurling a Darkened Gospel”off their new album Ruination.

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

Setlist:

1. Knee Deep
2. Reduced to Mere Filth
3. Unfurling a Darkened Gospel
4. Constitutional Masturbation
5. Entombment of a Machine
6. Embedded

God Forbid:

Having seen them twice this year, once touring with Lamb of God and the other at a major festival, I wasn’t sure what sort of intensity God Forbid would bring to the table. But I quickly found out as singer Byron Davis came running onto the stage screaming for the crowd to cheer and opened into “War of Attrition”and didn’t look back as he walked up and down the stage and onto the middle stage extension with his dreadlocks smacking fans in the face, screaming and wailing his fists. A phenomenal live band and addition to the side stage.

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

Setlist:

1. War Of Attrition
2. Walk Alone
3. Broken Promise
4. To The Fallen Hero
5. The End Of The World

Behemoth:

Up next was black metal titans Behemoth. Hailing from Gdansk, Poland, Behemoth brought with them a hail of face paint, chains and Nordic attire. One of the bigger-draw bands of the day, Behemoth should probably have been higher up on the bill, but regardless they played a phenomenal set in front of an ever-growing crowd.

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

Setlist:

1. Slaves Shall Serve
2. At The Left Hand Ov God
3. Conquer All
4. Demigod
5. Ov Fire and the Void
6. Chant For Eschaton 2000

All That Remains:

I’ve also seen these guys several times over the last year. Having blown up due to the radio success of their single “Two Weeks”All That Remains had one of the biggest draws and responses of the afternoon. With their bassist, Jeanne Sagan, being the only female band member of the day was certainly something interesting to watch as she scampered across the stage, screaming at the crowd and sticking her tongue out at fellow band-mate and lead singer Phil Labonte. Another noteworthy fact, they decided to use our spot to film a video for their song “Forever in Your Hands”. Though their performance was a bit sub-par compared to past shows I’ve seen of theirs, they still got the crowd worked up despite the heat and should definitely be checked out if given the opportunity.

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

Setlist:

1. This Calling
2. Chiron
3. Six
4. Forever in Your Hands
5. The Air That I Breathe
6. Undone
7. Two Weeks

The Black Dahlia Murder:

As soon All That Remains finished their power-packed set we headed back to the other stage for The Black Dahlia Murder only to discover a man dressed in a giant ape costume (pictured below) slam-dancing his way across the stage as the band entered and started into their first song “Statutory Ape”. Due to my position at the front of the stage I wasn’t fully able to catch a full glimpse of the crowd, but from conversations I had with people Black Dahlia was able to obtain the largest amount of circle pits (undoubtedly only filled with hardcore dancers) second only to Cannibal Corpse. The Black Dahlia Murder have never really been my cup of tea musically but they certainly had a great amount of energy that radiated into and across the crowd leading to one of the best sets of the afternoon.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 9.5

Setlist:

1. Statutory Ape
2. Everything Went Black
3. A Vulgar Picture
4. A Selection Unnatural
5. Miasma
6. What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse
7. Unhallowed
8. Funeral Thirst

Trivium:

Another band that everyone seems to love to hate is Florida metal-titans Trivium, closing out the Jagermeister Stage. But there was no hate today with people waiting the entire day at the very front of the crowd just for a glimpse of the band. When guitarist and lead singer Matt Heafy the crowd erupted with cheers and as they started into their set opener “The End of Everything”, their bassist ran and jumped off the stage down to the ground, hopped up onto the crowd barricade step and eventually hopped over it, lying on top of fans as he played along. Some fans even began to try to play it too. Playing songs spanning their entire career including such hits as “Down from the Sky”and their signature encore song “Pull harder on the Strings of your Martyr”. Overall I was very impressed with their set. You can clearly tell how much Heafy and band mates have matured over the years opening for such metal bands as Slipknot, Metallica and Iron Maiden.

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

Setlist:

1. The End of Everything
2. Rain
3. When All Light Dies
4. Down from the Sky
5. Throes of Perdition
6. Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr

Cannibal Corpse:

Headlining the entirety of the second stages, Cannibal Corpse had the biggest draw by far, including one fan that had just finished an 11-hour flight from Mexico to the show JUST to see Cannibal Corpse and Slayer. I’m not really a fan of Cannibal Corpse but the sheer ferocity and energy that radiated both from them and their fans was intoxicating. One thing everyone seems to know Cannibal Corpse for are their…colorful, for lack of a better word, song titles including “Fucked with a Knife”, “Hammer Smashed Face”and their set closer, “Stripped, Raped and Strangled”. Overall they were definitely worth the wait through the hate, even if it was just to say you’ve seen them.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 8
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. Evisceration Plague
2. The Time To Kill Is Now
3. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
4. Make Them Suffer
5. Fucked With a Knife
6. Priests of Sodom
7. Hammer Smashed Face
8. Stripped, Raped and Strangled

Bullet For My Valentine:

Like Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine has, upon occasion, drawn a lot of hate for being what seem people deem Metallica rip-offs. Though there is clearly a inspiration driven from Metallica, what metal band can honestly say they’ve never been inspired by them? Regardless Bullet For My Valentine opened up the main stage with the kind of intensity that kept momentum flowing from Cannibal Corpse. Though, to me, this wasn’t as good of a set as I’ve seen them play in past performances, they still put all their energy into it, including radio sensations “Waking the Demon”and “Tears Don’t Fall”as well as a new (and as of now still untitled) new song and finally closing with the first single off their newest record “Scream Aim Fire”. The crowd was clearly into them and could be seen moshing and singing along. A worthy main-stage opener.

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

Setlist:

1. Waking the Demon
2. End of Days
3. 4 Words (To Choke Upon)
4. New Song
5. Tears Don’t Fall
6. Hand of Blood
7. Scream Aim Fire

Killswitch Engage:

When people go to see New England metal masters Killswitch Engage one thought comes to mind: What crazy shit will Adam Dutkiewicz be wearing today? I am speaking of course of Killswitch’s oddball guitarist, known for his onstage antics, peanut-gallery comments and emo-kid taunting. With outfits ranging from Viking attire, pink tutus and my personal favorite of a blow up doll strapped to his back, Dutkiewicz is a huge draw for the band. But this is only one part of Killswitch’s draw. With beautiful melodies and beautiful breakdowns Killswitch Engage is now at the forefront of modern metal and for good reason. Breaking the normal tradition of opening with “A Bid Farewell”, they decided to go with opening with their [arguably] biggest song “My Last Serenade”. Playing a power-packed 40 minute set including their other big songs including “My Curse”, “The End of Heartache”and their infamous Dio cover of “Holy Diver”. A phenomenal set and a good support act for the co-headliners. The only downfall of the set was that Howard’s voice sounded a bit off compared to how it usually sounded.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 9.5
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 9.5

Setlist:

1. My Last Serenade
2. Reckoning
3. Fixation on the Darkness
4. Rose of Sharyn
5. Starting Over
6. A Bid Farewell
7. My Curse
8. The End Of Heartache
9. Holy Diver [Dio Cover]

Slayer:

Like Killswitch Engage, when people think of Slayer their minds, more often then not, tend to shift to the iconic guitarist, Kerry King. Though Slayer has been one of the bands at the forefront of the thrash metal genre, Slayer has never learned how to put on a good live show. Though they may sound good, they are one of the dullest bands to watch. Normally when a band doesn’t move around a lot they’ll put on some crazy video footage or light show. Slayer does none of those things and it continues to be their main downfall as a live act. I had the opportunity to first catch Slayer in 2007 when they, coincidentally, also toured with Marilyn Manson and thought maybe my opinions of them getting blown off the stage by Manson was a fluke and that it was an off day for them, but this show proved that they truly are one of the most boring live bands to ever see. An hours worth of red lighting and continuous fog-effects is just…boring. But regardless of what one writer thinks, Slayer still has one of the most cut-throat and dedicated fan bases of any metal band out there, second only to Iron Maiden.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 9.5
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 4
Overall Rating: 8

Setlist:

1. Darkness Of Christ
2. Disciple
3. Jihad
4. War Ensemble
5. Born Of Fire
6. Psychopathy Red
7. Mandatory Suicide
8. Chemical Warfare
9. Ghosts Of War
10. Dead Skin Mask
11. Hell Awaits
12. Angel Of Death
13. South Of Heaven
14. Raining Blood

Marilyn Manson:

The original shock-rocker was back to headline another all-star line up of bands. After 9 hours of music it’s hard to imagine any one having the energy to stay for the final act, but they did. And as everyone in attendance packed their way from the front gate to the end of the pavilions lawn, Marilyn Manson came out only to taunt the crowd from a giant curtain. As former and recently returned guitarist Twiggy Ramirez started into the opening riff of “We’re From America”off his newest CD, The High End of Low, a strobe light started silhouetting Manson into the curtain as the crowd started frenzy in anticipation, finally the curtain dropped and the crowd went insane. Though Manson laid off from his normal touring theatrics such as burning bibles and having the stage covered In Swastikas. Even with the more “family-friendly”(and I use that term VERY loosely) environment of Manson’s set, he came to rock and rock he did. Clearly overshadowing Slayer…again. One of the biggest surprises of the night was simply the number of Slayer fans who actually stayed through his set without booing or causing trouble. Though a 1/5 of his set was comprised of newer songs, he played a host of old ones and fan-favorites. All and all Manson showed why Rockstar had chosen him to headline the second-year of the festival. Fans left his set feeling rocked and satisfied.

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

Setlist:

1. We’re From America
2. Disposable Teens
3. Little Horn
4. Irresponsible Hate Anthem
5. Four Rusted Horses
6. Arma-God-Damn-Mother-fuckin-geddon
7. The Dope Show
8. Rock Is Dead
9. Tourniquet
10. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) [Eurhythmics cover]
11. The Beautiful People

Photos (Bands Listed Alphabetically):

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