Rockstar Mayhem Festival - Auburn, WA 7.8.14
Reviewers/Photos: "Iron" Mike Savoia & Stephanie Savoia
The 7th annual Rockstar Mayhem Festival rolled into the White River Amphitheatre area on a perfect 90 degree day. Since the announcement of the bands on this tour earlier this year, many felt the bands on the bill were not heavy enough representation for Mayhem compared to its counterpart Uproar Tour. In some ways people were right, but I'm not hear to bitch about that because this was one hell of a great day from start to finish! The side stages were definitely the place to be this year. Erimha opened the whole show on the Victory Records Stage with their symphonic black metal. Unfortunately with this stage far away from the other two stages we never got back over to see any of the other bands scheduled there because show times overlapped with the Coldcock Whiskey and Sumerian Records stages.
So on the Coldcock Whiskey and Sumerian stages you had bands ranging from death metal to good old heavy duty rock/metal. There's no doubt our Top 3 favorite bands on these stages were Mushroomhead, Ice-T's Bodycount, & Texas Hippie Coalition. Mushroomhead should have been on the main stage. The crowd for Mushroomhead in the early afternoon was the biggest I've ever seen at Mayhem for the side stages in all the years I've seen it here. Check out this photo to see what i mean. Not a spot left anywhere.
Mushroomhead came out and just kicked everyone in the balls. Band members Stitch, Waylon and Jackie even went out crowd surfing with the fans. Travesty they only had a 25min set! With 7 masked members running around and stage and fronted with 2 lighted stage water drums its an amazing spectacle. They should be coming back to Seattle on a tour soon with two other theatrical bands that's gonna rule. Can't announce yet. Then in 2015 it's looking like a possible dual tour with Slipknot (Mushroomhead has been around longer) according to Corey Taylor. Now that would be awesome! Check out my exclusive Mushroomhead photos from backstage to onstage. CLICK HERE!
Right before Mushroomhead the Texas gunslinging hard rockers Texas Hippie Coalition laid down some crunch a little different from the more hardcore bands and it was killer to see the crowd enjoyed it! The mosh pit kept rolling while head Hippie "Big Dad Ritch" kept control of the crowd with his larger than life presence and big deep voice. Imagine Lynyrd Skynyrd/BLS meets Pantera! Check out their latest CD "Peacemaker"!
Just before the tour started Upon a Burning Body pulled a little publicity stunt(they won't admit it) stating their singer (Danny Leal) has disappeared. They denied it but the metal world reported it everywhere and I saw their Facebook page get all kinds of new likes. Hmm either way it's old news now cause he was there in the flesh tattoos and all.
Also hailing from Texas, Upon a Burning Body can get a crowd and mosh pit going with the best of them. We've always enjoyed shooting them in the past, especially during their blast-beat screamo anthem "Texas Blood Money" (see video). Also getting the crowd in a frenzy was California's deathcore metal masters Suicide Silence who featured new vocalist Hernan "Eddie" Hermida formally of All Shall Perish. Back in 2012 the band lost original singer Mitch Lucker in a motorcycle accident. Hernan was a perfect fit to the extreme Suicide Silence style. Check out their new video released July 1st "You Can't Stop Me" (see video)..plain BRUTAL! Not our cup of tea, but to each his own. The kings of deathcore Cannibal Corpse also played. Not exciting to watch but man they have such a hardcore legion of fans and that alone watching their pit and fans going crazy is entertainment enough.
Obviously besides Mushroomhead on the side stage the band everyone wanna to check out was Ice-T's Bodycount! 22 years ago they caused a whole media uproar with their song "Cop Killer" that eventually Ice-T pulled from the album (read all about it here) release but not as the last song on the set today. Even though the band is more gansta lyric related, they're more musically influenced by Suicidal Tendencies than any other band. Really was hoping they'd play "Institutionalized 2014" live but no luck. Such a great 2014 updated lyrical approach to the Suicidal classic from 1983. Not only was Sir Mix A-lot watching on one side of the stage but Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows & Zacky Vengeance with Mushroomhead's Jackie were on the other side. Their 35 min set was one of the more rememberable of all the bands at the festival.
On to the main stage we went. Trivium, Asking Alexandria, Korn and Avenged Sevenfold. Nothing against Trivium (been following them for years, fun to shoot) but Trivium is Trivium, I don't find anything musically special that catches my interest and really (we both did) questioned their mainstage slot. Surprisingly after we walked out of the photo pit we both looked at each other and said "They were great" at the same time. The weird thing is I can't pinpoint why ha!
Same thing with Asking Alexandria. Hailing for the U.K. this metalcore band with commercial appeal no doubt rocked the stage, but again I scratch my head as too what this band has with the younger crowd that appeals to them. I find nothing special musically that leaves any good impression in wanting to hear more and visually they just look like wannabes. The singer wore a white jacket, beanie and big Axl Rose-like white scarf on a 90 degree day. Really? Don't get me wrong, rather have them playing what they do and have it popular in the sub-genre than them playing some pop-rock crap, but I think popularity wise what they have now is what they are gonna always have.
Up next was Korn. Now this is what I'm talking about. Add that Brian "Head" Welch is back in the band with Munky, Fieldy, Jonathan Davis & the incredible drumming of Ray Luzier, Korn is back at the top of their game. Real rockstars delivering the goods and stageshow proving why they've lasted over 20 years and still going strong. Setlist: Falling Away from Me/Twist/Got the Life/Did My Time/Spike in My Veins/Hater/Get Up!/Shoots and Ladders/Coming Undone/Here to Stay/Never Never/Freak on a Leash/Blind. Really digging their new single "Hater" (which they played live), cross mix of the Korn sound with the Rage Against The Machine wha-wha riffing sound. "Hater" will be on "The Paradigm Shift: World Tour Edition" that will be available exclusively at Best Buy outlets in the U.S. beginning this Tuesday July 15. In addition to the original ‘The Paradigm Shift’ album that was released last fall, this expanded edition comes with several new tracks and live performances of familiar Korn favorites.
Headlining was the bombastic show of Avenged Sevenfold. The last of the arena rock bands? One of the few newer metal bands that can fill arenas around the U.S. and actually put on one hell of a stage show to go along with their dual guitar oriented metal featuring Zacky Vengeance & Synyster Gates. Like it or not they are the carriers of the newer generation of metal to the masses. Always enjoy a A7X show. Setlist: Shepherd of Fire/Nightmare/Bat Country/Hail to the King/Buried Alive/Seize the Day/Critical Acclaim/Afterlife/This Means War/Encore: A Little Piece of Heaven/Unholy Confessions.
Overall with the 2014 Rockstar Mayhem Festival it ended up as one of the better festivals even though we were not impressed originally with the full lineups for this supposed more heavier version of festivals.
Mike's Top 5 Bands of the 2014 Rockstar Mayhem Festival:
1) Mushroomhead 2) Korn 3) Bodycount 4) Texas Hippie Coalition 5) Avenged Sevenfold
Stephanie's Top 5 Bands of the 2014 Rockstar Mayhem Festival:
1) Mushroomhead 2) Body Count 3) Avenged Sevenfold 4) Korn 5) Texas Hippie Coalition
Overall Best Live Band: MUSHROOMHEAD
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