Iron Mike


King Diamond Delivers the Horror To Seattle

King Diamond/Jess & The Ancient Ones
Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA 10.28.14
Review/Photos/Video: "Iron" Mike Savoia

King Diamond photos - Jess & The Ancient Ones photos

As I stood in the photo pit looking around at the other 8-10 photographers ready to shoot King Diamond, I couldn't help but think how much time has flown, but still seems like yesterday. As the elder photographer in the pit on this night, I pondered back to August 8, 1986 where I stood in this exact same place in the Moore Theatre photoing King Diamond. Who was his opener back then you ask? None other than a little known upcoming metal band at the time...Megadeth! 28 years ago I was a 19yo Kodak film camera carrying kid with a true metal heart to capture the times of what I still think were the greatest times in rock/metal music. All these years later it still beats stronger than ever. Here's one from the photos from that show.

Before King Diamond went solo his Danish band from Copenhagen, Mercyful Fate (broke up in 1985), ruled the first wave of Black Metal from Europe onto the world. After scaring kids and parents alike worldwide with their evil overtones and album covers, these 3 records all these decades later still hold their own as to some of the greatest in their genre: Mercyful Fate (1982 EP - also known as "Nuns Have No Fun"), Melissa (1983) & Don't Break the Oath (1984). King wasn't done because his first 3 solo albums Fatal Portrait (1986), Abigail (1987), Them (1988) were instant classics to follow the Mercyful Fate legacy with their horror story themes which instantly fitted perfect into his live concert schemes. Main subject on his "Them" album (King's insane grandmother) still lives in his shows to this day.

Probably the greatest falsetto singer in rock/metal history, I was wondering how his voice could possibly be anywhere near as good as it was years ago. Tonight he blew me away! After a 2010 open-heart triple-bypass surgery he quit smoking and that combo has given him his voice, lungs and energy back. 58 freakin years old and he killed it!!!  Watch "Tea" from the show video below...are you kidding me!? He nailed it! He hasn't sounded this good in years! The King is back!!

The production of the show was awesome! Probably the best stage setup I've ever seen in the Moore Theatre for any rock/metal concert. Hailing on is horror meets evil visuals, the stage was draped in various visuals like his logo, lots of black, castle walls and the best one...his cover to the upcoming “Dreams of Horror” the “best of” album. Covering the band’s entire career. King and Andy LaRocque mastered and enhanced 23 songs into what they call the ultimate editions for fans and chosen from both the Roadrunner and Metal Blade catalogs. More info & order here.

With a setlist covering decades of his work (including Mercyful Fate), any fan of King Diamond over the years would have enjoyed this setlist: The Candle / Sleepless Nights / Welcome Home / Never Ending Hill / Let It Be Done / The Puppet Master / At the Graves/ Tea / Digging Graves / A Visit from the Dead / Evil (Mercyful Fate cover) / Come to the Sabbath (Mercyful Fate cover) / Shapes of Black / Eye of the Witch / Encore: Cremation / Encore 2: The Family Ghost / Black Horsemen.

From the video above you'll see and hear how pumped the sold-out crowd was. During the Mercyful Fate tunes "Evil" and "Come to the Sabbath" it was hair raising with the crowd singing aloud. With the rumors of a possible Mercyful Fate reunion in the near future I can't imagine what that show will be like from the response of fans during this shows Mercyful Fate tunes. Some of the greatest metal riffs ever! Listen how incredible these sound!

Check out a recent interview with King Diamond in Rolling Stone here.

Before I end I do have to talk a little on the opening act called Jess & The Ancient Ones. One word...WOW! Haven't enjoyed an opening act like that in a while. Jess & The Ancient Ones are a Finnish psychedelic occult rock band that's headed by the hauntingly awesome vocals of Jess. She is the modern day Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) vocally and onstage with her near hypnotic state.

Check out their new video for "Astral Sabbat".

If Jess wasn't enough her band was off the hook!!! The chemistry was just so fresh from a 70s-like rock perspective. Nothing flashy, just pure rock music magic to the ears and a female fronted singer that mesmerized me. How about a 12 minute journey called "Sulfur Giants" to make ya go buy their music on iTunes or order CD/LP online.

If you're a fan of Ghost and their music, you'll die for this amazing stuff that's very similar, but much more monstrous in structure and musical efforts. Thank you Jess & The Ancient Ones for proving to us rock music is not dead! Get back to America soon! Thanks King Diamond for personally picking them for this U.S. tour. They are gonna win over a TON of new fans!

For show photo albums from both bands go here: King Diamond photos - Jess & The Ancient Ones photos

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King Diamond, In This Moment & Raven in Seattle this week

Alright Rockoholics it's time to get your metal gear on and hit the Moore Theatre this week for King Diamond (Tuesday) and In This Moment (Thursday).

The lead singer of Mercyful Fate - King Diamond is currently on his first solo tour of America since his 2010 triple-bypass heart surgery in which he came out of the procedure healthy enough to make a full recovery over these past years. As a vocalist, he is known for his extensive multi-octave falsetto vocal range. Lyrically one of the best storytellers of Horror, Satan and Grandma stories you'll ever here and theatrically put into the show. This North American tour will be bearing witness to the band's full European festival stage show! Yes the full stage gated one! This show has been SOLD-OUT for a awhile so unless you find some tickets on Ebay you're outta luck.

Opening the King Diamond show the cool Finnish mainstream occult rock from Jess & the Ancient Ones.

Thursday 10/30 In This Moment play the Moore Theatre. Always a great theatrical act to see live, Maria Brink and her band mates are starting out their 2 month long tour supporting their new album "Black Widow" out on Atlantic Records November 17th. Here's the first single and video "Sick Like Me" from the album. Buy your tickets now: and pre-order the new "Black Widow" album here: Show openers: Twelve Foot Ninja, 3 Pill Morning & Starset

Also on Sunday 11/2 the New Wave of British Heavy Metal kings RAVEN play Studio Seven! Back in the day they sold out the Moore Theater many times over and still to this day some of the greatest shows ever seen in the Moore!  Many tracks on their classic "Live at the Inferno" album back in 1984 was recorded at the Moore! RAVEN was the first band ever to take Metallica out on the road! Be badass to see them tour again sometime! Buy tickets here:

Watch for my show reviews and photo blogs later this week! "Iron" Mike -


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Sweden Metal Invaded Seattle with Amon Amarth & Sabaton

Amon Amarth/Sabaton/Skeletonwitch - El Corazon - Seattle, WA 09.30.14

Swedish music artists have been influencing America and many others around the world for years. Obviously the most popular of those that come to my mind include Abba, Yngwie Malmsteen, Europe, The Hives, etc. but what Sweden is best known for is the heavier to melodic side of rock/heavy metal that you might of never known comes from Sweden. Ghost, Meshuggah, In Flames, Opeth, Arch Enemy, Bathory, At The Gates, Candlemass, Avatar, The Cardigans, etc. In that list you definitely have to include the Viking Kings of Amon Amarth and the War-torn battle stories from Sabaton. Both bands have been raging around for years and finally America is catching on. Of the two, Amon Amarth has been around the longest, since 1992, Sabaton since 1999. It wasn't until 2008 when Amon Amarth's "Twilight of the Thunder God" album reached number 50 in the US Billboard charts and ended up #7 in Revolver Magazine’s Top 20 Albums for that year. Then last year they really hit it with an ever bigger Heavy Metal audience in America unaware of them with a main stage spot on the 2013 Rockstar Mayhem Tour opening for Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch and Mastodon. Not only did they take the opportunity and run with it they blew everyone away with a stage show that included a Viking ship with huge dragon mast and drums atop on deck, something I can recall never seeing in my 30+ years of attending concerts. The medieval stages and dragon Dio had back in the late 80s could compare though. Here's a couple of my shots from last years Rockstar Mayhem showing their Nordic Viking ship awesomeness.

Now last night at the sold-out El Corazon it was a little different situation with a stage 1/3rd the size from the Mayhem tour and a roof only 12ft above their heads. For how much I loved their huge stage show last year, last night blew my doors off with no dramatic stage props (the way you know it's a great band) just the music and small club feel. It was packed sardines in there! Hard to believe just a couple days ago I saw Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) on that same stage playing together (see video).

Amon Amarth, brutal yet melodic death metal that adds some Viking Nordic folk and singable choruses that stick in your head probably like how a sword through your head in a medieval battle was...permanent. Opening with the title track of their latest album "Deceiver of the Gods", Amon Amarth rolled through a near hour and half, 17 song set of music like a soundtrack to a great Thor or mythological movie.

Deceiver of the Gods/Runes to My Memory/Death in Fire/Free Will Sacrifice/As Loke Falls/We Shall Destroy/For Victory or Death/Varyags of Miklagaard/The Fate of Norns/Father of the Wolf/Guardians of Asgaard/Warriors of the North/Destroyer of the Universe/Cry of the Black Birds/War of the Gods/ Encore: Twilight of the Thunder God/The Pursuit of Vikings. Check out the amazing movie music video (over a million views) for my favorite Amon Amarth song off the new album "Father of the Wolf".

True underground metal that might not be for everyone, but let me tell ya, singer Joakim Brodén & his mates are one hell of a band and their fans (including many girls in attendance) of the same Swedish/Nordic heritage there believed Amon Amarth were Gods in their own right. A piece of their Viking heritage from Sweden live in the flesh! Great experience seeing it in a small club. Amon Amarth haven't been around for 20 years for nothing. Check out their new album on Metal Blade Records "Deceiver of the Gods" for a good punch in the gut!

Opening the show was Skeletonwitch from Athens, Ohio. Evil thrash death metal that was actually enjoyable and the pit was raging for their whole set. Great grooving bass lines and dual guitars that sooth and puncture the ear drums at the same time. Check out their single "Burned From Bone" from their new album "Serpents Unleashed" on Prosthetic Records. Love the band groove!

Now on to Sabaton. Featuring lyrical themes based on war and historical battles, singer Joakim Brodén is fantastic live and always connected one with the crowd with his good humor (see my video below...still laughing on the YMCA thing) between songs interacting and seriously seemingly enjoying all his time on stage.

As you can hear in the live video and music video for "To Hell And Back" below Sabaton are a great melodic power metal band with that European kinda happy folk underlining tone. New CD "Heroes" on Nuclear Blast Records is out now. Overall it was a great show from start to finish and seriously enjoyed every minute of it. I'll be posting some various concert photos from the bands at this show in the next days at so go LIKE and wait and see ;)

"Iron" Mike Savoia - Facebook - Instagram - Twitter


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Tom Morello & Chris Cornell Together in Seattle

Yes you read that headline right! Former Audioslave members Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) & Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) played together in Seattle last night for a 15Now benefit concert at (yes you re reading this right) El Corazon! I couldn't acheieve a photo pass from organization so I did the next (or better) best thing for you folks that couldn't be there with us 800 other hot sweaty lucky peeps, video. Since cameras were not allowed my iPhone5 did the kick ass job to cature video of this historic show in Seattle ;) Enjoy your next hour of rockin entertainment which the video includes:

Now in the Fire cut (Rage Against the Machine)
Save the Hammer for the Man (The Nightwatchman)
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding (Nick Lowe)
Imagine (John Lennon)
One (U2 with a bit of Metallica - One lyrics)
I'm the Highway (Audioslave)
Doesn't Remind Me (Audioslave)
Your Time Has Come (Audioslave)
The Ghost of Tom Joad (Bruce Springsteen)
Cochise (Audioslave)
This Land is Your Land (Woody Guthrie)

Enjoy ! "Iron" Mike Savoia - Facebook - Instagram - Twitter

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Century Link 9.7.14 - CCFA Flag Football Tourney - McCready McKagan

Even though the Seahawks won't be playing at Century Link Field tomorrow for NFL Sunday (they crushed Green Bay on Thursday night 36-16) they'll still be football happening on the field! Come on out and join us as Pearl Jam's Mike McCready host's a huge flag football tournament at CenturyLink Field benefiting the Crohn's’s & Colitis Foundation of America! Players and spectators alike can watch the 12 noon Rock and Jock Celebrity Game, featuring Mike McCready, Duff McKagan, might get the best workout. Nike+ FuelBand ready! Ha!

Tickets can be bought at the door, kids 10 and under are free, come on out and help raise money for CCFA! You ask what is Crohn's & Colitis? Click HERE to educate yourself on these near unbearable diseases. Mike McCready know's far too well as he's dealt with Crohn's disease for most of his life. Check out this great article on the Seattle Seahawks website HERE. It'll tell ya some more on the former Seahawk's and other attending. Come on out and support this great benefit on probably one of the last great days of summer in Seattle!

Watch my Instagram and Twitter accounts for on field updates from Century Link!

See you there!
"Iron" Mike Savoia

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Men's Room 2000th - NFL Gameday - Soundgarden Invade Seattle

What an amazing day in Seattle yesterday! Not only was it opening day in the NFL at Century Link Field with our Defending Super Bowl Champs Seattle Seahawks vs. the Green Bay Packers, but it was our KISW's Men's Room 2000th show broadcast! In this day and age of radio broadcasting shows that's an amazing feat to achieve especially with a group of on-air personalities. Congrats to Miles, Steve The Thrill Hill, Thee Ted Smith & Ben The Psycho Muppet.

In celebration, they broadcasted live outside of Elysian Fields (home brewer of their Men's Room beer) with all their fans and all the people going to the game, the free Soundgarden/Pharrell Williams concert and all the cool NFL Gameday stuff. The guys had a blast with everyone and even had Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann sit in on the broadcast and meet with fans. Great dude!

At 3:20pm during the broadcast Soundgarden started their concert and that's when things got loud! Here was our view from the broadcast table (I zoomed 400mm in).

I went around the outside of the fenced area to get some big crowd shots and Stephanie was inside on the stadium side of the stage front row to get some photos.

It was Soundgarden's Kim Thayil's Birthday too! He had to be more than happy playing this show as seen in Stephanie's photo.

NFL Gameday Village was in town too so in Pioneer Square they had all kinds of cool interactive things going on for kids and adults with live ESPN broadcasts and special guests. Name these Seahawk greats below ;)

Overall a fantastic day to be a Seattleite with KISW rockin the airwaves and the Seahawks crushing the Packers 36-16 on a beautiful warm sunny day. The only complaint I had...parking lots charging more than game tickets for parking! It ranged from $60-$140 for event parking near the stadium. Are you serious? Know what i say to that...PUNT!

Go Hawks! Oh and watch for my blog Monday on my report/photos from Century Link Field for the CCFA Charity Flag Football Tournament! I'll be official photographer for some team that includes "Those Seattle Dudes" Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Duff McKagan (GnR) and Jerry Cantrell (AIC) to name a few. They'll be some KISW/Entercom folks on the field playing too so if ya wanna come out Sunday and watch you can buy tickets at Century Link at the door and children 10 and under or free! The Rock and Jock Celebrity Game starts at noon! Benefits helping tackle Crohn's and Colitis! More info HERE.

Iron Mike - Facebook



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Soundgarden & NIN Show Review

The Soundgarden/Nine Inch Nails co-headlining tour finally happened! Remember 20 years ago back in 1994 when Soundgarden backed out of the planned Nine Inch Nails tour supposedly because the announced Chris Cornell had some vocal issues? "Superunknown" had just debuted at #1 on Billboards Top 200 and Soundgarden were on top of the music world and Nine Inch Nails were at the top of their game too so it was disappointing to many it never happened. So to actually be blogging about a Soundgarden/NIN tour in 2014 is a miracle! This being the last show of the tour at the White River Amphitheatre you would've thought there would've been more people there (approx. 12k) with both these bands playing, but with the recent traffic and parking woes at the White River, Bumbershoot and Dave Matthews at the Gorge also going on those may have contributed to what I thought would've been a for sure sell-out. I have a feeling people stayed away at the last minute too especially with the announcement Soundgarden are playing a free show outside Centurylink Field for the Seahawks game this Thursday. NIN was just here 9 months ago too and sold out the Key Arena. Either way still a great turn-out even though the weather went monsoon for awhile on the people up in the grass area of the venue.

Opening the show was Cold Cave, a dark synthpop act headed by Wesley Eisold and touring partner Amy Lee. Their short set feature two keyboards worth of cool synth sounds and Wesley's melodic yet intense vocals. I like that 80s synth stuff so I'm definitely gonna check Cold Cave out. Hopefully this stuff we heard live is gonna be off their new album due out soon.

In a Big Unit surprise, as I was walking out of the photo pit after Cold Cave, to my surprise my fellow photographer buddy (all 6'10 of him) Randy Johnson jumped out at me from backstage to say hi as all of us photographers were leaving. Randy has been shooting the last couple of Soundgarden shows on this tour and got back into photography after his baseball career ended. Always been great to talk photography & music with him these past years on the phone. He surprised me for sure! Check out his concert and other world traveling photography at


On this co-headlinging tour, Soundgarden hit the stage first. What a spectacular light and visual show both bands gave us. For us concert photographers shooting it was heaven to the eyes when Soundgarden came out with their monster visual effects and lights. Their "A" game was on tonight!


Great to see Matt Cameron playing with them tonight too since he hasn't been with the band at all in 2014 because of his Pearl Jam commitments. Matt Chamberlain has been tour drumming for Soundgarden this year.

The band just looked primed and ready. Chris Cornell was on fire from the beginning, running around and rocking out while Kim Thayil and Ben Shepherd roamed around in their subdued yet raging ways. Shepherd showed some real emotion at the end of the set pushing over his amps on his way off stage, a sign of happiness maybe that the tour is now done? Ha! Little surprised they didn't have any special guests come out on stage this being Seattle and the last show of the tour. Soundgarden's set: Searching with My Good Eye Closed, Spoonman, The Day I Tried to Live, My Wave, Outshined, Jesus Christ Pose, Hunted Down, Fell on Black Days, Mailman, A Thousand Days Before, Burden in My Hand, Rusty Cage, Beyond the Wheel. 

This time around Nine Inch Nails were scaled down to 4 members including Trent Reznor. I actually liked it better, more raw. Trent was raging tonight onstage. Rumor has it this might be the last NIN show for a long while so I think he was leaving it all out onstage tonight as if it was forever.

With the technology of today and Nine Inch Nails electronic-influenced music, is there any other band giving us this awesome live experience combo of visual/music during a concert? Think not (Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree is my other favorite live experience), Trent's vision is just plain awesome and visual director Rob Sheridan makes it all come alive. If you have photosensitive epilepsy, this would be the last band on the planet you'd wanna go see live. It's intense! Hope this isn't another NIN hiatis, just too damn good of a band live to go away. (See pics from last NIN Seattle show)

Nine Inch Nails set: Copy of A, Sanctified, Came Back Haunted, 1,000,000, March of the Pigs, Piggy, Terrible Lie, Closer, Gave Up, Disappointed, Find My Way, The Great Destroyer, Eraser, Wish, The Hand That Feeds, Head Like a Hole, (Encore) Hurt

Check out the full show video below from last years VEVO Presents: Nine Inch Nails Tension 2013. Filmed 2 weeks after the Seattle show last November.

Thanks to Lynden for the White River audience video show overview posted on YouTube. 

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Jimi Hendrix Park Groundbreaking

Last Friday afternoon me and Jolene had the pleasure of covering and representing KISW at this small ceremony groundbreaking of the new future home of the Jimi Hendrix Park. Located at 2400 South Massachusetts Street in Seattle (at the Northwest African American Museum) off I-90, this phase one "Little Wing" ceremony was a great overview of what's happened in the planning process and the future vision for the park. Many guest speakers including Founder/Director Janie Hendrix, informal tables, great food and awesome music from Ayron Jones & The Way filled the 2-hr+ ceremony. For all the current info on the Jimi Hendrix Park download the brochure HERE or go to Facebook: or the official website 

The Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation Vision: Create a community space inspired by the electrifying music and story of Jimi Hendrix. To create a gathering place for individuals of diverse backgrounds and ages to celebrate cultural heritage, experience community pride, and enjoy innovative educational programming.

Remember to purchase the limited edition 2014 KISW/Jimi Hendrix Park t-shirts to help support the development of Jimi Hendrix Park. Proceeds from the sale of each shirt will go towards the construction efforts. CLICK HERE TO VIEW/BUY. For more ceremony photos go to KISW photos HERE and for complete photo coverage on my photo page HERE

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Judas Priest/Steel Panther Tacoma 11/22/14

Judas Priest & Steel Panther
Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA - Sat, Nov 22, 2014 07:30 PM
Tickets on sale 10am PT 7/18/14 at Click Here To Buy!
Preshow blog by: "Iron" Mike Savoia

Update 7/15/14 6:30pm: Buy Pre-Sale Tickets now or tomorrow at - Pre-Sale Offer Code: DOMEDIRECT - Pre-Sale Starts: Wednesday, July 16th at 10am - Pre-Sale Ends: Thursday, July 17th at 10pm Buy Pre-Sale Tickets here! Full public sale on at 10am Friday 7/18. 

The Metal Gods Judas Priest are back! Touring behind their first new album in 6 years, "Redeemer of Souls" just came out last week and it's looking as if this will be their first Top 10 debuting album on the U.S. Billboard charts ever.  

"Redeemer of Souls" takes a little getting use to for us long time Priest fans. Maybe we were expecting a pure balls-to-the-wall metal album which it really isn't. More of an over all Priest catalog (40+ years) feel from the early year sounds to the newer accustomed metal edge sounds. I can't get it out of my player, its a good album and needs to be bought especially for "Halls of Valhalla" and (my favorite) "Sword of Damocles" which are 100% classic Judas Priest.

"Metalizer" is the albums "Painkiller" and "Beginning of the End" is the albums closing balled that is to me a title premonition to the nearing future end of arena rock/metal. Our heroes like Priest, Kiss, AC/DC, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, etc are bigger than ever, but creeping near their end and we'll never see such a great genre of music and concerts again in our lifetime so I'm VERY excited I'll get to see Priest at least one more time. I can't remember how many times I've seen Judas Priest over the past 30+ years. You better come out to the show if you've ever been a Priest fan, the last times they played the Tacoma Dome was May 26, 1984 & May 18, 1986! Talk about a time machine in 2014!

Last time Priest was in town was October 29, 2011 at the WaMu Theater in Seattle (view photo album) and rumor had it then they were thinking ending touring as a whole for the band but thankfully the Metal Gods knocked some sense into them and they are back to deliver the goods to us fans and what we live for....METAL!

Opening for the Judas Priest U.S. Tour will be my buds Steel Panther! Known for their potty mouths, humorous sexual-overtoned lyrics and exaggerated on-stage persona that mock the very heavy metal music they play with the lifestyle (Sex, Drugs, Strippers etc.) of the famous 80s hair bands, you won't see a more entertaining opener or flashback to 1984 ever!

Don't let that fool ya, these guys are great musicians and the entertainment value with great tunes will shock and awe the people unaware of the band. Guitarist Satchel (aka Russ Parrish) was an instructor at The Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T.) at Hollywood's Musician's Institute and also played in Rob Halford's Fight band back in 1993 on the killer "War of Words" album! Singer Michael Starr is a vocal master and David Lee Roth wishes he still had what Michael Starr can do onstage. Their latest CD "All You Can Eat" just came out and again another crazy classic in the Steel Panther discography.

If your easily offended or have churchly eyes/ears NEVER listen to a Steel Panther song and for your God's sake NEVER watch a Steel Panther video. Remember "Death To All But Metal"! 

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Rockstar Mayhem Festival Overview

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 Photo Album
Huge Facebook Photo Album

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