Slipknot, Disturbed, Airbourne, Machine Head, Five Finger Death Punch, Dragonforce, Mastadon & more!
Nissan Pavillion, VA
The first annual Mayhem Fest played Nissan Pavillion in Bristow, VA on 8/17/08, & my first reaction, before I even arrived at the venue was, this concert is the "new" Ozzfest..what I mean is, there was no touring Ozzfest this year, Ozzfest was a one day show in Texas & Canada & that was it...in my opinion, all the good touring metal bands for 2008 signed up to do the Mayhem Fest, probably because over the past few years, Ozzfest has gotten too stiff, really stale, & it's ALL about making $haron money...when Ozzfest first started out, it exposed new bands, it was all about the fans having a good time, & it was, in all honesty, from a metal fan's point of view, a really pleasurable, fun experience, where you celebrated all that was heavy metal...however, what ended up happening over the course of a few years was, Ozzfest broke alot of bands such as Disturbed, Slipknot, Static-X, Linkin Park, etc., & it became a valuable commodity to the metal community, & the bigger the festival became, the more crap you had tossed down your throat...you had more & more big advertiser's throwing their brand at you, the ticket prices went higher & higher, the merch prices went higher & higher...honestly, the last few Ozzfests were more about selling brands then exposing bands, & that was what the tour was all about initially, the celebration of metal, NOT the exploitation of Ozzy's fans!
Ok, so, when I arrived at the venue, I looked at the crowd, the multiple lines of metal heads, which ranged in age from very young, to, well, let's just say, senior citizens, lol, but regardless, it was a pure metal crowd..you saw a good mix of everything, crowd wise, & honestly, when I walked into the venue, it reminded me of what Ozzfest used to be like..it wasn't shiny & pretty, there were a few vendor booths, but not TON'S like Ozzfest, & there were 3 stages that constantly had bands playing! Big Dave, best known for his work with Ozzy & Black Label Society, had a booth set up, it was the "Vagina" booth & he was selling his t-shirts & meeting fans...it was odd to see him at an even NOT pertaining to Ozzy or BLS, & there was a local band that opened the Jager stage, which I missed, but the first actual band set that I caught was Airbourne on the Jager stage.
I've seen Airbourne multiple times over the past year & honestly, I love seeing this band...they are full of energy, alot of fun, they are total old-school AC/DC, straight up riff rock, & Joel, the bands shirtless singer, was tossing cans of beer into the crowd, while taking swigs off can after can of beer, & even chugging a bottle of Jager onstage as well! Airbourne played a short 30 minute set & they were probably one of my personal favorites for the day & in all honesty, they were the most rock n roll band on this bill..they are NOT metal, they are straight up riff rock, so I don't really know if the entire crowd dug what they saw, but from my vantage point, the crowd that was there to see them & there was ALOT o' peeps there, they all loved what they saw!
Black Tide was supposed to play the next stage over, but ended up switching times so they played a little later in the day & Black Tide have a new guitar player too who's got some really crazy hair ala Buzz from The Melvins! 36 Crazyfists & Underoath sounded killer from a distance...I was kinda sidetracked watching Sid from Slipknot do a solo DJ set while motorcycles did crazy stunts
Mastadon opened the main stage & I don't think everyone realized this fact, because the crowd on the main stage to see Mastadon was not as large as the crowd over at the side stages! I basically ran over to catch a few songs by Mastadon, then hauled ass over to the side stages to catch Five Finger Death Punch & soak in more of the action from the side stage areas!
Dragonforce took the stage a few minutes after Machine Head took the Jager stage, & it was hard to try & see everything, so what ended up happening was, I missed most of Machine Head's set, managed to check out a few songs from Dragonforce, who's guitarist's were easily the most complex players of the ENTIRE tour...dammit, the guitar solo's that Dragonforce have in their songs...all I will say is, move over Yngwie Malmsteen!! The thing that makes life tough for Dragonforce though is, in all honesty, they are kinda cartoonish, their songs are a little too epic, the crowd kinda laughs at their imagery & the fact that they are viewed as twirling, really long hair with 5 minute guitar solo's...I'm not knocking them, they are very talented musicians, but they are more suited for a tour with Dream Theatre in my opinion, or maybe Rush? Five Finger Death Punch rocked hard & if you looked closely, you saw 2 of the guys from Disturbed watching their set on the side of the stage, BUT, to be honest with you, I saw something that I thought was un-cool from the Disturbed guys...you know, EVERY single band had a signing that day, even Sid from Slipknot met the fans, yet, NO ONE from Disturbed met any fans...when the 2 members of Disturbed were in the 2nd stage area, there were fans waiting to get a pic or say hello & as soon as Five Finger Death Punch's set ended, the Disturbed boys ran back to their golf cart & left, no fan interaction & I remember thinking, wow, Disturbed used to brag about how they are all about the fans, yet, now they seem to be pulling the "big Rock Star" trip? Regardless, I think the 2nd stage acts were probably better than the main stage acts in many ways, & the headliner's for the 2nd stage area, Machine Head, had a HUGe crowd, but sadly, their set was cut short when their guitarist passed out onstage & they had to end the show.
Ok, so when you got down to the end of the night, the headliners of the evening were Disturbed & Slipknot, & when the Disturbed boys took the stage, Dave Draiman came out in the Silence of the Lamb's, Hannibal Lector, crazy person's mask/motif, & this was something the band used to do way back in the early years...it was kinda odd, because it didn't seem to fit where the band is now, BUT, regardless, the crowd seemed to dig it, & overall, what I can say about Disturbed's set is this...I've seen this band many, many times over the years...they do what they do, there's no surprises here, they got their fans all worked up, & their set was basically the "Best of" with a few new songs tossed in...Dave looked like a guy who worked on my car, he was sporting a one piece jumpsuit like a mechanic would wear, & what I noticed about the bands set is, after seeing them on every tour, I can see an older, wiser band on that stage..they were sober, sharp, & did their job as only Disturbed could do it.
No one's fooling anyone, Slipknot are a 9 man, face ripping machine, & I knew, without even seeing this show, that Slipknot would be an impossible act to follow & I was totally right! Slipknot's set was heavy in lights, camera's, pyro, rotating drums, & you got all the details you'd expect from a Slipknot show...pure chaos, BUT, as Clown said recently in an interview, it was a more mature chaos...the band was insane onstage, yet, the violence that used to be there was mellow, they didn't seem as hateful or angry as they did in the past!
The surprise of the Slipknot was, they didn't play "Wait & Bleed"!!!! They only played one new song, "Psychosocial" & "Prostetics" from the first cd was played as well, which was a total surprise! "Heretic Anthem" got the crowd going ape shit, & overall, it's impossible to top what Slipknot did on that stage...Corey came off a little weak at times compared to previous Slipknot tours, & Joey & Sid were both injured, but regardless, Slipknot owned this tour & it's interesting to note that both Slipknot & Disturbed looked & felt older on this tour, & Corey pointed out that next year it's the 10th anniversary of the 1st Slipknot record..in all honesty, I didn't realize it had been that long...wow, time flies when you're having fun, huh? Case in point, the Mayhem Fest was a fun day that went by really fast..it was a great celebration of metal & fun...if you missed this tour you missed the best Metal event of the Summer!