Mayhem Fest 2009...I covered the show on Friday in Camden, New Jersey...the show on Friday was very mellow, very lax, the weather was beautiful, the bands sounded great, the only bad thing about that show was the serious amount of road work & back ups & detours I encountered in that area of New Jersey. With a days rest under my belt after the Friday Mayhem Fest in New Jersey, I was off to see the Bristow, Virginia, August 9 Mayhem Fest. The most notable difference, besides the location change, was the extreme heat! If you're not familiar with the East Coast in the USA, let me put it like this....generally speaking, the East Coast states in the USA have a very hot, muggy, humid Summer...the overall weather situation for the Summer of 2009 was honestly a very mild, cool Summer season...until the Sunday of August 9, 2009...this was when Summer gave the Maryland/DC/Virginia area a healthy dose of Summer Brutality weather wise!
The heat was absolutely brutal...the sun was beating down up the thousands of metal heads in attendance, the bands were sweating their asses off, the fans were trying their best to stay hydrated, & regardless, there were casualties of the day, people who couldn't take the heat, drank too much booze, didn't drink enough water, & to be honest with you, alot of it simply had to do with, this particular day was one that wasn't really meant for everyone to hang outside in...some people could take the heat, other's couldn't! The medical people were kept pretty damn busy with dehydration on this day for sure!
White Chapel kicked the day off on the Hot Topic Stage & we didn't make it inside to actually catch their set...what happened was, we got there on time, but the ticket line for media was not opened at the moment, so we had to hang out & wait for the window to open back up so we could get our passes. What I heard of White Chapel, they sounded great, but I couldn't make it in fast enough to catch their set.
There was a local opener for the Jager stage, but the sets were so short, that by the time I got inside, got to the area where the 2nd stages were, again, I missed the openers for the Jager stage. Black Dahlia Murder rocked the Hot Topic Stage with a set that was identical to the Jersey show, they had the monkey man onstage for the first song & again, I absolutely LOVED it, it was a goofy visual that made you almost forget you were at a serious metal show! Black Dahlia were good, but the band that impressed me the most on the Hot Topic stage was probably still Behemoth! Behemoth took the stage, decked out in all black, gobs & gobs of make-up & body paint, they had to be hot as hell, when they were playing, to put it simply, there wasn't a breath of air, it was hot as hell, yet, the crowd moshed about, the band killed it, & after they spit blood, they closed with "I Got Erection"
All That Remains filmed their entire set on this day, it wasn't mentioned if they planned on releasing it as a new dvd, but their entire set was filmed by a film crew!
I'll admit that I watched Trivium from the jager tent line...Kerry King from Slayer was doing a meet & greet & I figured, wtf, when in Rome! This was probably the hottest point of the day too in all honesty...it was around 5 PM, it was a hot, dry, humid, muggy, just plain nasty living condition, the sun was beating down on everyone, I saw one guy literally just lay right down, face first, in gravel filled pavilion area & venue staff alerted the medics who carted the guy off after giving him water. Kerry showed up 30 minutes late, but he did the meet & greet very fast, there was little interaction, he signed posted after poster rather fast, & when I got to the front of the & went into the tent to meet Kerry, I handed him my Slayer - LIVE cd & this particular cd has EVERY member of Slayer's autograph except Kerry...it had Paul, Dave, Jeff, Tom & when Kerry looked at it he said, "Wow, you've got everyone but me & I'm the easiest one to get!", so now, my Slayer cd is complete!
So by this time, Cannibal Corpse were playing their headlining set on the Hot Topic stage & they had a huge crowd over there, but it was soooo hot that it was an udder relief to be inside the pavilion area, out of the sun, & watching Bullet For My Valentine! Bullet For My Valentine played a good set, but I still think they seem lost on that huge stage...they are all really tiny guys, they rock hard, but they seem lost on the huge stage...they seem more equipped to be on the smaller stage!
If you've never been to the Nissan Pavilion in Virginia, let me give you a little piece of advice if you ever plan on taking pictures on the main stage...wear big shoes...the stage is over 6 foot high & it's massive compared to some stages! I skipped taking pics of Killswitch Engage...the heat of the day just sucked all the life out of us & I really needed to come back to life, so I took a few pics of Killswitch Engage from our seats...the pics actually look pretty cool because you can see all the pyro they use...when I took pics up close in the pit, some of the essence of the show was lost, but you can see from the pic I took from my seat...Killswitch Engage delivered a big arena rock, pyro heavy kinda metal show!
The nights 2 main bands were up next & I definitely wouldn't miss taking pics of Slayer or Marilyn Manson! Set wise, both bands played the same set lists, Slayer was great, but at this particular show, I think Marilyn Manson's set was a little tighter than the New Jersey show & I definitely think Manson & company gave Slayer a run for their money!
At one point, Manson commented that he must truly be in hell because it was so f**kin' hot! It was the truth too...the weather was super hot, it was dry, muggy, there were beads of sweat pouring down people's faces & other areas, yet everyone had a blast, rocked out, pogo'd, there was a little moshing, but the bulk of the heavy moshing was really on the 2nd stages...there was a little on the main stage, but not as much as there was on the 2nd stages. Slayer's imagery was more prevalent, the upside crosses, the pentagrams, Slayer still wanted to create Hell on Earth as their theme, whereas Manson's theme was entertainment & drugs.
Overall...the day ended on a high note, I had a blast, I was kinda sad that day was over because it meant my 2 days with Mayhem were over, BUT, on the same token, I was feeling the sun burn I had gotten, my body was feeling worn out & I knew I'd experienced a kick ass rock show...all of the bands on the 2009 Mayhem Fest were great, the overall billing was fun, & it really felt like it was the best send off for Summer! If I can offer any sorta advise for concert eticate, I might suggest that when it's going to be really, really hot, wearing boots that go up to your ankles are not a good idea, the key to dealing with really hot weather is to keep as cool as possible...looking cool in the extreme heat is NOT an option..NO ONE ever looks cool when it's super hot outside!