Review – Mayhem Festival @ San Manuel Amp – San Bernardino, CA – 6/29/13

Alex Lucero Jul 2nd, 2013 | By
Category: Battlecross, Butcher Babies, Emmure, Five Finger Death Punch, Machine Head, Mayhem Festival, Written Reviews
The sixth annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival kicked off yesterday in San Bernandino, CA, and it was one of the hottest days in San Bernardino history. Oh, and the weather was also hot!

2013 Rock Star Energy Mayhem Festival – Review

So, first off, when the 2013 Mayhem Festival line up was announced, I wasn’t exactly as thrilled as I thought I would be. I set out to make sure I would enjoy this years show, and it completely  went past all my expectations. I carefully thought about who I was going to see and hyped myself up. After rethinking the line up, I was stoked to see as many of the bands as I possibly could. For those who aren’t going because the line up isn’t appealing, think twice and get a ticket. How can you go wrong with Rob Zombie, Machine Head, Five Finger Dead Punch, and more? The only wrong way to do the 2013 Mayhem Festival is to not go, and you’re only letting yourself down if you don’t treat yourself to a day full of heavy metal music.
Once I arrived at Mayhem, I got to witness the brute force of one of the heavier bands of this tour, Battlecross. Singer Gumby and company were one of the early opening bands that set the energetic mood for the rest of the day. I only got to catch a few songs before I was out for my first interview of the day, but I wish I was able to see more of them if given the opportunity.

Battlecross (Live) @ Mayhem Festival

I’m now walking over to the press area for an interview I’ve been excited about since getting approval. I had the pleasure of picking Frankie Palmeri’s brain for a bit, and it was a bit nerve wrecking seeing as he is a controversial singer in the metal community. What would he reply to when I asked him about his social media activity? Would he have given up on the interview once I asked him about the amount of crap the metal new sites give him? To find out these questions and more, check out my interview with Frankie Palmeri of Emmure on the site.
So once my interview was over, I set out to the second stages to see the Butcher Babies rip Mayhem a new one. From start to finish, this band put on an intensive live show that would put other male fronted bands to shame. The love and passion that this band have for their music translates to a show not to be missed. In a male dominated genre, it is welcoming to see a female fronted band that has so far gotten a ton of respect from the metal community.

Butcher Babies (Live) @ Mayhem Festival

Good looks aside, Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey can growl and dominate the stage like any other metal band out on the current touring market, so what makes watching these girls so entertaining? They are putting a fresh sound in a genre that desperately needs it. The band in general has an incredible vibe and have a passion to become that metal band we’ve all been waiting for. Check out our interview with the Butcher babies on the site.
After raging in the pit, I needed to take a breather and cool off for a bit at the Rockstar tent. I grabbed a bottle or two of the new energy waters and watched Job for A Cowboy put on a solid show. If it wasn’t for the heat, I would have been in the mosh pit, but I still really enjoyed their set in the comfort of the shaded Rockstar Energy tent. I’m sure the Phoenix native band felt at home with the blazing sun hitting them while they played. There’s also no doubt that crowd made them feel at home.
Once I rehydrated myself, I went over to the Music Institute stage to get up close for metals most controversial band, Emmure. This is my third time seeing this band and it’s also the best performance from them that I’ve seen. The set mostly contained songs from the Speaker of the Dead album, a personal favorite of mine, so this made me love this performance even more. What’s different about this performance from the past times that I’ve seen them is the crowd participation. Being in a crowd of people and jumping up and down singing the lyrics was a lot of fun and the band really dug that. Seeing the band moving around and having so much energy was a lot of fun, and seeing Frankie get into the performance is always entertaining. Don’t turn away from this band because of all the negativity their receiving from some websites, these guys are controversial, but kick a ton of ass.

Emmure (Live) @ Mayhem Festival

With no time to breath, I move over to the Jagarmeister stage to see my favorite band of all time, Machine Head. I wasn’t going to let the heat keep me away from getting up close and personal with this band, this is Mayhem, after all. The band had announced the new bass player just a few days before the first Mayhem date and my expectations were high to see if the new guy can keep up with band.  Machine Head open up with This is the End from 2011′s Unto the Locust album, and within 20 seconds my mind was blown. I’ve seen this band a few times and listen to them daily, and yet, they never seize to amaze me. You know a band is special when you can listen to their music and get chills every time you listen to them. This is a bond I will forever hold with this band, and seeing them every time is like a religious experience.

Machine Head (Live) @  Mayhem Festival

Oh, and about that new bass player? Jared MacEachern is his name, and he went beyond my expectations. This was the most physically demanding set I’ve ever experienced, and not because if the weather. I’m actually excited for the future of Machine Head.  This is by far the best performance I’ve seen, and it’s only Jared’s fourth show with the band. Imagine how unbelievable they will be once Jared gets his feet wet during the Mayhem Festival tour.
Now that I’ve been destroyed by my favorite band, I walk to my second and final interview of the day. I head over to the press area and cool down for a while before I talk to Carla Harvey and Jason Klein of the Butcher Babies. In the mean time, I’m watching Armon Armoth on a backstage monitor and witnessing one of the best main stage openers for the festival since its inception, six years ago. I was having a hell of a time watching them and I wasn’t in front of them! They’re definitely on my wish list to see live.
Once I ended my interview with the Butcher Babies, I head out to catch the ending of Mastodon’s set. I never was much of a fan, but to be honest, this was one of their better performances that I’ve seen from them. The band seemed to have a good variety of songs that didn’t make it seem like they were playing the same song for the duration of their set. The last time I saw them I found it to be the case, but I’m glad they stepped it up and changed my perception of them.

Mastodon (Live) @ Mayhem Festival

Six years ago, I went to my first metal concert. This concert was the first Mayhem Festival, and the first band I saw was Five Finger Death Punch. I walked into the second stages and witnessed one of the heaviest metal bands in my life. Although their style has slightly changed, one thing remains the same, and that’s the band’s promise to deliver a memorable show. While the mosh pits have somewhat died out, the insanity of a FFDP show remains. The band has built one of the strongest fan bases in the music world and appeals to people of all ages, and that’s what this genre needs. This fan base, also known as knuckleheads, are basically the sixth member of the band. They set the mood for Death Punch’s reign of metal terror that is unleashed once the crown chants the bands name.

Five Finger Death Punch (Live) @ Mayhem Festival

Though out the years, the mosh pits have settled down a bit and that’s because there’s a lot more sing-alongs happening. The lyrics really touch people in deep and inspiring ways, so don’t be surprised if you see  less moshing and more of a karaoke session. To see this band go from opening the second stage to co-headlining the main stage within a six year period is truly phenomenal. The stage set up has gone from a simple banner, to a light show spectacle filled with detailed metallic props that are beautifully crafted to represent some sort of a war church. I’m proud to say I’m a fan of these guys for six years, and I’m excited to see what the future has in hold for them.
What is there to say about Rob Zombie that hasn’t been said before? Many fans don’t know this, but he used to go by the name Robert Zombavich. Ok, so that’s not true. What is true is that when Rob Zombie, you know you’re in for one spectacular performance. I’ve seen this band play several times, and this is by far my favorite performance from them for several reasons. Reason number one is Rob’s stage presence. I’ve never seen him so active and lively in a performance before; it’s  justamazing to see him running around stage during the hot weather, surrounded by flames and pyro. It shows how much love he has for his music and fans, even after being a Rockstar for such a long time.

Rob Zombie (Live) @ Mayhem Festival

The other reason I loved this Rob Zombie set was because of the set and props. He always has some sort of monster or mega prop on stage, but damn, I didn’t not expect to see something different every 2-3 songs. The video screens and pyro were also very impressive and added theatrics to an already fascinating show. Rob Zombie really went all out to make sure this was the one Mayhem will be talking about for a very long time. When I first pictured metal shows when I was younger, I basically pictured Rob Zombie’s set and thought all metal shows were like this. After going to so many metal shows, I grew accustomed to the normal stage set up of banners and stage risers. theres nothing wrong with that, but I’m sort of spoiled after seeing Rob’s Mayhem Festival set. It wasn’t until seeing Rob Zombie for the third time that my childhood imagination of a rock show became a reality. Dreams do come true at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival!So there you have it, sixth incarnation  of the Mayhem Festival in all it’s glory. I don’t have to tell you guys about the signings and free swag they give out; it’s pretty much a given for these things, but don’t miss out on these opportunities. The line up may not sound appealing to you, but once you realize who is playing you’ll appreciate it more. This years Mayhem Festival is underrated, but don’t skip it because you don’t think the line up is as strong as the previous years.  Tickets for the remaining Mayhem Festival dates are still available here

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