All words + photos: Kaitlin Follmer
Rockstar Mayhem fest is notorious for bringing some of the hardest bands on tour for the summer, their inaugural year being 2008 with Slipknot as the headliner. This year Slipknot made their triumphant return, their direct support included Slayer, Motorhead, Asking Alexandria, Anthrax, As I Lay Dying, The Devil Wears Prada, and White Chapel. This year was absolutely fantastic, there was a great mix of old metal, new metal and legends of the rock community that pulled such a diverse crowed.
The Devil Wears Prada was one of the first bands to open the side stage. They came out with an enormous amount of energy. Lead singer Mike Hranica ran head first to the top of the stage and would not stop moving until the set was over. I have never been an adamant fan of theirs, but I always try to go to see them when they are on tour. They are constantly in your face and the crowd absolutely eats it up. I think they were a great choice to get the crowed amped for the day.
This was my first seeing As I Lay Dying , after hearing how much passion and energy they have on stage, I was so excited to shoot them. I was not let down. Lead vocalist Tim Lambesis spend most of the set in the air, jumping every chance he could. Guitarist Nick Hipa was another one to watch. He was constantly making connections with people in the crowd and getting them involved in the set. Another huge plus? They sounded fantastic. For a band on side stage it can sometimes be hard to pull the bigger crowds. Mayhem is one of the few festivals to have no overlapping set times, so this definitely helped the bands have larger crowds and allowed everyone to catch their favorite band.
Next on was Anthrax. They were chosen to headline the side stage, a bittersweet place to be. While they should be on main stage, they were allowed a longer set time, and a more personable space to work with. They took it and ran. Anthrax is one of those bands I can always count on to be a great show. Joey Belladonna is probably my favorite singers that Anthrax has had with them throughout the years, his energy is fantastic, he looks like a little kid having so much fun jumping around on the stage. I have so much respect for this band, and I love going to see them. They are really a timeless act than can appeal to almost any generation.
Opening on the main stage was UK act Asking Alexandria. This is only my second time seeing them but I remember thinking how much I loved taking pictures during their set. Nothing has changed, these guys are all over the place! This 5 piece band was constantly moving, there would be times they would play side by side or back to back with one another. Danny Worsnop is a force for this band. He has great stage presence and keeps the crowed completely engaged in their set. I am very unfamiliar with their music, but if their live performance is any indication, between both the crowd’s energy and Asking Alexandria’s, they are fantastic all around.
Motorhead was next on the bill. This is a band I have never seen, but I was so excited, I mean who doesn’t LOVE “Ace of Spades” and “The Game.” Welp I have to say part of me felt hugely disappointed. They are a three piece band consisting of lead vocalist and bassist Lemmy Kilmister, guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee. They were so boring, Lemmy spent the majority of the set, stationary behind the mic stand, Phil, would occasionally make passes around the stage, from time to time visiting the front. They being said, they sounded great, just like I had expected. I have always loved the grumbly Lemmy vocals, it gives their music that very tough metal sound. I stayed to watch their set for a couple of songs, but eventually the air conditioned press area seemed more appealing than watching nothing happen on stage.
Slayer was the direct support for Slipknot, again, another one of those big bands I have never seen before. Coming into their set I had no idea what to expect. I have never really been a huge Slayer fan, but being as they are one of the “Big 4″ I was excited none the less. Shooting wise, I hated them! Their light was horrible so in turn, I didn’t get very many pictures I was excited about, but from a crowed perspective, they have a very solid stage presence like they know what they are doing, their years of experience are almost unmatched. Have have the quintessential heavy metal sound, and looks to go with it. I was glad to cross them off my bucket list, but as someone who isn’t a real fan, they aren’t a band I am going to go see again.
Finally Slipknot came out to wrap up Mayhem 2012 with a hell of a bang, literally. A day of firsts for me! I was so excited to see Slipknot, and I have always liked their songs and heard about their crazy live shows. I was floored to get the opportunity to go see them, and they definitely lived up to all the hype. Coming into their first song, the front of their stage was set to explode just as the into was ending and as they were about to start singing. Pyro techniques were a theme throughout the night, having multiple areas rigged to “flame” and “bang” throughout certain parts of most of the songs. But their stage antics were even more impressive. My favorite of the night by far was, Shawn Crahan, or “Clown,” the band’s custom percussionist. Clown was hoisted on a scissor lift type machine, while playing a set of 5 drums and a couple kegs. He was constantly jumping on and off, using a baseball bat to strike the kegs, and playing with the fireballs that arose from the stage. And not to forget, lead Corey Taylor. He is a phenomenal front man, he too is a force of rock and roll, with his powerful voice, and noticeable stage presence.
- The Devil Wears Prada
- Asking Alexandria:
- As I Lay Dying