The 2013 Rockstar Mayhem Festival kicked off on June 29th in San Bernardino, CA and it was scalding! (And I’m not just talking about the temperature!!) The festival, which was held at the always amazing San Manuel Amphitheater is in its 6th year and shows no sign of stopping. Featuring big name bands such as Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, and Machine Head alongside up and coming bands like Motionless In White, Attika 7, Amon Amarth, and Butcher Babies, as well as many other bands, is THE metal festival of the year. It is definitely carrying the torch handed off by Ozzfest, and the fans are following with devil horns in the air. Even in 100+ degree temperature.
The Mayhem fest this year consists of 4 stages, The Sumerian Records Stage, The Musicians Institute Stage, The Jagermeister Stage, and The Main Stage. The headliners of each stage; Scorpion Child, Children of Bodom, Machine Head, and ,of course Rob Zombie respectively, all put on amazing performances, but in this rare occurrence, some of the supporting acts were just as intense. Five Finger Death Punch, or 5FDP as they are known by, put on a blistering set and impressed the packed amphitheater with their powerhouse stage performance. They opened with their newest single ‘Lift Me Up’ and finished very strong with ‘The Bleeding,’ with plenty of solid tracks in between. Singer Ivan Moody also brought up a bunch of kids up on stage with him to watch the circle pit that was about to go down while they played the song off their debut album and fan favorite ‘White Knuckles’ They had a great stage setup, but even Moody made fun of their lack of pyrotechnics compared to Rob Zombie by holding up lighter as their pyro for the night.
Attika 7, an up and coming band made of some old school veterans like Evan Seinfeld from Biohazard, and Tony Campos from StaticX alongside the biggest scariest looking biker you will ever meet, Rusty Coones also put on an amazingly energetic set. The funny thing is, Rusty was extremely nice and was considerate to every fan and media member he came in contact with. Their music is an amazing blend of Pantera, with a tinge of White Zombie, all while making their own sound. By far one of the most impressive bands of the day, plan on seeing more these guys, and check out their album ‘Blood of My Enemies’.
Also a great band was the quickly growing Motionless in White. Their latest single “A-M-E-R-I-C-A”, off of their 2nd full length studio album entitled ‘Infamous”, whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and was definitely the highlight of their set. The band Huntress was a hidden gem in the lineup as well, playing 6 songs that got the crowd pumped up. Another band that was the talk of the day was Butcher Babies. Led by the two metal vixens, Carla Harvey and Heidi Shephard, that can rock just as hot as their looks, played a smoking set that included 3 songs off their newest album “Goliath”. This band just keeps moving up, and just announced a special show for Rob Zombies Halloween project coming up. More about that later!
I can’t leave out the fan favorite and always heavy Machine Head making their 3rd appearance at Mayhem. They only performed 5 songs, but they were amazing songs, including the closer “Halo” which drove the crowd absolutely nuts. Their guitar work was spot on, and the overall energy they put out was amazing.
Rob Zombie was the headliner and headline he did, playing a fiery 15 song set that included classics from both the White Zombie era, like “More Human Than Human” and “ThunderKiss ‘65” as well his solo catalog including the radio friendly songs “Living Dead Girl” and “Never Gonna Stop” and more fan favorites like “Meet The Creeper” and “Superbeast”. Playing just 3 songs off of his new album “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor” Zombie just explained that he didn’t want to overdo it with new material. But even though the album is amazing, he played some great songs. Just when you thought the set was over he came back like only a Zombie could and played the blistering “Dragula” with fire and confetti and even Rob himself manning an extinguisher.
All in all this was an amazing lineup of new bands, old bands, classic and soon to be huge bands. I’m not sure how they are going to top this one next year, but I can tell you, if the lineup is half as good as it is this year…I’ll be first in line.
BY DAVE MINYARD