Another Rambling From A Crazy Metalhead – Mayhem Festival Edition
It only took a few years of bringing the only thing billed as a ‘metal festival’ since Ozzfest disappeared off of the face of the earth for me to finally attend it. Granted the stars needed to align just right to convince me to want to go even then. It needed to fall on a day where I wouldn’t have to take off of work, there had to be a mainstage draw the proportion of a Megadeth with side stage attractions such as Machine Head, Trivium and In Flames (who decided to axe the rest of the tour on me anyhow) to get me excited enough to stand in the Florida heat for an entire day. I’m not sure if that means I have incredible will power for resisting the urge for the first three years, or if I have little will power at all when it comes to metal. I guess it’s probably good that I didn’t live in the holocaust era or else I would have walked straight into one of the ovens that were being billed as a sweet metal show.
The show had its ups and its downs. I didn’t stay for Godsmack or Disturbed however since, well I honestly didn’t give a shit. That’s why I didn’t dub this article as a review of the show, because it wouldn’t be a fair assessment if I didn’t get to rate David Draiman’s monkey noises on a scale of 1 being horrible to 10 being sodomizing Rocky Balboa with a salami. I’ll guess a solid 8.5 however. When assembling a lineup of mostly quality metal bands, putting two radio queens as the headliner means only one thing – early bedtime. I say mostly quality because some asshole decided that Suicide Silence was a good idea. At least Straight Line Stitch falls into that fairly annoying yet somehow still tolerable category. The side stages had moments of brilliance. Great sets by All Shall Perish, Red Fang, and Machine Head were to be had. I expected more from Kingdom of Sorrow and Unearth for some reason. Maybe it was hot and I was out of it, but the usual energy didn’t seem to be with either band and they relied more on the insanity of thousands of riled up alcoholics roasting in the sun than the usual full on assault I’m accustomed to both bands bringing. The main stage was Trivium and Megadeth opening for those other two bands. It’s pretty self-explanatory how that went. But in case you didn’t know, three good songs by Trivium and three that were wankery, and then enough Megadeth to almost get you moist, but not even close to orgasm since I’m convinced that Mustaine ran his mouth long enough to cut one song out of the set due to a bum shoulder.
I have one giant fucking problem with the Mayhem festival however. Set times – or the lack thereof. Seriously, 5 songs for Machine Head? That’s pretty much like closing all of the curtains, turning on Barry White, lighting candles, turning on classless sleazy porn, getting out your Vaseline, and then deciding that you should probably get some sleep. Giving bands like Megadeth half a dozen songs isn’t even getting them warmed up. If you want an epic good time, get 8-10 quality bands and make sure they all get times ranging from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes and you’ll have a quality festival on your hands. Certain bands such as All Shall Perish can rock the fuck out of a short set because their songs are to the point and they’re generally in that time slot. Bands like Trivium and Machine Head with 7 minute songs or legendary bands like Megadeth with hundreds of songs in their catalogue have no place in the 30-40 minute time slots.
The Mayhem festival isn’t as much of an epic day of metal as much as it is an experience. It’s the one chance for ten thousand kids a night to add a dozen or fifteen bands to the list of bands they’ve seen on their social networking sites because it’s the only show they’ll attend all year. It’s where 100 hot chicks actually exist while looking obviously out of place and 4,000 more act like they’re just as hot. And of those 100, 25 were dragged there unwillingly and the other 75 are in it for the free drinks and the attention that dressing like a whore will so rightfully get you. So after four years of the festival there are a bunch of kids that can say they’ve seen 60 bands yet have never experienced an intimate show or a full set by a band, but at least it’s something. Then there are the eight thousand douches that could give two fucks about real metal but hear it’s the hip place to get drunk for a day. The remaining few there are the last few hundred to thousand that are genuine metalheads who would be stupid enough to follow me into the gas chamber if you made the flyer and coinciding website convincing enough.