Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival – Toyota Pavilion, Scranton, PA 7/13/13
Review by Jude Felton
Due to a few little hiccups prior to heading out for the day, Steph and I got to the festival site a little later than we had planned. Plus, there’s a hell of a walk from the parking lot to the venue itself. However, the weather played ball, with the forecast storms not happening, and all was set for a rocking day of metal. Not even the shitty prices, $11 for a domestic beer and $13 for a specialty, could dampen this day. So, complete with t-shirt purchases in hand, we made our way down to the smaller stages.
|Born of Osiris|
Having arrived slightly late we missed Battlecross, which was a bummer, but we did get there to see the second half of Born of Osiris’ set, which all be said was a rousing performance that the already decent-sized crowd lapped up. Next up was LA based Butcher Babies; a band for which, rightly or wrongly, the focus seemed to be on the dual females pairing of Heidi and Carla. This should not make any difference as they put on an energy-filled show of full-on death/thrash infused metal, playing songs from their recently released debut album, Goliath. All being said they kicked-ass, with a furious pit just in front of us, and delivered an excellent set.
You might think this would be a tough act to follow, and normally you’d probably be right. That is if the next band on weren’t Motionless in White; a band that call Scranton their home. Everyone was ready for them, and they did not disappoint. Opening with Devil’s Night, MiW ripped through their 30 minute set, even finding time to bang out a new track, which rocked, and for Chris to bring out his family for a photo. Closing with America, MiW came, they saw, they decimated Scranton. They are proving that they definitely have what it takes, and the constant touring is paying dividends handsomely. Next time around I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on the main stage.
|Motionless in White|
Following Motionless, it was time for some death metal, and Job for a Cowboy. This was also the cue for Steph and I to try and make our way back to the car for some refreshments and to drop stuff off. That was the plan anyway, until it was scuppered by learning that if we left we’d have to pay to get back in. Fuck that; they were making more than enough money through the overpriced food and drink.
Instead, we chilled on the lawn, in preparation for the main stage to open. Food, drink and friends, good times indeed. We even got treated to a guitar shredding contest, which was fun. Then it was time for the Swedish death machine of Amon Amarth to hit the stage. The Viking ship that filled the center of the stage had been there for all to see, all afternoon, but it wasn’t until they hit the stage that the place got plundered.
|Five Finger Death Punch|
Surprisingly, for me anyway, they opened with Destroyer of the Universe, and then proceeded to belt out the likes of Deceiver of the Gods, War of the Gods and closing with a rousing version of Twilight of the Thunder God. My only problem with their set? We were too far away from the stage and they finished with what I estimated to be 5 minutes left of their allotted time. Regardless of this, they destroyed.
Next up was Mastodon, and truthfully I won’t dwell too much on them. Their slow-riffed metal seemed to be a real comedown after the feisty Swedes, and their 45 minute set seemed to go on forever. Even fans in Mastodon shirts were seen wandering around aimlessly, without looking at the band on stage. Weird, as their music is pretty good, it just seemed out of place.
|Rob Zombie and Nosferatu|
Five Finger Death Punch, who judging by the amount of shirts, were one of, if not the, big draw of the day. Now, whilst I’m not their biggest fan I can’t deny that they put on one hell of a show…eventually. The power went out shortly into their set, and there was a long-ass wait for them to come back out. It was well worth it though, as they delivered one of the sets of the day. The light-show rocked, but the music rocked even more. This was a triumphant set and they definitely won over some new fans.
Closing out the festival was Mr. Busy-as-fuck himself; Rob Zombie. Seriously, the dude does not stop, and boy does he deliver. I’ve seen him live a few times now, and you can rest assured that he puts on a damned good show. Opening with Teenage Nosferatu, he proceeded to belt out classic after classic, with the highlight for me being House of 1000 Corpses. Flames, beach balls, video monitors, giant robots, even the bloody kitchen sink were thrown out at us, but it’s his stage presence, between song banter and the songs themselves that make the show what it is. Rob Zombie is a true concert headliner, and showed why with this awesome show.
|This won't end well...|
Overall, we had a hell of a good time. The sun beat us up, the prices mugged us and even the snotty security guard who refused me access to the photo pit for Zombie’s set (even though I had permission from his management) couldn’t put a dampener on the day. I was still a little sad that Behemoth had to cancel their plans to join this tour, due to illness, but the bands we did see were pretty much all excellent. We didn’t get to see everyone, otherwise I am sure we’d have passed out due to the heat, but those we did made it well worth the trip. Great show!