Do you remember Vader from WWF? Basically, nothing’s more metal than overweight bald white guys in sleeveless Slayer shirts with handlebar mustaches. Also, fuck $12 beers!
I attended the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this past Sunday, July 1 in Mountain View, California where I had the opportunity to see inured metal acts such as Anthrax, Motorhead, and none other than the almighty Slayer! After arriving over two hours later than the festival had began (due to taking our sweet ass time to eat and trying to park in the dust-bowl Hell that Shoreline calls a parking lot), we stood in line while listening to As I Lay Dying’s set, got frisked, entered the grounds, and headed directly for the Blue Moon cart. $24 for two beers later we were off to rub elbows in the annoyingly crowded area.
We first made our way to the Jagermeister Stage to see veterans Anthrax do their thing. The span of generations at this festival was blowing my mind. I saw 3-year-old kids and 63-year-old men and women donning their favorite shirts from 80′s metal acts. I also saw a perfectly capable 20-something-year-old being pushed out in a wheel chair while puking in a bucket. Heat exhaustion and alcohol do not mix, kids! Anthrax took the stage in a fury and appeared to be in top form as they played through all their biggest hits from the past three decades. Belladonna and friends expressed a lot of gratitude to all the festival-goers and older fans that have stuck by their sides for over 30 years.
As Anthrax were wrapping things up, we pushed through sweaty seas of beer-guzzling beasts on our way to the main stage to catch The Devil Wears Prada. The Christian deathcore boys sounded great, playing some of their heavier tracks from Dead Throne and their Zombie EP. Their set was short but enough for fans and metal-heads alike to mosh and circle pit to. As stagehands began to disassemble The Devil Wears Prada’s setup, fans waited impatiently for Motorhead to take the stage.
Now I’ll be honest; I don’t know any of Motorhead’s material besides the obvious, “Ace of Spades,” and judging by the crowd reaction, I wasn’t alone with most of the younger crowd. One thing I discovered is that it’s nearly impossible to understand Lemmy Kilmister. He’s on Ozzy Osbourne’s level verbally but when you can decipher his gibberish, he’s pretty hysterical. “They said, ‘that beer’ll make you dehydrated.’ I said, ‘I’ll put ice cubes in it.’” It kind of made me wish I could understand everything else he said, but to no avail. Motorhead played a lengthy set and the crowd got nuts when the opening riff to “Ace of Spades” began. It incited an impressive circle pit and through the duration of the song all I could think about was playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
A little after eight o’ clock in the evening, the curtain dropped and the worshiped Slayer burst onto the stage with a setup consisting of two massive inverted crosses made of amps and plenty of pyrotechnics. They played all their best pieces and I just have to say that seeing and hearing “Angel of Death” and “Reign in Blood” in a live atmosphere is quite the experience. I have to admit though, I spent more time watching this super wasted Mom “rock out” than I focused on the stage. She was just too good to miss. After Slayer’s hour long shred session came to a close, I noticed a lot of the older crowd heading for the exits, but there were still plenty of fanatics in the amphitheater to show some love to the masked metallers, Slipknot.
Slipknot didn’t hit the stage until about 10:05; 20 minutes after their scheduled time. I originally intended on only staying for a song or two to beat the rush and get started on our two and a half hour drive home, but as I’m not much of a Slipknot fan, I must admit that I was intrigued by their performance and stayed for a few songs more than I had planned. Guitarist Jim Root was absent as his appendix had recently burst and there was no fill-in for the late Paul Gray (RIP), but they pulled off the sound. Now, I’ve always heard that about two thirds of the band were kind of impertinent and now that I’ve seen them live, I unfortunately have to agree. The extraneous members certainly add to the effect of their presence but as far as the music goes… the drums, vocals, and guitar would have sufficed for the same sound as far as I’m concerned. Watching a clown beat a beer keg with an aluminum baseball bat is indeed amusing but it felt a little “juggalo” to me and I’m not quite down with the clown so to speak.
Overall, I appreciated the experience to see some legends on the stage that I may never have the chance to witness again. As for being surrounded by sweaty fat guys and creepy girls with too much make-up on reminiscent of Harley Quinn, I could have done without. As one last bit of advice; try to avoid purchasing tour t-shirts from sketchy Kimbo Slice looking characters in the parking lot as you’re trying to leave. That part of the day didn’t turn out so well.