Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival pulled into First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, Ill., on July 27 with a solid lineup of hardcore metal. The secondary stages–Musician’s Institute, Jagermeister and Sumerian Records–hosted over a dozen acts to get the action started just after 1:00 p.m. By the time Machine Head and Children of Bodom walked off their respective stages, fans still had another four hours of headbanging to look forward to on the Main Stage.
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The M.I. and Jagermeister stages were placed adjacent to each other, outside the Amphitheatre’s Main Stage. Jagermeister artists would pop off just moments after a band would finish their set on the M.I. stage, and vice-versa. Each band rocked for roughly 30-minutes. It was a day for circle pits, an occasional wall of death and an abundance of crowd surfing.
Attika 7 set the example early, instigating a circle pit designated for women only. Vocalist Evan Seinfeld noted, “Ladies pack far more aggression than any man,” segueing into “Devil’s Daughter.”
There really wasn’t a dull moment once the music started. Temperatures hovered in the 60s most of the day, giving fans much more comfortable conditions for active participation. A huge contrast to the blistering heat during last year’s festival [review: Main Stage; Secondary Stage].
Fans packed around both stages for the melodic sounds of Attika 7 and Machine Head, the hardcore Children of Bodom and Emmure, and local favorites Born of Osiris. Both stages remained packed, though many shuffled back and forth with the live music.
Crowd surfing was a constant throughout the afternoon. Born of Osiris frontman Ronnie Canizaro sang “Bow Down” from the rail as fans started to surf toward the vocalist. Arizona rockers, Job For A Cowboy, kept the pace. Jonny Davy said, “See all these guys in yellow shirts. Make them to their job.” That comment instigated a tidal wave of bodies to be lifted into the air. As many as a dozen were spilling over the rail, into the waiting arms of security, at the same time.
Machine Head might have had the most anticipated set. Their fans started chanting “Machine f—ing Head” when Emmure suffered a minor equipment issue during their set–the only technical glitch on the day. Not more than a minute was taken to tweak Mark Castillo’s drum kit, but that was enough for the Machine Head crowd to get restless.
Once they hit the stage, Machine Head dominated the crowd. Robb Flynn called out to the crowd, “You are some crazy, high, drunk, stoned mother f—ers. We look out to the audience and know you have problems. You’re just like us.” That fan to artist connection is what makes Mayhem special.
Those heading out to later dates on the door should definitely get there early and experience the entire festival. Autograph signings, unique merchandise booths and a handful of causes are worth checking out.
Musician’s Institute Stage set times:
Children Of Bodom – 5:45 – 6:20 p.m.
Emmure – 4:40 – 5:10 p.m.
Born Of Osiris – 3:40 – 4:10 p.m.
Motionless in White – 2:45 – 3:10 p.m.
Attika 7 – 1:55 – 2:20 p.m.
Thrown Into Exile – 1:15- 1:35 p.m.
Jagermeister Stage set times:
Machine Head – 5:10 – 5:45 p.m.
Job For A Cowboy – 4:10 – 4:40 p.m.
Butcher Babies – 3:10 – 3:40 p.m.
Battlecross – 2:20 – 2:45 p.m.
Huntress – 1:35 – 1:55 p.m.
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