It may have been a stormy rainy day, but that didn’t stop heavy metal enthusiasts from attending The Rockstar Energy Drink Music Fest in Detroit on Sunday. It was chilly for the end of July, raining on and off the entire day. But the DTE Energy Music Theater (aka Pine Knob) was packed and it looked as though it was another sold out Mayhem Fest for 2013.
Mayhem Tour always seems to bring a great variety of the heaviest metal, from the up-and-coming new bands, to headlining national acts. Of course this year was no exception. Things kicked off at 1pm, on two small portable stages in the parking lot. Besides some killer performances by Huntress, Battlecross, and Machine Head (all in the rain), there were autograph signings, lots of shopping to do with tons of band merch and dozens of rock n roll vendors. Rockstar Energy Drink had a massive tent with limitless free Rockstar Energy Drinks for all. The Metal Mulisha Freestyle Motor-Cross Team was back again this year too, performing stunts high in the air while the bands rocked on.
For this year’s Mayhem Tour, there is a fourth stage with even more bands, but unfortunately, this Michigan venue did not have enough room. Boooo! Many folks were looking forward to seeing bands on this new small stage, like the amazing Scorpion Child from Austin Texas. And there was even more disappointment when fans learned that Polish metal legends Behemoth were not here and no longer on the tour. Fans were relieved to learn it had nothing to do with singer Nergal Darski’s recent battle with cancer, but this time it was Behemoth drummer Inferno Prominski, who is currently recovering from appendix surgery.
On the Jagermeister and MI Stages, we were treated to 11 bands. This year’s Mayhem features two female fronted metal bands, some European metal bands, and also a fantastic local Detroit metal band! Huntress is an American classic heavy metal band with the beautifully haunting Jill Janus on vocals. Her black magic style of metal was a nice addition to this years tour, along with The Butcher Babies. This band has two female singers, and Carla Harvey hails from Detroit. These gals got mega energy and really got the crowd’s attention with their provocative set. There was even more Detroit pride when Battlecross hit the stage. These guys hail from Detroit, and are one of my favorite local metal bands. Battlecross always puts on a fantastic high energy set, full of killer riffs, flying hair, and tons of smiles. They guys are always having fun on stage, and their smiles were infectious….even in the rain! There were hundreds of Battlecross fans among the crowd and the circle pits were insane. It is so awesome to see these guys blowing up and making the roster this year. Their greatness was also recently showcased at Metallica’s Orion Festival in Detroit last month.
Other notable performances were by Attika 7, which features former Biohazard singer Evan Seinfeld and guitarist Rusty Coones, who is a new cast member on the TV hit series Sons of Anarchy. Machine Head closed out the small stage area to a massive crazy hyped crowd. Singer Robb Flynn commented that he had never seen so many circle pits at one time. He thanked Detroit for all the love as the six pits continued to rage on…. again in the rain.
It was now time to move inside the venue for the big main stage acts. Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth opened the stage with a massive Viking Ship that has to be one of the coolest stage props I’ve ever seen at a metal show. Mastodon was up next, and these guys are a favorite of mine. Unfortunately the Detroit crowd was a bit lame during their performance. Guitarist Bill Kelliher did mention that the entire Mayhem tour was not filled with a lot of Mastodon fans. But hopefully with this diverse metal crowd, they reached a new audience and gained new fans. That’s the great thing about Mayhem Fest, your always bound to discover some new metal band. Five Finger Death Punch was next, and it seemed everyone was here to see these guys. They have been getting a lot of radio play recently, and that seems to have promoted their popularity quite a bit. Singer Ivan Moody was highly entertaining and Detroit definitely was loving them. After their intense set, everyone was fired up and ready for the final act.
Mayhem veteran Rob Zombie headlined the show, and this performance blew everyone out the water. If you’ve ever seen a Zombie show, you understand why. Not only is there hit after hit song, but the audience is bedazzled with giant zombies, scary monsters, crazy fog and numerous video walls covering the massive stage. It’s a totally new set design for the band, including a gigantic boom box for their new song “Dead City Radio”, which is featured on their recent 2013 release, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor. Zombie guitarist and Michigan native John 5, was exciting to watch and commanded everyones attention constantly. With his wild outfits and talented fast finger work, it’s no wonder he is a Detroit Rock City legend. Add to that, the mad skills of bassist Piggy D and drummer Ginger Fish, make Rob Zombie’s band completely kick ass. They perform the best theatrical live concerts around, and its no wonder they headlined Mayhem Fest this year. They were amazing! Be sure to check out the Mayhem website for merch and the last of the tour dates.
ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL @ DTE ENERGY MUSIC THEATER, CLARKSTON/DETROIT 7.28.2013
ROB ZOMBIE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, MASTODON, AMON AMARTH
CHILDREN OF BODOM, EMMURE, BORN OF OSIRIS, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, ATTIKA 7, THROWN INTO EXILE
MACHINE HEAD, JOB FOR A COWBOY, BUTCHER BABIES, BATTLECROSS, HUNTRESS
ROB ZOMBIE SETLIST AT MAYHEM FEST DETROIT 7.28.2013
TEENAGE NOSFERATU PUSSY
SUPER-CHARGER HEAVEN (White Zombie Song)
LIVING DEAD GIRL
THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER (John Stafford Smith Cover)
WE’RE AN AMERICAN BAND (Grand Funk Railroad Cover)
MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN (White Zombie Song)
MEET THE CREEPER
HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES
DEAD CITY RADIO AND THE NEW GODS OF SUPERTOWN
THUNDER KISS ’65 (White Zombie Song)