Rockstar Mayhem Fest
San Manuel Amphitheater
Metal heads from around Southern California poured into the fields of the San Manuel Amphitheater for the seventh annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in Devore on Saturday. The eclectic mix of shredders, growlers, singers and headbangers prevailed over the crowd of 27,000 concertgoers on the first day of the tour. The Glen Helen Hills venue hosted a roster of 19 bands for the sea of people that nearly doubled in size compared to last year's attendance.
Orange County's Avenged Sevenfold headlined the main stage as the final act, preceding nu-metal giants Korn, Asking Alexandria and Trivium. A7X's nearly hour and a half set focused the band's latest release Hail to the King with a towering castle, flames, assimilated bomb blasts and a giant crowned skeleton revealed during the album's self-titled track. Prior to A7X's finale, the Coldcock Herbal Whiskey Stage and Victory Records stage hosted performances by other California bands and metal bands from a slew of different sub-genres. Here are some more of the highlights from the day:
Best crowd moment: Fire on the lawn
Although the endless crowd surfers and outfits impacted the festival's energy, the best crowd moment was fueled by fire, literally. Somewhere in between Korn and Avenged Sevenfold's main stage set erupted a gargantuan fire on the lawn, sparked by raging fans. Metal heads danced, moshed and yelled around the flames and black smoke as if they were performing a demon ritual of their own, and wasn't extinguished for around 20 minutes.
Best head banging: Cannibal Corpse
Cannibal Corpse reminded the audience of the long-lived, fearless communal tradition. As the heaviest, and probably most respected band on the roster this year, George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, Alex Webster, Pat O'Brien, Rob Barrett and even drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz circled their long hair in synch with the pounding blast beats. The 26-year veterans are immune to neck pain, as evident in their head banging duration that endured longer than any younger fan.
Best live performance: Korn
No matter what other big name acts are on the bill, Korn's live performance still knocks them all down into the pit. The mesmerizing black and white light show, Jonathan Davis' crackled singling in the iconic H.R. Giger-designed microphone stand, and joined head-bang-hunch from Head, Fieldy, Munky and Ray Luzier electrify an unstoppable wave of movement into the masses. "Got the Life," "Falling Away From Me," "Freak on a Leash," and "Blind" brought out audible chanting from the 27,000 fans JD signaled to give during vocal gaps.
Best freebies: Vendor booths
Mayhem Festival also has a wide range of vendors including stands belonging to the 19 bands to purchase albums and other merchandise, but also sponsors and record labels such as Metal Blade, Sumerian and Victory Records. Coldcock Herbal Whiskey sponsored one of the stages this year and gave away free lanyards, stickers and shots. They also provided a taco stand for munchies in true southern California style.
Most girls: Mushroomhead
It could've been the morbid fascination of the smelly men underneath the masks, the release of their new album The Righteous & The Butterfly, or the expected water spray from banging on their drums that seemed to attract the most women to Mushroomhead's set. The noticeable amounts of women were cramped against the barricade, on top of men's shoulders, working down in the photo pit and even guest singing during the speedy set.