First, I know you’re all screaming “you forgot The Devil Wears Prada!” No I didn’t forget them. I unfortunately missed their set as I was making my way from my interview with Liv of Sister Sin towards the main stage area at PNC Bank Arts Center during The Devil Wears Prada‘s set. So don’t crucify me for this review leaving them out because the schedule caused me to miss them.
With that said lets just get right into it with Hellyeah. A band I FINALLY got to see live after years of being a fan. Their set, short even by main stage set times, was strong but definitely left we wanting more. The entire band was on their game. Seeing Vinnie Paul behind a drum kit was something I never saw until now (I wasn’t going to shows during Pantera‘s day) and he did NOT disappoint. But the song selection left me wanting more. Most if not all of their set was from their new album Blood For Blood. And I get that it’s still a new album but with a limited set time it would’ve been nice to hear more diversity since they have four albums to pull from. “Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)” and “Moth” sounded amazing live but didn’t nothing to show the amount of range Chad Gray has as a singer and the band has as a whole. I did get “You Wouldn’t Know” from their debut album but I would’ve loved more variations from their catalog.
Following that was my first time ever seeing King Diamond. With the health issues he had in recent years and far and few in between US dates as well I was intrigued. I knew his music from friends and heard of his stage show. Well rockers, he did not disappoint. I stage design that to me rivals Alice Cooper of a double stair case, upside down crosses, and satanic symbol dead center caught my attention long before the first chords of the opening son.
As King Diamond rolled through his set, my friends and I found ourselves in awe because he was at the top of his game. If his health issues hadn’t been public knowledge over the years you’d never know. Going from his painfully high tone vocals down to grumbling vocals without hesitation or stumbling makes you wonder if he’s found the fountain of youth. And on a personal note I almost fell out of my own wheelchair as they rolled “grandma” out to the stage for “Welcome Home”. Anyone with that sense of humor gets bonus points from me. Add to that a surprise guest addition of Kerry King for the Mercyful Fate song “Evil” and I don’t think their was a person left unimpressed by King Diamond.
Then of course there was Slayer. What can I say that hasn’t already been said. They’re current line up is as fierce as ever and they stormed through their set with no frills and no bullshit in between. Truthfully, would any of us expect any less? No. They pulled something from everywhere. From “Implode” and “When the Stillness Comes” from the upcoming Repentless album to classics like “Ghosts of War”, “Hell Awaits”, and “Dead Skin Mask”; they brought it all. It’s as simple as that. Plus taking into account I counted six people “escorted” out during their set tells me the crowd get Slayer as they expected to get.
Simply put, if you skipped this years Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival because you only knew “a few bands” or you got caught up in the recent press then you were a fool. The value of the ticket for the talent on the main stage alone was worth it and with ticket prices not showing signs of getting cheaper it might’ve been your last chance at a bill of this caliber for a reasonable cost. If you attended then you, like me, know what others missed out on.