After years of promoting the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival by playing the bands on it on my show THE ASYLUM and having schedule conflicts keep me from attending, I was finally able to attend one. Of course with the New York date being the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater it was a must though it had its highs and lows. Luckily the highs outnumbered the lows in pure rock so it was a show I’m glad I attended. I’ll hold the lows for the end and hit you with the highs first.
Of course the highs of Mayhem Festival were the bands playing. If you include my local friends Anaka as part of the lineup, even they though played a stage in the concession, you had 5 bands ready to rock. The other bands of course being from the festival main stage: Truvium, Asking Alexandria, Korn, and Avenged Sevenfold. In writing that alone has the potential to be a night not to be missed.
Anaka didn’t let where they were playing within the theater in affect their performance in anyway whatsoever. They treated the stage in the concession area as if it were their own personal venue. Anyone who stopped to check them out instead of rushing to their seats got a full dose of Brooklyn metal. They brought an energy into that area that no one has yet. And I know, I’ve been to other shows at Jones Beach where bands playing in the concession area have everyone ignoring them. Anaka grabbed people as they strolled in. They created so much energy that a small mosh put took place – IN THE CONCESSION AREA! That speaks volumes for a band that wasn’t given the opportunity to play the big stage and I’m sure they gained several new fans.
Unfortunately I missed the first band on the main stage. Trivium opening up the show with a 30 minute set but I had to choose between them or grabbing some food. And even though I chose food I was still able to hear some of their set since it is an outdoor venue. Granted I didn’t hear them perfectly but I did hear that they’ve grown as a band from when I first heard them and declared them a Metallica tribute band. I’ll still need to see them live before I can truly say whether or not I can fully get into them and with a better set time. Thirty minutes is hardly anything in a big venue like Jones Beach.
By the time I finished eating the crews were beginning to switch things over from Trivium to Asking Alexandria. I made my way to the general admission pit just in time for the beginning of their set. I was definitely interested in seeing them again cause when I saw them open for Korn at the now defunct Roseland Ballroom 6 months ago Asking Alexandria admitted on stage that they had issues with some of their equipment and that show wasn’t their full potential. So luckily at Jones Beach they had everything working and I got to hear what they truly sound like. And, just like my thoughts 6 months ago, they sound better live then they do on the albums. Which by today’s technology standards really doesn’t make much logical sense but is true. I’ve played both “Moving On” and “Killing You” on my radio show but couldn’t really get into them until I heard it live. They worked together on stage as one unite which is usually rare for a young band. My only real critique is that their frontman Danny Worshop looked like he tore a page out of Chris Jericho of Fozzy’s wardrobe and stage presence. Six months ago Danny was a long hair, t-shirt, and jeans performer. Something I can totally identify with. And now he’s strutting around in a white leather jacket with short hair and to be honest it doesn’t work with the rest of the band. Chris Jericho pulls of the GQ bad ass cause it’s his style and has been for years and it works with Fozzy. But Danny Worshop going fancy rocker when the rest of the band is in t-shirts and jeans just doesn’t work. Asking Alexandria has a lot of potential if they can capture the sound and energy they have live on a studio album.
Up next was Korn. As I held on to the energy from Asking Alexandria I began wondering if Korn was going to sound just as good as 6 months ago in Roseland or not. Luckily that question was answered fast cause Korn came out full power opening with “Falling Away From Me”. I was instantly taken back to my late high school and early college years when Korn first hit and made their mark on the music world. Any doubt I had was immediately and permanently erased from my mind. Korn is back and as good as we could ask for. With Brian “Head” Welch still back with them they are whole. And even though Ray Luzier is technically the new guy in the group they still are a whole unite. While Head had to leave for reasons we all know now were in his best interest his return was what Korn needed. You could see and hear that they were enjoying themselves and having fun performing “Got The Life” as well as “Shoots and Ladders”. Not to mention how amazing the new songs “Spike In My Veins” and “Never Never” sound. If you’re doubting Korn I urge you to reconsider cause I can definitely see them selling out arenas again very soon just like they did when they first hit it big.
Lastly and certainly not least was Avenged Sevenfold. A band I’m still new to as a listener but since I’ve been keeping up on them knowing they had potential I was far from clueless about their music. They managed to impress me from the drop of the curtain. A huge castle wall with three giant arch windows with flamethrowers along the bottom grabbed everyone’s attention as they opened with “Shepherd Of Fire” which is also the opening of their latest album Hail To The King. For a brief moment I felt like I was at an Iron Maiden show as I’ve rarely seen a newer band show as much dedication to their stage design as they did their actual performance. Avenged Sevenfold came out full force and gave it their all. Each song having the same energy and fun performing it that they wanted from the crowd. From “Bat Country” to “Almost Easy” and even new stuff it flowed seamlessly. I credit Avenged Sevenfold for realizing at such a young age in their careers that everything from stage design to their performance effects your audience and their reaction to you. They found their identity as a band and you can add me to their fan base.
So as you can see this show met up to my musical expectations but there is one low point that days later is sticking in my head. I didn’t see Mayhem Festival. I saw Mayhem Festival Lite. When I think festival I think all day show with multiple stages. Jones Beach has TONS of room for them to have done the full festival especially since they just did the Vans Warped Tour in its full 109 band multi stage form. So I cannot see why it didn’t happen for Mayhem. I hope that next year they bring the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival back in its full entity cause the Mayhem Lite I got this year left me wanting more.