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Reviews by Lelia Cotton | @rhymeswtequila
Interviews and photos by Lelia Cotton and Matt McCormick | @mccmatt
The Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival may be the heaviest of heavy metal tours this summer has to offer. The main stage had some of the biggest names in the metal game, but it was the smaller stages that truly stole the show. The Coldcock Whiskey Stage was headed by bands like Suicide Silence, Miss May I, Mushroomhead, local band King810 and more.
Mushroomhead is known for their wild performances and they certainly drew too large of a crowd for such a small stage. Easily, Mushroomhead deserves a spot on the main stage. 2014 is their 21st year as a band and it’s one to remember. This year alone they have brought back some of the original gang as well as some new key guys. Now, they have three lead vocals. This is especially important as J Mann has officially rejoined the group just three months ago, after working on their latest album together.
The Righteous and The Butterfly just dropped in May 2014 and has already acquired quick success with Billboard and Hard Rock charts. Skinny claims that getting on those charts was never the goal, but “the people have spoken”. He also claims that this album was their “most honest effort” and they all naturally vibed together. After sitting down together, he said the key to their longevity success was that they’re not rockstars, their artists and they don’t take themselves too seriously. J Mann joining the group after a decade of being gone was not something they had planned, it just fell together perfectly. Their cohesiveness showed clear in the performance as it went off without a hitch. They completely owned the stage with their commanding persona and intensity of the water flying off of their drums. The large crowd was almost too excessive for the stage, as well as their vigor. In comparison to some of the Mayhem lineup, Mushroomhead are legends. They have been in the game for quite some time and their fandom showed so.
Miss May I and Mushroomhead, both from Ohio, brought in big crowds to the Michigan theater. This year was Miss May I’s first tour with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Like Mushroomhead, they has also just dropped an album, Rise of the Lion. Rise of the Lion The band got to work with Michigan’s own, Terry Date, who helped produce their album. Terry Date is known for producing albums with bands like Pantera and Deftones. Their set was filled with a heavy style of melodic metalcore riffs. The crowd was lively, taking the heat by any means possible. Rise of the Lion has shown their diverse sound with all new melodies mashed with their original thrust. The fast paced riffs and clean screaming provided the fans to be satisfied. It’s safe to say Miss May I delivered.
Overall, it was the Coldcock Whiskey Stage that owned the day. As far as reak metal bands go, the smaller stage was was completely packed with true metal bands. This lineup left the stage stacked with metalcore sounds and heavy breakdowns. This stage alone claimed the energy of the crowd and the Mayhem altogether.
Avenged Sevenfold was the main headliner for this years Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. While at DTE in Clarkston, MI this Thursday and they brought a whole new level of rock to the amphitheater. The heavy metal music echoed all the way to the very back near the Hilltop Bar.
Avenged Sevenfold (A7X) was hands down the best performance of the night, earning the name of a headliner easily. The dramatics of the warm to cool lighting and fire play truly set the tone for the act. The set list was a perfect mixture of old and new, keeping the massive crowd on their feet the entire time. They opened with “Shepard of Fire” from the latest album, ‘Hail to the King’. Followed by “Nightmare” and the 2005 hit, “Bat Country” off of their third album ‘City of Evil’. The army of a crowd chanted every single word to the older, yet still familiar, tune.
As they were going into their next song of the night, lead vocalist, M. Shadows told a story of why Avenged loves Detroit. He went on to say that when they were first coming around with their second album back in 2003, ‘Waking the Fallen’, no one knew who they were and no one would play their music on the radio. However, one radio station, who remained nameless for some reason, in Detroit was playing it. Shadows went on to say that they will never forget that and will always love Detroit for having great taste in music. With that being said, they wanted to dedicate the next song to Detroit. However, as he was devoting the next tune to our beloved city, his mic went out. Thankfully it was only momentarily, and he continued to introduce their dedication of “Hail to the King” to Detroit. The crowd erupted, as the tune is the #1 single off their latest album.
During the rest of the set it became apparent that after all these year, Avenged still can rock. Shadows baritone vocals have truly evolved over time. Often you hear of bands who do not sound the same or as well when performing live. This is not a problem Shadows has to worry about. Kind of funny for a guy who had apparently lost his ability to scream after a throat surgery in 2003, that never happened. This was a ridiculous rumor that was spread after the band had finished Warped Tour 2003. With that being said, in the ten years after, his vocals have matured with a harsh yet clean vocal feel.
Shadows introduced “So Far Out” and attributed it to the late and great James “The Rev” Sullivan. Sullivan was the band’s drummer, vocalist, and songwriter until 2009 when he unexpectedly passed away due to an overdose of Oxycodone, as well as Cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) that may have played a role in his death. The theater was lit up by the sole light of cell phones and lighters from the stage to the top of the hill. The mellow echo of the lyrics felt meaningful and at that moment if was apparent just how many fans still loved these guys. Which is no wonder why the band won the “Most Dedicated Fans” award at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards last year.
A7X finished their hour and half long set with a mix of jams between their albums, on a high note. Along with a three song encore that wooed the crowd with the flames and powerful, show ending drum solo.