Friday, July 29, 2011

Mayhem Festival

Just got home a little bit ago from the Mayhem Festival. We went to the venue outside Pittsburgh, same place we went to Ozzfest last year. We arrived shortly before 3:00pm, so we missed some early opening acts, but between the 3 stages we still saw 10 bands play. I should add that by having 2 smaller stages where one played while the other got set up, they vastly improved the experience by totally eliminating downtime between bands. The groups we saw were, in order:


-All Shall Perish- (Thoroughly mediocre and generic, but I already knew that.)

-Kingdom of Sorrow- (I saw them at Ozzfest last year two, and they failed to leave much of an impression. A second viewing didn't do much to change that.)

-Suicide Silence- (Despite being familiar with the name, this was the first time I'd ever actually heard any of their material. Stolen riffs, endless breakdowns, annoyingly screechy vocals, and a front man who spent way too much time trying to get the crowd to jump and mosh every 5 seconds. I'd call them the worst band we saw.)

-Unearth- (Second time seeing them. They're by no means a favorite of mine, but they're decent, and they played a reasonably entertaining set.)

-Machine Head- (One of the side stage closers. The best band we'd seen up to this point, though nothing terrifically special. I'll admit I'm starting to sound pretty negative, but honestly there were a lot of lackluster performances amongst the openers.)

-In Flames- (The other side stage closer. It was my third time seeing them, and if you've read many of my music posts you can probably already guess that I really enjoyed watching In Flames again. It was the first time I'd seen them since Jesper left. They weren't as good as the last time I saw them, but they still put on a very entertaining show and were far and away the highlight of the small stage performances, in my opinion.)


-Trivium- (Second time seeing them. Meh.)

-Megadeth- (Second time seeing them, too. One of the better performances of the show, unsurprisingly. They didn't have the time to cover all the material I'd have liked, but they sounded good playing what they could.)

-Godsmack- (They sounded good, assuming you like hard radio rock. The vocals were surprisingly similar to the quality of their recordings. The caveats would be that they had the audience sing the choruses far too often, so we rarely heard the actual appropriate vocals for those, and that while the quality of the performance was perfectly solid, there just seemed to be a general lack of energy. On the whole they were pretty good, but certainly not great.)

-Disturbed- (Big production values, plenty of energy, and good quality performances by all the members. Regrettably, their song selection left quite a bit to be desired. They left off many of their hits in favor of an odd assortment of filler tracks. They may have been holding on to those as ammo for an encore, but they ended at 11pm and I think the crowd was about out of steam, since there was surprisingly little noise calling for more. As such, they didn't come back out and we walked away feeling just a little bit cheated. Much like Godsmack, this left their set at pretty good, though again certainly not great.)

I had a fairly fun time. Compared with some of the other shows I've been to with large bills, though, this one was rather lacking. I can't REALLY say that I was flat-out disappointed, but at the same time I was a little. Admittedly this was more of a hard rock affair than my typical show selections, but I've seen enough hard rock bands live that I feel I'm perfectly capable of approaching this objectively. And for me, the show overall landed a grade somewhere between a C+ and a B-.


  1. Any time I see the lineup for a festival I always think, "garbage, garbage, garbage, pretty good, garbage, garbage, awesome, garbage, meh." I think the only one I'd actually want to see is Maryland Deathfest, or maybe one of those doom festivals.

  2. Yeah, that usually about sums it up.