Rockstar Mayhem Festival 7/26 at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Rockstar Mayhem Festival 7/26 at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Last week I made the long journey to Tinley Park, IL for the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. For those of you who never heard of this, think Warped Tour for metal heads. This was an all-day outdoor show with 3 stages and a whole lot of bands. The festival was being headlined by Marilyn Manson and Slayer, two bands I really enjoy (especially Slayer!).


The Black Dahlia Murder

I was hoping to get to the show in time to shoot Behemoth but traffic had other intentions for me. When I got there they were already half done with their set so I couldn’t shoot any photos of them. What I did get to hear and see from quite a distance was pretty damn entertaining and I was cursing myself for not being able to leave sooner.


The Black Dahlia Murder


The Black Dahlia Murder


The Black Dahlia Murder

The first band I got to actually see up close and shoot was The Black Dahlia Murder. I’ve seen them a few times in the past and they always put on a great show. When they came out a dude in a gorilla suit came out with them and was running all around on stage.  It was pretty funny and made for some lighthearted entertainment that balances their brutal sound. I noticed their singer had shaved his head since the last time they rolled through town. The band played about a half hour’s worth of their trademark powerful metal and the crowd went nuts. I was surprised by how many people were already at the fest when I arrived, the place was totally packed early in the day and the crowd was really into this show.


Trivium


Trivium


Trivium

Over on another stage Trivium played a few minutes after Black Dahlia Murder finished their set. I had never heard of Trivium before this show so I didn’t know anything about them. At times they sort of reminded me of old Metallica, you know back when Metallica were good. They were super energetic and all the memebers of the band were moving all over the place and the crowd seemed to be enjoying them just as much as they were enjoying Black Dahlia Murder. Their set seemed to fly by quickly which is a sign of a pretty entertaining band for sure.


Cannibal Corpse


Cannibal Corpse


Cannibal Corpse

Death metal legends, Cannibal Corpse, soon followed. The crowd seemed really excited for them and rightfully so as they are still one of the best bands in their genre. They came out and tore up the stage with their non-stop metallic aural assault. The singer was whipping his hair around nearly every minute he wasn’t growling into the microphone. The kids in the crowd went bonkers with moshing, headbanging, and crowd surfing. The singer challenged the crowd to bang their heads harder than he does, but I’m not sure anyone was able to defeat him, but not for their lack of trying!


Bullet For My Valentine


Bullet For My Valentine


Bullet For My Valentine

At this point the main stage of the venue opened up and it was time for the final four bands to play on the big stage. This group of bands started off with Bullet for My Valentine. Again, this was another band I wasn’t familiar with but I had at least heard the name before. They were far more poppy than anyone who played up til that point and if there was such a thing as Emo Metal you could probably classify them as that. They seemed to have their fair share of fans in the crowd that night, but they really weren’t my cup of tea and seemed extra soft compared to the heavy bands I had just witnessed.


Killswitch Engage


Killswitch Engage


Killswitch Engage


Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage soon followed. They had a pretty neat stage setup with a metal platform and some bursts of fire that would go off at regular intervals. They were a big improvement over the band that preceeded them and the fans in the pit area were going crazy. They had a good mix of hard and heavy parts along with melodic ones and the whole thing works pretty well. The singer hardly ever stood still and covered every square inch of their stage at least a few times over.


Slayer


Slayer


Slayer


Slayer


Slayer

The moment I was waiting for had finally arrived, it was time for the mighty Slayer! Slayer has been a band I have loved for over 20 years now, ever since Reign in Blood came out. They played some newer material including a song from their upcoming album and then went into Slayer’s greatest hits! They played “South of Heaven,” “Chemical Warfare,” “Angel of Death”, “Hell Awaits,” “Ghosts of War,” and closed with “Raining Blood”. Every song sounded so powerful and amazing that I was practically drooling inadvertanly from their unstoppable Slaytanic Power. There were heads banging in every direction and the band delivered a flawless performance. Their set alone would have been well worth anyone’s price of admission for sure.


Marilyn Manson


Marilyn Manson


Marilyn Manson

After a lengthy setup process, Marilyn Manson finally took the stage and the black curtain dropped to reveal him wearing some funny pointy hat. They opened with “We’re From America”, from their most recent album that I haven’t heard yet. The song sounded pretty good.  From there they played what sounded like a lot of newer material that I couldn’t identify. For every song they had a different lighting theme as well as some different set dressing in parts of the stage which I thought was pretty neat. As the set wore on, it seemed that the band weren’t really that into their performance, it felt very anti climatic. I don’t know if they were just “phoning it in” or it was the futile task of trying to follow Slayer’s amazing performance but I found myself getting bored and even songs like “Dope Show” and stuff from Antichrist Superstar didn’t really come across that well. I don’t think I was alone in my opinion as I noticed the crowd really started to thin out around me compared to how packed it was for Slayer. Maybe the band just had an off night but I think they should have traded places with Slayer and played second to last and the whole thing might have come across better. It was my first time seeing Marilyn Manson and I had pretty high expectations that sadly weren’t anywhere close to being met.


Marilyn Manson


Marilyn Manson

Overall the Rockstar Mayhem Festival was a really fun way to spend an entire day with good weather and great bands and even some free energy drinks! I hope they do it again next summer.






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