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Concert Reviews:
Metal, moshing rule at Mayhem festival

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Saturday, August 7, 2010

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Miday through Hatebreed's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival set Friday (Aug. 6) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, frontman Jamey Jasta declared that "anybody standing still is a (bleeping) Blackhawks fan!"

Kudos to Jasta for knowing exactly where he was, but Hocketytown was safe for the headbangers who greeted Hatebreed and the other dozen Mayhem bands' sets with nearly 11 hours of exuberant moshing on one of the best weather days of the summer so far. And there was even evidence that some of the sod on the lawn, usually a victim of any metal package, survived the day.

It was also clear that in its third year, Mayhem has stepped in the breach left by the downsized OZZFest to become the summer season's preeminent hard rock tour, living up to its self-proclaimed motto as The Hardest Show On Earth. And Detroit, as we know, loves a good day of metal; Friday's stop, according to Five Finger Death Punch frontman Ivan Moody, was the first sellout of this year's Mayhem itinerary, and the substantial number of fans waiting outside the gate in hopes of more tickets becoming available was the kind of demand seen for precious few shows anymore.

Inside DTE there were also wrestling and motorcycle stunt exhibitions, but the music was Mayhem's star -- and when push came to shove Rob Zombie was the star of Mayhem.

It was, in many ways, not a fair competition. The theatrically minded Zombie came loaded with his typically over-the-top sensory assault of projections, pyrotechnics and props, including massive, dancing puppets for songs such as "More Human Than Human," "House of 1000 Corpses" and "Mars Needs Women" and a batch of balloons during "Sick Bubble Gum." Zombie was fortified with even more star power in his band with Slipknot's Joey Jordison on drums, and he had a home town advantage in Grosse Pointe native John5 (ne Lowery), who played with dynamic flash despite being hobbled by a broken foot -- and had to smash one of his guitars as part of a running "bet" with Zombie about the best crowds on the tour.

Following Zombie, show-closer Korn was at something of a disadvantage -- especially since Zombie's set ran long and Korn's changeover took 40 minutes, forcing the group to slightly shorten its own portion while still going past curfew and incurring the attendant fines. But while its performance seemed rushed it was also fierce, delivered on a stage set designed to look like an oil refinery -- complete with moving derricks -- as the group delivered a couple of new songs, "Oildale (Leave Me Alone)" and "Let the Guilt Go," from its new album, "Korn III -- Remember Who You Are." Older favorites such as "Right Now," "Falling Away From Me" and "Freak on a Leash" went over big, of course, but the crowd's explosion was saved for when frontman Jonathan Davis paraded onstage with his bagpipes to launch "Shoots and Ladders."

Five Finger Death Punch's seven-song set provided a hearty opening for Mayhem's main stage lineup, complete with a cover of Bad Company's "Bad Company," while Art Cruz from second stage act Winds Of Plague took over the drum stool with Lamb of God for "Laid to Rest." Hatebreed, a veteran of many metal festivals, was arguably the highlight of the two second stage areas, though Atreyu, Chimaira, Shadows Fall and Norma Jean certainly held their own, while the headbangers were certainly titillated by the platinum dress In This Moment's Maria Brink sported during her band's set.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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