On one of, if not the most beautiful day this summer, I had the opportunity to take in one of the heaviest tours this year. The sixth annual Rockstar Energy Drink’s Mayhem Festival rolled into the Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, IN. With some of the biggest names in metal, Mayhem has become a summer staple. This year’s Fest features headliners Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Machine Head and many more bands.
As I entered the Klipsch Music Center, I began to take in all the sites and sounds of the outdoor venue. The grounds themselves were littered with vendors selling everything from Jagermeister to band merch to the obvious Rockstar Energy Drink. There were also several band signings going on all day, and even some dudes jumping motor bikes off of ramps opposite the stages behind the crowd.
I had the chance to photograph 12 bands this year and we’ll be sharing those with you over the next few days. So please keep your eyes open for that. I bounced back and forth between stages to take in as many bands as I could, and to experience as much Mayhem as possible. The smaller stages provided a more intimate experience for upcoming bands and their fans. While the main stage was obviously where the buzz was as the day progressed.
Later into the night, on the main stage, were Amon Amarth, Mastodon (Who we interviewed here), Five Finger Death Punch and of course the huge theatrics blended with heaviness by the badass known as Rob Zombie. While the big guys certainly lived up to their billings, earlier in the day, the Musician’s Institute and Jagermeister stages showcased eleven other bands that had the crowds jumping, head banging, and throwing just as many horns in the air all day. Some of the highlights for me, were the two female fronted bands Huntress and Butcher Babies. Don’t let the long hair and makeup fool you guys, they rocked the stage harder than some of the other bands did that day and are on my radar to try and catch again. I will say this, I have to say that no one was more intense than the five guys from Arizona called Job For A Cowboy. Frontman Jonny Davy leaves it all out there on the stage. He came out with a Peroni, a bottle of Seagram’s 7, and a job to do. Let’s just say, job well done cowboy. Aside from them, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Battlecross, Attika 7, and of course, the veterans, Machine Head. Everyone had their own unique thing to offer in an attempt to stand out. Take Attika 7 and Amon Amarth as examples. Attika 7 features former Biohazard frontman Evan Seinfield, they came onstage with Evan riding his custom chopper. While the Swedish metal heads in Amon Amarth, who’s songs often refer to Vikings, had the bow of a Viking ship onstage with them.
One of biggest personal highlights of the day, that was completely unexpected, was meeting Dimebag Darrell’s longtime girlfriend, Rita Haney. I grew up listening to Pantera and following all the band members throughout their career paths with other bands, but never got the opportunity to see Pantera live in concert. With Dimebag gone, I doubt I ever will. So, meeting her and chatting for a bit really meant a lot. It was also really cool to see her talking to a line of fans and signing autographs and taking pictures as well. She is touring with the Mayhem Festival and operating a booth there called DimebagHardware.com for all things Dime.
All in all, this year’s edition of Mayhem had a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Fueled by Rockstar, the Festival provided tons of energy and some of the best metal in the planet. Add in the fact that Mother Nature gave us a great day and you have a tremendous experience. Unfortunately, this years edition of the tour wrapped up yesterday, August 4th in Dallas, TX. If you missed, you will regret it, as this years edition was one for the ages.
Be sure and check out the official Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival recap from Noblesville below: