ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL
First Niagara Pavilion
by The Pusher
Photos by: The Pusher
This is one festival that certainly lives up to its' name; boasting twelve kick ass bands spread across three stages, this year's lineup is certainly more intense than the SIX planned Ozzfest dates this summer ~ so, of course, when the opportunity to go presented itself, I was on this like a fat kid on cake.
The only downside (besides not coming to friggin' Cleveland) is that the date I was to attend was at the First Niagara Pavilion ~ a place that, either due to internal management or people on MULTIPLE tours dropping the ball, can never seem to get things arranged to meeting a standard even coming CLOSE to normal. When they botched my ticketing & seating arrangement for last year's NINJA tour, I chalked it up to someone on the touring end making an oversight & let it slide ~ but I'm beginning to see a pattern emerging.
First off, it took five attempts (and a nice 15 minute round of parking lot ping pong) before we finally found somebody who knew WHERE to park for closest access to will call to pick up the tickets... Which doesn't sound like a big deal until you factor in how massive the parking area is. Still, I was just happy to be spending my birthday going to, in my opinion, THE tour to see this summer, so I lit up & let it slide.
Next stop, will call.
I guess maybe I should have checked the tickets on the spot to be sure everything was in order, but I really didn't expect something as easily as handing over two pieces of paper could be THAT hard of a task.
Yet, I was wrong ~ and only realized so when I tried to enter the pavilion to shoot Five Finger Death Punch & was denied access (even WITH a photo pass) because I'd been given lawn tickets.
Naturally, this was a problem, so BACK to the office I went ~ this time TRIPLE checking to make sure they got it right.
But I guess that would have been too easy a fix, as I was then refused entrance a SECOND time since "these aren't pit tickets."
At this point, the window to shoot Five Finger Death Punch was about to close, and it was only JUST as Lamb of God was hitting the stage that the powers that be were able to get this worked out. Better late than never, I guess, but I'll never understand why anybody with even a modicum of intelligence wouldn't have foreseen this as being a problem BEFORE it started.
All bullshit aside, Lamb of God was worth the wait & immediately made me forget how shitty the hour before their set began had been IMMEDIATELY. Songs like "Redneck", "Now You've Got Something To Die For" (which they dedicated to the united states armed forces) & "Laid To Rest" decimated the sold out crowd all the way back into the grass, where the infamous "wall of death" had broken out... Good times, good times.
Next up was Rob "motherfuckin" Zombie (as his latest t-shirts are billing him) & his new and improved band featuring Slipknot's Joey Jordison on drums, Piggy D on bass & John "One Foot" 5 on guitar. I say "One Foot" because, a few days prior, he actually broke one of his feet & was advised to "drop off the tour, go home & rest"...
Thankfully, he opted NOT to ~ and I don't think anybody in "the biggest crowd on the tour so far" noticed; if he was in pain, he sure as hell didn't show it.
Zombie, as always, put on quite a spectacle ~ same set opener as the winter tour ("What Lurks On Channel X?"), but the shortened set time was peppered not only with the usual tunes you'd expect to hear ("More Human Than Human", "Never Gonna Stop", "Mars Needs Women"), but a few surprises as well ~ like a cover of Metallica's "Enter Sandman", Alice Cooper's "School's Out" & an impromptu "Boats & Hos" rap from Joey after his drum solo.
Yes, you read that correctly... If his gigs in Slipknot or the Murderdolls ever fall out, Joey Jordison can rap... Who'da thunk it?
Quite honestly, though, I think the biggest surprise of the evening came from the band that gave Head to God...
Ladies & gentlemen, boy and girls, KORN is back -- and, quite possibly, better than ever.
Cavorting about a makeshift oilfield, I don't think I've EVER heard them sound as tight ~ and I've seen them 6 or 7 times WITH Mr. Welch in the band. They've filled out their sound with a touring second guitarist, a keyboard player & new drummer Ray Luzier, and pulled off a rarity in that (at least to MY jaded ears) EVERY song they played sounded better than the previously recorded versions chillin' in your cd player right now. New tracks "Oildale" & "Let The Guilt Go" sounded right at home next to reworked versions of "Falling Away From Me" (which now boasts a piano intro), a slowed down, menacing version of "Clown", and "Freak On a Leash" (with a pre-song jam session that builds INTO it now).
Of course, the biggest crowd response came when Mr. Davis whipped out the bagpipes for "Shoots and Ladders", which segued into their cover of Metallica's "One" & set closer "Got The Life".
No encore, though, but I guess that's to be expected; you know that old adage about how you should "always leave them wanting more"?
Well, mission accomplished.
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
Burn it Down Salvation Never Enough No One Gets Left Behind Bad CompanyThe Way of the Fist The Bleeding
LAMB OF GOD
The Passing In Your Words Set to Fail Walk With Me In Hell Now You've Got Something To Die For Laid to Rest Redneck Black Label
Intro MedleyWhat Lurks On Channel X? Superbeast Scum of the Earth Living Dead Girl More Human Than HumanSick Bubble Gum House of 1000 Corpses Drum Solo / Joey Jordison "Boats and Ho's" Rap Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy) Enter SandmanThunder Kiss '65Guitar Solo School's Out (Alice Cooper cover)
Right Now Here to Stay Did My Time Oildale (Leave Me Alone) Falling Away From Me Let the Guilt Go Drum Solo Freak on a Leash Blind Shoots and Ladders / One Clown Got the Life
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