18 07 2010

I just went to the Mayhem Festival in Phoenix. This is a metal concert tour making its way around the US right now with Korn, Rob Zombie, Lamb of God, and Five Finger Death Punch on the main stage, and Atreyu, Hatebreed, Chimaira, Shadows Fall, In This Moment, Winds of Plague, 3 Inches of Blood, and Norma Jean on secondary stages. With all the fees our seats at Cricket Pavillion (which I hate) were $75. When I first found out about this 9-hour outdoor concert, I was seriously annoyed that someone had determined it would be a good idea to do this on what would probably be one of the hottest days of the year in Phoenix. Sure enough, it was forecasted to be 116°F, thought it could have been 150° as far as I could tell. It floors me that year after year, big ass concerts are scheduled for the hottest time of the year in one of the hottest cities in the country. It seemed like every band we saw felt the need to mention the heat and tell us how awesome we are for coming and dealing with it. Some insisted we congratulate ourselves. I can’t seriously clap for myself.

I missed Winds of Plague, though I would’ve liked to have seen them. As expected, 3 Inches of Blood was obnoxious with their painfully high-pitched vocals. In This Moment was pretty cool, except that their pretty blonde girl singer doesn’t seem too terribly talented. Shadows Fall and Chimaira were solid, though neither played my favorite song of theirs. Shadows fall covered Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon”, which was pretty cool. I don’t like Atreyu, and didn’t pay much attention when they were playing. Hatebreed was fucking awesome. Their pit was insane. I don’t know if Norma Jean played at all. I think they got bumped for time.

Five Finger Death Punch was first on the main stage. I became an instant fan when I first heard their first album, The Way of the Fist. However, I wasn’t too terribly happy with the tracks that were later added to that album nor with their follow-up album, War is the Answer. This was the third time I’d seen them, and the most disappointing by far. Previously, I’d seem them play “White Knuckles“, their best song ever, with a great deal of audience participation. It was like their theme song. This time they skipped it. The only notable song they played from their first album was “The Bleeding”. Of course, they played their cover of “Bad Company” (by Bad Company), which has been getting plenty of radio play around these parts. The crowd loved it. I was annoyed.

Lamb of God was great. They are the reason I went to the show. They were awesome, and I wished their set could’ve been longer. They didn’t play all my favorite songs of theirs, but they did play “Walk with Me In Hell“, “Redneck“, and “Laid to Rest“. Randy Blythe is an amazing vocalist. My only complaint would be that the timing of the pinch harmonics in Laid to Rest wasn’t quite right, but I’m one the few who notice and care about shit like that. These guys are just amazing live. I hope they return soon to play a GA venue.

Then, it got dark and Rob Zombie came out. I think I can safely say he had the most elaborate stage I’ve ever seen. At one point there was a guy in a 10-foot robot suit dancing with Rob. It was rather surreal. There were tons of video screens showing crazy shit, lots of dudes in costumes, lots of props, and a lot of fire. It was pretty fucking cool. The downside was that Rob Zombie can’t sing like he used to. I’m not just talking about pitch or tone, but during the older songs he skipped a lot of lyrics catching his breath. The older the songs were, the more noticeable this was. I recall him playing just two White Zombie songs: “More Human than Human” and “Thuderkiss ’65”. I’m torn on whether he should just stick to making movies or maybe work on his lung capacity. I suppose it was worthwhile. I did enjoy the show.

Korn came on last. Their set was elaborate, but not quite as crazy as Rob’s. They had two 20-30 foot flaming oil derricks and two life-size oil pumps. I was a huge Korn fan through their first three or four albums, but at this show they started off only playing songs from later albums. They started going back in time a bit right when my friends decided to leave to beat traffic. I started to head out after they played “Blind”, only to hear the bagpipes begin for Shoots and Ladders, the very first Korn song I ever heard. I was happy enough with what I’d seen. If you didn’t know, Korn is down to 3/5 of their original members. They now only credit one guitarist on their albums, but there was a second guitarist on stage. Jonathan Davis looks kind of old and silly in his Adidas track suit and dreadlocks. He’s balding and his face seemed to have a sort of fat-oldness to it. However, his vocals are tight. The whole band was tight, and I learned that I’m still a Korn fan.

A final note: I seriously hate the Cricket Pavillion, and I will do my best to never go there again. A 20 ounce bottled water was $4.50 and 24 ounce PBRs were an inhumane ELEVEN-FUCKING-DOLLARS. Although the real reason I hate this place is because it’s big, outside, hot, and full of seats. The floor under the seats slopes downward which makes my legs hurt if I stand for very long, and toward the end, you pretty much have to stand to see anything. I like general admission.

Corey Taylor is a Douchebag

30 09 2009

On Saturday, I went to a place called Fear Farm to see the End of Summer Scorcher. It was a day long concert with Sevendust headlining. It was 104 degrees with a completely clear sky, so I purposely didn’t get there in time to see all the bands. I walked in while Sick Puppies was playing. They have some song on the radio right now that I don’t really like, but they seemed decent live. Then, Otep took the second stage. This was my third time seeing them. They were facing the sun, the sound wasn’t great, and they only had a 30-minute set. I couldn’t hear the guitar most of the time. They’re much better headlining a dark place like the Clubhouse in Tempe. After that, Atreyu hit the main stage. I was pretty sure I didn’t like them. I was right. They suck. Next, it was back to the second stage for Shadows Fall. I’d never seen them before. They’re good live, but I just don’t get into a lot of their songs.

Five Finger Death Punch was next. I saw them at the first End of Summer Scorcher a year ago. They were great then. They went on when the sun was still up, and the crowd wasn’t insanely huge. At one point during a song I was singing along to, I swear that signer Ivan Moody saw me getting into it and pointed me out. This year it was a bit different. They were still great, but the crowd was easily ten times the size. It was nuts. The concert sold out, and this band had to have the biggest crowd of the whole show. They only played two songs from their new album, one of them being “Hard to See”, which is really pretty good. I don’t recall them playing either of the singles that were tacked onto their first album after it had been out for a while. They finished with “The Bleeding.” It was great.

Corey Taylor’s Junk Beer Kidnap Band took the stage after that. I was completely ready to be disappointed. Earlier in the week he was on the local radio station saying that it’s not metal, and that he didn’t care if anyone liked the band. He and his friends were having fun. It was very not metal. The first song they played was “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince. They did some crappy originals (that weren’t very original), a Rolling Stones cover, and the two mellowest Stone Sour singles. Toward the end they seriously played the Cheers theme song. “Where everybody knows your name”? – Yeah, that song. They finished with “Wish” by Nine Inch Nails. That was cool, but it hardly made up for the other crap. At the very end Corey yelled, “fuck you!” into the mic. No Corey, Fuck you.

Having never seen Sevendust before, I waited around for them to play, and I once I heard a few songs, I left. They seemed pretty solid live, but I’m just not that into them and I had a headache.

If you liked Five Finger Death Punch’s first album…

17 09 2009

…you’ll be pretty disappointed with their new one. Some of the songs are very obviously aimed at radio play. Among the ones that aren’t, some of the songs are pretty hard, like The Way of the Fist, but much of the riffs are recycled. It’s like they’re ripping themselves off. One of the first things that really stood out when I heard their first album was the lyrics. They expressed the frustration and disgust with society that I can really relate to. 🙂 The lyrics in many of the new songs are outright bad. Cheesy. This time, it’s all about how I’m a bad-ass with a big dick and I’m going to kick your ass.

I knew this was going to happen.