Mayhem

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.

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I Love the Following Things

16 12 2009

1. Women – There is nothing more exciting in life than an attractive and interesting woman who likes me. I’m addicted. They come in a variety of colors and flavors.

2. Chipotle – I’m talking about the burrito chain, not the sauce. In fact, I don’t really like chipotle sauce, but the place that shares the name is amazing. I could live a long happy life if I could eat nothing but their burritos. I order mine like so: Barbacoa, rice, black beans, double hot, sour cream and cheese. Before Chipotle came along, the only place I ever had a burrito like this was in California and they were never quite this good. Men’s Health gives them a hard time for the size of their portions being so large. Well, fuck Men’s Health. They’re fucking stupid. This chain uses the best quality ingredients and their massive portions mean I can go many many hours before I need to eat a candy bar or some other horrible thing.

3. Lamb of God – This is probably my favorite band. They only seem to get better with time, although I wasn’t hugely familiar with them before Sacrament came out in 2006.

This is the first song I ever heard from them:

The my new favorite LoG song is Choke Sermon. There’s no video for it, but you can hear it on their myspace page. The chorus riff is fucking amazing. They’ve been criticized for making new songs that sound just like their old songs, but I think this song really got to me precisely because it reminds me of stuff I already like.

4. IceHouse – At about 18, I didn’t enjoy the taste of beer all that much, but “ice” beers went down pretty smooth. Now, I enjoy beer and Icehouse is the one cheap beer that I actually like. Sadly, the Walgreens I used to buy it from stopped carrying it.

5. Cab 281 – As a poor person who has to drink beer, I sometimes drive a taxi cab to supplement my regular income. I like driving around in former police car Crown Victorias, but they don’t always ride that well after 250,000 miles or so. Cab 281 shows 170,000, but it handles like a sports car. It’s the most impressive cab I ever drove and one of the most impressive cars I’ve ever driven, which probably isn’t saying all that much. I would happily drive this car every day.

6. The Internet – I like the internet in general, but I’m really talking about shit like this.

7. Gorjira – This is my other favorite band. They manage to tie grindcore to groove in a way that more than makes sense. Their songs get in my head like no other bands’. There are tons of metal bands out there these days, and almost nobody listens to any of them. Many are very good, but they’re mostly copies of each other. Gojira stands out. Very coherent. They manage to sound very original without being weird.

Click the video and read the comments to see how alone I’m not.

8. Carne Asada Fries – You can get these from Filiberto’s, Riva’s, and most other drive-thru burrito shops the Phoenix area, probably anywhere in the Southwestern US. It’s French fries, with a ton (ok, not a ton, but easily a pound) of Carne Asada, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and as much red hot sauce as you care for. It makes a great lunch, but it’s absolutely mind-blowing as a drunken 4th meal. Please don’t tell the queers at Men’s Health about this.

9. Mad Men – This is the best show on TV, and you’re lame for not watching it.

10. Xbox 360’s controller – Far superior to the PS3 controller.