July 2nd, 2012, 9:10 am · · posted by DAVID HALL, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Next to last year’s Big 4 bash in Indio – which for the first time in forever on the West Coast pulled together Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica on the same grounds as Coachella – this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival lineup is easily one of heavy metal’s most powerful bills to ever land in Southern California.
The touring event’s kickoff at Devore’s San Manuel Amphitheater, including performances from two of those four, Anthrax and Slayer, plus impressive turns from Motörhead, Slipknot and a slew of upstarts – proved as much with more than 10 hours of music, motocross and, of course, mayhem.
Yet for the first part of the day, that chaos was fairly controlled. Early-bird acts (starting at 1 p.m.) like As I Lay Dying and Asking Alexandria incited some sizable circle pits, though nothing compared to the teeming masses – moshing in what looked like an infinitely expanding radius – that turned out for Anthrax, who headlined the afternoon fare on the smaller Jägermeister stage situated at the top of the venue’s grassy hill.
Only problem with that stage: the vocal volume was never high enough. I could hear high-pitched guitar licks and pounding drums from 200 feet out, but all the words were muffled from my vantage point. One exception: “Antisocial,” an English-sung cover (released on Anthrax’s 1988 album State of Euphoria) originally recorded by French metal band Trust, which rose to thundering volume thanks to thousands of old-school thrash fans eager to relive their glory days.
Though the sound wasn’t impaired at all on the main stage, it ran at a similar throttle to the satellite rundown. The Devil Wears Prada got some impassioned crowd reaction (lead vocalist Mike Hranica has one helluva scream) but the Ohio outfit’s set was so short, its momentum never had time to rile the masses.
Article and photos by David Hall, for the Orange County Register.
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