Last weekend, The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival kicked off it’s 2013 season at the San Manuel Amphitheater – right here in San Bernardino. I had never been to a Mayhem Festival before, but I have wanted to shoot photos there for a long time. It lived up to the hype. If you want to see any of the images below at a larger size, just click on them.
With Five Finger Death Punch, and the great Rob Zombie headlining, this was set to be a great show. Before I get in to the FFDP and Zombie stuff, let me start with some info for those that have not heard of Mayhem Fest. Started in 2008, Mayhem festival is one of the main tours of the summer festival season. For fans of metal, there is nothing else like it. If you have never been to a festival… you need to get out more. If you like metal and have not been to Mayhem Festival… start planning next year right now.
The festival has 3 stages that are setup outside of the main arena. Don’t think that theses are secondary bands. Nope, these are name acts, like Machine Head. The festival grounds have booths, food, and shows from Metal Mulisha – as seen below:
Shooting all of the bands is almost impossible, but I tried to shoot as many as I could. First was Thrown Into Exile, and they set the tone for what to expect. Hard rockin’ metal, with hair whips all day.
Next up was Huntress. I had shot Huntress before, at the Mayhem Festival Press Conference earlier this year, so I knew to watch lead singer Jill Janus. Great singer to shoot photos of, and yes, the hair whips we all love.
Next up – Attica 7. I admit I had not heard of this band, but I will not forget them. The entrance on a motorcycle set the pace, and these guys nailed it. I may have taken more shots of Attica 7 then any other festival stage performance – oh wait. Yeah, Butcher Babies may have been more.
Next up was Battlecross. I follow the bassist of FFDP, Chris Kael, on Twitter (@5FDPChrisKael), and he likes these guys. I can see why. This is one hard driving band.
Born of Osiris was a great to watch, but a tougher shoot. The photo pit was getting crazy by this time, and the so was the crowd. The stage setup was tight too, which made getting clean shots a bit harder.
Next up… Butcher Babies. I have shot this band before, and it has been some of my favorite shots. I knew this would good. I should add that I was talking to the Guitarist Henry Flury in the press area, and when I mentioned KCAL he said loved the station. Seems he went to school in the IE.
Emmure was interesting. Normally we are allowed to shoot 3 songs – no flash. The crowd for these guys was going nuts so, for security, we were booted from the pit before the first song ended.
I was really looking forward to Machine Head. I knew it was a great band, with great photo opportunities. Well, it seems other photographers knew that too. It seems every photographer on earth knew it. I could not move in the pit. I am not a small guy, so I was able to shoot over some people, but yeah… tough shoot.
The main stage at San Manuel Amphitheater is one of my favorite places to see a show. For Mayhem Fest there were four bands on the main stage. First up was Amon Amarth. This was THE hair whip band of the night. Great performance, and Viking Ships too!
Mastodon needs no introduction to metal fans. These guys have a serious fan base for a reason. They are great live.
Five Finger Death Punch is one of those bands you have to see. I first shot them at Day 1 of the 48 Hours Festival a few years ago - in their hometown of Vegas. Then, I had a the chance to be at this years Mayhem press conference where I had a few minutes to talk with their bass player Chris. One of the nicest guys in rock, and I would guess the best beard. Trust me, see them sometime. Lead vocalist Ivan Moody my be one of the easiest people to get greats of.
The final act of the 2013 Mayhem Festival was Rob Zombie. I shot Zombie at Rock Vegas about a year ago, and could not wait to do it again. While the photo pits for the main stage acts were crazy, the Rob Zombie show was a bit easier. They limited who could shoot during his set, and luckily I was allowed in. (To whoever made that decision… Thank. You.) Shooting a Rob Zombie show is crazy. The stage sets are like nothing else in music, and are set pretty high up. The band moves at speeds hard to capture in the low – often red – light, and the lighting is very dramatic. This may be one of my favorite acts to shoot… ever. One of my favorite shots ever may be the last shot in this post.
Were you at Mayhem Festival this year? Let me know how you liked the show below, and I will see you there next year!