Many words can be used to describe rock concerts. Loud, aggressive, chaotic are just a few. Not that long ago a new word was found to describe a traveling summer Metal festival, Mayhem!
Kevin Lyman, the man behind the Vans Warped tour, and John Reese picked up the torch were Ozzfest left it and came up with a traveling festival that embodied the spirit of rock and heavy metal music. Thus came the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. The 2011 version not only brought a great show to rock fans, but also brought a local group to the limelight.
Saginaw’s own Tension Head were the chosen band to open up the festival on the Jagermeister sponsored stage for the second year in a row. Tension Head has been a Mid-Michigan music scene staple for quite a few years now. Opening for numerous national recording acts on stages from Flint to Milwaukee, the guys have entertained crowds all over the country.
The rainy day at DTE on August 6th was a great day to be a Metal fan. Unfortunately for Tension Head things got underway a bit behind schedule and while they were on stage the majority of the crowd was still waiting in line to be let in. Consequently, while they were heard they could not be seen.
However, the people that did witness them were definitely not disappointed. Bringing their high octane fueled sound to the stage, Chuck Rossio and the guys definitely started off the Mayhem with a bang. From JoJo Jimenez’s and Tony Garcia’s rumbling rhythm section to Sean Griffin’s ferocious guitar, the band hit the stage like a Mack truck tearing through a brick wall.
Mayhem was just a stop on the busy schedule of this local act. The night before they opened up for Bobaflex at The Machine Shop in Flint and a few short days later they were right back at it opening for Motograter at the Vault in Bay City. Also on their schedule is a headlining performance at Saginaw’s Crispy Music Festival. The right word for these guys would definitely be workhorses. They embody the spirit of all great blue-collar bands. Nothing less should be expected from our hard working area. The band has played with over 80 national touring acts and in over 13 states.
The guys have 3 albums out on Revolution Music Records. The most recent Do or Die was released in 2009. Currently the group is working on new material for a forthcoming possible E.P. release. As always the band is looking forward to gracing the stage with some of the worlds greatest rock and metal acts. Taking over the music world one fan at a time is their approach. If their current fan base is any indication of things to come, there are great things in store for them.
Tension Head was not the only hard working band on the tour. Between the two smaller stages in DTE’s parking lot a who’s who of upcoming metal acts played to thousands of fans. Straightline Stitch, Red Fang, Suicide Silence, and All Shall Perish all put on solid sets and paved the way for veteran acts Kingdom of Sorrow and Jager stage headliners Hatebreed!
Both Kingdom of Sorrow and Hatebreed were fronted by hardcore mainstay Jamey Jasta. Jasta who is known for his hardworking mentality came out and put on two of the days most memorable performances! With Kingdom of Sorrow he had the riff master himself Kirk Windstein playing guitar. Windstein, axeman for Down and Crowbar laid down the sludgy riffs that he is known for, bringing cheers from the thousands in attendance.
Not to be discounted are Jastas intense vocals. While most of his Hatebreed lyrics are inspiring to people to stand up and be heard and take action the front man spits them like a fire breathing dragon. Pure 100% intensity is what you get from the minute Jasta hits the stage until the time he leaves it.
After Hatebreed whipped the fans into frenzy on the side stage, the main stage fired up with Machine Head. No strangers to the Mayhem festival, the San Francisco based band kicked off the Main stage with their melodic yet heavy hybrid of metal. Rob Flynn and company definitely paved the stage for veteran metal act Megadeth.
Playing cuts out of their 25year catalog the crowd was eating up every moment of Megadeths performance. From Sweating Bullets to Trust and Hangar 18, Megadeth ran through their catalog and gave the fans something for everybody.
Also offering up something for everyone was rock radio mainstays Godsmack. From cuts off the newest album like Love, Hate, Sex, Pain to their classics Speak and Voodoo, Godsmack stole the show as they often do proving that while Sully Erna sings I Stand Alone, there crowd of 15,000+ stood along with him.
Closing out the night was Disturbed. Putting on a visually stunning show that was very similar to the one in Saginaw just a few months ago, the crowd ate up every minute of it. David Draiman always has an amazing control over the crowd and it’s no different at DTE. Playing everything from Asylum to The Game and Down with the Sickness, the show was a bit of a swan song. Draiman has said that after the Mayhem festival, Disturbed will be on a hiatus. What this means for the future is uncertain but the fans definitely enjoyed their time with the band.
All in all I think the fans came, saw and conquered at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Along with the fans stood the guys of Tension Head, known to all their fans in Saginaw as the local band that can! I look forward to seeing what kind of Mayhem they can bring next.