Last Night: Anthrax, Motorhead & Slayer at Mayhem Fest
See more metal and Mayhem from Wednesday in our slideshow.
Photos by Victor Pena Slipknot and their seat-bound Maggots
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
July 11, 2012
This year's main-stage bill is probably as close to a genuine, bona fide legacy that Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival will ever come up with, ever. Between Motorhead's old-guard Lemmy N' Roll, Slayer's wall of death, Anthrax's bedrock thrash, and Slipknot's brutal theatrics, the festival can't do much to improve on this year's entertainment.
Barring a time machine, a priest, a witch doctor, some 'ludes, Paranoid-era Black Sabbath, a reanimated Bon Scott leading AC/DC, and any version of Pantera before The Great Southern Trendkill, of course.
For the bill and the price, this year's Mayhem was a must for any Houston metal fan. Plus, where else are you supposed to wear your homemade Slipknot mask without being arrested for first-degree felony WTFery?
Anthrax got things started on the main stage right at 6 p.m., leaving most of the people who had consulted with the schedule of the fest's site shit outta luck. The legendary thrash group was supposed to headline the Jagermeister side stage but a last -minute change had them playing while fans were still busting the hatches.
The guys only played five songs in their short half-hour set and were done, but managed to make an impact. The guy in the "I Am the Law" tee looked bummed out he only got to see, well, "I Am The Law," and it was their set closer.
I should probably be precluded by law enforcement and the high court of public opinion from ever covering another Motorhead show, but Nathan Smith was hanging at the Jager stage so I had to watch them. I am huge, huge 'Head fan and everyone should see them at least once. It's not like Lemmy and his crew aren't giving you enough chances.
The band played the standard festival set they have been playing for a few years now, touching on classics like "Bomber," "Stay Clean" and ending with the massive attack of "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill."
Slayer shows seem to take nothing out of the band -- it looks freakishly easy -- but their crowds are worn out by the midpoint of the set. That's a good thing. A Slayer festival set list is shorn down to the bare and bloody basics, though I was excited to hear "Disciple" from God Hates Us All (released on September 11, 2001 no less) mixed among World Painted Blood material.
By the time they came out for their "encore" -- they left for thirty seconds really -- the crowd was winded but excitable, with "South of Heaven" and "Raining Blood" raising internal temperatures but not coming close to the aggression that would come from the Slipknot crowd.
Still Slayer played one of the best versions of "Seasons In the Abyss" I have ever heard out of them, and their set design -- inverted crosses made of Marshall amps and bathed in flames -- was like a (my) wet dream.