Last Night: Mayhem Fest Jagermeister Stage at The Woodlands
See more metal and Mayhem from Wednesday in our slideshow.
Photos by Victor Pena As I Lay Dying catches some air.
Mayhem Festival Side Stage
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
July 11, 2012
Holding the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at a suburban amphitheater on a weeknight posed a few serious logistical problems, for the touring company and concertgoers alike. In order to meet the venue's curfew, several of the festival bands were nixed from the Houston date, and fighting rush-hour traffic, finding parking and waiting in ticket lines made catching the early acts a tough proposition for working people (bloggers included).
What I'm saying is, I missed out on some good music -- and I damn sure wasn't alone. The show started at 6 p.m. on the dot, and the Woodlands is a long stretch of I-45 away from my office in Uptown. The panic amongst those of us waiting to get patted down outside the Pavilion gates as the unmistakable sound of Motörhead blasted forth from within was more than a little uncomfortable.
By the time I got my credentials and made it inside, Anthrax's opening set at the side stage was long over. Shame, too -- they're the last of the "Big 4" thrash bands I've yet to see live.
As I hustled through the venue to the side stage, Alaskans-by-way-of-Ft. Worth Turbid North were wrapping up. At least, I'm pretty sure it was Turbid North. There were no banners, signs or indicators for any of the bands on the stage, just Jagermeister advertising. What little I heard was heavy, groovy stuff. Hopefully they'll be back through town soon so I can produce a proper review.
As it turned out, all of the side stage bands were limited to very quick sets in order to cram everything in before 9:30 p.m. Metalcore stalwarts As I Lay Dying were up next. Guitarist Nick Hipa came shredding right out of the gate on "Condemned" as young metalheads pogoed ecstatically in the pit. Was that a few drizzles of rain coming down, or flying sweat?
Mercifully, it was precipitation. Kids in the crowd did their best to dodge raindrops as the band lit into "94 Hours." The audience began to warm up a bit, and the moshing began in earnest. As I Lay Dying has perfected the metalcore breakdown at this point, and heads banged hard during the band's live staples "Through Struggle" and "Nothing Left."
The band treated the crowd to a new song, "Cauterize," and a furious circle pit erupted as drummer Jordan Mancino busted out some nifty blast beats. The set's closer, "The Sound of Truth," showed off the group's diverse metal influences, mixing strains of death, thrash, and NWOBHM with classic hardcore attitude to produce a racket not easily classifiable. More and more, it seems, heavy metal's subgenres are merging into an all-inclusive sound. On Wednesday, the crowd was diggin' it.