Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at The Woodlands, 8/10/2014
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival
Photos by Francisco Montes Avenged Sevenfold
Feat. Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, Trivium, Suicide SIlence, etc.
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 10, 2014
August 10 was a date Houston headbangers had circled on their calendars. The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, North America's largest, loudest traveling menagerie of metal, promised to destroy the Woodlands Pavilion on the last day of the tour.
While many were miffed that the carnival's full coterie of bands wouldn't make the trip -- acts like Body Count, King 810 and Ill Nino couldn't be squeezed into the venue's silly two-stage configuration -- it was still more than enough heavy metal for anybody. The day started early and ended late, and the summer sun seemed bound and determined to helpfully redefine "brutality" for every tatted-up freak in attendance.
By 1:30 p.m., bands and fans alike were battling crazy heat over at the Coldcock side stage. As the likes of Texas Hippie Coalition and Mushroomhead bashed away in the crowded parking lot that serves as the Pavilion's overflow area, you could actually watch the shirtless dudes in the mosh pit begin to sunburn. The heat and humidity were as heavy as the riffs, and even the breeze turned ominous as it carried black clouds toward the festival threatening to unleash thunder and lightning of a kind no Marshall stack can match.
At around 4 p.m., after a set from metalcore bros Emmure, some tarps went up over the equipment and the road crew seemed to settle in for a rainstorm. There were a few cruel drops here and there, but it never opened up, leading to an extended intermission in which the audience simply roasted. Things never threatened to get ugly, but there was a sad sense that perhaps the side stage would be closed and the festival ruined.
Luckily, the clouds passed and the show went on. Ohio metalcore vets Miss May I turned in a terrific, energetic set to bring the crowd back to life, instigating a "marathon pit" that took the moshing all over the festival ground during their opening number. The band's heavy breakdowns, dynamic screaming and tastefully harmonized choruses proved to be the perfect, melodic pick-me-up as the skies cleared at last.
Melodies were in short supply from deathcore champs Suicide Silence, who made a strong case for the coveted title of heaviest band on the bill. New lead screamer Hernan "Eddie" Hermida acquitted himself well, and the group as a whole sounded hungry to prove they can still go on without his predecessor Mitch Lucker, who passed away in 2012. No doubt their crushing breakdowns turned a few new ears on Sunday.
Thanks to the unplanned intermission, fans had to choose between the two opposite ends of the death-metal spectrum next. Old-school Cannibal Corpse closed out the side stage, ripping along as merrily as ever, while opening up the main stage at the same time was the technically inclined melodic troupe Trivium. I managed to catch most of neither; the sheer logistics necessary to keep your body hydrated and your bladder empty made taking in every bit of music Sunday an impossible task.
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