ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL
SLAYER, MOTÖRHEAD, ANTHRAX
Tinley Park, IL USA
July 21, 2012
Review and Photos by Tim Shöckley
Running late, I had just enough time to pick up my photo pass n’ tickets (thanks, RZN!) and make a mad dash to the Jägermeister stage for Anthrax’s 5:25 start.
I was somewhat surprised Anthrax was playing the secondary stage. True, they were headlining it, but, they do have decades of service under their collective belts. One theory, which is actually quite brilliant when you think about it, is that, by playing a stage dominated by newer bands, you may gain, in turn, younger fans that are already there! See? Ingenious!
I hadn’t seen singer Joey Belladonna front Anthrax since… 1987! Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit on the fence in the Belladonna vs. (John) Bush argument. Both were perfect for their respective eras. Hell, so was Neil Turbin! (Side note- I was fortunate to see Anthrax with Turbin. Good singer, lousy stage presence!)
I’m not sure who displayed more energy during the brief, 40-minute set- Anthrax, particularly guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Frank Bello, or the crowd itself! Mission accomplished with the new fans!
Only one new song, “Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t” was performed, along with six of their ‘80s staples. Unsurprisingly, nothing was played from the Bush era.
Anthrax never have taken themselves too seriously, capping off the set with a great snippet of Judas Priest’s “The Ripper!” All in all, a strong set, though a few more songs from their latest album, Worship Music, would’ve been nice.
ANTHRAX SET LIST
Caught In A Mosh
Got The Time
Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
I Am The Law
Motörhead has been my favorite band for over thirty years. Sorry, Alice. You may have been my “first” back in ’72, but I need my music faster, louder, and drunker! This was my 32nd time seeing Lemmy’s cohorts of calculated chaos. Apart from an ill-advised gig way back in ’82 (former guitarist Brian “Robbo” Robertson had been in the band for less than a week!), they have never disappointed me!
The set was essentially the same as that played on Megadeth’s most recent Gigantour. Air raid sirens blared, segueing into opener “Bomber,” which is always a good way to get things going! The boys have really been digging deep into their back catalog, as evidenced by the 1979 classic “Damage Case.”
The band looked and sounded great. It’s no secret Motörhead likes to have a drink or twelve. How they’re able to perform so flawlessly night after night, year after year, and, indeed, decade after decade, is no less than a modern miracle! Hat’s off, mates!
Front man Lemmy often has been called “legendary” and “the godfather of heavy metal,” among others. I hereby christen him the “elder statesman of rock and roll!” I can think of no one more deserving!
Lemmy calls Mikkey Dee “the best drummer in the world,” a claim few could argue after Dee’s pyro-enhanced solo midway through the fairly rare “The One To Sing The Blues.”
Guitarist Phil Campbell stalked the stage, often acknowledging loyal fans with a wink or a nod, all the while never missing a note.
I’ve always said the quickest hour for me is a set by Motörhead. Just when you’re ready for more, the pounding classic “Overkill” is closing the show, per custom.
I didn’t get a chance to talk to the band this time, but I did talk to the crew briefly. Great guys, who, like the band, love a good drink. But, come show time, it’s strictly business! Another blinding set, as always!
MOTÖRHEAD SET LIST
I Know How To Die
Over The Top
The Chase Is Better Than The Catch
The One To Sing Blues>Drum Solo
Ace Of Spades
On to Slayer- perhaps the most intense live band on the planet. Did I say “perhaps?” As I stated earlier, Motörhead has been my favorite band for over half my life. (You do the math!) But, there’s something about a Slayer show that ups the ante and level of blood, sweat, and… fears! Perhaps that’s why a dozen or more extra bouncers were added to the 10 or so already in the photo pit- right where I’m headed! Expecting company, guys? This could get ugly…
For some reason, photographers weren’t allowed into the pit until well into opener “Disciple.” Perhaps they were considering our safety due to the massive amount of pyrotechnics! The last time I saw this much fire some German dude was singing “Du Hast!”
I positioned myself between singer/bassist Tom Araya and the always intimidating guitarist, Kerry King. Araya was in fine voice and appears to have recovered quite well from his back surgery, though he did keep the headbanging to a minimum! King was sweatin’ buckets, so much so that I don’t know how he even held onto his pick!
With roughly 40 people in the photo pit, it was nearly impossible to snake my way over to fill-in guitarist Gary Holt (Exodus), who has been admirably keeping Jeff Hanneman’s seat warm while he recovers from his truly frightening condition. Most of you already know the details. If not, read this and cringe.
The entire set list basically was a thrash hall of fame. Filler? Yeah, right! One minor suggestion- I know “Dead Skin Mask” is a fan favorite, but, for money, when it comes to odes to horror n’ creep factor, it’s hard to top “213!” Oh, to hear it live just one more time!
This was my 18th time witnessing the truly amazing Slayer. Even with Hanneman on hold, I really can’t think of anyone who comes even close to their live spectacle. Music style aside, Rammstein is the nearest I’ve seen.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for speed and decibels. Oh, and fire…
SLAYER SET LIST
Die By The Sword
Altar Of Sacrifice
Seasons In The Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
Angel Of Death
South Of Heaven
Full disclosure – I’ve never been a fan of Slipknot, and, odds are, never will be. Simply put, they’re just not my cup of blood. I can live with that and I’m sure they can, too! Call me old fashioned, but I’m more of a guitar, bass, drums, and the occasional keyboards kinda guy. When I see a beer keg, I wanna drink from it, not hit it with a stick. I won’t get into the whole clown-mask thing. Kiss has done essentially the same thing for 40 years and made a bazillion dollars in the process.
But I was sent here to do a job, so dammit, let’s get with it! Sweat-drenched and truly exhausted, I ambled one last time to the photog corral, where, after a good twenty minutes, I was told the photo pass I’d been using all day was no good for Slipknot! Well, I tried. Exit, stage left. Last call for alcohol!
I do, however, have to credit Slipknot and/or the metal fans in attendance. When I finally staggered out, it appeared the majority of the crowd remained! So, kudos to those who hadn’t yet melted after a long, hot day of metal mayhem!
Thanks to everyone responsible for such a flawless operation. It was truly appreciated!