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Concert Review: Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, 8/12/11, Atlanta, GA

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There are few bands that I can honestly say I could watch every night and never lose my enthusiasm.  Godsmack not only joined that list with their stellar August 12, 2011 performance at Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2011, they’ve taken over the top spot.

Seriously, I’d walk to see these guys in concert.

When Godsmack hit the stage as direct support for headliners Disturbed, Mayhem Festival truly earned its name.

godsmack_mayhemFrom the very start of their set, there wasn’t an ass-warmed seat in what has become Atlanta’s home for Mayhem, Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood. As soon as they opened with “Cryin’ Like a Bitch” from their latest release, The Oracle, the audience became a sea of swirling bodies. From the pit to the lawn, spontaneous mosh pits opened up and the bodies of crowd surfers went flying overhead. Seriously. Song one, four seconds in–the first body goes airborne.

As Godsmack ripped through a set list that included past hits like “Speak,” “Voodoo,” and “Whatever,” it was clear that Atlanta had lost its mind–apparently that’s not unusual.

GODSMACK – Crowd Craziness – WHATEVER (GO AWAY)

Also clear was the power that Godsmack is packing with their latest album, The Oracle. The Oracle definitely proved its debut in the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 with Godsmack’s live performance in Atlanta. “Forever Shamed,” “Love-Hate-Sex-Pain” and “Cryin’ Like a Bitch” were included in the set and they turned out to be some of the strongest songs for audience participation.

The fact that the band was in serious danger of being drowned out by the godsmack_mayhem_reviewaudience singing along (no small feat) was just further proof that with The Oracle, Godsmack has transitioned well musically into the new decade. From their post-grunge beginning in the 1990s, Godsmack has grown into a powerhouse alternative metal band. They have newly cemented their place as musical pioneers for the next generation.

When it comes to live performances, it just doesn’t get any better–Godsmack is easily one if the best touring bands on the circuit toda,y and if you get a chance to see them for yourself, I’d highly recommend that you get your ass out to the rock and roll show. This is a show that no one should miss.

It should be noted as well, that Godsmack rarely performs in the role of support act these days.  It’s just one more thing that makes you appreciate their godsmack_tony_rombola_mayhem_reviewdown-to-earth attitude; they had no problem jumping into the support role, allowing the Mayhem Festival 2011 headlining spot to go to fellow veteran rockers Disturbed. This is a band that is all about the music, the fans, and supporting other artists. Godsmack is proving to be a band who is going to not only influence, but lead the pack in the next musical evolution and that is refreshing–the world of metal definitely needs more bands like them.

I had the pleasure of seeing Godsmack headline the first ever Welcome to Rockville festival in Jackson, Florida in May 2011, and they absolutely tore it up, delivering an amazing, energetic performance.

GODSMACK – Concert Review Video

It was a position that few bands could have filled, having 20 other bands including Stone Sour, Seether, Puddle of Mudd, Theory of a Dead Man, Rev Theory, and Art of Dying billed under them. Yet Godsmack pulled it off, no problem. After an entire day in the scorching sun, tons of alcohol consumption and what had to be, judging by the smell, some of Florida’s finest home-grown, Godsmack managed to bring that festival back to life for what would turn out to be one of the most impressive, and insane, mosh pit, crowd surfing performances of the summer festival season.

godsmack_sully_erna_robbie_merrill_mayhemAlthough their Mayhem support set list was shorter than their usual headlining set list, Godsmack still managed to pull off a stellar performance with the same kind of raucous crowd participation. Godsmack ended their Mayhem Festival set in Atlanta with an ass-kicking, fuel injected rendition of “I Stand Alone” that drove the crowd totally over-the-top crazy. It was a perfect closer, leaving the crowd teetering on the brink–and a perfect opener for one of Atlanta’s favorite bands, Disturbed.

GODSMACK SETLIST
MAYHEM ATLANTA 2011
Cryin’ Like a Bitch
The Enemy
Forever Shamed
Straight Out of Line
Awake
Speak
Love-Hate-Sex-Pain
Voodoo
Batalla de los Tambores
(Drum Battle)
Whatever
I Stand Alone

Visit Godsmack.com for up-coming tour dates and announcements.

As Disturbed took the stage hot on the heels of Godsmack’s insanely physical performance, it was clear that they are still one of Atlanta’s most beloved touring bands.

disturbed_mayhem_reviewWhen Disturbed makes their entrance in Atlanta it’s always one of my personal favorite concert reviewing moments. Atlanta just loves this band and the way they greet them.  The enthusiasm, the cheering, the out-of-control surge of screaming fans–just the sound of it threatens to shake the paint from the walls.

You couldn’t even hear the band for at least the first four or five minutes of their set–and I couldn’t wipe the stupid smile off of my face. I’ve never been prouder of my adopted home town than when I watch them at a Disturbed show. They go absolutely insane for this band.

It was less than a year ago that I reviewed Disturbed’s performance during the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival in Atlanta, and they have certainly lost none of their crowd appeal since that show. Atlanta loves Disturbed and believe me, Disturbed knows it. They always deliver for Atlanta. Always.

disturbed_draiman_donegan_mayhemAnd this year’s Mayhem Festival performance proved once again why they have such a strong following here. As the lights came up on the their stage set and Dan Donegan began ripping out the opening riffs of their first number “Remnants,” the crowd was on their feet and moving. The audience absolutely lost their minds as David Draiman stalked out onto the stage.

Disturbed served up an absolutely top-rate performance. Honestly, I can’t remember when they’ve ever sounded better. They tore the house down, built it back up, then tore it right back down again. A lot of that energy seemed due to Godsmack’s opening performance, I’ve seen Disturbed headline with bands whose musical style did not complement them well and that lack of symmetry definitely effects the overall perception of the show. There was a strong chemistry between these two bands and their fans that made it a night to be remembered.  It was an incredible and somewhat bittersweet night with the knowledge that, as the tail end of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour, it was also one of the last Disturbed performances we’d be seeing here in the U.S.–for a while anyway.

David Draiman’s recent announcement of an indefinite hiatus for Disturbed really hit home watching them perform on this festival, and particularly sharing the bill with Godsmack. These were two bands who began their journey around the same time and who both managed, with a five album catalogue, to continue growing musically, maintain their relevance and succeed where so many bands sprung from the post-grunge, nu metal musical pool have failed. There are few from those genres who have transitioned their sound, or their success, to a new audience while still maintaining their original following.

disturbed_john_moyerAlthough many are still touring, there are few headlining major national tours and even fewer who have the fan base and audience draw to headline major festivals.  This is a huge responsibility when you consider the number of bands counting on one name and reputation to fill the seats, day in and day out, through the vagaries of nature (heat waves, ice storms, hurricanes); you still have to get asses in those seats and you still have to give them their money’s worth.

Godsmack wisely took a hiatus and came back stronger than ever. Disturbed has been holding down the metal fort for 12 years straight with no breaks. They’ve had four consecutive records debut in the #1 spot on the Billboard charts; started their own label, Intoxication Records; and weathered criticism.  Even as Draiman’s health suffered, they stuck it out. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a break, and hopefully they’ll return as well and stronger than ever. I’m counting on it. My faith is strong.

As I watched Draiman lead his soldiers–the die-hard, metalheads of Atlanta–through the band’s closing numbers and an ass-kicking encore of “Down with the Sickness,” I thought how lucky I was to be at this show, to have seen Godsmack and Disturbed perform together.  It was an amazing night that I won’t forget any time soon.

DISTURBED SETLIST
MAYHEM ATLANTA 2011
Remnants
Asylum
The Game
Prayer
Liberate
The Animal
Inside the Fire
Warrior
Fear / Meaning of Life / Numb / Voices
Another Way to Die
Stupify
Ten Thousand Fists
Indestructible
Encore: Down with the Sickness

Visit Disturbed1.com for updates and announcements.

Megadeth was in the support position for Godsmack, but just before their entry the man behind the Mayhem, festival producer John Reese addressed the audience.

john_reese_mayhem_atlantaHe thanked the crowd for making the festival a success and let us know that Megadeth would be making it a shorter set than expected due to illness on Dave Mustaine’s part. He also shared a few more thoughts with the crowd that I’d love to impart, however he’s the only person I’ve ever met who uses more expletives than I do–I’ll just say that he’s my new metal hero and I am enthralled and inspired by his potty mouth.

Other than a shortened performance, when Megadeth hit the stage you never would have suspected said illness. megadeth_mustaine_broderick_mayhemDave Mustaine carried it off like a true metal pro. I had previously reviewed their performance during the Slayer Jagermeister Fall Music Tour, and I’d have to say that their Mayhem performance beat out my wildest expectations.

After a short, but energetic set that included ripping out meaty versions of “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells,” Megadeth departed the stage, leaving the door open for Godsmack to finish the still hungry crowd off.

MEGADETH SETLIST
MAYHEM ATLANTA 2011
Hangar 18
Head Crusher
Public Enemy No. 1
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

Visit Megadeth.com for upcoming tour dates and announcements.

Trivium was the opener for the Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage, and it was my first time seeing them perform live. There’s nothing like seeing a great band for the first time, going in with no real expectations and walking away feeling like you’ve discovered treasure. That’s exactly how I felt as Trivium wrapped their set: a newly minted fan.

trivium_mayhemIt’s not that Trivium is a new band–they’ve been around for better than a decade and they have an amazing tour history– but they are a metalcore/ death metal band, so unless you hang around venues like the Masquerade, chances are you’ve not heard of them. Other than In Flames, who had to bow out of the tour due to a serious family illness (thoughts and prayers), Trivium was probably the most widely anticipated band performing on the main stage, judging by the side stage chatter.

Like most of the veteran Florida bands, they have a history and a huge following in Atlanta and the way they were greeted by the audience let them know just how excited Atlanta was to see them back on Mayhem Festival–and main stage no less.

trivium_band_mayhem_festivalTrivium’s latest album, In Waves–their fifth on Roadrunner Records–was released during the Mayhem tour on August 9, 2011.  It was obvious that the record would fair well in Atlanta;  the crowd sang along as the band pounded through a set list that included music from past releases and new material from In Waves.

Hopefully Trivium took the hint that they are loved in Atlanta, and that we’re only a skip away from their home base in Orlando. We’re hoping to see a lot more of them over the coming tour seasons.

TRIVIUM SETLIST
MAYHEM ATLANTA 2011
In Waves
A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation
Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr
Built To Fall
Down From The Sky
Throes Of Perdition

Visit Trivium.org for up-coming tour dates and announcements.

ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL – Atlanta, GA

Here’s the photo breakdown of the bands who played on the Revolver and Jagermeister stages. Unfortunately my live interviews with Straight Line Stitch lead singer Alexis Brown and guitarist Seth Thacker as well as Suicide Silence had to be cancelled due to certain venue restrictions on entry times and photography equipment.  I hope to interview them in person or by phone.  However, I did get live backstage interviews with Unearth, Machine Head and Godsmack. Look for those coming up in Interviews from the Edge.

REVOLVER STAGE:
Straight Line Stitch

“Taste of Ashes” with Hatebreed/ Kingdom of Sorrow frontman Jamey Jasta

All Shall Perish

Suicide Silence

Machine Head

JAGERMEISTER STAGE:
Uncrowned (Jagermeister contest winners)

Red Fang

Kingdom of Sorrow

Unearth

The Athiarchists

Visit RockstarMayhemFest.com for tour dates and announcements.

For more concert reviews check out The Scream Tour – Slash and Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue Rocks with Poison and the New York Dolls, Avenged Sevenfold Rocks with Seether and Alter Bridge and Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns.

Photos © Tricia Weight
A special thanks to Scoggins at ASight2See.com for the Unearthed and Athiarchists photos and for filling the positions of (not good) videographer during interviews, photographic amanuensis and semi dodging chauffeur–Til the wheels fall off, my friend. Also, LauraRocksDenver for her awesome Godsmack footage–It’s killing me to sit still watching that!

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  • Vinny

    Why would u sit there and talk about Atlanta..and then post a video from Milwaukee? wtf…great show I saw in Myrtle Beach tho.

  • Vinny

    Opps..my bad…I guess u have a Atlanta video on page 2!