"It's quite chaotic, hence the name, Mayhem. It's three stages and they start at like two o'clock and there are motorcycles flying through the air and lots of people running around. People moshing in the brutal humidity." Ray Luzier - Korn (Headliner Mayhem Festival 2010)
Those words were spoken to me by Ray Luzier from Korn just ahead of my arrival at Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2010, in Atlanta. But even his words couldn't prepare me for what I was about to encounter.
Motorcycles flying through the air? Yes. Stunt bikes doing aerials, pits filled with moshers, divers and crowd surfers. Even a heat index over one hundred couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of the hardcore metal fans at Mayhem Fest Atlanta on August 1st, 2010. It made me proud of my hometown.
Mayhem Fest is an all day event, with thirteen bands scheduled on three different stages. From 1:50PM until 6:20PM nine bands rotated between the Silver Star Stage and the Jagermeister Stage and at 6:30PM all activity moved to the Main Stage.
My interview schedule was with Korn first, since they were headlining. A pre-concert interview that we did a few days in advance of the show because we planned to cover the production and song writing on their latest album release, Korn III: Remember Who You Are; a long interview that needed a quiet space for focus. That interview is shortly forth-coming.
I followed up that interview on-site at Mayhem Fest with two more bands, Winds of Plague and In this Moment; live interviews held backstage, and very loud. I had Joshua Wood, an Atlanta metal musician and producer, there to share the interview questions.
The first band I interviewed on-site was Winds of Plague. I went to watch them perform beforehand. Winds of Plague is, hands-down, one of the greatest, deathcore, fest bands around for audience participation; when lead singer Jonny "Plague" Cooke called the metal fans to the pit, the ground actually shook in answer to his call. That call to arms echoed throughout Lakewood Amphitheater. In reaction the venue sent additional crowd control staff, strong guys in bright yellow shirts, flying across the blacktop and through the crowds to join the mob on the field of battle.
The crowd control event staff moved in, lining the stage as Cooke began whipping the crowd into a frenzy. But they weren't there to protect the band, they were there to catch surfers. The crowd had gone crazy and the stage was on blacktop. Moshers, divers and surfers as far as the eye could see. Motorcycles flying through the air in an absolutely hardcore, thrash, death-metal, aerial ballet.