Amps and Green Screens was fortunate enough to cover the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in not one, but two cities this year. With Sinister Phoenix shooting and reviewing the Scranton, PA date and another team in Dallas, TX made up of yours truly, JOR-EL, and Darkhouse Image we are pleased to present our interviews, photos, and thoughts on many of the performances from our favorite bands. We hope you have as much fun reading these featured installments as we did putting them all together. First up, Sinister Phoenix’s take on the main stage festivities!!
There’s no doubt ASKING ALEXANDRIA have changed throughout the years. Their overall sound and the appearance of lead vocalist Danny Worsnop have been brought into question on several occasions. There is one thing for certain though, they are still rocking and are headstrong determined to keep going as long as they have the strength and support of their fans. They arrived onstage performing their song “Don’t Pray for Me,” Danny of course, walking out as usual with a bottle of Dos Equis in hand. They continued through the night, playing their new single “Moving On,” which had just been released a few days prior. They ended their set with “The Death of Me,” All told it was an incredible show to experience. Their new single can be purchased on iTunes with an acoustic version and can also be heard on Sirius XM’s Octane.
During TRIVIUM’S set, KORN members James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch presented lead vocalist Matt Heafy with an Ibanez APEX20 signature guitar, in thanks for the three Ephiphone guitars that Matt had given to fellow KORN member Jonathan Davis earlier on the tour. The surprise on Matt’s face was great to see and it was a nice moment between the bands. After this, KORN took the stage with “Falling Away From Me.” Their unique stage presence and performance was completely unexpected upon listening to them. The lights are incredible and with the bands constant dance movements, they were a lot of fun to watch.
Jonathan ran around on stage with frantic hand movements, mimicking the current craze known as Industrial Dancing. After their song “Shoots and Ladders” they paused, asking the crowd for two volunteers. They brought a young couple up on stage, handing the mic to the man, who proceeded to get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend of several years. With tear-filled eyes she of course said yes, to which the crowd erupted with applause and loud cheers. They ended the night with crowd favorites “Freak on a Leash” and “Blind.”
After multiple times of coming to Montage Mountain, it was refreshing to have AVENGED SEVENFOLD playing the venue without a chance of rain for once. The past few times they have come to Scranton to play, they have gotten rained out and the shows haven’t been as amazing as they could have. This time would be different, and they put all of their energy and soul into making sure it was an incredible performance at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain for the packed crowd there to see them. The fans’ energy was intense as Arin Ilejay came rising up from beneath the stage behind his drum set, pumping up the crowd with a few beats of the bass drum. The rest of the band came walking out, the fans going crazy as the band began their performance with “Shepard of Fire” going into “Nightmare.”
They played a number of hits ranging from their old albums to new, including “Bat Country” and “Hail to the King.” The energy soon changed after “Buried Alive,” the lights went down and the crowd got quiet as lead vocalist M. Shadows spoke about the unfortunate passing of their previous drummer, and best friend, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. This has become tradition for them to pay tribute to Jimmy at every show, and there is never a dry eye in the house. The band has used it as a coping technique, for themselves and the fans, in hopes that it would help them to be strong and to also immortalize the young drummer. At the end of “So Far Away,” the bands song written in dedication to The Rev, Shadows stated that this was not a moment to be sad, but to be happy, and to always enjoy life and live it to the fullest, because you never know when it could end.
After “This Means War” the band exited the stage as it went dark, which meant it was time for their first encore. Most fans had expected it to be one of their top number one songs, “Beast and the Harlot,” but as M. Shadows returned to the stage he announced that they were going to go a different and surprising route for the first song, and they played legendary story song “A Little Piece of Heaven,” which had actually been written by the late Jimmy Sullivan, and is one of the most unique songs in the band’s catalog. Per the norm, Shadows pointed to the sky whenever it was Jimmy’s part in the song, which they kept playing instead of replacing his vocals with another band member’s. They exited the stage once more, for approximately ten minutes. Fans started to leave, expecting that to be the end. The lights came on once more for one final performance of “Unholy Confessions,” the crowd roaring in delight. It was an amazing return show for AVENGED SEVENFOLD, thankfully without the threat of a storm ruining it.
LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY SINISTER PHOENIX