Thursday, August 11, 2011
Concert review and photos: Rockstar Mayhem Festival at Gexa Energy Pavilion (August 10)
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine ignored an injury to support Dallas' rabid metal fans.
The 100+ degree heat proved to be a minor detail for Dallas metal fans on Wednesday; they came out in swarms of black for this year’s Rockstar Mayhem Festival. The national hard rock tour hosts everything from mainstream bands Disturbed and Godsmack to the new, unknown groups dying to be on stage. With circling mosh pits at every set, the day began with promise and nothing to lose.
Before Gexa's main stage opened for fans awaiting the promising shade, shows took place under the grueling sun in the adjacent parking lot. But bands went full force, challenging the crowds’ stamina in the heat. Unearth’s lead singer Trevor Phipps called out the audience, encouraging endurance against the heat. The Boston band played and partied hard, shot-gunning beers and doing beer bongs onstage. Guitarist Buz McGrath set up tricky and fast riffs, amping up the difficulty of their screamo style. Phipps closed the set asking for a wall of death, where two sides of the pit run full force into each other. He received nothing but the best from their obedient fans.
Veteran rockers Megadeth upheld their name with a shortened set, citing Dave Mustaine’s unknown injury as the culprit. The legendary front man was told to cancel the tour that morning, but he refused to go home in order to play in Dallas. Injury was no handicap here: From the guitar solos to Mustaine’s enduring screams, there was no hesitation. “Symphony of Destruction” ignited young and old fans into frenzy, making Mustaine’s dedication worth the while. They left with a traditional bow to a roaring, chanting crowd.
With dedicated fans packing in the lawn, Godsmack started with a vengeance that never let up. Sully Erna seems to live through the music with energy and charisma. His foreboding tone shone through in “Voodoo,” which brought out shaking fists and unwavering accompaniment. Erna challenged drummer Shannon Larkin to a drum war, with an impressive rotating drum kit and bongo set to match. Erna’s rhythm and speed showed his love for percussion and gave Larkin a challenge. This unpredictable segment was the highlight of the night; it showed the bands’ heart and vivacity and captivated the audience.
Disturbed, the main attraction of the night, started right on time, a surprising accomplishment for a day festival. As if the scorching temps weren’t enough, they ignited flames during “Inside the Fire” that seemingly licked the ceiling. Fans ate up everything they served, pounding fists and shouting every song they knew -- loudly. Guitarist Dan Donegan took on his crucial position with confidence and grace, setting the tone for David Draiman’s commanding vocals.
As Erna noted, Dallas metal fans represented Pantera’s birthplace well. They were tasked with having one hell of a time at a hardcore show, and that they did.
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