Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead, Anthrax & More
Susquehanna Bank Center • Camden, NJ. Fri. July 27, 2012
As I pulled into the parking lot at 12:30 in the early afternoon, looked at the temperature gauge, 95F hot & humid already this early, I knew it was going to be a long day at the SBC. After picking up my credentials, I headed through the main entrance and as I thought, through the gates of the beast. Since the main stage didn't start until 6pm, I headed to the Jagermeister Stage set up in the parking lot for the afternoon bands that included I, the Breather, Whitechapel, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying and Anthrax. After a few shows this week of daisy dukes and cowboy boots, this was a change of pace. The crowd wore mostly a sea of black shirts and half naked women and a variety of mo-hawks, tattoos and piercings on most of them.
Most of the bands on the Jager stage played a 30-40 minute set without talking to the crowd much at all except to get a mosh pit going. I hadn’t heard of most of the acts, except Anthrax which I’ve seen many times, but I have to say that they all put on rather impressive performances for their sets. Surrounding the second stage were booths set up by the bands to sell their merchandise, the Metal of Honor booth, honoring the men and women of the US Armed Forces, and the largest booth was the Rockstar Energy Drink tent, where they were giving away free cans of all flavors of their drinks.
As Anthrax ended their set at the Jager stage, I made my way inside the pavillion to catch the four bands on the main stage. Up first were Asking Alexandria, with the singer looking like a young Jon Bon Jovi, constantly bouncing around the stage, as the rest of the band did as well. They played a 7-song, 30-minute set as more fans started coming in to their seats from the second stage outside.
Next was Motorhead, which I have seen a few times over my years but a first to photograph. They took the stage at 6:55 pm opening with "Bomber", "Damage Case" and "I Know How to Die", proving they’re still the most powerful metal trio in the universe. Motorhead spent very little time talking between songs and played one right after another, and even though they do not put on a major performance, they are really cool to witness live. Lemmy is a total metal God when it comes to rock n roll. After the drum solo (Bobby from Tranzfusion and Joe Mama, you guys have competition) they ended their 11-song 50-minute set with "Going to Brazil", "Killed by Death" "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill."
After a rather short set change, the white curtain covering the stage was dropped and Slayer (the only returning band from last years Mayhem Fest) appeared with upside down crosses formed by fake amps that had flames pouring out of them and a Slayer symbol hanging high with flames pouring out of it as well. They opened with "Disciple", "War Ensemble" and "Die by the Sword." Looking out at the crowd now, it was like a wave of people jumping up and down, fist pumping to every word they sang. Their 13-song one-hour set brought out all the heavy hitters in their arsenal, including "Hate Worldwide", "Altar of Sacrifice", "Seasons in the Abyss", "Hell Awaits", "Dead Skin Mask" and "Angel of Death" before ending their first set. After a short break, the band returned with "South of Heaven" and "Raining Blood", with so much fire coming from the stage that you thought the band was engulfed in flames. If you have never seen Slayer, go and check them out. They played a great performance and I think they amazed anyone in the crowd who were not fans of theirs before Mayhem.
After a half-hour set change, the stage-covering red curtain fell to the floor and headliner Slipknot took the stage with over-the-top theatrics. Dressed in red jumpsuits, playing percussion on beer kegs and wearing their signature masks, they put on one hell of a show. They opened with "(sic)", "Eyeless" and "Sulfur", "Wait and Bleed" and "Before I Forget". There was so much happening on the stage it was hard to keep up. They ran around their multi-tiered stage set with pyro and explosions going off all night. The drumset was on a crane that lifted it and spun it around, and band members would randomly run and jump on the drums to catch a ride/ The percussionist’s beer kegs and drums were on hydralic lifts that would go up and down all night. They continued their assault with "Disasterpiece", "Gently", "Vermillion", "The Heretic Anthem", "Psychosocial" and "Duality", with singer Corey Taylor dedicating the song to bassist Paul Grey, who passed away in 2010. He said he wanted everyone to know that even Paul wasn't there in person, he was there in spirit. That received a massive amount of respect from the crowd before they ended their first set with "Spit It Out."
As the band returned to the stage and finished their 14-song one-and-a-half hour night off with "People=Shit" and "Surfacing", this band put on one fun and furious set. It’s like one part carnival, one part rock show, but one that I will remember for a long time. Mayhem Festival 2012 was an amazing day so we will have to wait and see what the Mayhem 2013 lineup will bring. If it can top this year’s, that will be another amazing lineup.
– Gary Crouthamel - concert photojournalist