Metal Thrashing Mad, like one big Happy Family

By on July 23, 2012

Frank Bello, bassist with Anthrax, gets the Tampa crowd fired up. (photo by Travis Failey)

(written by Frank Collucci with Travis Failey)

Tampa, Fla. –It’s Friday the 13th and the big day is here. I have been counting down on Facebook, back in forth with a few buddies ever since our

Bello jams the bass. The tattoo on his right shoulder is a tribute to his brother Anthony who was murdered in NYC in 2006 (photo by Travis Failey)

special hologram “pre-sale” tickets arrived about two weeks ago. I am so stoked; this is my third Mayhem Fest in as many years. The last two years were great but this year for me was extra special. My favorite band (Anthrax) was headlining the Jagermeister stage and it also marked the US return of Slipknot since founding member, bassist Paul Gray died in 2010.

I arrived at the venue shortly after it all started and was completely blown away by the amount of metal heads who showed up early.  Thousands of people dressed in black, out in the blistering heat to support the music that we all love. It was like a big family

Ian Scott jams his rhythm guitar. Does Ian get pointers from his father-in-law, Meatloaf? (photo by Travis Failey)

reunion and the bands were the cousins we only see every few years.  First I stopped at

Motorhead founder Lemmy (photo by Travis Failey)

each of the vendors to check out all the different merchandise for sale. Then I stopped at each of the bands personal tents to look at all the shirts and CDs available to buy.

Now it’s time for metal. I got to see 9 out of the 13 bands on this tour. First up for me was Upon A Burning Body. I had honesty never heard of them until a day or two before the show. I liked what I heard so I wanted to make sure I got to check them out.  I’m glad I did. They sounded tight

and the crowd was really into them. Two huge mosh pits broke out, and now the day has officially begun. Whitechapel, Asking Alexandria and The Devil Wears Prada brought more and more head banging and mosh pits, including crowd surfing by a guy in a wheelchair. If you haven’t

Kerry king, Slayer (photo by Travis Failey)

witnessed this yet at a show, it’s a must see event.

Now it’s 5:15pm, followed by a brief ten minute rain. In my opinion, it’s the hottest time of the day. The Anthrax stage is set and their intro music begins. Now I may be biased, but the next 45 minutes was the highlight of the day thus far. Their energy was equal to all the previous bands of the day wrapped into one. Not too shabby for a band that has been

around over thirty years.  They gave an amazing set of anthems that had the entire crowd singing along to every word of every song.

(photo by Travis Failey)

6p and it’s time for the main stage bands. My seats, or should I say my section, was in the pit. Right up front where there are no chairs.  First up is As I Lay Dying . I only checked them out for a few minutes as I was over heated, hungry and in desperate need of a cold beer. I made it back just in time for Motorhead. I have been going to shows for over twenty years and I can’t believe this is my first time seeing them. Lemmy made a point to say during their set that they do not get to play in Florida all that often, so we will just let that be my excuse. All I can say is it was worth the wait. A twelve song set that included “Damage Case”, “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill”.

Up next was the mighty Slayer. One word, BRUTAL.  The Marshall stacks were shaped into upside down crosses. The stage was surrounded by fire. Their thirteen song set was a mix of old and new. Opening song “Disciple” brought 15,000 to their feet screaming “God Hates Us All”. There must have been ten mosh pits going at once. People raging, dancing and jumping up and down. One guy goes down and three family members are there to pick him up. Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt. They closed their set with the classic “Raining Blood”. Between the red lights, upside down crosses and all the fire, it looked like they were actually playing in hell.

Slipknot (photo by Travis Failey)

Finally to close the night was Slipknot. These guys are the total package. Seven maniacs wearing scary masks, jump suits and brought more energy than an NFL team playing in the Super Bowl. They brought fire, explosions, fire crackers and at one point soap suds falling from the top of the stage. A fourteen song set led by front man Corey Taylor, two guitar players, three drummers and no visible bass player on stage. This band considered calling it quits after bassist Paul Gray passed away and it gave me goose bumps to see that on this first run of shows he wasn’t replaced. Perhaps someone was playing behind the stage. Either way this was a class act honoring their fallen brother. During the set, Corey dedicated “Duality” to Paul. The crowd singing – “I push my fingers into my eyes. It’s the only thing that slowly stops the ache. If the pain goes on, I’m not gonna make it”.

All this for $70.00 – Mayhem Fest continues year after year to be the best head bang for your buck. This is one tour that I hope will continue for many years to come not only for

Tom Araya of Slayer (photo by Travis Failey)

the music but for the reunion that every family member looks forward to.

(photo by Travis Failey)

(photo by Travis Failey)

(photo by Travis Failey)

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