Summertime is here, so that means it’s time for the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival to kick off another run across the county. This was my 5th year covering the opening day of the tour at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino.
This year the bands I shot were:
- Butcher Babies
- Job for a Cowboy
- Machine Head
- Attika 7
- Born of Osiris
- Motionless in White
- Amon Amarth
- Five Finger Death Punch
- Rob Zombie
I missed Thrown Into Exile, Emmure and Children of Bodom. Mainly due to the wait in getting my credentials ( a very uncomfortable wristband this time, no real pass) and having to get water back at the press tent. Still, with 12 bands, that created a lot of image downloads and editing to get it to a reasonable 52 images for the blog.
First up was Huntress, and while I had never seen or shot this band before, they were a great way to start the day. It was hot, crowded and hair was flying everywhere.
Next up was one of the big surprises of the day for me. A band called Attika 7 who had the best hair flipping guitar player EVER. Ira Black has really long hair and can really get it flying. The rest of Attika 7 rocked that stage hard. Definitely one of the better shoots of the day for me. And kudos to a band who wore leather for their full set in the blazing heat . Dedication.
Next up was Battlecross, hair flying high and by this time the photo pit was starting to get a little more crowded and the crowd surfing into the pit a little more pronounced.
Born Of Osiris sure looked like they were having fun. For the first day of a tour, these guys seemed to be hitting it off and getting the crowd all worked up.
Next up was a band that I had heard of and wanted to shoot, but never have had the chance. The Butcher Babies played at the Mayhem press conference which I had to miss, so I was happy to get a chance in the San Bernardino sun.
Next up for me was a quest to get water and then Machine Head. The Machine Head photo pit was crowded… really crowded when Kim Coates and Theo Rossi (best known for their work in Sons of Anarchy) came out to introduce the band. Then it was full tilt ahead and due to the large number of fans coming over the barricade, I left the photo pit after one song…. Sometime the shot is not worth a boot to the head.
The main stage kicked of with Viking set by Amon Amrath… Way over the top and well worth it. The pit was still over crowded with many “media” folks just standing around, not even bothering to bring a camera. They just take up space. Then there are the fans who somehow get credentialed to be there, but spend most of the tine singing along, dancing and fist bumping the kids on the other side of the barrier. These folks do not belong in the pit.
After the theatrics of a Viking ship, the straight forward show put on by Mastodon was tame in visuals, but a really solid performance.
Next up was Five Finger Death Punch. This was not the first time I have shot this band and it’s good to see them grow, but as they get bigger, they become harder and harder to photograph. They seem to love the strobe lights and heavy backlighting.
What can I say about shooting Rob Zombie….. he is a tough shoot. Solid red or green lights, massive theatrical sets, costume changes and fire…
So another Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival is in the books. Till next year….