Mayhem reigns down on Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. – The annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival cruised into Hartford on Sunday for a full day of… well, mayhem. Eighteen heavy metal bands descended on the Xfinity Center in Hartford with music starting at 1 p.m. and the last band wrapping up at 11 p.m.
The Mayhem Fest started in 2008 by the organizer of the Warped Tour (another traveling musical festival) and continues to expand year after year. Generally the festival consists of four stages, three stages set up outside and the main stage based in the amphitheater. Each stage is sponsored by a different company. Rockstar Energy sponsors the festival and the main stage while Coldcock Whiskey, Sumerian Records and Victory Records sponsored the other side stages.
The Victory and Sumerian stages both had start times of 1:05 with five bands on each stage. You really had to pick and choose who you truly wanted to see and hear since the set times were so close. Some of the bands on the Victory Stage included up-and-comers Erimha and Islander, while also including veterans Wretched, Ill Nino and Emmure. The band Islander was one that I really wanted to check out, only playing a 20-minute set, they didn’t disappoint. There is lots of attitude coming from this band and some really catchy songs.
The Sumerian stage showcased a local Battle of the Bands winner, Carnivora, from Danvers, Massachusetts. Unfortunately they had to go on at 1 and played to a fairly limited audience. Other bands included on the Sumerian Stage were Darkest Hour, Veil of Maya and Upon A Burning Body. The highlight of this stage was the headliner, Bodycount, featuring the one and only Ice–T. Yes, Ice–T, the rapper and the actor. Bodycount formed in 1991 and was introduced to the music world at that summers Lollapalooza tour. The band has five releases to their name with a new one just released this past year, called Manslaughter. A ferocious set from this band and definitely had the biggest crowd for the side stage bands.
The Coldcock Whiskey stage had six bands playing with a start time of 1:25. In my opinion, this stage probably had the best line up. Up-and-comers King 810, touring veterans Texas Hippie Coalition, masked mad men Mushroomhead, Miss May I, Suicide Silence and death metal masters Cannibal Corpse. Corpse was the very first death metal band to sell over one million records and has built a cult like following over the years with a constant touring schedule and some controversial song lyrics. Corpse probably had the second largest crowd for a side stage.
The Main Stage consisted of four bands with the first band, Trivium, going on 6:30. Only given a 30-minute set, Trivium had the crowd rawking from the start. English rawkers Asking Alexandria were up next for a 35-minute set that included material off of all three of their releases. Veteran heavy metal band Korn, led by lead singer Jonathan Davis, were in top form and really had the crowd behind them. I would have to say the majority of the crowd were there for Korn and they didn’t disappoint. The band had 60 minutes to play and had enough energy for two more hours. Headliner Avenged Sevenfold had the longest set time of 75-minutes and provided the crowd with plenty of good music, smoke and fire. The band had a great stage and really put on a great show deserving of headliner status.
The Mayhem Festival is an annual event worth checking out. Besides all the music, there are plenty of other things going on for a metal head to enjoy. There is a meet and greet tent where most bands go after playing their set. There is also a number of merchandise tents for the bands to sell their goods and meet their fans. Mayhem Fest will be on my annual list of shows to attend.
Mike Augusti’s Rawk Report provides live reviews of local concerts in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Rawk Report also includes information on new music releases and upcoming concerts in the area. Please contact Mike at [email protected].

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