A mere 10 minutes after setting foot in the Comcast Center, my editor and I witness our first major act of Mayhem Fest carnage. Actually, we couldn't have missed it -- it was aimed directly at us. We'd ambled over to the Black Dahlia Murder stage and found ourselves on the edge of a disgraceful mosh pit, where two sweat-drenched psycho girls were ramming into people in hopes of starting a fight – no takers. Obviously not satisfied, one of these loonies then decided to charge me and punch me in the stomach as hard as she could. Awesome. First lesson of the night: Wherever there's Mayhem (the summer's most impressive mobile metal fest, and the latest venture from Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman), possible internal bleeding is probably not far behind.
After that, we beat a hasty retreat to the Jagermeister stage, hoping All That Remains's crowd would be a little tamer (they were). ATR played passionately, and the crowd dug it, throwing the goat and pogo-ing in approval. Next came thrash revivalists Trivium, but their set couldn't hold our attention when we saw that Cannibal Corpse was setting up on the neighboring Hot Topic stage, and they had only one row of kids and some stragglers waiting for them to come on. We hurried over, not being able to pass up the chance to get prime footage from second row.
These long-haired metal vets did a good job of whipping their audience into a frenzy -- the Corpse fan in front of me could've easily broken my nose with his head-banging convulsions. We lasted a couple songs in the second-row fray and wiggled our way back towards salvation (i.e., the shade). Behind us, we overheard singer George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher shouting: "If you see any dudes with their dicks hanging out, fuck them up. . .and if you see chicks with their tits out, well. . .let them show their tits!" Maybe it was for the best that we left when we did.
Not even mist tents and free energy beverage can take the headache out of 80-plus-degree heat on a blacktop – especially when, as convention dictates, black is the new black. So as metal as it was to bounce stage to stage in the parking lot, it was also a relief to get inside the ampitheater for Welsh speedmetalurgists Bullet for My Valentine, who debuted a new song and ended with a good-naturedly furious take on the title track from their current Scream Aim Fire.
Next up: Western, Massachusetts natives Killswitch Engage. They may have been the only band on this festival who's CD's I own, but holy wow did they kill it -- even without the insane amounts of pyro, fog, and strobe lights, they would've put on a hell of a show. Ball-busting guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz took the piss with hilarious between-song banter that stood in stark contrast to the rest of the bill's revenant stoicism. "This is where we call home, except our drummer, who likes the Yankees," Dutkiewicz announced, prompting predictable roars of "Yankees suck!" "And our state looks like a dude's arm flexing!" added Dutkiewicz, raising his own guns in a "which way to the beach?" kind of pose.