MAYHEMFEST IN MILWAUKEE WI REVIEW - PHOTO GALLERY BY MICHAEL MULLENIX
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to bring you in Review and Photos Mayhemfest, quite possibly for the final time. It has been a full summer and I can honestly say that I never expected this year’s Mayhemfest outing to be surrounded by this level of controversy, infighting, and ultimately uncertainty about it’s future. Honestly I am still bewildered because the show itself was not at all terrible. Lackluster, maybe. Smaller than year’s past, definitely. Lacking a compelling headliner, undoubtedly. But strip away the Mayhemfest banner and it wasn’t a dissapointment. I mean, King Diamond is on the bill, worth the trip out to the show alone.
The Milwaukee tour date was held at the Rave/Eagle’s Ballroom, an old three-story club in the northern part of the city. The tour added several new stops this year and last year this venue was used as the smaller Taste of Mayhem one-off. Fast-forward to this year and the entire lineup has been split between the three stages of the club. Certainly makes this date one of the odder stops on the tour, but gives the show a more intimate feel. The huge yearly festival taking a break from big amphitheaters and crowding into the local club, one stage literally being attached to a bar gave this date a certain charm lost in the open-fields of a parking lot. Also, considering the venue itself was built close to a century ago, some of the older architecture lends itself to the thematics of King Diamond’s set. Speaking of which, in the photo gallery you will notice that King Diamond is performing without makeup, this is because he suffered an eye-infection on the previous stop and was told to perform without makeup on our tour date. Definitely a weird spin on these photos to be sure.
As I stated earlier this year was not an awful tour, but it was a lackluster offering from the Mayhem camp. Slayer and Whitechapel are incredible bands we’ve seen prominently on this tour in year’s past. It is always fun to see them, but it seems they are never gone for too long before they are featured on another high-profile tour coming back around. Hellyeah, though they get plenty of grief from the Metal community, were bred for this kind of summer, open-air, festival atmosphere. With that in mind it's not surprising to see them show up on this kind of bill. The Devil Waers Prada… been 3 years since I’ve seen these guys, so I guess it’s always good to catch up. And the only new face to this party is King Diamond who gave the standout performance of the night. Add in great newcomers like Thy Art Is Murder, Sister Sin, Jungle Rot, and Code Orange, this tour has plenty of stand-out offerings on it’s own merits. But with the Mayhemfest name attached to it there was no shaking the feeling that the tour has taken a step back financially. Perhaps losing a major sponsor, or unable to lock-in a critical headliner. Even with the rise of prominence from several of today’s Hard Rock/Metal bands, there are still several bands that could still carry this tour well. Hopefully going forward this tour or it’s successor can reignite that interest in the traveling Metal Festival.
God Speed Mayhemfest!
The Devil Wears Prada