Disturbed and Godsmack save the day at Mayhem Festival

While most Oklahomans have been looking for an escape from the triple-digit temperatures that have been plaguing our state in recent weeks, several thousand metal heads descended upon the Zoo Amphitheater in Oklahoma City on Tuesday to brave the heat for the 2011 version of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.

Guitarist Phil Demmel of Machine Head, who unfortunately sat out the Oklahoma City stop, said this year’s Mayhem Festival has been a hot ticket. “It’s been a great tour, it’s a good cross-section of metal that you get every day,” he said while adding that the weather has been interesting as well. “We’ve followed this heat wave all the way across the Midwest, it’s been a very hot tour.”

Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick said that the festival brings back great memories for him. “I love the Mayhem Festival, because it really brings me back to when I was a fan of festivals and going to the shows myself and seeing all the different acts. It’s a great chance for me to hang out with some of my buds in Machine Head, In Flames and Trivium. It’s like a cool hang… outside in killer weather like today,” he said with a laugh.

Shortly after the gates opened Texas Hippie Coalition fired things up with an abbreviated set on the side stage. Straight Line Stitch, Red Fang, All Shall Perish and Kingdom of Sorrow followed up as the crowd continued to build underneath the mid-day sun. Mosh pits ensued around the side stage as security sprayed water over the crowd.

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Photos by: Kevin Pyle

Before the main stage opened, the crowd learned that Megadeth would not be playing due to what was called “an extreme medical condition” in a later press release. Some fans voiced displeasure over the sudden cancellation, but very few left the grounds. To make up for the hole in the schedule, organizers announced that Trivium, Godsmack and Disturbed would play longer sets.

Trivium then took to the main stage, playing an energizing set that got heads hanging and fists pumping in the air. The crowd voiced their approval as the group finished their hour-long set as the sun finally began to duck down behind the trees along the back of the amphitheater. Road crews then removed Trivium and Megadeth’s equipment from the stage before setting up for the next act.

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Photos by: Kevin Pyle

As the speakers pumped out AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock,” the crowd began to anticipate the arrival of Godsmack. They would not be disappointed.

The Boston-based hard rock group took the stage and tore off into probably the hardest set I have ever heard them play. First up was “Crying Like A Bitch”. From there it seemed the set was over as quickly as it began. Front man Sully Erna took a chance to talk to the crowd and challenge the infamous ‘no cursing’ policy of the zoo amp during a break in the middle of “Whatever.”

While challenging fans to put away their phones and help him sing, Erna promised he wouldn’t curse before quietly telling fans “if you do me right, I’ll promise you this. I’ll be the first guy to go to Dallas, Texas tomorrow and tell them that they are a bunch of (expletives).” After the roar of the crowd died down, Erna asked other members of the band, “Will that cost me five?”

Another highlight of their set was Erna and Shannon Larkin’s exciting drummer duel. It has become a staple of their set, but it never gets old.

Click to open Godsmack photo gallery.


Photos by: Kevin Pyle

Chicago-based Disturbed took over the stage following Godsmack and did a great job of keeping the crowd into the show. A massive video wall set the backdrop, with smaller video walls on both sides of the raised drum platform. Plenty of pyro accompanied the band  as they worked through an entertaining set that included “Asylum,” “Inside the Fire,” and “Down with the Sickness.”

Click to open Disturbed photo gallery.


Photos by: Kevin Pyle

While Megadeth would have rounded out the festival nicely, the night turned out to be a success. The curveball was thrown at Godsmack and Disturbed, and they hit it out of the park.