The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival (http://rockstarmayhemfest.com)...what a mouthful, but what a show. The REDMF rolled into Austin, Texas on a beautiful triple digit day at the Austin360 Amphitheater (http://austin360amphitheater.com).
The Austin360 is, no doubt, turning into Austin's premier entertainment facility. Not only for the outstanding concert venue the amphitheater is, but for the history making Circuit of the Americas track that encompasses it. All of the different music and entertainment events coming out will definitely put Austin on the map as a stopping point for many years to come. Although you may hear occasional complaints of parking prices or the location of the facility just outside of the city of Austin proper, the truth is, any major city you go to which has a world class facility like this is not much different.
For the Austin360 itself, it seems to me there have been some subtle improvements since the grand opening with Kenny Chesney (http://livemusicinaustin.blogspot.com/2013/04/shared-experiences-kenny-chesney.html). The grounds and facilities are greatly improved with more lighting on common ways and more seating around the circumference of the amphitheater. When you get your opportunity to go here for an event, be prepared to be 'Wowed' and have a great time.
Amon Amarth (http://amonamarth.com) proudly stormed the main stage to kick off the final portion of the REDMF. With the giant, front end of a Viking ship center stage, everyone in attendance should have gotten the clue this was going to be intense. However, after blasting into their set, these Swedish rockers did pull out some tired cliches like, "Are you ready to Rock?", "This is the loudest crowd of the tour?" and "We know it's hot, but lets turn up the heat some more!" It doesn't matter! The crowd loved them. Swedish metal gods they are, with the themed songs that Amon Amarth is known for this crowd was up for the aural punishment! God I loved it. It was fantastic to be in the back on the grass and just watch the frenzied thousands in attendance down on the floor, in front of the stage, with their 'horns' up. There is never anything quiet like that Scandinavian metal to get the blood flowing on the concrete.
Mastadon (http://www.mastodonrocks.com) rocked the stage next. With their killer bass and guitar riffs from Atlanta, Ga, Mastadon had no problem grabbing the audience by the horns and stomping their collective ears into the concrete...and the crowd loved it. Commenting on the (unfortunately small) size of the crowd, but acknowledging the rowdiness was proof enough of how much this crowd enjoyed their power. Mastadon did appear to be the favorite for local rockers Vallejo, as two of the Vallejo members were spotted backstage rocking out as the band powered through their set. Mastadon's set was just long enough to make the audience realize it was too damn short!
Five Finger Death Punch (http://www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com). Oh Yeah! HELL YES! The sun went down, it was STILL triple digits, and Austin got a dose of FFDP right to the groin. Being down in front when the deep, DEEP, Bass tone started to emanate from the speakers, was completely numbing to your head, and damn near heart stopping. It was the signal. The black curtain dropped and FFDP exploded onto the stage with EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THEIR FEET. With one of the most distinctive voices in the current metal world, Ivan had the Austin360 Amphitheater completely at his beck and call. At one point playing a game of "Ivan says" (simply because his mom didn't name him Simon), and gave the audience a few laughs. Then it was off through the music again. The story told leading into the song 'Bad Company' is simply too much to repeat here, it has to be experienced at a show. The amazing control that FFDP had over the audience was evident in its purest form when I beheld a sight rarely seen now a days....REAL lighters in the air. EPIC!
Rob Zombie was an entertainment extravaganza. The lights, the sounds, animatronics, costumes, AND the music, soul satisfying heavy metal rock and roll! This is EXACTLY what every single, sweaty, tired ass body was here for, came to see, and got! Every song that every Rob Zombie fan wanted to hear, was performed, including the unexpected treat of The Guess Who's classic anthem 'An American band'. The whole set was beyond epic as Rob Zombie made complete use of the visual and aural elements to just stun the crowd. Maybe not stun, how about whip the crowd into a frenzy. With bodies flying in the pit, slamming into each other, slamming into the ground, and even seeing chanclas (look it up if you don't know what it means, but by definition this is the epitome of Austin keeping it weird - chanclas in the pit at a metal show) flying in the air. It was a show that will not soon be forgotten and hard to top.