Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s Bram and Zach take a moment to debate and analyze two opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry
Another Mayhem Fest comes to an end this Sunday. It’s somewhat hard to believe that the touring festival has just completed its fourth year. And with the exception of last year, Mayhem has been filling the void once occupied by the almighty Ozzfest. So that got us to thinking… In this week’s Headbangers’ Brawl, Melissa Meyers from The Syndicate (MI’s parent company) is filling in for Bram to debate Zach on which of the two is the superior metal touring festival.
Zach: I’m going to go with Mayhem Festival. As much as I loved going to Ozzfest in its heyday (and note that last year’s six date tour hasn’t tainted my choice), I just personally feel that Mayhem Fest’s second stage set up is far more superior. I always found it annoying that you’d have to wait in between each band’s set on the second stage for sound checks. Normally such a thing wouldn’t bother me so much (since this is a regularity at any concert), but when you’re in the middle of a parking lot in extreme Summer weather, it gets annoying. With Mayhem Fest’s two stage set up, though, it’s non-stop music! Once a band was finished with their set, all you had to do was walk a few steps over to the other stage. Even if you wanted to walk around the band’s merch tents, you could still hear music in the background. It’s that small little thing that further helps create an awesome festival atmosphere.
Melissa: Zach man, I love you, I really do, and I dig Mayhem, but OZZFEST all the way! I’m sorry you have to wait for a band to go on. OH GOD NO, WAIT FOR A BAND! NO! Whatever will you do with your precious time?! I don’t know, get a nice cold, over-priced beer?! So while I get what you’re saying, quit your yapping. Back in my day, you had to wait to buy an album, wait in line for tickets, and wait for the band to go on. Now all you kids just want now, now, now.
What I’m more concerned about is what you’re getting for your buck. Ozzfest: Ozzy, BLS, DevilDriver, Slipknot, Coal Chamber, ROB MOTHERFUCKING ZOMBIE and dare I forget the almighty Slayer. (Yes, I know they are not all on the same bill, but that still fucking rocks.) You give me Zakk Wylde and Rob Zombie and I would totally be happy. I want to see my metal played with dirty dudes with face melting guitar riffs.
Z: Spend 8 bucks on a beer? I’d rather sweat my balls off in front of the second stage waiting on a band I’ve never heard of to stop tuning their guitars (aka, exactly what a hand full of people did at Ozzfest).
It’s true, Ozzfest’s lineups are legendary. The first year I went featured Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Slayer and Slipknot. However, though Mayhem may never feature bands like Iron Maiden or Priest, a lot of the bands who have been on Ozzfest (including Slayer, Slipknot, Disturbed, Rob Zombie, Korn…want me to keep listing them?) have also been on Mayhem Fest. So dare I say that Mayhem Fest’s lineups are also pretty stellar and definitely give you a huge bang for your buck!
M: WEAK Zach! I don’t think Mayhem has ever said, “Hey fans, come in for free!” (like Ozzfest did in 2007). So with that being said, you can dish out the 8 bucks for a beer.
Also, the person with the biggest balls of steel is obviously on Ozzfest, and her name is SHARON! You don’t get more badass than her. If she ran Mayhem Fest, it would be one hell of a tight ship, and probably more fun. Aside from all the rad bands on this tour de force, you also have fun events such as egg tossing, and vow exchanging– which by the way, my friends who are now happily in a metal marriage, were introduced by Sharon and Ozzy ON the Ozzfest and later they helped him propose to his now wife. The Prince of fucking Darkness brings people together.
Z: Ooooohhhhhh thank you for mentioning Sharon! More fun? Really? If you consider rudely interupting the set of a legendary band and charging second stage bands money to play on the tour “fun” then sure. She may be a smart business person, but keeping a tight ship? Why do you think many bands said they’d never play Ozzfest again?
What makes Mayhem special is that the bands are obviously having as much fun as we the audience are. Eddie from All Shall Perish told us recently how Mayhem is “one of the best vehicles for exposure for putting a band like us on the map” and that they’ve been treated fantastically by everyone on the crew. Thus, not only are bands having fun, but they’re great exposure AND treated with respect by Kevin Lyman and crew. Ozzfest may have been great exposure, but Sharon obviously didn’t give bands respect while on Ozzfest.
M: Yeah, but what is good music without some controversy and drama? But drama aside, I’m a simple girl. I like my beer cold, my metal loud, and my men fast and dirty…or is that I like my guitar riffs fast and dirty? Either way, you go to a festival like these to rock the fuck out, NOT to get caught up with politics and the glitz of multiple stages. Speaking of, I could go for some Ozzy right now…