Review of Slayer at Jiffy Lube Live

On Sunday, June 10th of 2018 the Slayer farewell tour came to Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia. The tour was supported by some other great bands as well. Testament started things off, then Poland’s blackened death metal band Behemoth played (it was the band’s main man, Nergal’s, birthday) followed by Anthrax and then Lamb of God was direct support. I’m not going to get into all of their sets mostly because this post is about Slayer and secondly, I got there during Anthrax’s set. However you can see a few clips at the end of this post from Behemoth’s set that they posted on social media. Anyways, this is a concert review so of course the big question is, how was the show?

First off, like all Slayer performances, the show was a lot of fun. Slayer did a sort of career retrospective set list, which is a bit different than a “best hits” style set list in that it contained songs off 11 of their 13 albums. Only Diabolus in Musica and the mostly punk covers album Undisputed Attitude weren’t represented in the set list (see the full set list here). They left a few classics off, most notably “Spirit in Black,” “Die by the Sword,” and the medley of “Altar of Sacrifice” and “Jesus Saves” that has been a staple of their live set for decades. However they did play “Blood Red” which hasn’t been in their touring set list in many years.

It seemed like almost every metal head from our area was at the show to see Slayer one last time. I ran into some of the dudes from Darkest Hour, Ant Scot was crowd surfing in his wheelchair throughout the day and Randy Blythe even brought out local politician/metal head Danica Roem on stage for a moment during Lamb of God’s set. It seemed everywhere I turned I ran into another regular from the local scene, and I still didn’t see half the people I know were there from seeing their posts on social media after the show.

Most of the bands played in the daylight but it was dark by the time Slayer took the stage after 9pm. They had some great pyro effects including open flames that lit up metal Slayer logos on stage, and giant fireballs that would shoot up behind them in time with the music. While the current line up is only half of the original members, Tom Araya and Kerry King, I had seen this same Slayer line up with Paul Bostaph on drums and Gary Holt of Exodus filling Jeff Hanneman’s shoes twice before. Once in November 2013 (read our review of that show here) and again in March 2016 (read our review of that show here), both times at the Fillmore Silver Spring. What blew me away at those shows was how tight the band still was despite the line up changes. Slayer is probably best known for having written some of the most classic songs of the entire heavy metal genre but they are also known as a band that is incredibly well rehearsed and tight live. They rip through blisteringly fast songs totally in sync with each other and they make it seem easy because they have practiced them so many times. It was impressive that they could keep that up with two new members, something many bands that have that kind of well rehearsed chemistry fail to do after major line up changes. However that tight chemistry wasn’t quite there this Sunday night in June. Gary Holt had some technical issues and had to swap his guitar out a few times, including during the beginning of “Hell Awaits” which left what might be Slayer’s best intro riff sounding off. Most glaring however was Tom Araya fudging or possibly completely forgetting the lyrics to some of the songs. I might give this a pass if they were songs off the later albums but, for example, in “South of Heaven” he repeated a verse that doesn’t repeat and in “Angel of Death” he completely missed an entire verse of lyrics. This didn’t ruin the show by a long shot, it certainly didn’t make me suddenly stop loving those classic songs but it was the first time I’d ever seen Slayer so out of sync live. I’ve seen them live many times before. At the 9:30 Club, the long gone Nation/Capital Ballroom, the Baltimore Arena and the previously mentioned Fillmore Silver Spring. I’ve seen them before at Jiffy Lube Live on Mayhem Fest and even back when it was still called Nissan Pavilion I’ve seen Slayer play there as part of several Ozzfests. This Slayer performance was the first time I had seen a tiny crack in the foundation starting to grow.

Slayer played for about 90 minutes with none of that lame pre-rehearsed encore nonsense. They just got up there and ripped for an hour and a half straight while everyone went nuts. Gary Holt was sporting a “Kill The Kardashians” shirt and brought out his guitar that is painted in his own blood a few times (backstory on that here). However the most memorable part of the show might be what happened after it just ended. After the end of the set Tom Araya wandered around on stage just soaking in all the fans still screaming wildly for the band despite the set being over. He eventually found a mic and thanked the fans for all the memories. I’m not sure if he did that at every stop on the tour or just ours, but it was quite a touching moment, not something Slayer shows are generally known for. Still coming down from the adrenaline rush of a live Slayer performance, it was a sobering reminder that this was the last time we’ll be seeing Slayer in our area.

I am sad to see Slayer go, but this performance showed us why they are retiring. It seems like Tom Araya’s heart just isn’t in it any more, something that has been hinted at in interviews in other metal publications. I’d rather see them go on their own terms than just become a sloppy caricature of the incredible band they are. I did thoroughly enjoy the show though, despite its flaws. I’ve long held that no metal head can sit still while songs like “Raining Blood” or “Angel of Death” are playing and this show was certainly no exception. Bang your head, throw the horns, jump into the mosh pit, you just gotta go crazy for Slayer! But it is the end of an era, the first band of the Big Four of thrash metal to retire. I love this area’s metal community and it is always bittersweet to see one of the legends bring everyone out to headbang to their tunes for one last time.

Below you can see the photos I shot of Slayer from the photo pit (click them to see them larger) and below those are some images and videos of Behemoth that were posted to their social media, including the audience singing “Happy Birthday” to Nergal.

Slayer at Jiffy Lube Live 6/10/18

Kerry King of Slayer

Tom Araya of Slayer

Kerry King of Slayer

Tom Araya and Kerry King of Slayer

Kerry King of Slayer

Ant Scot crowd surfing

Bonus photo I shot of Ant Scot crowd surfing into security

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Bristow, Virginia. We are in the middle of the set. The show is fuckin' intense… I see a guy on the wheelchair crowd surfing! There's a moshpit from the very start of the show and ppl r totally INTO it. Obviously we feed on that energy and return it with twice as much strength! Ryan, our tour manager suggests that he goes Instagram live for the new song "Wolves ov Siberia". I agree, why not, right? He follows me into the stage and I'm announcing the song yet I see him standing behind my back regardless. Weird. As I approach the mic music dies and there's a robotic announcment coming from the speakers all over the place: "Ladies and gentlemen this is not time for "Wolves ov Siberia". Not yet. Today is the day to celebrate your fuckin' birthday, Nergal"! And then Gary Holt, Randy Blythe, Kerry King and the boss of all bosses, Mike enter the stage with a bottle of Jagger serving shots! Holy fuck! It took me few seconds to realize what's goin on… From the speeakers I can hear "Stoooo lat" from the legendary movie "Rejs"… Randy encoured ppl to sing "Happy birthday" and shortly after 10.000 ppl are chanting along the theme. What can I say? I was blown away and hyper-surprised and it was worth waiting 41 years for THIS haha !!! Would love to send regards and massive thank you to my band mates and Wolfpack crew for making this all happen! BEST wishes EVER!!! Love u ALLfuckers!!!! @drandallblythe @behemothofficial @garyholt_official @orion669 @brovarius.victorius @slayerbandofficial @slaywhore @paulbostaphofficial @shark_________________________

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The same video as above, but this version is longer and includes the “Happy Birthday” song.

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Thank you sooo much for last nite Bristow!!!!

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Black Sabbath at Jiffy Lube Live

I’ve been to literally hundreds of concerts through the years but there has always been something special to me about seeing Black Sabbath play live. When the band’s final tour, dubbed “The End,” came to Jiffy Lube Live on Sunday, August 21st it would be the last time they would play in the greater Washington DC area. Black Sabbath are the fathers of the metal genre and my favorite band, but they’re also so much more than that. They’re one of the few bands that every time they play, no matter how many other people are there, no matter how close or far I am from the stage, I always feel like they’re playing just for me. They’re the reason I am a metal head today, and probably the reason a lot of you are too.

I have a lot of memories seeing Black Sabbath play Jiffy Lube Live (formerly named Nissan Pavilion) in the past. The original Reunion Tour, when Ozzy Osbourne rejoined Black Sabbath again, which I never thought would actually happen, started its US leg there back in 1997. That’s right, we were the first in the US to see Black Sabbath on the Reunion tour. That was one of the early Ozzfests and I got my first tattoo at that concert to commemorate the event, the letters O-Z-Z-Y on my left hand knuckles. Ozzy played a solo set with his band and then came out and did a full set with Black Sabbath right after, I’ll never forget it. The only original Black Sabbath member missing from that tour was drummer Bill Ward on drums, he was tied up with other touring commitments at the time. Ward did complete the original line up when he performed with the band in 1999 when Black Sabbath again headlined Ozzfest, a farewell tour the band called The Last Supper Tour. Despite this they came back to play for us at Jiffy Lube Live/Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Virginia, again in 2001, 2004 and 2005. Black Sabbath was forced to change their name to Heaven And Hell when the late Ronnie James Dio returned on vocals, and this version of the band also played here in 2008 on the Metal Masters Tour. When Black Sabbath released their album 13 in 2013, their first studio album with Ozzy on vocals since 1978, they toured to support the album and again played Jiffy Lube Live. Now, on another final tour (which, judging by their ages, seems pretty likely to actually be their last this time), Black Sabbath once again played for us.

It rained earlier in the day but it let up in time for the tailgaters to start pre gaming in the parking lot. I missed the opening band, Rival Sons, because they weren’t even a metal band and really shouldn’t have been on the bill to begin with. At the end of their set I did hear them thank “Bristow,” I guess not realizing that very few people at the venue were actually from Bristow. When Black Sabbath finally took the stage around 8:45pm I was excited. Hell, who isn’t excited when their favorite band plays? The short intro video ended and that iconic opening riff to the song “Black Sabbath” immediately demanded everyone’s attention. I had pretty decent seats, in section 102 on the aisle on the Tony Iommi side. Not lower orchestra but still I had a pretty good view and I was right by the sound board. They played a great set of older classics, though they left some big ones off. No “Sweet Leaf,” no “Supernaut,” no “Electric Funeral” (despite the Shepard Fairey designed tour poster heavily quoting and referencing that song, I still bought one for $40 anyways). Nothing at all from the albums Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage. Most surprisingly, their set list didn’t include even a single song from 13. They did play a few songs that weren’t really hits such as “Dirty Women,” “After Forever” and “Behind The Wall Of Sleep” (including the Wasp intro). Every song on the set list besides “Dirty Women” came from the first four albums but it didn’t really matter what songs they played, the riffs just keep coming with Sabbath.

The band doesn’t have the energy on stage that they used to of course. Even when Ozzy played those back to back sets in 1997 (was it really almost 20 years ago?!?!) he had more energy on stage than he does now. He had trouble singing in key Sunday night and even flubbed a few lines here and there, most glaringly missing the classic “I am iron man” line at the start of “Iron Man.” The video monitors had a slight delay, and half the time they used so many psychedelic effects you could hardly tell what they were showing. Other times they focused way too much on Not Bill Ward drummer for hire Tommy Clufetos, the only “member” of the band nobody at the show had actually bought a ticket to see. His extended drum solo during the Bill Ward drum solo song “Rat Salad” seemed to be a slap in the face to Ward and his fans. Geezer Butler was great on bass, no surprise there, but it was nice to see the guy’s still got it. He was getting some sick tones out of that bass too. And Tony Iommi, even after all these years, mutilated fingers and battling back from cancer, he still plays everything so damn smoothly live. I swear he could play those songs just as well in the dark. There were still a few new touches he threw in, like the bonus intro part at the start of the band’s perennial encore song, “Paranoid.” There’s a reason he is nicknamed the riff master and the night’s set was a showcase of some of his most classic riffs played to perfection.

This wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen Black Sabbath, but it was a great show. It really had me thinking about all the times I’ve seen them before, all the people I’d seen them with and the different places in life I was at each time. Black Sabbath wasn’t the first metal band I liked, I already had a few Metallica and Megadeth tapes and the like when I traded for a copy of Black Sabbath’s best hits album We Sold Our Souls For Rock ‘N’ Roll, but that album is what changed me from being a casual music fan to a die hard metal head. While Black Sabbath played songs from that album I thought about the day I first listened to it, I still remember. And I thought about how cool it was getting to interview and then meet Bill Ward in 2014, certainly the number one highlight of my time working on this very blog. I was hoping the show would never end because I didn’t want to deal with the cold, hard fact that I’ll never get to see them perform live again. But reality has a way of always winning out and time waits for no man. After the show ended the band all took a bow and Ozzy’s daughter Kelly came out on stage and shot a short video of the audience still going wild. I talked to a lot of people before, after and even a few during the show. Friends old and new, strangers, people who knew me from this website, random people crammed in line next to me while we waited to buy merch, drunks in the parking lot, everyone there to see Black Sabbath for one last time (or maybe even their first time). I had a great time and yeah, I’m bummed that I won’t have any more great times at Black Sabbath concerts, but I’m grateful that I got to see the band that started it all perform one last time for us and just for me.

Thanks for reading this. Below I’ve posted a few videos I shot at the show. I didn’t have a photo pass and these were all shot on my phone. I think the sound quality came out pretty good though. I hope you enjoy them!

Black Sabbath – N.I.B.

Black Sabbath – Dirty Women

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Black Sabbath and Mayhem Fest Ticket Contest

Mayhem Fest and Black Sabbath

There’s a couple of kick ass metal shows coming up in the next few weeks at Jiffy Lube Live and DCHeavyMetal.com wants to make sure as many of you can go to these shows as possible! Rockstar Energy Drink’s Mayhem Fest is headlined by Rob Zombie this year and will be at JLL on Wednesday, July 24th and we’re giving away a pair of pit tickets to it! Ozzy Osbourne is back with Black Sabbath and they’re coming to JLL on Friday, August 2nd and we’re giving away a pair of seated tickets to that show as well! To enter: Just leave a comment on this post telling me which concert you want to go to and why. You can enter for both if you want, but you can only win tickets to one of the concerts. On Friday, July 19th at 5pm EST I’ll use Random.org to select 2 winners, one for each show, to win a pair of tickets to the show they chose. Make sure you enter in a valid email address you check regularly when you submit your comment so I can contact you if you win, though it doesn’t need to be in the comment itself. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or sell your info, I hate spam too. If I don’t hear back from a winner within 24 hours another winner will be chosen. If you can’t wait to see if you win the tickets, or the contest is over when you read this, you can buy tickets to Mayhem Fest here and Black Sabbath here. Now here’s a little more info on each show…

This year’s Mayhem Fest will have over 18 bands playing on four stages! On the main stage you’ll find Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon and Amon Amarth, the last of which will be bringing a giant viking ship on stage (you can catch a glimpse of it in the video below)! But don’t think there aren’t any bands worth seeing on the other stages. Machine Head, Children Of Bodom, Job For A Cowboy, Battlecross, Huntress, Scorpion Child and many more are going to be tearing it up on those stages as well. It’s going to be a hell of a day for metal!

Just last month Black Sabbath put out their new album 13 (read our review of it here), the band’s first full length with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978! The godfathers of heavy metal will be playing their classics along with some of the new material for a show that is going to please metal fans young and old. I’m not sure what else I should really write here, it’s fucking Black Sabbath, if you’re a metal head then you need to be there!

Black Sabbath ticket give away

Black Sabbath at Jiffy Lube Live

The fathers of heavy metal, Black Sabbath, will be coming to our area on Friday, August 2nd, 2013, to perform live at Jiffy Lube Live! Needless to say, that’s a big deal here at DCHeavyMetal.com! Tickets will go on sale this Friday at 10am (here) but we’re so damn excited that we just can’t wait that long to give away a pair to one of you lucky readers of the site. You don’t want to sit on the lawn to watch this sure to be epic show so we’re giving away a pair of seated tickets! To enter just tell me your favorite Ozzy Osbourne-era Black Sabbath song in the comments section at the end of this post. At 7pm EST on Thursday, May 9th, 2013, the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to get the free pair of seated tickets to the show. If I don’t hear from the winner within 24 hours then I’ll randomly pick another person to get the tickets. Be sure to enter with a valid email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, win or lose I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. If you need help remembering what Black Sabbath songs Ozzy sang on, click on the following links for the track listings of his each of his albums with the band: Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Vol. 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die!

Black Sabbath released their self titled debut album on Friday the 13th of February 1970 and with it and the albums that followed they laid the foundation that heavy metal and all of its splintering sub-genres are built upon. Ozzy Osbourne was very publicly ejected from the band in the late 70s and aside from a couple of bonus songs at the end of their Reunion live double-album in 1998, they haven’t released any new material with him since. That ends on June 11th when Black Sabbath releases 13, Black Sabbath’s first full length album with Ozzy on vocals since 1978! The master of heavy riffs, Tony Iommi, is still at it on the band’s new track God Is Dead?, which you can listen to below. The support on this tour is being provided by the hard partying Andrew W.K. Now check out the new Sabbath track and a few of my personal favorites as you leave your comment to enter the contest!

Review of Mayhem Fest at Jiffy Lube Live

On Sunday the 29th of July 2012 the giant touring metal festival known officially as the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, or just Mayhem Fest for short, came to its Washington DC area stop at Jiffy Lube Live. The venue is actually out past Manassas in Bristow, Virginia and some of the bands addressed the audience as Virginia and others as DC. Anyways, it was a hot day under a brutal sun for this year’s Mayhem Fest. I got there early trying to catch the first couple of bands but the line was so long I missed Richmond’s Saint Diablo and didn’t get in until after their set when the next band was setting up. All day the bands started their sets about seven minutes earlier than the program schedule listed them at which meant you had to get there ahead of time to catch the bands you cared about most. Early in the day I was mostly interested in seeing the local bands since High On Fire had dropped off the tour, so I wandered around for a while getting different directions on where exactly the Sumerian Records stage was. It was in the big fenced off section of the parking lot being completely dwarfed by the much larger Jägermeister stage that was right next to it. Bradley Wyatt of Depths Of MarianaI made sure to get up close to get a few pictures of Depths Of Mariana, a Fredericksburg based metalcore band who had won a local battle of the bands competition to get to play at this stop of the Mayhem Fest tour. The stage was small, only raised a few inches, and was completely covered by a double pointed black tent that made it hard to see the band members if you were more than a few people back. I’m sure nobody running the festival really cared much about the two local bands who had won competitions to get to play on that stage. I asked tons of people who the bands actually were leading up to and at the fest but nobody seemed to know or even care. However I knew it would be a big day for those bands so of course I wanted to at least try to get some nice photos of them. Depths Of Mariana was a pretty typical metalcore band. The vocalist and bass player both had good stage presence and the band seemed to be having a lot of fun just playing at Mayhem Fest. I’m not really a fan of metalcore and can’t really give a good assessment of the band’s sound based on that. The same goes for most of the earlier bands playing that day, but I’ll get into that more towards the end of this post.

After they played I spent some time browsing at some of the merch booths that were set up, getting food and beer, refilling the water bottle I was Joey Belladonna of Anthraxallowed to bring in and holding my breath in the men’s rooms turned urine saunas. By the time Anthrax was getting ready to play I was pretty ready to headbang. They were the headlining act on the Jägermeister stage, which featured a bunch of mostly metalcore (and other variations of the genre) bands throughout the day. Anthrax was a bit of a contrast to that, they’re much older than those other bands, probably old enough to be most of their fathers honestly. They’re also one of the big four of thrash metal. They currently have Joey Belladonna as their Scott Ian of Anthraxvocalist, still rocking the mullet, and he was full of energy up there. Scott Ian and the rest of the band still command a considerable amount of on stage charisma. The band made a good choice to play Caught In A Mosh early in the set which got a bunch of the circle pit loving metalcore fans into their performance. The parking lot area that the stage was set up in was really dirty, the moshers kicked up swirling clouds of dirt under the hot sun, and to make matters worse, due to the venue’s ABC license not covering the parking lot area you weren’t allowed to bring or buy any alcohol in that area. That’s right, you couldn’t actually drink Jägermeister at the Jägermeister stage! Regardless, Anthrax put on a fun, if short, performance. It was a good precursor of what was to come later from the bands that old school metal heads like myself were waiting to see on the main stage.

Right after Anthrax closed out the Jägermeister stage the other local battle of the bands winner, Spiral Fracture, started playing on the Sumerian Stage. Unfortunately for them, at the exact same time Asking Alexandria started playing on the main stage which pulled most of the available Jamil of Spiral Fractureaudience away from their small stage. Spiral Fracture is based out of Richmond and their sound was less ‘core than the other contest winner from earlier. I ended up getting frustrated though when the band’s singer kept pouring opened energy drinks onto the audience by holding an open can and swinging his arm. That’s fine when you’re playing some basement somewhere but when people are bringing expensive equipment to photograph you at a big festival don’t spray them with liquids! I walked away angry before I shot all of the band members to quickly clean off that sticky gunk before it go into my camera’s lens permanently.

Luckily when you’re at a metal festival there’s plenty of good ways to vent your frustration and watching Lemmy Kilmister shred with Motörhead is as good of an opportunity for that as any you’re going to find! The trio was in good form and kept the speed metal going pretty Lemmy Kilmister of Motörheadsolid their entire set. The last time they came through the area they were playing their first show with the ex-Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum. This time they had Mikkey Dee back and you could tell he had better chemistry with the rest of the band. Even so, they gave him a big drum solo that seemed a bit unnecessary considering they were only given about 45 minutes to play. I realize Motörhead have been around a long time and have put out a lot of material, 21 studio albums worth, and not all of it is going to get played in their set, especially a shortened one, but I was really hoping to hear Orgasmatron or maybe even Don’t Need Religion, which I think would have been perfect since they were playing just before Slayer. They did play many of their standards including Killed By Death and Ace Of Spades though, so it wasn’t exactly a bad set list. They put on a good performance and I’m glad to see Lemmy’s still got it on stage.

The next band to play was the band I wanted to see the most, the infamous Slayer. They are another one of the big four of thrash and certainly the most devilish sounding of them. Slayer is a gateway band for a lot of metal heads. At some point a lot of us started listening to heavier and heavier bands until we came across Slayer’s extremely catchy yet inherently evil sounding riffs which opened the door for us to the world of extreme metal. They might be a thrash band but just try to find a death metal band that can’t cover several of their songs. In other words, they’re gods in the world of metal, but if you’re reading this site you probably already knew that. The stage set up was fairly simple yet pretty awesome. They had two giant upside down crosses on stage that Kerry King of Slayerwere made of (fake) Marshall Amps that shot fireballs out of them. There were walls of fire in front of both of those and in the center above everything was a metal Slayer logo that also lit up in fire. Combined with the red lighting they used for much of their set it basically looked like you were in hell watching a metal concert. In other words, it looked totally demonic which set a mood that certainly fit Slayer’s aggressive sound. At the end of this post there are three Slayer videos from the show that you can see the fiery set up in pretty well, especially the third one. They even had the fire timed with the music which sort of reminded me of that YouTube video of the Christmas lights timed to Slayer that goes around every winter (see it here). However this was much cooler to behold! I’ve seen Slayer many times before Gary Holt of Slayerbut this was the first time I have seen them with Gary Holt of Exodus filling in for Jeff Hanneman on guitar. Gary did a great job playing those classic songs many of us in attendance know so well. Tom Araya is really starting to look older these days but he was still up there screaming and shredding like always, albeit without the headbanging as per doctor’s orders. Kerry King was, well, Kerry King, playing those evil riffs that make moshers go crazy in the pit. Most of their set list was taken from Reign In Blood and Seasons In The Abyss, as one would expect. I’d have rather heard Black Magic instead of Hate Worldwide, the sole song from their last album, but that’s really a minor gripe. After they played Angel Of Death they actually performed an encore of South Of Heaven and Raining Blood, which was kind of odd since they weren’t the headlining act, but I’m certainly not complaining.

Slipknot at Mayhem Fest

The next band up was the headlining act, Slipknot. I’m not going to pretend that I’m some old fan of the band, I’m not, but I hadn’t seen them live before and I’ll usually check out any metal band at least once, especially if I’m already at the concert. For starters, the band has a ridiculous number of people on stage, most of whom are unnecessary except in their roles of pumping up the crowd which I found to be rather distracting for the most part. There were eight members on the stage, plus a bass player who was playing backstage somewhere which was a bit weird. I realize that founding member Paul Gray, aka #2, passed away in May of 2010 from drug use, they had his bass on stage for this show as a tribute to him, but to have someone playing with the band from backstage sort of makes the whole band-playing-together-live thing seem a bit disjointed. In all the whole thing seemed like a convoluted circus, but perhaps that’s the angle they were going for, a sort of metal circus or something. There were also several photographers and/or camera men actually on stage, even stepping into the spotlights from time to time, during Slipknot’s set. That seemed very amateurish for a band this size. The band’s masks were throwbacks to their early days, but that doesn’t mean much to me as I’ve not been following them for years. One thing that I thought was cool was that the keyboard player would stage dive into the audience from time to time. You don’t see many big bands like that actually interact with the audience to the point of touching them. The beer keg drum kit on the raising and spinning platform didn’t really interest me, even when the guy was banging it with an aluminum baseball bat in time with the music. In all their show just came off as a big mish mash of gimmicks that didn’t even seem to relate to each other that much. And why the hell do they have two extra drummers in the first place? Joey Jordison, the guy behind the real drum kit, is probably the most talented member of the band and he certainly doesn’t need help in the percussion department. And as far as their musical sound overall…

Slipknot at Mayhem Fest

Well, I could take this time to rant about the kind of metal Slipknot plays but I’m not going to do that. I don’t like their music but then I don’t really like the style of metal they play in the first place so it wouldn’t be fair for me to criticize them for that. They’re still a huge metal band, even without a new album for this tour cycle they’re headlining Mayhem Fest. I heard a lot of trash talk from old school metal heads who were upset, offended even, that Slipknot was headlining over bands like Slayer, Motörhead and Anthrax, but personally I didn’t have a problem with it. Same goes for all the metalcore bands that were playing on the other two stages earlier in the day. It might not be my thing but everyone is at a different place on their musical path. Music means something different to everyone. How we listen, why we listen, how much we listen, what we do while we listen, when and where, there are so many different ways people interpret music and ways we become attached to it. I don’t expect everyone to like the same bands or styles of music or metal that I do, in fact expecting them to would be inviting in conformity. I’d be a liar if I told you there was never a time when I liked some questionable bands, especially when I was younger and first getting my passion for music. Anyone who tells you that they have never liked a band they would now find embarrassing to admit is certainly not being truthful. I remember listening to Def Leppard and other similar acts when I was in elementary school and loving that 80’s pop rock garbage but I also got a copy of Metallica’s Ride The Lightning and that totally changed how I listened to music. We all start somewhere and we move forward, and when Slipknot headlined over Slayer on Sunday it wasn’t a travesty, it was a bunch of people who already like some heavy music getting exposed to Slayer while they waited for their favorite band of the day to play. Maybe most of them hated it, I don’t know, but I’m sure that out of the 20,000 or so people there that at least some of them left wanting to know more about that evil sounding band with all the fire on stage. And like I said earlier, Slayer is something of a gateway band. I guess what I’m saying is, instead of telling someone their taste in music sucks and they don’t belong, expose them to a great band instead. Help them along their path, don’t criticize them for not being where you are. They might never get to where you are and instead forge their own path which takes them on a totally different musical journey in their life. I’m sure some of the people at Mayhem Fest only go to a few concerts every year, and for some this was their first concert ever. There’s no reason to be elitist and tell other people they don’t like metal the right way or that they’re not the right kind of people to like metal. That goes for the hipsters that are “invading” metal right now too. Let’s get more people listening to metal and going to more metal shows! I guess that’s the point of this site in the end anyways. A tour like Mayhem Fest that brings out a lot of younger people to a big metal show and also exposes them to some of the bands us old farts like isn’t a bad thing, it’s great!

In the end I’m really glad I went to Mayhem Fest this year, it was the first time I’ve been to this annual touring metal festival if you can believe that. It was also the first time I was given a press photo pass (except for Slipknot) at a venue this size and while I was a bit nervous I had a hell of a lot of fun shooting bands on such a big stage. It was great experience and I learned a hell of a lot. If you like my photos in this post you can see the rest of my shots from Mayhem Fest here. I guess people liked them because Mayhem Fest posted the link to them on their Facebook page (here) as well. Of course you can check out the three videos of Slayer playing below and I’ve also embedded a video that Mayhem Fest posted with footage of the Bristow date below those. Thanks for getting through my rant and reading to the end of all this, you rule. Stay brutal and remember to support the scene you’re a part of!

Review Of Iron Maiden at Jiffy Lube Live in 2012

Iron Maiden is one of the world’s most famous metal bands and it’s always a big deal when they come to town. They played at Jiffy Lube Live (formerly Nissan Pavilion) on Saturday June 30th as the DC area stop on the Maiden England Tour and of course I was there. It was a scorching hot day and it stayed hot even after dark. There was a massive storm that swept through the night before and many people still didn’t have power so this show was a bit of an escape for people who were getting cabin fever. Iron Maiden draws a bunch of metal heads from across the genre lines and this show was no different. Since they’re one of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands they’re old school enough that parents bring their kids and everyone enjoys the show. There was also a big draw from places like Richmond and Virginia Beach since the tour wasn’t stopping anywhere closer to those areas.

The parking lot opened at 4pm and the gates at 6pm but opening act Alice Cooper didn’t start til almost 7:30pm. In other words, there was plenty of time to grill and drink a few before in the hot sun before the show. I saw Alice Cooper in 2010 opening for Rob Zombie at Merriweather Post Pavilion and I was really blown away by his live show then (check out my review of that show here). However this performance wasn’t even close to as good as that one. They didn’t have nearly as elaborate of a stage set up and other than Alice’s trademark decapitation by guillotine they didn’t really do any of the entertaining stunts on stage. This left a heavy focus on the music which, let’s be honest here, is a bit dated. I liked his 2010 show so much that I had high hopes for this one but it was a total let down. At least he played Feed My Frankenstein, the song everyone knows of his after being in the movie Wayne’s World, which always gets me to chuckle a little.

OK so surely Iron Maiden wouldn’t disappoint right? Long time readers of the site will remember my review of their last concert in the area (read it here) back in July of 2010 wasn’t exactly glowing. Back then the set list wasn’t great and the weather was awful on top of it all. This year’s tour is a sort of throwback theme to the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son era of the band and the set list was probably the best thing about this show. They played five songs off of Seventh Son, including the title track which they hadn’t played in over 20 years before this tour. They also played a ton of crowd pleasing classic tracks like The Trooper, Run To The Hills and Number Of The Beast. They also played some more obscure songs for the old school fans such as The Prisoner and Afraid To Shoot Strangers. There were a couple hits I’d have liked to have heard that weren’t played, Hallowed Be Thy Name is a personal favorite of mine they chose not to perform, however they did play a 14 song set with a three song encore and really nothing they played wasn’t worth including in the set. You can check out the set list for yourself below, keep in mind the covers and Churchill thing were recordings.

Iron Maiden Setlist Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA, USA, Maiden England - North American Tour 2012

So aside from the set list, the show itself was fun as hell. There were lots of back drops and Bruce Dickinson costume changes (I always jokingly hope he’ll come out in a gold plated diaper just once for the lulz!). Of course there were strategic pyrotechnics and a few Eddie appearances as well. Basically it was the action packed show you’d expect from Iron Maiden. Bruce Dickinson was running around the stage, well, mostly on the big raised up stuff on stage. My only problem with his performance was his voice seemed a bit off in a few places. He seemed very conscious of this though and while his voice kept up on most of those classic chorus lines it was on some of the verses that his voice seemed to waver a bit. Still, he handled it like a pro and kept his best moments for when everyone was really paying attention to his lines the most. Maiden’s triple guitarist shred fest was in full effect as well, switching seamlessly between leads and solos, even when they shifted to different band members. Aside from some of the nuances of the set list, there wasn’t much at this show you wouldn’t expect to see if you’ve seen Iron Maiden a few times before, but that isn’t a bad thing with a band that is known for consistently having great performances. For newer fans this was a great show to catch for a first Iron Maiden concert. Sorry I don’t have any photos, the band wouldn’t give me a photo pass because they have some policy about not giving them to online only publications. That kind of sucks doubly because I haven’t seen a live review of this show with photos from any of the local newspapers either, so I guess everyone loses on quality photos at this concert. Before the show I ran into one of the DC Brau guys, a local brewery in Washington DC, and it’s great to know some of them are metal heads. This also might explain why some of their beers have metal names like On The Wings Of Armageddon and Burial At Sea. I ran in to a lot of friends at the show and it’s always nice to see so many of the area’s metal heads all out like this. After the concert I drunkenly handed out a bunch of stickers to people stuck in traffic in the parking lot. In all, it was a hell of a lot of fun and totally worth the hang over the next day. If you’ve got some cool pics or videos feel free to post links to them in the comments below, or even if you’ve got a fun story about your experience there. Sorry it took so long to get up but my internet still hasn’t been restored since the storm which makes running a website kind of hard to do. Until next time, keep it metal everyone and support the scene you’re a part of!

Mayhem Fest ticket give away

Mayhem Festival is coming around again this summer to Jiffy Lube Live (formerly known as Nissan Pavilion) on Sunday July 29th and they’ve got a killer line up this year. Slipknot, Slayer and Motörhead will headlining the main stage while the second stage will be manned by Anthrax, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying, Asking Alexandria, Whitechapel, High On Fire, Upon A Burning Body, I, The Breather and Dirtfedd. Told ya it’s a killer line up! DCHeavyMetal.com is giving away a free pair of seated tickets (not lawn) to one of you lucky readers and all you have to do to enter is post a Mayhem Festivalcomment below telling me which band you’re most excited to see play live! Be sure to use a valid email address that you check regularly when you enter so I can email you when you win. Don’t worry, I won’t put you on any email lists or sell your info, I hate spam just as much as you do. I’ll pick the lucky winners at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries at 5pm EST on Friday 20 April 2012. If you don’t want to risk losing out on good seats by waiting for this contest to end, you can get tickets now here from $34 – $84, depending on their location. This concert is on Sunday 29 July 2012 and doors open at 1:30 pm (and remember, Jiffy Lube Live has gotten rid of its no tailgating rule). But wait, there’s more…

Usually I don’t have any runner up prizes on my contests but this time Heavy Metal PicnicI’m also going to be giving away five copies of Jeff Krulik’s latest metal related documentary film, Heavy Metal Picnic. Shot in the 80s at a metal party in a field in Maryland that was headlined by the local doom metal band Asylum, the director of the classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot film just released its follow up on DVD this past winter. The winner of the pair of tickets will get a copy of Heavy Metal Picnic on DVD and I’ll also pick four more of you at 5pm EST on Friday 20 April 2012 to win. If you don’t win you can pick up a copy of the DVD for $15 here. If you want more info I recommend checking it out on IMDB (here) and of course by watching the trailer below.