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Review: Mayhem Festival at Klipsch

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Mayhem Festival at Klipsch Music Center
Klipsch Music Center
Sunday, July 15

Passing up the heat of the day and its lineup of bands with non-metal words like "Alexandria" and "Prada" in their names, I got to the Klipsch Music Center just in time to see Anthrax launch into their inspired Joe Jackson cover "Got The Time" and move on to an all killer no filler set that included "Indians," "Fight 'Em Till You Can't" and a righteous "I Am The Law" where Joey Belladonna reaffirmed his place as the best thrash vocalist of all time.

Then I hustled over to the pavilion to see metal god Lemmy Kilmister get up on the pulpit and lay down some classic Motörhead Scripture with his veteran band. Starting with "Bomber" and plowing through classics like "Damage Case" and "Stay Clean" Lemmy was in great form, and by the time the band had finished a 2 song mini set of "The One To Sing the Blues" and "Going to Brazil" from their World War I epic, 1916, even the Slipknot crazies were paying attention.

Kilmister on the face of it isn't what you'd call a spectacular front man, but like a wizened field commander he strategically built his campaign so that by the time the double encore of "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill" hit the hillside the whole place was a drooling headbanging army of Motörhead fanatics ready for battle. It was proof positive of Lemmy's Metal Deity status.

When Slayer came out with the fire and the Marshall stacks fashioned into upside down blazing crucifixes, I celebrated a personal milestone. With this show I'd seen each of the "Big Four of Thrash Metal" (Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer) 3 times. 3 times 4 = 12 divided by 2 is 6. 3 times 6 is of course 666. Slayer did not disappoint on this auspicious occasion. Tom Araya and Dave Lombardo are absolutely the tightest rhythm section in all of metal and with Guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King running amok, newer songs like "Disciple" and "Hate Worldwide" killed just as many brain cells as classics like "South of Heaven" and "Die By The Sword."

Capping the thing off was the scary clown show put on by Iowa's finest, Slipknot. And as much as I mildly regard these babies who grew up suckling the teats of the greats who opened their show. I gotta say these boys did right by the metal gods. They roared out and pulled out a set heavy with fan favorites from the first two albums. Half-way through the crowd seemed doubled in size, and were collectively losing their minds. Even if it felt like a Juggalo convention, it was a damn fine time, and a perfect ending to a classic edition of the Mayhem Fest.

The Metal don't stop at the Klipsch Music Center as Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden come rolling in this week. Cooper is doing a classic hits set, while Iron Maiden is doing a weird thing where they are recreating song for song a not entirely classic Maiden England DVD from the late '80s. Still, the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son era-set is chock full of Maiden's finest moments and will undoubtedly end up being the show of the summer. This is Iron Fucking Maiden we are talking about. Lemmy, Alice Cooper, Maiden and 2 of the big 4. Man, this is a good week to be a metal-head in Indy.

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