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.
When the sunburn and aroma of beer and sweat start to fade away, it can mean only one thing: the Summer has come to an end. And while concert attendance saw a big dip this past year, the Summer of 2010 brought us some great metal tours, including Ozzfest, Mayhem Fest and the American Carnage Tour just to name a few. So with the season coming to an end, Bram and Zach take a moment in this week’s Headbangers’ Brawl to debate over which Summer festival/tour was the best of them all.
Zach: Not to sound like a hippy cheeseball who loves everyone, but there really wasn’t an “awful” tour this past Summer. Despite hesitations about certain shows (cough-Ozzfest-cough), I really had a great time at each show I attended. However, if I had to choose my favorite out of them all, this year’s Mayhem Fest would win it for me. Not only did each band on the line up perform their asses off when I attended the stop in Camden, NJ, but the atmosphere itself was simply awesome. Mayhem Fest has been able to capture the energy and excitement of metal every year, the same metal communal feel that I use to experience at Ozzfest. Plus, the two side stages’ back and forth set lists allowed the fan to experience non-stop metal (avoiding the annoying set change waits). This year continued to leave me satisfied.
Bram: I wouldn’t say there was an “awful” tour either, but to be honest with you, there weren’t too many super exciting ones either. I might be jaded because everything comes to New York, but with a few exceptions, all the summer tours/festivals that came around featured bands I’d already seen previously. If you’ve already seen a band twice on the album cycle, you’re not going to be won over by another festival appearance, and if you’re promoting an album that’s over a year old, I don’t really understand what your band is doing on tour. There are a number of things that make a tour or festival into a can’t-miss experience, whether it’s an older band coming out of retirement, an underground band graduating to a big stage, or a musician filling in for another, all of which happened to an extent this year. With that in mind, was Mayhem still your favorite?
Z: True, Bram. There weren’t “oh-my-god I must attend” tours this summer (maybe with the exception of Slayer/Megadeth), but I’d still say that each tour had its stand outs in their lineups. With that in mind, yes I would still stick with Mayhem. I agree that all of your points go into a “cant-miss” experience, but one thing I always consider is the actual lineup itself. One of the great beauties of touring festivals is how they bring bands together on the same stage, bands who otherwise probably wouldn’t even be in the same city as each other. While I’ve pretty much seen all the band’s I liked on Mayhem before, seeing them all together in the same day is worth the ticket price (which was pretty reasonable in itself). Even Lamb Of God’s Chris Adler revealed recently in an interview with Bloody-Disgusting.com how it was awesome and unusual to get the chance to perform infront of Korn and Rob Zombie’s audiences. With that in mind, Bram, which tour did you feel gave you the most bang for your buck?
B: I think in terms of bang for your buck, the American Carnage tour was pretty awesome. Granted, it’s a little nostalgia-based, but it was still great to hear two bands play two of their best albums, as well as have Testament opening things up. In terms of a well put together festival, I think that the Uproar tour is pretty good. Not that I’m a gigantic fan of any of the bands, but to introduce bro-dude Disturbed fans to bands they might not have heard before, like Halestorm and Airbourne, it’ll probably cultivate some fans of the newer bands. In terms of energy and bands I actually really like, I dug the Eyehategod/Nachtmystium tour earlier this Summer. But the most unique concertgoing experience? For sure, I’d say going to a movie theater to see the Big Four Tour. It was an amazing shared experience for metal fans around the world that really hadn’t been done before.