SCRANTON — Even a total power failure couldn’t stop the Mayhem at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Saturday.
Thanks to continuous updates from concert organizers, the Mayhem was contained to the stage as the large crowd stayed peaceful during the hour-long wait for the power to be restored. Unconfirmed reports at the site said the outage, which happened around 8:30 p.m. during the second song by co-headliner Five Finger Death Punch, was caused by a vehicle leaving the concert hitting a utility pole. Montage Mountain Road was still partially closed at 1:20 a.m. Sunday as most concert-goers were leaving the facility.
The sixth annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, a day-long celebration of heavy music, got started a little past 1 p.m. Saturday as 16 bands played three satellite stages. Two of the three stages were set up side by side in the parking lot, and the next band hit the opposite stage literally seconds after the previous one finished up on the other.
Early attendees were treated to the sounds of bands such as Huntress, Butcher Babies, Attika 7, Children of Bodom and Motionless in White, a band started by Pittston native Chris “Motionless” Cerulli and other Luzerne County residents.
MIW played a triumphant 30-minute homecoming set, capped by a Cerulli family photo from the stage and a strong performance of “A.M.E.R.I.C.A,” a single from 2012 album “Infamous.”
“We are Motionless in White, from right here,” Cerulli said from the stage. “This is all I have to say Scranton: thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Tucked away on the fourth stage among the battle-of-the bands contest winners was Scorpion Child, a hard-rock quintet from Texas, which tore through an impressive 30-minute set for a few fans lucky enough to check them out. This band’s music had more in common with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix than the others, and was a breath of fresh air after a few hours of nothing but the other heavy-metal and metalcore bands on the bill.
The main-stage action got underway at 6:20 with Amon Amarth, a death-metal band from Sweden that sings (or is it growls?) of Vikings, Thor and other such things from a stage set up reminiscent of a Viking ship complete with a smoke-spewing serpent at the bow. The burly, long bearded frontman Johan Hegg was a hoot but mostly indecipherable to the uninitiated.
Up next was Mastodon, a slightly more melodic band from Atlanta, which scored with a 45-minute set of tunes mostly from most recent album “The Hunter.”
Then came the power-outage interrupted set by Five Finger Death Punch, which stormed the stage with “The Way of the Fist,” the title track from the band’s 2007 debut. During the second song, the power went out, but the band members continued to joke with fans and passed out tons of guitar picks and bottles of water until they found out what was going on.
When power was restored, 5FDP resumed its set, pretty much picking up right where it left off. Highlights included “Never Enough,” “Hard To See” and its 2010 cover of “Bad Company.” They threw the gauntlet down with a hard-charging version of “The Bleeding” to bring the set to a close.
Hitting the stage at 10:40 (about 20 minutes before his scheduled stop time) came headliner Rob Zombie and his usual sensory-overloaded mixture of heavy music, horror movie visuals and over-the-top stage props. Problem was, the set was way too similar to the last time Zombie played Montage Mountain and had a sense of “been there, done that” throughout his slightly extended performance.
Guitarist John 5 electrified the crowd with his “Star Spangled Banner” a la Hendrix, even playing his red-white-and-blue guitar with his teeth, which led nicely into Zombie’s version of “We’re An American Band,” one of two songs from Zombie’s latest album, “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor.”
Other highlights included a brief foray into Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and a humorous rip on Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” prior to White Zombie’s (Zombie’s band prior to his solo career) “Thunder Kiss ’65,” and that band’s “More Human Than Human,” plus solo favorites such as “Scum of the Earth” and the set-closing “Dragula.”
Zombie’s set ended just a few ticks before midnight, finally bringing the long day to a spectacular close.