Finally after a long, hot day it was KORN’s turn to play. I was interested to see how they would be received by the crowd of varying tastes. They certainly are great enough to headline this type of show, but even though they transcended “nu-metal” long ago they are still guilty by association to some modern metal fans. While my tastes have certainly changed in the ten years since I last saw them live, I have remained impressed with their musical output. As the lights went down for the last time of the day their massive stage was revealed. Never a political band in their career, their entire set was fashioned into an oil refinery complete with burning wells, drums and pipelines. This also also the theme of their new album’s artwork. They started playing right away and to my mild surprise most of the venue was into it. “Right Now” was a great choice to open with as the song is brutal, uptempo and had everybody in the place moving. Saying little to the crowd and blasting through cool renditions of “Here to Stay” and “Did My Time” KORN definitely kept the energy high. There were definitely a few hecklers that hung around to diss them and I don’t understand why they would. Why not just beat the traffic home? However, just like last year when MARILYN MANSON totally upstaged SLAYER in the face of boos, KORN took no prisoners and they owned the night anyway. After addressing the crowd lead singer Jonathan Davis introduced their first new song of the night “Oildale (Leave Me Alone)”. Fitting right in with their older material, the song went over big with the entire place joining Davis in his anguished wail for the chorus.
Sixteen years into KORN’s career Davis still rocks the track suit, still has the sick HR Geiger microphone stand and still delivers as one of the best singers ever in heavy music. Whether it’s rapping, singing, screaming, crying or bringing the deathly growls, Davis is a true artist. He is joined by remaining founding members Fieldy on bass and Munky on guitar. Between his Les Claypool inspired rhythmic thunks, great stage presence and his tuneful bass work, Fieldy is the heart and soul of the band. Munky now shoulders a lot of the playing and singing responsibility since Brian “Head” Welch departed a while back. The band is also joined by backup musicians Shane Gibson on second guitar and Zac Baird on keyboards, samples and additional vocals.
“Falling Away From Me” was introduced with a beautiful piano melody by Gibson before the entire band kicked in with that haunting, memorable riff. Another song from fan-favorite album Issues (Epic) was “Somebody Someone”. The track built to a slow boil and contrasts between a super funky baseline and a cool vocal line. The ending and has a crushing, dirge-like quality to it that I just love. Drummer Ray Luzier is truly a beast and really killed with his performance on this song. With his little mop of blond hair and his crazy, alternating over-handed stick style he kind of looks like Animal from The Muppet Show. He played a two-minute solo at the end of the song that was nuts and the crowd loved it.