The energy Jay Weinberg and Alex “V-man” Venturella have brought to the band is clearly evident in the stage presence of the 9. It was sorely needed in my book. The Slipknot of 2009, was a band that had lost my interest. But this is 2016 and “.5: The Gray Chapter” is a triumphant statement of a band who found their rhythm whilst in the midst of a troubling few years.
Openers Suicidal Tendencies for me are that band whose songs I knew but I didn’t know they wrote them. So when they stormed the stage and jumped straight into “You Can’t Bring Me Down” I sat forward in my chair and paid attention. You would never have guessed that this band had only the night before played a small club gig in the Academy Dublin (see review here). The command that Mike Muir and Co. had over the ever growing crowd was impressive. The band rip through their greatest hits leaving no one disappointed, that is until they have to leave the stage. A solid set and a great end to the tour for the Venice beach natives. 4/5
The closure of two gigantic red theatre curtains with that oh so familiar tribal “s” can only mean one thing. The nine-headed beast is waking. The crowd pours in, security doubles, fans young and old are visibly excited and there is a noticeable buzz in the SSE tonight. As the lights dim and the curtains draw back, a roar from the crowd signals what we are all here for. Slipknot have arrived in Belfast.
This bizarre video of mannequin being burned greets the crowd and “Be Prepared For Hell” churns out of the PA, as the members of the Iowa band take their positions. Launching straight into “The Negative One”, Jim Root starts what will be a raw, relentless and punishing evening of metal that makes coming out on a Monday worthwhile. The band is celebrating 15 years since the realise of the Iowa album and for the occasion they treated the fans to “Metabolic” and “I Am Hated”. Two of my lesser liked songs of that album but they garnered a good response from the bustling crowd.
The break beat intro of “Eyeless” kicks in and I am immediately taken back to when I first heard their self-titled album. Seventeen years later, this song is still shit-heavy and shows the band have lost none of their potency in the intervening years.
Each member of the band has their own menacing place on stage. Man mountain Mick Thompson, throws daggers at the crowd as he shreds through ‘’Skeptic’’, Sid Wilson dances during ‘’Psychosocial’’, and Chris Fehn and Clown made the floor rumble during “(sic)’’. The frenzy at which the crowd is embraced in is as always far too short lived as all too soon the band are saying their goodbye’s. I would say that it has been a gripping 90 minutes of music. I want to find no fault in the Slipknot machine. But I can’t help but feel I’m after being short changed by this gig. I felt I was owed more music.
There was no urgency to the band. No white-knuckle, frantic paced fury that I had come to know and love in previous Slipknot shows. After every two songs there was a minute of darkness and atmospheric music played until Corey Taylor came out on stage to speak to the fans. This happened like clockwork throughout the whole gig and quite frankly it pissed me off. I felt as soon as I was getting into the swing of the gig, they would hit the brakes and take a breather. It felt safe, almost lazy on the bands part. It felt like they could only muster 10 minutes of aggression and had to go backstage and recover for a few moments in order to proceed.
But I may be just pining for the Slipknot of old. The 9 men who shocked the world with an album that could not be put into words. You just had to hear it. This is Slipknot V.2.0 and they are here to stay.
Words – DSK
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography © 2016 with kind thanks to MCD Promotions
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© OVERDRIVE 2016