There are a few reasons why tonight is so special, firstly SLIPKNOT have not graced a stage in Ireland in just over ten years and secondly, tonight’s show is the first of their European tour in support of the bands new album “.5 The Gray Chapter“. A frenzy of excitement buzzes around the venue in anticipation for tonight’s opener’s KING 810, who will be performing in Ireland for the very first time.
Taking to the stage with little fanfare, KING 810 are met with a rapturous applause and mixed curiosity. Coming from Flint, Michigan, the four piece proceed to penetrate the vast venue with their tales of murder, pain, suffering, poverty and general unfortunate bad luck. In case you have not heard of KING 810 before, they come from what they consider to be, one of the most violent shit holes in America and like to talk about it via their music.
I’m not sure if it’s the size of the venue, or the riffs wafting from the house PA, which have been done to death by nearly every band that existed through the 90’s, but KING 810 seem a little out of place here tonight. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it just does not translate with tonight’s crowd. I can imagine these guys being rather good in a smaller club sized venue, however the cavernous depths of the 3 Arena seem to be overpowering them tonight. Stand out tracks like “Kill em All, War Outside” and “Fat Around The Heart” cause minor distractions amongst the chatty crowd but that’s about it. Too much too soon? 3/5
With a now rammed to capacity venue, KORN take to the stage with a deafening roar from the crowd, that literally shakes the rafters. Opening with “Twist“, see’s a multitude of pits open up immediately throughout the venue floor, with joyous punters flinging themselves around to the iconic ramblings of Jonathan Davis.
KORN sound immense tonight and are clearly having the time of their lives on stage. Brian ‘Head’ Welsh is a blur of dreads, as he attacks his guitar with visceral intensity and passion. His return to the band has brought back the fierce, crushing pulse that captured peoples attention when the band originally started out, long may this continue. “Here We Stay” and “Right Now” solidifies the sheer brilliance of KORN and how they can dominate and deliver when witnessed live.
“Good God” hits the crowd like a fully operational tank with deafening “won’t you get the fuck out of my face, nooooow” chants, that almost drown out the band. Glasses, shoes and items of clothing are flying through the air as the band break straight into “Got The Life“.
Jonathan is on fine form tonight as he paces back and forth along the lip of the vast stage. His schizo-frantic presence is a slightly different contrast to the super chilled out Fieldy who spends most of the night hanging out on the high risers next to visibly extravert drummer Ray Luzier.
“Falling Away From Me” and “Freak On A Leash” pummel the crowd into a sweaty, topless whirlwind and without warning an incredible “Shoots And Ladders” graces our ears, with Jonathan wielding his trademark bagpipes for the majestic intro. Incorporating a verse from Metallica’s “One” at the end causes near heart attacks amongst the crowd, who explode with elation.
Where can they go after that? Well, there’s only one thing on everybody’s mind and that is “Blind“. As Jonathan reminds us that this is the 20th anniversary of their debut album, the genre defining intro swells up to the iconic “are you ready” before all out chaos ensues in every crevice of the venue. KORN just leveled the 3 Arena and gave a master class in how to own a capacity crowd. 5/5
So, we move on to the reason we are all here and with the rather fancy curtain that drapes from the rafters covering the stage, it’s abundantly clear that SLIPKNOT brought the big guns on this tour and plan to take down anyone that stands in their way.
As the house lights plunge into darkness, the air is crackling with excitement. “Sarcastrophe” bleeds from the PA and suddenly the curtain is raised and the “Ohhhh’ and Ahhhh’s” of approval dominate the crowd, as the full stage production is displayed in all it’s glory. Imagine a fucked up carnival / circus type of setting with ramps, pyro, and a big Devil like head overlooking the bizarre madness.
As the band launch into “The Heretic Anthem” it’s almost impossible to look at everything that is happening. All nine members are working the stage from the back to the front, with Clown perched up high on his custom hydraulics beer keg percussion device and Corey in full on attack mode, all the while Sid scales any surface that lay in his way.
They sound heavy as fuck, with razor sharp clarity, which makes the likes of “My Plague, The Devil In I, and the brutal onslaught that is “Psychosocial” even more crushing live. New material from October’s “.5 The Gray Chapter” continues with “The Negative One” flexing it’s muscle.
The new bassist firmly holds ground in front of the drum kit for the duration of the show and seems comfortable and confident throughout. The absence of Joey Jordison is barley noticeable, apart from the lack of a drum solo or the ego machine (spinning drum platform), which is no bad thing really.
As they blast through “Eyeless” and “Vermillion” the intensity of their performance hits epic levels and is reflected in the total chaos that is unfolding on the arena floor. Jim Root and Mick Thompson stalk the stage looking like they are about to rip someone’s head off and hold the brutal force at code red as they begin the opening chords to “Before I Forget”.
With very little stage banter from Corey, it’s all about getting down to business. “Duality, Wait and Bleed” and “Spit it Out” come one after the other, threatening to literally break the audience in two. The relentless battering of bodies gets a moment to breath during the “Spit it Out” break down before Corey unleashes pure fucking hell with the immortal words “jump the fuck up“. Although this is now a “been there done that” aspect of the show, it just never get’s old.
One of the most face melting songs from the new album, if not the bands career, “Custer” sounds every bit as amazing live as it does on record and goes down a storm. At this point, the band leave the stage and as the chants for SLIPKNOT begin, they emerge and break into “(sic), People = Shit, and Surfacing” before bidding their farewell to a rapturous and visibly exhausted crowd.
If may have taken them ten years to return to Ireland, but the wait was worth it. SLIPKNOT specialise in delivering the intense and tonight was no exception. 5/5
Words – Oran O’Beirne
Photography – Steve Dempsey: Down The Barrel Photography (*Korn & King 810 only)
Slipknot photography source is stock.
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