Slipknot

support Korn + King 810
author EL date 23/01/15 venue Wembley Arena, London, UK

Walking towards Wembley Arena the excitement for Friday’s show was infectious. Swarms of black hooded, black lipsticked, multi-colour-haired and spike-collared fans moved towards the arena where Slipknot’s Prepare For Hell Tour had finally made it to London, this also being their first full UK tour in more than six years. Joining them on one of the UK’s most anticipated tours of the year were KoЯn and fairly recent newcomers King 810. The queue’s into the venue wound all the way around the outside of the building and I couldn’t help but feel massively sorry for the crowd waiting outside in the blisteringly cold air. Once inside, the queues only continued to slink around the various pillars and hallways as fans hurried to buy merch and beer.

All photos courtesy of Lauren Harris Photography

King 810

After being ushered into the arena, I stood there and readied myself for the opening band, Michigan metal band King 810, who released their debut album in August last year. Needless to say this must be one of their greatest experiences of their lives, opening up for the ‘Knot and Korn given that they are such a young band with very few releases under the belts.

Opening up with “Killem All” the crowd swayed and dutifully nodded their heads to their songs though the energy was somewhat lacking and unenthusiastic; this is probably because half the people in the stadium hadn’t heard of King 810 before. It was obvious to me that vocalist David Gunn and the rest of his band hadn’t quite let it sink in yet that they were opening for one of the biggest bands of all time as they appeared to be quite rigid and closed off, which of course is completely understandable when you aren’t used to playing in front of over ten thousand people.

Having said that, after they had warmed up a little bit with their next few songs, “Murder Murder Murder", “Desperate Lovers”, “Boogeyman” and “Write About Us”, the crowd had warmed up and Gunn’s personality was starting to break out from its shell proving that he has the ability to be a fantastic frontman, he just needs more time and experience playing with very large crowds. Closing off their set with “Fat Around The Heart” we were given a glimpse into the supposedly unimaginable background that King 810 come from which appears to be an angry and upsetting one. The crowd weren’t moving much but they were still transfixed with what they were seeing on stage.

Personally however I couldn’t get into their set much, I though I don’t have much experience with this band, it’s obvious that they don’t have much experience with a humongous crowd, so hopefully the next time I see them they will have opened up a bit more and will be better at affecting more people.

7

Korn

After about twenty minutes of waiting the lights went out and the screams from the crowd echoed ferociously. The high whining sound of a guitar and a sudden and abrupt drum beat lead the flashing lights which swirled and whirled from the stage, highlighting a large black backdrop with the simple white letters "KoЯn" on it. As the intro loomed higher and higher frontman Jonathan Davis bounces onto the stage, the screams get louder and as the rest of the band follow, waiting for the intro to finish, the audience begins to completely lose their minds with happiness. Wearing a black kilt, knee high black socks and a black vest Jonathan Davis comes up to his impressively large mic stand, aka “The Bitch”, and bursts opens up with the all to familiar “Twist” to which the crowd explodes in response as Davis’ vocals soar perfectly across the crowd. His voice is so on point and sounds like it’s being sung straight from the album itself. Bassist “Fieldy” stands apart from the stage on a higher platform to the left of drummer Ray Luzier swinging his massive head of dreadlocks round and round.

Another memorable classic is played next, “Here To Stay”, before Davis breaks out into some more recent songs with “Right Now” and “Love & Meth” which are firm reminders that KoЯn is still one of the most important nu metal bands of all time and that they still hold a huge place in our hearts. And as the band performs “Falling Away With Me” I can hear the distinct voice of Corey Taylor hiding in the shadows with a mic. Earlier in the day there was an Instagram picture on Davis’ wall that implied Korn had a big surprise for its audience that day. The stage is covered in darkness once more but the set props have been turned into neon colours bathed in UV light. The intro to “Good God” comes on and the swelling crowd pushes and shoves, opening up a circle pit and jumping up and down like monkeys on crack as the song is played. As it comes to an end, Davis screams to the responsive crowd, "Won’t you get the fuck out of my face now!" and the crowd roars it together with him, thus making the room shake with energy.

Once again the lights go out and all that can be heard is the hum coming from the audience down below. A circle pit is beginning to form again in anticipation of the next song, which was introduced by the loud sorrowful whining of Davis’ famous bagpipes. This was of course the intro to “Shoots and Ladder”. Davis walks onto the stage with his bagpipes and marches up and down playing to a now silent crowd. It’s captivating and beautiful and it brings the crowd to a complete halt. Then the guitars and drums come in and the audience begins to grow louder. How anyone can make a childhood rhyme sound so eerie is beyond me, but this proves exactly why Korn will always be one of the greatest heavyweights of nu metal.

When the all to familiar tones of “Freak On A Leash” comes on, I feel like I’m going to explode and lose my mind as this is of course one of their most famous and most revered songs. Davis beckons the crowd to join in and they do so without question. And now the surprise is unveiled as Slipknot join Korn on stage to perform a cover of Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”. I think I finally lost my mind. This in itself was the greatest show moment of all time for me. Seeing these two bands perform this song on stage was nothing short of exceptional. The Clown malevolently skulks around the stage with his infamous bat, as the others mosh around various parts of the stage. Closing with “Blind” this set was one of the most thrilling and memory inducing performances of all time. Needless to say KoЯn tore the crowd back to 1999 on Friday night and my nostalgic self fondly remembered the last 21 years of their perfect existence!

9

Slipknot

Now Korn, without a doubt, would be an impossible act to follow if you were any other band except Slipknot. Known for their extremely visual lighting displays and towering stage sets, you always know you will be in for an eye-wateringly visual treat. Not wanting to give anything away to the crowd that were standing head on to the stage, a large rippling curtain is lowered down, covering the stage up. From the side I can see a swarm of stagehands littering the stage moving everything around and rebuilding an entire set in the space of 20 minutes. This is an incredible feat to say the least. The lights go down and “XIX” drones through the arena inciting madness into the bubbling crowd. Behind the curtain I can see the band all taking their positions and Corey Taylor places himself at the front and stares straight ahead of him, waiting. The second “Sarcastrophe” kicks in, the curtain is flung up and the stage bathed in a red light as Taylor’s vocals boom into the arena. A huge devil-like goat’s skull grimaces above the stage with two curved stairs/slides coming down on both sides. Percussionists Shawn Crahan and Chris Fehn are spiralled into the air with their kits as Taylor releases a full assault onto the crowd.

“The Heretic Anthem” and “My Plague” are played before “The Devil In I” resumes the roars and cheers from the crowds. Fire is blasted from the stage to the beat of the song, the heat warming my face quite hotly from where I am standing. Jim Root’s guitar whines throughout the arena alongside Mick Thomson. Sid Wilson runs away from his position at the turntables/keyboards and runs behind their touring drummer Jay Weinberg only to jump off the platform back onto the stage. Shawn Crahan leers down into the crowd from his heightened platform, the pulsating maggots writhing down below. When “Psychosocial” comes on there’s even more mania in the arena. Bodies are flying over people’s heads, naked sweaty bodies bash into each other unapologetically and Corey Taylor comes to the forefront of the stage pointing out into the crowd. He turns to where I am standing in one of the booths and as everybody screams and waves frantically, he waves back and I nearly die with happiness. How apt. Following “Psychosocial” we are treated to another one of their newer songs, “The Negative One” which again sets the stage on fire, blast after blast, and the lights flash dramatically with reds and greens, capable of inducing an epileptic seizure.

After “Three Nil” and “Eyeless” comes the highly anticipated performance of “Vermillion”, which provokes a lot of emotion from standers by (I witnessed a woman burst into tears with happiness when the first notes were played). Taylor professes to the crowd, "It’s been six years, too long!! We are making up for lost time London"! Another stunning rendition of “Before I Forget” blows up the stadium and prepares the crowd for three of my favourite songs, “Duality”, “Wait and Bleed” and “Spit It Out”. The energy on stage is just as energetic as the pulsing bodies below. A sea of bodies surge to the front, pushing and shoving, circle pits open up everywhere and every single body in the room is heaving and jumping.

After 13 songs the closing track “Custer” begins, which must have been one of the best performances of the night as it incites such violent imagery and feelings; the audience mirrors the emotive response of Taylor’s personality. The lights go down and the obvious pleading chants for an encore boom through the arena. We wait and we wait and still nothing comes, until suddenly they come back on stage and resurrect the unstoppable energy that has been burning through people’s faces all night. They open with “(sic)” which then bursts into “People=Shit” which makes everyone bounce even harder and louder than before. The final song of the night is “Surfacing” which is just a wave of aggression and anger. The percussionists are absolutely awesome and the fast-paced riffs and murderous rage emanating from Taylor make for the perfect ending to the most visually spectacular stage setting I have ever seen.

In a nutshell, Slipknot, along with Korn, jumped out of their skins, punched me in the face, stole my soul, spat on my grave, kicked me in the shin, hugged me and made me a cup of tea, with hot sauce in it. These two bands together is the greatest live experience I have ever had. What made it even more special was the huge age ranges that had fallen into Wembley Arena on Friday night. Not only were there the “back in my day” ages, but also the “at school we” ages (with me nestled comfortably in between the two) and to see these different generations come together and show their love and appreciation for these kings of metal was something I can’t quite praise enough.

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