14th January 2015
Review by Melanie Brehaut
Fifteen years is a long time to wait for a gig for Dublin’s metalheads, and the news that metal gods Slipknot were returning to Irish shores for the first time since 2000 was met with howls of delight, not to mention a near as dammit sold out show. Even the prospect of walking to/queueing up at the 3Arena in some truly horrendous weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the thousands of fans who came to worship at the altar of the ‘Knot.
First up though, is the band who seem to be reaching for Slipknot’s crown as ‘the most dangerous band in metal’, the much-hyped KING 810. A curious crowd gathers at the stage to see if they actually live up to this hype. Following intro ‘810’ they launch into their latest single ‘Killem All’, and proceed to show Dublin just what they’re made of.
Vocalist David Gunn puts in an intense, guttural performance that’s rather reminiscent of Iowa-era Corey Taylor. The music itself is muscular and no-nonsense, combining the brute force of Slipknot with the nu-metal bounce of Korn – a well-chosen support act, indeed. One can sense the raw power and experience behind the performance: there’s no showboating, only a band of brothers who have been to Hell and have the scars to prove it.
The sparse beat and urban poetry of ‘Write About Us’ is a haunting and powerful highlight, as is fierce set closer ‘Fat Around the Heart’, complete with buoyant guitar solo. The band end their set sweating and spent, having undoubtedly garnered many new fans amongst the noisily appreciative crowd.
Murder Murder Murder
Write About Us
Fat Around the Heart
With a discordant screech and an abrupt dropping of the house lights, it’s time to crank it up a notch as Korn stride onstage one by one to delirious adulation. An animated and energetic Jonathan Davis arrives last and swiftly leads the band into a frankly astonishing and effervescent set bubbling over with crowd favourites (with a few newies thrown in).
With the stage a whirling cornucopia of light and movement and the band clearly having a ball, the set quickly becomes one to remember. The arena is absolutely rammed, and everyone is either smiling, singing, dancing or moshing (or all four at once). The few tracks from 2014’s The Paradigm Shift (‘Love and Meth’ and ‘Hater’) slot nicely in with their older numbers, and are sang along to with equal enthusiasm.
Above all, this is a fun, high spirited set from the band. Seemingly at peace with their past issues (drugs, difficult childhoods, lineup problems), Korn 2015 are an altogether – dare we say it? – happier band. Thus we see Davis merrily bopping his way across the stage whilst playing his ubiquitous bagpipes, a snippet of Metallica’s ‘One’ during ‘Shoots and Ladders’, as well as a bouncing moshpit during the ‘knick knack paddywhack’ portion of same.
A double whammy of ‘Got the Life’ and ‘Freak on a Leash’ prompts a mass singalong which almost drowns out the band, before Davis announces the twentieth anniversary of their final number…it’s ‘Blind’. The crowd duly loses their shit, the entire floor becomes a boogying moshpit and many, many people realise all over again just how bloody good Korn are. Brilliant.
Here To Stay
Love and Meth
Falling Away From Me
Shoots and Ladders (incl. snippet of ‘One’)
Got the Life
Freak on a Leash
As a curtain descends to hide the stage set up, the question on many people’s lips is, how will Slipknot top that?
They certainly have a receptive crowd awaiting them to find out: the place is packed to the rafters and the excitement in the air is almost tangible.
And so…at 9.30pm on the dot, the house lights drop and ‘XIX’ rings out, its mournful wail a prelude to the emotion of the gig the crowd have been waiting for. The curtain rises and we are met with a set that looks like a fairground attraction from Hell, complete with giant glowing-eyed ram’s head, ramps bedecked with gaudy red lights and pyro galore.
The band hit the ground running with ‘Sarcastrophe’ from new album .5: The Gray Chapter, and it quickly becomes apparent that these new tracks are set to become as legendary as the rest of their material. Frontman Corey Taylor’s voice is absolutely on point tonight, while the rest of the band sound beefy, brutal and utterly beguiling. Other tracks from The Gray Chapter make an entirely welcome appearance throughout the set, including singles ‘The Devil In I’ and a punishing ‘The Negative One’.
Much like previous act Korn, the Iowan nonet seem to be having a blast tonight, with Taylor ranging the stage like a caged beast and mixer Sid Wilson taking particular advantage of the onstage ramps, running and jumping about like a hyperactive child and occasionally racing across the stage with a large Irish tricolour flag, much to the crowd’s delight. This is, of course, exactly how a Slipknot set should be: gloriously (and barely) organised chaos.
Taylor effortlessly holds the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout, whether he’s commanding everyone to “jump!” during a frenzied ‘Eyeless’, making them laugh during an hilarious story of how Slipknot was banned from Ireland for several years (hence the fifteen year gap between gigs!), or wielding his party piece of getting everyone to crouch down then “jump the fuck up!” during an uproarious ‘Spit It Out’. It’s clear that he’s enjoying himself immensely, and ensuring that we do, too.
A surprising appearance of ‘Vermilion’ precedes the huge knockout punch of (wait for it): ‘Before I Forget’, ‘Duality’ (complete with epic singalong), ‘Wait and Bleed’ and the aforementioned ‘Spit it Out’ – phew! There’s still time for more, though: the pummelling ‘Custer’ completes the set in ridiculously awesome fashion, after which they say their goodbyes and leave the stage.
Five long minutes later, they’re back, to the strains of ‘742617000027’ and ‘sic’, before launching headlong into a massive ‘People = Shit’, with the resulting seething moshpit prompting Taylor to run to the crowd and treat them to the heaviest serenade Dublin has ever seen, followed by “your new national anthem!” – ‘Surfacing’. Ha!
With the set finally over, the bedraggled and ecstatic crowd made their way back out into a much more subdued Storm Rachel, who was clearly no match for the power and ferocity of Slipknot and co. Here’s hoping that they stick to Taylor’s parting promise to return “sooner than you think” to once again batter the Irish weather into submission.
The Heretic Anthem
The Devil In I
The Negative One
Before I Forget
Wait and Bleed
Spit It Out
People = Shit