The 14th of January marked what could quite possibly be gig of the year for the people of Dublin, as Nu-metal monoliths Slipknot make their first Irish appearance in ten years in the 3Arena.
First to grace the stage with their presence from Flint are Flint based metal band from Flint, King 810... from Flint. Did I mention they're from Flint? No? Don't worry, I'm sure they'll tell you they're from Flint. Flint. Opening with “Kill Em All” after a news report is played on the speakers about how oh so very violent a place Flint is, the band are met with an applause from the audience. To the bands credit, Kill ‘Em All is the sort of song that is very easy to headbang and mosh to and seems to get a few people in the audience fired up, but things start to go downhill from here. After Kill Em All, the band apparently played five more songs, though this is something that’s hard to notice when you’re so mind-numbingly bored.
David Gunn stomps, squats and does his hardman walk (Because he’s so hard… Because he’s from Flint.) about the stage like he owns it, and while it’s safe to say that he’s a very energetic frontman, it’s just a shame about his vocals. Gunn’s grunts, growls and poor attempts at being Batman are incredibly monotonous and his lyrics are ridiculous, but on top of that after a while you begin to feel like you’re just listening to one, long, boring breakdown. Whilst there may be the odd moment where you feel like you could like some aspects of their music, it doesn’t bode well for a band with a reputation of having riots start at their gigs, when you’re stood in a room full of thousands of metal fans and you’re thinking “Here lads, your backdrop could do with a bit of a wash”.
After the soundcheck band had finished, it was time for Korn to hit the stage. They opened with “Twist” which, within seconds of Jonathan Davis making the first noise, sends half of the arena into a frenzy. They continue into “Here To Stay” and “Right Now” which which continue to fire up the crowd, by this point you can already tell that Davis has the crowd in the palm of his hands and it’s fair to say that a hell of a lot of the people here tonight are big Korn fans as well as the headlining band. The band play “Love & Meth” from their 2013 release, ‘The Paradigm Shift’ before powering through “Falling Away From Me”, “Good God” and “Hater”. The entire band look like they’re genuinely enjoying being on stage and drummer Ray Luzier is particularly mesmerising in his playing and his black make-up around his eyes and mouth makes him look terrifying, but in a good way.
The lights go out and Jonathan Davis appears on stage with a cheesy grin on his face, bagpipes in place and begins to play the intro to "Shoots and Ladders", which is easily one of the highlights of the nights. Nursery rhymes have never sounded so good, and they sound a hell of a lot better with thousands of people singing them at once too. Just as the song is about to end, a familiar riff echoes throughout the arena as the band play a snippet of Metallica’s classic “One” (and they do it better). Korn continue their set with more fan favourites, “Got The Life”, “Freak On A Leash” which turns the room into one giant mosh pit at the “GO!”, before closing with “Blind” which only leaves the crowd in a sweaty mess, and Slipknot haven’t even played it. It’s safe to say after Korn’s performance tonight that this should have easily have been a co-headline tour. A lot of people expected Korn to be good, yet they still surprised a lot of people by just how tight their performance really was. It’s a shame Korn didn’t get more time on stage considering the back catalogue they have, but it’s brilliant to see that they can still work a crowd the way they do over 20 years on.
The set up time between Korn and Slipknot feels like forever. The curtain drops after XIX plays through the PA and Slipknot open with “Sarcastrophe” as the entire crowd pushes forward, crushing those lucky/unlucky souls at the front. The band continue to unleash their fury with “The Heretic Anthem” and “My Plague” from what is easily the bands most angry album to date, ‘Iowa’. You can really feel the crowd and the band feeding off of each others energy when frontman Corey Taylor screams “If you’re 555 then I’m…” only to be met with a deafening “666” from the diehard crowd. The band then continue to play the lead single, “The Devil In I” from their latest album ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ which sounds absolutely huge live. They power through “Psychosocial” and “The Negative One” before treating the people of Dublin to what is now somewhat of a rarity for the band with a performance of “Three Nil”.
Throughout the set, DJ Sid Wilson can be seen running around the stage holding an Irish flag as well as Clown looking as disturbing as even and Chris Fehn playing half the show with his mask on backwards, which looks delightfully disturbing. The new drummer is definitely able to hold his own live and is way more than an adequate replacement for Joey Jordison, the new bassist also looks comfortable on stage, though it seems like he’s been told to stay inside a box between Corey and the drum kit, which is kind of irritating as you begin to stop noticing him.
Corey then sings “I push my fingers into my…” again to be met with a huge response from the crowd. “Spit It Out” is the next song of the night and before anyone’s even told to get on the ground for “The zero-bullshit test”, the crowd know what’s coming (at least for the most part, some have a “What the fuck?” look on their faces), and they’re eager to be a part of it. Corey Taylor begins to sing again and when he shouts “Jump the fuck up” the room descends into chaos. They close the main set with “Custer” which is arguably the most aggressive song on the new album, before coming back on stage with a face-melting encore of “(sic)”, “People = Shit” and “Surfacing” which feels like the perfect way to end such a brilliant performance and allows the audience to absolutely lose their shit for just that little bit longer. It’s been 10 years, but it was worth the wait.