Thursday, May 04, 2006

Good Old Reliable Korn, Always Play 'Blind'


So on Sunday I went to the New Zealand Music Month kick off concert in Wellington. Upon arrival I immediately realised my error in deciding to attend an afternoon all ages concert on the last day of the school holidays; ranks upon ranks of exposed prepubescent pot bellies poking out from under ill fitting tube tops, wide eyed teens giggling at the prospect of being in a real live moshpit with actual pushing and shoving, and their music! It's just noise! [Shakes cane at disrespectful youth]

Actually the music was pretty good. Deja Voodoo were as entertaining as ever, although I am concerned that their constant touring may actually be investing them with a little musical ability, which paradoxically diminishes their appeal. And yes, they did play 'Can't Do What I Wanna Do Open Bracket With You Close Bracket'. The line “You weren't even born in the eighties” probably resonated with most of the audience. (In a couple of years that line won't make sense anymore...)

The Bleeders are still a really good live act, even though I'm not rating their new album. They even got a tame but genuine moshpit going. It was good to see the Wellington ten year old community getting in to the hardish stuff.

Korn Live In Auckland May 1st:

So the next day I got up in Wellington at seven a.m., drove six hours to Hamilton, quickly unloaded all my worldly possessions from my car, drove another hour and a half to Auckland, visited my sister and hooned back down the motorway to Ericsson stadium, only half an hour late for the concert. After such a long day my tired and irritated mood was not improved by getting my camera confiscated at the gate. On top of that despite only being half an hour late I'd already missed two of the opening bands. I'm not too fussed about either Dawn of Azazel or Eight Foot Sativa, but I've never seen the former band live before and damn it I paid to see four bands and I want my moneys worth, even if they're shit.

At any rate I did get to see most of Blindspott's set, but that certainly didn't improve my mood either. I don't think I've ever seen another band come across so well on record but put on such an incredibly terrible live show. But we won't dwell on them, on to Korn.

I saw these guys the last time they were here (over seven years ago) and was really impressed by their performance. I don't like them nearly as much now as I did back then (when I was just a high school student), but the memory of that show (the first big concert I ever went to, incidentally) at the Big Day Out all those years ago was enough to compel me to shell out the cash to see them again.

You know how huge bands like Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones augment their bands with a dozen or so backup musicians, who hang around at the back of the stage playing the triangle or the clarinet? Well Korn is slowly turning into one of those bands, a curious transformation no one could have foreseen seven years ago. As well as their chumby guitarist, standing in for the departed band member Head, they have a second drummer, a backup vocalist (who also acts as a Slipknot style percussionist) and a keyboard player. These guys were all dressed up in animal costumes in the vein of the characters on the cover of Korn's newest album See You On The Other Side, which deflated the potential cheesiness of a metal band having all these backup musicians. They looked pretty cool, in a Flaming Lips meets Slipknot kind of way.

Korn aren't a very good band. You'd think a bunch of guys who've been playing together as professional musicians for over ten years would be pretty tight but these guys still can't even stay in time properly. I can say without exaggeration that they fucked up at least once every other song (the drummer and bass player were the worst offenders). Fortunately it didn't matter, it was still a fucking fun concert. The majority of Korn's songs are just big stompy anthems perfect for a live performance.

Jonathan Davis pretty much commanded the spotlight and all the audiences attention throughout almost the whole concert, he's a very competent frontman and his voice is really good, going from screaming to singing quite comfortably and never going off key or losing power to his screams, (in sharp contrast to the guy from Blindspott). It'd be fair to say that he pretty much makes the band.

The crowd was much younger than I was expecting, considering that these guys were hitting it big when I was in high school, but everyone still knew the songs and even though I was far back from the moshpit there was still a lot of jumping and dancing going on in my vicinity. It was a fairly light, fun atmosphere for a concert featuring an angsty band attended almost entirely by angry people wearing black but that worked for me.

The setlist went a little something like this (as usual I'm having great difficulty remembering the exact order of the songs played, the beginning and end are right but the middle is possibly a bit mixed up):

It's On
An unexpected opener from Follow the Leader, but a good choice as it went down pretty well.
As you'd expect most people went nuts for the old stuff. I was a bit disappointed by the number of kids who didn't know these songs though. No respect for the classics these young people.
Love Song
A new song, I'm not rating their new album at the moment, but I'll save the details of that for another post.
Wank Solo
I believe this is Munkey's tribute to Dimebag song, although that's just a guess. Basically it was just a guitar improvisation with lots of flashy finger tapping and so on backed by a repeating piano riff. It went on for a bit too long, but was otherwise pretty good, I didn't realise Munkey was so technically competent.
Dirty (I think)
I didn't know this song... how embarrassing.
Falling Away From Me
Here To Stay
A pair of brilliant stompy singles that got almost the whole crowd jumping. Probably the highlight of the concert.
Throw Me Away
Somebody, Someone
Counting On Me
The only song they played from Take A Look In The Mirror.

Big Long Medley:
Shoots and Ladders
With extended bagpipe intro. Actually, maybe this was the highlight...
Need To
Playing a bunch of old favourites as a medley is a little lame, but I guess they couldn't fit everything in and it's better than not hearing them at all.

But thankfully they did play all of this one, in a slightly altered version with more buildup.
Coming Undone
Got The Life

Freak On A Leash
Twisted Transistor
This one was a bit bland, everyone was really waiting for good old reliable Korn to pull out good old reliable...
Their most popular song probably isn't that suited to being performed live, the intro is the best part and the rest of the song is quite slow, but hey, seven thousand screaming munters can't be wrong, eh?

After 'Blind' the backup musicians took over playing the outro, which repeated for about five minutes while the band pranced up and down the stage posing and showing off. These guys have obviously developed some pretty huge egos but to be fair it was a good concert. Considering how tired and irritable I was while waiting for them to come onstage, it says something that I left with a big smile on my face.


andrew brown said...

weird that they only played one song from 'take a look in the mirror' seeing as it's the best album since 'follow the leader'

i'm gutted i've never seen korn after all this time, due to the fact that i know korn songs back to front and listened to korn more than any band in my youth...

Jon said...

Yeah I thought that was weird too. There's a lot of catchy stuff on that album that would have worked well live. I guess they must have just played heaps of it on their last tour.

Jungle Rhino said...

I saw Korn in the ChCh town hall (yes that's right the bloody townhall) when they came for their Life is Peachy tour. That concert kicked some arse - then again I must have only been about 13 at the time.

I didn't realise what the smell was until later on in life...

andrew brown said...

I wish I had gone to that one. I remember the day after at school

Jon said...

Yeah that would have been a good concert. It's always best to see these bands before their heads get too big.