Review and Photos by Micah Gummel
Rock music in the 90′s could be best known for combining many “non-rock” elements together, many times crossing genres. Then again, artists like Beck, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Radiohead were so outside of traditional rock to be truly alternative. Where bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam took elements of heavy metal and created grunge, bands like Korn and White Zombie took heavy metal in a different direction. Korn took the guitar solos out and centered the music instead on guitar riffs played on down tuned 7-string guitars and killer base riffs. Thus “Nu Metal” was created. Bands like White Zombie, and later Rob Zombie, took elements of hardcore punk, industrial metal, noise rock, and heavy metal and essentially became an alternative metal band.
Korn & Rob Zombie have a touring history, dating back to 1999 as part of their co-headlining “Rock Is Dead” tour. Seventeen years later (man I am old!), both artists are in their 4th tour together. Billed as “The Return Of The Living Dreads” tour along with In This Moment to open the show. Recently, I attended the Massachusetts stop of the last leg on this tour.
First up, bathed in vibrant colored lighting with thick theatrical smoke was In This Moment. The band members made their way onto the stage and launched into two tracks from their upcoming album. Opening with the heavy hitting ‘Sick Like Me‘, followed by the title track ‘Black Widow‘, Maria Brink, guitarists Randy Weitzel and Chris Howorth, drummer Tom Hane, and bassist Travis Johnson were met with a roar of approval from the audience before continuing into ‘Adrenalize‘ off of the Blood album.
As always there were several wardrobe changes for Maria Brink throughout the evening, as well as changes to the stage set between each song. I have always been impressed with this band and their efforts to change things up. They are truly a must see if you have not seen them.
There was something noticeably different about this evening’s show from the last time I saw In This Moment. In January 2014, during the Hell Pop II/Blood tour, the band members moved around more and would frequently walk up to the front of the stage and interact with the audience. For the Black Widow set, each band member had their particular place on the stage and, with few exceptions, remained in the same spot during most of the show. Maria Brink captivated the stage, and along with 2 burlesque-like dancers, brought the bands melodic gothic metal vibe to life. The songs included, “Sick Like Me”, “Sex Metal Barbie”, & “Whore” – where Brink wears a dunce-like hat displaying the word, “Whore.” A great start for what was about to be an amazing night of performances.
Next was Rob Zombie: The backdrop for the show included large video banners with clips of monsters from classic horror movies: The Wolfman, Werewolf of London, Frankenstein, The Phantom of The Opera, and King Kong. Three Nosferatu goulash microphone stands were placed on the stage. The playlist included “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy”, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine”, “Living Dead Girl”, “Pussy Liquor” and “Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)”. He and his band showed they could still rock and focused on the music.
Guitarist John 5 has been a musician as long as Rob Zombie. He is best known as the guitarist for Marilyn Manson and David Lee Roth, along with several successful guitar albums. He had a great solo playing The Star Spangled Banner using his mouth on his guitar in true to form Hendrix style. Bassist Piggy D is very successful as well and has co-wrote songs for Alice Cooper and John 5. Ginger Fish is best known as a drummer for Marilyn Manson. His career spans twenty years and is also a performing club DJ.
During the show Rob Zombie implored the crowd to put down their cell phones for one song. He asked them to rock out without being engaged with a device. The crowd complied and it was refreshing for the fans to be attentively listening and enjoying the music. Rob commented that in Japan, the shows there do not have a single smart phone. (The use of smart phones in Japan are banned by the venues as no photos or videos are allowed.)
Korn was the headlining band tonight, and they made sure to show why they were the closing band. Their 60+ minute in your face show, filled with melodic to death metal vocal stylings of Jonathan Davis, took over the stage. The heavy metal juggernauts tore through their extensive catalog with fan-favorite classics including “Right Now”, “Here To Stay”, and “Blind.” In addition, the band played the new song “Rotting In Vain,” showing the 20+ year metal vets still have as much to say in 2016 as they did in their 1994 debut.
Bassist Fieldy stormed the stage with his ultra-low end notes. Guitarists Head & Munky brought the sheer heaviness from their 7-string guitars. Drummer Ray Luzier annihilated the drum kit, making the band sound heavier than ever. Touring keyboardist Zac Baird keeps the vibe at it most intense, filling with notes that compliment their trademark sound. The band closes the night out with fan favorite, “Freak On A Leash.” Korn will release their 12th album, “The Serenity Of Suffering” on October 21st, 2016. All in all this is one great hard hitting in your face bill. You should make an effort to catch this one. You will not be disappointed.