Live Review: Desert Uprising Featuring Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Corey Taylor, Buckcherry, All That Remains, and More
Sat, 29 Sep 2012 12:13:24
"I was trying to think of a really heavy song to come out here and start with," smiled Corey Taylor as he stood center stage with an acoustic guitar at KUPD's Desert Uprising Festival in Phoenix. "This is the one I came up with".
Cheers erupted as Taylor busted out the theme song for Different Strokes. That's the unpredictable magic inherent in the Slipknot and Stone Sour singer's solo sets. You can bank on those surprises too, which makes for such a consistently mind-blowing experience. Without so much as backdrop, he captivated the packed amphitheater slinging infectious acoustic tracks with effusive charisma and pristine delivery.
On the majestic "Travelers Pt. 1" from Stone Sour's forthcoming House of Gold and Bones Part 1 [out October 22, 2012], he opened up the rabbit hole into one of the record's most pensive and poetic moments, prefacing the epic the world's about to experience fittingly. Meanwhile, "Bother" evoked staggering emotions on par with his heaviest and most hard-hitting fare.
Sporting something of a 21st century slicked-back Mohawk and aviator shades, Taylor resembled a Roger Corman badass with a little Transmetropolitan Spider Jerusalem-style thrown in for good measure. Our futuristic musical hero belted out a fiery "Dying" from Audio Secrecy before the U.S. acoustic debut of "Say You'll Haunt Me". Another House of Gold and Bones gem and personal Taylor favorite, "Taciturn" enthralled on the level of "Bother". Slipknot's "Snuff" seamlessly weaved into a vibrant cover of Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky". Everything ended on "Through Glass", an immortal anthem in its own right that gets better every time he plays it.
Taylor brought a show that was as impactful as any of the phenomenal fest's metal moments, and he did it with a grin and a laugh. He's a legend for all time, and his versatility continually reiterates that.
On the other end of the spectrum yet equally powerful and memorable, Rob Zombie killed with kinetic energy as the "Twins of Evil" tour pairing him and Marilyn Manson also kicked off as part of Desert Uprising.
There's no experience on earth like a Rob Zombie show. If you haven't seen him, you haven't lived, and that's a fact. Let that marinate…
It's as immersive and unforgettable as your favorite film—maybe even more explosive. After a King Kong curtain dropped, John 5's eerie guitar on "Jesus Frankenstein" rattled open the gates of Hell as Zombie emerged from a giant robot. His voice roared with the same enigmatic psychedelic grit that made Astro-Creep: 2000 and Hellbilly Deluxe classics, and he stalked the stage like one of The Devil's Rejects unleashed.
Pentagrams flashed on the screens during an incendiary "Superbeast", while "Scum of the Earth" hit like a precision smart bomb guided by John 5's impeccable riffing and Piggy D's deadly bass rumble. Whether he was dodging massive demonic robots or calling for "a motherfucking Zombie party", the frontman exuded the kind of rock 'n' roll swagger only rock gods boast.
"Meet the Creeper", complete with haunting video of the Manson family, worked like a full contact sport as the ringmaster of this circus of the damned ran circles around the monsters on stage--and most frontmen half his age. Celebrating Ginger Fish's birthday, the drummer ripped through a pummeling solo.
It's still an incredible, invigorating feeling to see the man rage through "More Human than Human" with the Astro-Creep: 2000-era robots along for the ride. "Living Dead Girl" and "Pussy Liquor" added a slick element of sex too often gone from modern rock. You need the sex mixed with the violence, young bands, take note. You might sell some records.
"Thunderkiss '65" revved up everyone's engine late into the night. Zombie trumps everyone as far as stage show goes, and the current Twins of Evil is a tour for the ages.
As for the other "twin", Marilyn Manson remained as deadly, dangerous, and defiant as ever. That's the most magnificent thing about seeing him too. He's also full of surprises, and he puts on a show you HAVE to see before you die.
After a curtain dropped to reveal a gothic graveyard-style set, Manson stood with his back to the audience. With a serial killer mask and nun habit, Twiggy Ramirez riffed through the searing opening of "Hey, Cruel World". As Manson screamed the refrain, he gave the crowd a shot of adrenaline that matched his Antichrist Superstar best, but with a refined darkness. It's like evolving from Jason Voorhees into Hannibal Lecter, and his transformation always remains brilliant. "Disposable Teens" and "The Love Song" ravaged with infectious intensity as he sang in front of a line of crosses resembling the spoils of a 300-size victory.
His butcher knife microphone was a nice touch for the new blaster "No Reflection", from this year's incredible Born Villian. Make no mistake about it; he's still the ultimate rock 'n' roll villain. As he strummed a guitar on the masterfully evil "Slo-Mo-Tion", that was chillingly clear. As with Zombie, Manson gave the girls something to move to as well on "The Dope Show" and "mobscene", which writhed in lustful and glorious rock decadence.
Meanwhile, Twiggy channeled George Harrison and Muddy Waters on the warbl-y, wild blues soloing from "Happiness is a Warm Gun". Ripping a B.C. Rich, he's Manson's creative partner-in-crime and the perfect foil. Together, they're a sinister songwriting tour de force and the fan favorites as well as Born Villain burn that status into minds and hearts.
"Sweet Dreams" and "Tourniquet" etched into psyches with the sharpest of claws, while "Antichrist Superstar" spit insourmountable vitriol as Manson occupied an apocalyptic moving podium. He took everyone back to the depraved and pillaged Hollywood hills on "The Beautiful People", which gave one final blood-soaked battle cry. Marilyn Manson's the bad guy the world desperately needs even today.
Earlier in the day, All That Remains delivered an inimitable balance of technical thrash fireworks courtesy of guitarists Oli Herbert and Mike Martin and arena-size hooks from vocalist Phil Labonte. They practically razed the stage to the ground under the hot desert sun. One of the 21st century's premier metal outfits, All That Remains delicately destroy with the perfect amount of catchy groove and death metal ability. It made for one of the day's best shows and only continued to heighten excitement for their forthcoming A War You Cannot Win.
Buckcherry dispensed a street rock bitchslap that was as a sexy as it was scorching. A stand out on even a stacked bill like this one, the Los Angeles quintet snaked through one hit after another, spitting punk vitriol through razor sharp hooks. Josh Todd was the consummate frontman, effortlessly crooning out sprawling gems such as "Sorry" and "All Night Long". Keith Nelson powered through each song with hulking six-string prowess that demanded attention. "Lit Up" and "Crazy Bitch" had asses shaking and hands raised to the sky as Buckcherry represented everything rock 'n' roll needs to be to stay alive.
On that tip, kicking off the festivities, Otherwise rallied up their own bad boy bravado. The group doled out one towering groove after another on the likes of "Die For You", "Soldiers", and "I Don't Apologize", effortlessly fusing Incubus-style melody and real rock bravado a la Guns N' Roses. Big things are in store for the Vegas rockers.
Ultimately, Phoenix got hotter in all the right ways because of Desert Uprising. This was the perfect festival, and we hope to be there again next year.
Were you there?