Live Review: Korn — Rock on the Range, Columbus
Sat, 18 May 2013 08:37:53
Sometimes, a sound can move the earth. It can bring people to their feet. It can make them scream. It can cause cathartic euphoria of the highest degree. That's the only way to describe Korn's triumphant headline set at Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio last night (May 17).
As soon as the capacity crowd heard the unmistakable opening of "Blind", it began to move. While Ray Luzier fueled those first bars ever so slightly, each other instrument stepped into the spotlight right on time as if life depended on its punctuality.Reggie "Fieldy Arvizu's bass rattled the stadium as James "Munky" Shaffer and Brian "Head" Welch volleyed the seven-string chords back and forth. Once Jonathan Davis screamed, "Are you ready?" the entire field turned into a tidal wave of bodies for the next hour-plus. "Blind" sounded more seismic than it did even during the band's famous Woodstock '99 set, and it may have been more impactful. Korn hit the stage as five men on a mission. So what's Korn's mission in 2013? It's the same as it is ever was—revolution. That's what Rock on the Range witnessed firsthand.
Renewed, recharged, and reinvigorated with Welch's focused and fiery playing, their synchronicity proved airtight. "Ball Tongue" blasted like a "Shotgun" as Shaffer and Welch perfectly tore through the aggressive polyrhythmic stomp. Bolstered by Luzier's mind-blowing drumming and Arvizu's fascinating funked-out bass, everything converged into one fine-tuned sensory assault. Davis's roar punctuated "Twist" and "Chi" from Life is Peachy with a vicious vulnerability that most poets spend lifetimes trying to convey. "Falling Away From Me" slipped from eerie guitar squeals into a chant that resounded all the way back to Bakersfield. Follow the Leader's "Dead Bodies Everywhere" remains emblematic of the group's groundbreaking genius.
Welch and Shaffer's dual guitar work stands out as innovative, inventive, and irresistible here. That song is reason enough that they deserved to be remembered as one of greatest axe duos to ever hit the stage—especially during that strange creepy instrumental bridge that sounds ripped from a John Carpenter film. Luzier and Arvizu make an equally entrancing and impactful rhythm section, and everybody locked in unbelievably tight.
Some guys give a lot on the mic. Davis gives everything. Whether it was the emotive croon on "Did My Time" or the rough, raw, and ravenous bark on "Lies" and "Here to Stay", he summons an infectious strength through expelling darkness. He pushes himself to limits very few vocalists could dream of, and then he goes beyond as evinced by the dynamic jump from "Get Up" to "Got the Life".
There's a reason why Korn are here to stay, and it's that they're one of the best live acts in history. Rock on the Range upheld that status tenfold.
The singer's only words meant the world to all in attendance. "We just finished a fucking insane record," he announced. "We just celebrated our motherfucking 20th anniversary!" He also added, "our boy is back" in reference to Welch. All of those elements make for ingredients to Korn's biggest revolution yet.
View our Photo Gallery courtesy of Corey Soria!
Are you ready?
Photos by Corey Soria
Were you there? What's your favorite Korn song?