Live Review: Korn — The Joint, Las Vegas
Mon, 14 Mar 2011 07:46:17
Korn kill like no other.
This past Saturday night during a sold out show at The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas sponsored by Rogue, the band invaded psyches with a primal urgency a la Nine Inch Nails and an otherworldly elegance reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Korn's performance effectively became a heavy metal rapture of infectiously invasive vocals from Jonathan Davis, Reggie "Fieldy" Arvizu's rumbling, raucous bass, pummeling percussion courtesy of Ray Luzier, and symphonic surreal six-string mastery by James "Munky" Shaffer. Korn are the ultimate orchestra for the damned, and their live show is more akin to a timeless film than another concert.
After a spacey intro of flashing lights and a calculated drum bounce, the band tore right through "Blind". Cacophonous neck-snapping riffs cracked into Davis's dark, classic verses. Instantly, the audience bounced violently in unison as the music itself stirred a tornado of bodies on the packed floor. Fieldy's bass thump could've heralded the apocalypse it was so loud and pronounced as Luzier anchored an airtight rhythmic foundation bordering funk, jazz, metal, and hip hop all at once. Those rhythms could get asses shaking and mosh pits raging, and that's exactly why Korn stand as one of the most incredible live acts in any genre.
"Here To Stay" illuminated Davis's inimitable vocal range as he perfectly carried the hook from Heaven to hell and back again. However, it was on "Pop a Pill," a standout cut from the band's latest offering for Roadrunner Records, Korn III: Remember Who You Are, that Davis's legendary style captivated most. He shifted from schizophrenic verses into a chorus line that matches his catchiest work but with a palpable, deadly darkness. He's up there with Robert Smith of The Cure and Trent Reznor as far as unique delivery and unforgettable spirit go, but he brandishes a razor sharp edge all his own that decapitates as it cradles. There's nobody like him, and the live show solidifies his status as one of the most important frontmen ever.
Then there's Shaffer. Over the course of Korn's career, he's taken the guitar to places that most never would've even imagined possible, and he somehow still pushes the envelope on stage and in the studio. "Freak On A Leash" pulsated with an eerie hum from Shaffer's picking before morphing into a unique, wah-ed out lead. Before the band's mind-blowing mash-up of "Shoots And Ladders" and Metallica's "One," he etched his place in the pantheon of guitar gods with psychedelic jamming that oscillated from heavenly and heartfelt to heavy and hypnotic. You can feel each note that he plays as the pick practically breaks the string's he's playing with so much soul. During "Alone I Break," Shaffer nodded to Pink Floyd's David Gilmour with vibrant swells and echoes while pushing the instrument into new places that only he can. There's a heaviness to Shaffer's axe work that comes from deep inside, and it's the mark of a true artist.
Zac Baird's keyboards painted gorgeous harmonies over "Falling Away From Me," as the keyboardist became something of a sonic wizard in the background transporting everyone into Korn's twisted little world. Guitarist Wes Geer locks in with Shaffer like no other. On "Oildale," he nailed every riff and note in tandem, while infusing his own succinct syncopated style that sharpened the live rendition even more. He's the perfect addition to this lineup.
Everything came to a head on the final medley of "Coming Undone/We Will Rock You/Twisted Transistor/Make Me Bad/Clown/Ya'll Want A Single," spanning Korn's whole career with a new bloodlust.
Fieldy pulled double duty that night, kicking off the show on the guitar with StillWell. Featuring P.O.D. drummer Wuv, "Spider" on bass, and visionary MC Q-Unique, the group walks the line between potent gangsta metal and inspiring spiritual rock. Think the bounce of Clutch with Rage Against the Machine's energy, and you're halfway there. "You Can't Stop Me" was the perfect pit anthem while "On & Poppin'" got everybody to jump up and down. Fieldy's riffing was just as engaging and unforgettable as his bass playing while the band nailed everything. Their debut album Dirtbag is one of this year's "must-have" releases already.
The Joint itself is a modern gem of a concert venue and both bands sounded utterly pristine. The facilities were perfect to let Korn destroy the senses. There's nothing like seeing Korn in Vegas—especially at The Joint. With the best after hours spots in the world like Drai's down the street, it's the perfect trip…literally.
Were you there?
Check out our "Retrospective Rewind" feature on Life Is Peachy here!
Check out our review of Korn III: Remember Who You Are here!
Read our most recent interview with Jonathan Davis about Music As A Weapon V and more here!
Have you seen Korn live recently? What's your favorite Korn album? Is "Life Is Peachy" a classic to you?
Watch the band play "Alone I Break" live in this exclusive video here!