Live Review: Slipknot - Cricket Pavilion - Chula Vista, CA
Thu, 17 Jul 2008 05:38:12
"It's been a long day, but you haven't heard from me yet," exclaimed Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor, the self-proclaimed "Great Big Mouth." With a menacing grin shining through his burnt-flesh mask, he barked, "Are you ready for some more fucking fun with us?" Taylor is Hell's ringmaster and the mouthpiece for all things Slipknot. Even though San Diego was technically experiencing the first annual "Rockstar Mayhem Tour," it should've been called "Slipknot-fest." After more than two years away, metal's nine-headed hydra has returned, and thank Satan, they're angrier than ever.
Slipknot's descent on San Diego was something like Colonel Kilgore's helicopter air raid in Apocalypse Now: brutal, fast and unrelenting. Taylor rode in as not one of four, but nine horsemen of the apocalypse. As drummer extraordinaire Joey Jordison hit the stage wearing a crown of thorns, one thing was very apparent—this was the crucifixion of false metal. After a long day of one heavy band after another, Slipknot ignited a fiery set, kicking things off with the vitriolic "Surfacing." Paul Gray ripped through the song's speedy bass line, thrashing about with precision and nailing every groove. The song's breakdown cut like a knife, and the mosh pit erupted. The double-salvo attack of "Blister Exists" and "Get This" hit like an atom bomb. During "Before I Forget," a psychedelic melody line saw guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson volleying creepy note bends back and forth. That sinister axe synergy continued at high volume on the new single "Psychosocial," from the band's forthcoming offering All Hope Is Gone (Due out August 26th on Roadrunner Records).
Strangely, Slipknot sounded most dangerous during the slower fare. The rarely played "Prosthetics" built with a stoned, woozy beat, and Taylor took a serial killer's stance, bringing us all back to Iowa with him. As he screamed, "Fucking you will be mine," a chill and shudder ran up the audience's collective spine. Full metal carpet bombing commenced with "Heretic Anthem" and "People=Shit," before "(Sic)" shot the elevator down to Hell with Jordison engaging in an upside down drum solo.
The rest of the day saw "mayhem" take many forms. Right before Slipknot, Disturbed brought the big choruses on huge radio anthems like "Indestructible," "Inside the Fire," and "Stupefy." David Draiman channeled a classic rock bravado, commanding the crowd as he stalked the stage. They capped off the set with a phenomenal, cathartic rendition of "Down With the Sickness," complete with Draiman on the ground headbanging for dear life. Keeping up with Disturbed's arena bombast, Dragonforce played a fast, fun and furious set. ZP Theart's vocals tickled heights that'd shock Steve Perry, as Herman Li and Sam Totman blasted through speed-freak guitar leads. Jaws dropped during "Through the Fire and the Flames," the hardest song in Guitar Hero. Mastodon signaled the genre's evolution more than any of their peers. They were the thinking man's mayhem, blending bludgeoning polyrhythms with conceptual lyrics. The stage became Hesher heaven on "The Wolf Is Loose" and "Iron Tusk." Seasick riffs morphed into primal screams, as the band's patented prog-metal turned a lot of heads. Singer Troy Sanders even smiled quite a bit. That's probably what's most progressive; Mastodon had fun. The day's second stage also hosted some notable performances. Long-running Bay Area quartet Machine Head elicited big cheers with a thrash-e-riffic cover of Iron Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Meanwhile, Airbourne played some beer-swilling hard rock worth getting there at 2pm for.
Regardless of how many different forms of metal Mayhem had to offer, there was one common thread: good old-fashioned anger. Slipknot's nihilistic mantra summed it all up. Towards the end of the set, Taylor stared at the crowd and screamed, "We're here to remind you, people equal shit." Regardless of how much the outside world might suck, there's still Slipknot. It's quite comforting in a sick and twisted way.