Live Review: Sunset Strip Music Festival (Korn)
Mon, 14 Sep 2009 22:26:42
At the Sunset Strip Music Festival, the bloodletting began with the first riff of Korn's opening salvo "Right Now."
Guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer's hand slid across the strings of his seven-string weapon like he was slashing a throat. And oh, there was blood.
It was the blood of a legendary 16-year career. It was the blood of men who truly live for rock n' roll. It was the blood of the greatest metal band of its generation. It was the blood of Jonathan Davis, James Shaffer and Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu—Korn.
Korn spearheaded the last true hard rock revolution, and the Sunset Strip served as ground zero for the band during their early days. On Saturday, they attacked the Strip with the same passion and intensity that they did years ago. It happened to be one of Korn's most brilliantly bludgeoning performances ever, and it was an unforgettable experience for every one in attendance.
The band baptized the crowd in fire. "Did My Time" and "Falling Away From Me" seesawed from chilling, creepy harmonies into brutal detuned beatings. Jonathan Davis mesmerized the crowd as he schizophrenically shifted from his trademark tortured howl into overpowering ominous screaming. Davis sounded energized, and each line of classic cut, "Helmet In the Bush," felt equally painful and powerful. The band engaged a never-ending headbang as drummer Ray Luzier added flourishes of double bass and progressive stop-and-start rhythms. He impeccably nailed each groove, while elevating the sound with technical mastery. "Here to Stay" was dark, dangerous and deadly, as Fieldy's bass pummeled and pushed. "Freak On a Leash" ignited a massive sing-a-long that was only matched by a brief detour through "We Will Rock You" during "Coming Undone."
There's nothing like seeing a band perform one of its best shows in front of a hometown crowd. The energy was infectious as kids climbed trees to get a better vantage, and the mosh pit never ceased. "Blind" and "Got the Life" truly illuminated Korn's magic. There was an interplay between Davis and Shaffer that's reminiscent of Page and Plant. Shaffer's playing is unlike anyone else's and he continues to throw his whole soul into each and every movement and riff. Davis has the classic "frontman mystique," and he can get a crowd singing like no one else.
Korn capped off a triumphant set with their take on "Another Brick In the Wall." Davis showed how pain transcends generations during his psychotic emotional interpretation of the vocals, while Shaffer ripped through the solo with fresh and fiery fretwork. Bleeding never looked or sounded so good, and Sunset Blvd. came to life like never before. The festival injected a healthy dose of heavy metal, pop, punk and hip hop into the streets of LA, bringing together an entire community. It was a monumental and historic occasion for music fans and Los Angeles residents.
Plus, Korn just owned it…