Review: Slipknot, Lamb of God, In Hearts Wake
Reviewers: Brooke Bijl and Marc Stapelberg
Venue: Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Slipknot are undeniably one of the world's greatest metal bands and their live performance in Brisbane at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre only served to solidify that title.
The venue was witness to two large red curtains drawn across the stage, giant Slipknot symbols adorning each.
The anticipation was palpable.
It would be anyone's guess how Slipknot would launch the gig as this would be there first headline show in Australia after releasing The Grey Chapter.
Their Soundwave performance was outstanding with plenty of pyro and pathos in equal measure and a giant devil's head to boot.
Undoubtedly many of the audience here tonight would have witnessed Slipknot at Soundwave.
The curtains drew back and the stage was bathed in a dark hue of blue and black, a giant screen playing footage of burning dolls, and an eerie backing track humming along.
It was a slow burn start and when the band finally walked out to begin their first song 'The Negative One' the crowd exploded head banging madly.
There was another unexpected surprise awaiting the audience.
Clown was nowhere to be seen, and his presence was replaced by a clown mask resting on a prop in the centre of his drums.
They launched into 'Disasterpiece' and 'Eyeless' and the audience roared in approval as the band tore through.
Corey then addressed the audience informing them that Clown had had to rush back to the States for a family emergency.
He would call for the house lights many more times seeking to properly engage with the frantic audience.
Any Slipknot fan knows how dramatic and enormous the Slipknot stage performance is, but tonight was witness to something even more amazing.
And it is conceivable that the audience was hanging for some of those more showy elements.
It was amazing to realise just how noticeable the absence of one of the nine is and what an impact it has on the dynamic of the show with Shawn Crahan and Chris Fein usually bouncing off each other's energy and antics.
It shows just integral each member of the band are.
But Slipknot did something unthinkable and such a big venue.
They lured the audience in, encircled them, drew them in with what is probably one of the deepest back catalogues around and a plethora of hits and amazing songs.
By the time The Heretic Anthem kicked off half way through the set, Slipknot had taken a full stadium gig and whipped it into a sweaty, mad, intimate, and crazy experience resembling the insanity of their early smaller shows.
And that shows that the value in this band, despite the enormity of their shows, is in the music and the musical prowess.
Not once did Corey Taylor have to ask for a circle pit.
The circle pits just formed.
The crowd in the second barrier were ballistic.
By the time Slipknot did their encore, you had guys running around jumping shirtless on seats, screaming the lyrics, jumping the barrier, and for some strange reason the emotional intensity of the concert was so much that people started throwing shoes.
And not because they were trying to be antagonistic but one can only imagine because they were overwhelmed by sheer emotional intensity and wanting to engage.
There were strangers hugging strangers out of pure joy and that is what makes Slipknot a great band. It is pure emotion.
Not to mention the way the audience got on the ground without Corey even having to ask once when encore song 'Spit It Out' hit the bridge. The Devil in I got the best sing-along with Corey actively going to each side of stage to encourage the audience to join in.
It is hard to imagine another band enduring as much personal physical destruction as Slipknot with Corey Taylor sporting a neck brace through the whole show and repeatedly clutching his shoulder in pain.
Sid was looking in fine form dancing around the stage in comparison to the Riverstage gig where had to use of a cane and a knee barce to get around the stage.
Corey, however, was as active as ever and probably would have given his doctors a heart attack had they seen his ferocious head banging.
Jim Roots solo's were on point.
The sound was immaculate with Jay Wienberg's double kicks punching through with perfect clarity, a must for all the triplets, and the guitars crystal clear.
The lighting was phenomenal especially on 'Killpop' where a chorus of purple lights descended on Corey Taylor, and the song itself translating surprisingly well live.
It was great to see this fun song included in the setlist.
The graphics projected on the screen at the back were phenomenal with images of snakes and praying mantis adding to the menace of the vibe, although at times it could be distracting.
With such an enormous back catalogue of songs part of the fun was waiting to see which song the band were going to pull out next.
You could feel the crowd physically vibrate in happiness as the opening riff for 'Left Behind' echoed out across the venue. And when Corey began the opening lines to 'Wait and Bleed' there was not a still head in the house
One of the standout moments was during Skin Ticket when Corey Taylor seemed to be enveloped by the song, emotion grabbing him, and he in turn clutching and ripping at the stage pulpit.
It was unsettling to watch and a reminder of the pain and despair that gave rise to this band.
As always Corey Taylors laugh gets more evil with every show.
Lamb of God took to the stage before Slipknot and opened with' Walk With Me in Hell'.
After their Soundwave show there was little doubt that this band would have total command of the crowd.
The crowd could not have showered more love onto the band, thrilled to be watching a band who has been through some extremely tough situations recently and risen above them.
The entire band were extremely serious, Mark Moreton hardly breaking a smile but giving a nod of approval to fans at the front.
Randy Blythe was super energetic, moving around the stage with a focused intensity and repeatedly launching himself into the air off the fold back monitors
Chris Adler's drums snapped like a rattle snake thundering in time with John Campbell on bass.
Willie Adler was looking even more fit and muscular than at his Soundwave performance and was inspiring to watch as he head banged in time with John Campbell.
The only bad thing about Lamb of God's set was that it was not long enough.
It was great to see '512' make an appearance.
The only other song from the new album played on the night was 'Still Echoes'.
'Redneck' closed the set and was an obvious crowd favourite with the crowd's roar absolutely deafening.
'Blacken the Cursed Sun', 'Ruin' and 'Laid to Rest' were also well received by the crowd.
In many ways the band also won the crowd over with their humility and down to earth manner, but at the same time their 100% commitment to the performance.
In Heart's Wake opened the gig in a halo of yellow stage lights.
The band's first song thundered along, as the band felt out the vibe.
By the second song the smiles started to show, and by the third song the band were in full swing, head banging, and throwing guitars around as they gritted their teeth and played their hearts out.
Frontman Jake Taylor took the large audience in his stride confidently handling the balance between humility and a strong commanding presence.
He clearly was enjoying the privilege of being the support for such a gigantic tour.
His vocals were on point with the heaviness and brutality of the songs ringing across the stadium floor.
By the time the band played hit song 'Breakaway', a circle pit had started to form in the first barrier.
In many ways people may have been curious to see how the band's dual album release would mix with the two other juggernaut's playing on the tour.
And it was great to see that the band's song totally slotted in with the vibe.
They sounded heavier, and more brutal with the melody and electronic sub bass drops mixing very well with the later vibe of Slipknot's performance.
It is always heartening to watch the sea of black pour into a venue in anticipation of one of the biggest metal gigs of the year. And the audience left smiling, sweaty and exclaiming how awesome the gig was.
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney - Sat Oct 29
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne - Mon Oct 31
Tickets at www.livenation.com.au