OK, so on Monday night, Steven and I went to Claremont Showgrounds with the black t-shirt brigade to go watch Korn and Fear Factory (Static X were also there) . I wasn’t expecting much, but I’d never been to a metal concert before and was curious to know what these events are like. Having in mind the Pantera riot of ’95, when the riot police were called in, and a Fear Factory concert a moshy-type friend went to, we went in the gate.
First thing we noticed was the heavy security. Everything was secured. To go anywhere you had to go through a monitored gate. There were armbands too – pink for unlicensed, green for licensed. However, we generally found the security staff friendly, even if Steven’s hand nearly turned blue due to his pink band being more like a tourniquet. The setting was the building used at the BDO as the Boiler Room – the room was fenced off in the middle, the back half being the licensed section.
We were treated to Audioslave’s eponymous album on the sound system and then Fear Factory came on. I’ve never seen a sea of people doing the sign of satan before (the index and little finger salute thingy) – it is so cliched at such events nowadays. They launched into ‘Edgecrusher’ first up – one of their better-known heavier ones off ‘Obsolete’. Watching the band I was quite disappointed to see that the “double kick” I was hearing was actually an electronic effect obtained by holding down the pedal on a bass drum. The crowd were very energetic and active and most seemed to know almost every song they played. After 9 songs that were basically electronic double-kick, screaming and unimaginative tuned-down guitars, they finished up with their new single (for which they filmed a video in Fremantle on Sunday) and a song called Replica. A number of websites join me in noting there were no songs from the ‘Digimortal’ album or anything vaguely melodic (although FF are more than capable – cf. ‘Resurrection’, ‘Descent’, ‘Timelessness’ or even the choruses on ‘Digimortal’). Clearly this was aimed at the heavy crowd. There is a new FF album in the air – many will know the band basically broke up in 2002 but they’re back, with one changed member (the bass player is now the guitarist, and there’s a new bass player).
We went outside as it had gotten very hot inside, and listened to Static X from outside while I shared ‘s idea of a death metal parody band with Steven. I admit that Static X bored me, but then I’m the guy who managed to shock a 16yo by falling asleep while listening to a White Zombie album turned up loud on his walkman, so I can always pull surprises.
While waiting for Korn, we heard almost the entire of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Rated R” album on the sound system. As I’d chosen to wear my QOTSA t-shirt to the gig, I was getting plenty of thumbs-up from surrounding fans.
Korn arrived on stage to kick off with “Right Now”, then “Break Some Off”, probably their two heaviest songs and both off their new album. It was clear from pretty early on that they were superior to the previous bands both technically and musically – I had been expecting something of a freak show after seeing the BDO 99 videos, but we got a rock band in good shape, Jonathon Davis in a good mood, and an awesome light show. They were up for 2 hours and it was pretty much a retrospective on their whole career – a highlight was when they unexpectedly kicked into a cover of Metallica’s “One” at the end of another song. The first hour, the crowd was very active, bouncing around and moving… I think I lost at least a kilo in sweat 😛 Second hour though was much quieter as everyone was basically tired out. Korn well and truly made it a great night out, even though my upper back and knees weren’t thanking me the next day. 😛 Among the songs they played was ‘Faget’ (not misspelled) off their first album – a very interesting choice given the full-on testosterone metal crowd they’d mostly managed to attract – and yet it went down well. I’ve often wondered if this song was actually the counterpoint to Pearl Jam’s ‘Jeremy’.
We drove home playing Korn at loud volume to the enjoyment of a number of passing motorists (most of whom were on the way home from the same event) and the chagrin of some old couple who tried to blind Steven’s driver side mirror with their headlights after we passed them.
P.S. After hearing Muse at Big Day Out, I have to say I’ve really gotten into them – particularly Stockholm Syndrome and Butterflies & Hurricanes. Anyone who wants the BDO setlist, which I’ve made into a 51-minute mini album for use in my CD walkman, let me know.