A Sunday night at Darien Lake was the place to be, as the Knotfest Roadshow, featuring Slipknot along with supporting acts Gojira and Volbeat made its way into town.
I was able to secure my pass and get inside just in time for Gojira, out of France. I had seen them in the past at different festivals but was looking forward to seeing them with their own full production as well as a more involved set than a festival normally accommodates. I wasn’t disappointed, as they stormed out of the gate with “Toxic Garbage Island”, quickly following with “Backbone” and “Stranded”. Lead singer Joe Duplantier was in fine form belting out hits from their two-decade career, while his brother Mario DuPlantier held down the backbeat on drums. This lineup, original since the late nineties was rounded out by Christian Andreu on lead guitar, and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass. The audience was very involved from the outset as well, singing along throughout as well as passing around what looked like inflatable sharks or whales overhead. I can assume they were probably whales as “Flying Whales” was also included in the set. Closing out their death metal / progressive set with “Silvera” and the “Gift Of Guilt”, Gojira left this near-capacity crowd in a frenzy and ready for more.
Next up, out of Denmark, was Volbeat. Although they are a favorite of mine, I was a little confused with them being on tour with Slipknot as they are a completely different sound than the other bands on the bill. Never fear, as it was quickly demonstrated that Volbeat can more than hold their own with anyone. With their trademark sound of rockabilly metal, with obvious influences of Johnny Cash and Elvis, Volbeat lead by Michael Paulsen on vocals attacked the stage from the start, leading off with “The Devils Bleeding Crown”, “Lola Montez”, and an obvious tribute to Johnny Cash, “Sad Mans Tongue”. As well as their recent single “Last Day Under The Sun”, off of the newest release ‘Rewind, Replay, Rebound’ other past hits like “Doc Holliday”, “Seal The Deal “, and “Dead But Rising” were included in this thoroughly entertaining and high energy set. It was actually strange to look out into the crowd and seeing fans in full Slipknot regalia singing along and having a blast. With Rob Caggiano on guitar, Jon Larsen on drums, and Kaspar Larsen on bass, all interacting together on stage and always seeming to be having the time of their lives, it is not too hard for that energy to be contagious.
A huge curtain sporting a massive Slipknot logo covered the front of the stage, keeping the crowd in suspense as the finishing touches were added to the stage. With déjà vu, much like being at a Godsmack show, “For Those About To Rock” played in the background, as the capacity crowd prepared themselves for the spectacle that is Slipknot. The curtain dropped and I wasn’t overly prepared for all the action that was happening on the stage. A massive collection of ramps and risers occupied the entire stage, while all members proved that even after a lengthy hiatus, several different side projects, and even some personnel changes, the Slipknot machine is as well oiled as they come. Frontman Corey Taylor, sporting a new mask for this tour and a mostly white outfit, took his spot center stage and launched into “People=Sh*t”.
As crowd surfers glided into the pit in a somewhat endless stream, we were treated to some of the biggest hits from years gone by, including “Psychosocial”, “The Devil In I”, and “All Out Life”. Corey held court as frontman while guitarist Mick Thomson ( looking somewhat like a demented Jason Voorhees), exchanged sides throughout the performance, making chilling and somewhat creepy eye contact from behind his mask, with anyone lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. Two drum risers were set up on each side of the stage, filled with constant action as well as the main kit at the back of the stage being manned by Jay Weinberg. Also adding to the spectacle were Shawn “Clown” Crahan, and Craig “133” Jones, on percussion and keyboards/samples respectively, as well as Sid Wilson on turntables and keyboards, Jim Root on guitars, and Alessandro Venturella on bass.
Currently touring in support of the newly released album ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ , included in the set were new tracks “Solway Firth” and the hugely popular first single “Unsainted”, much to the delight of all “maggots” (Slipknot fans ) in attendance. As the night drew to a close with an encore featuring “Spit it Out” and “Surfacing”, Slipknot left no doubt in the minds of many that they are most certainly “Not Our Kind”, proving once again that they are masters of the audio, as well as visual performance also.
Be sure to check out the Knotfest Roadshow if it comes to a venue near you, you do not want to miss this one!