Photography By: Dakota King
Words By: Gerrod Harris
As one of summer’s biggest double headlining blockbusters, Korn and Rob Zombie’s appropriately titled Return Of The Dreads tour stopped at Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheater on August 23rd, for a night of sheer, unadulterated, metal mayhem.
Unfortunately, about an hour before they were supposed to kick off the night, it was announced that In This Moment would not be performing. No further explanation was given for their absence. A post on the band’s Facebook page reads “In This Moment regrettably must cancel their performance at Molson Amphitheater in Toronto today due to unforeseen circumstances. The band will be performing on all remaining dates on the Return Of The Dreads tour with Korn & Rob Zombie.”
“If you wanna get up on your chair, get up on your girl, get up on your boyfriend, get up on a stranger, do it! We’re here to PAR-TAY” an Rob Zombie yells out to the crowd before throwing two inflatable aliens, each with an extra tubular balloon between their legs, or as Zombie calls them, “ET with the big dong”, into the mosh pit, leading into a performance of his new track, “Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A U.F.O”. Zombie, taking the stage just after 8, is in the middle of touring to promote both his latest release, The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser, as well as his upcoming horror film, 31, out in select theaters September 1st, which we were shown a trailer of during a short encore break. Watching his performance is like taking part in something greater than a show. Zombie does everything within his control to create an atmosphere of a party while delivering a set of bass heavy metal music you can dance to. The stage, decorated with a ginormous boom box, cartoonish demon heads, and screens which would display footage that was sexual, gory, or both, while the occasional 20 foot tall alien or el diablo himself would dance behind the band. Zombie’s band- consisting of bassist Piggy D and ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5 and drummer Ginger Fish, further added to the demented carnival that was their stage show through their mishmash of costumes-ranging from cloaks to gas masks- and overall menacing look. Zombie himself takes on the role of a deranged cult leader who can do no wrong. All being said, Zombie’s set was not all about visual spectacles as him and his band performed tracks from their recent album, his older classics, White Zombie’s “More Human Than Human” and “Thunder Kiss ‘65”, and oddly enough, Tone Lōc’s “Wild Thing”, each quite excellently. The band delivered straight up, hard hitting rock ‘n’ roll in an aggressive manner, pumping new life into the tracks. The true highlight of his set was when Zombie mounted an enormous skeleton framed podium to belt out “Dragula”, which concluded his set with a big rock ending and a stadium wide “zom-bie” chant. Rob Zombie and co put on an incredibly fun set that only got more exciting with each song., one which definitely stole the show of the night.
Korn took the stage shortly before 10. Promoting their upcoming album, The Serenity Of Suffering– out October 21st– the band surprisingly shied away from new material, only performing the first single from the upcoming release, “Rotting In Vain”. I had hoped the band would also perform “Insane” their most recent single which had a music video debut on the day of the concert. Instead, Korn chose the safer, nostalgia inducing route of playing their classic material and nothing, excluding “Rotting In Vain”, following 2005’s See You On The Otherside. Their set opened with “Ball Tongue” and continued through at a blistering pace and included “Coming Undone” and “Y’all Want A Single”. While short- their set only went on for just over an hour- it got the near sold out audience going, head banging with much intensity and belting out along with vocalist Jonathan Davis to the band’s catchy choruses. The band performed tightly and the reformed dreadlocked guitar duo of Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Shaffer displayed excellent chemistry together, even better than in their prime. Maybe it was just following the bonanza of stimuli that was Rob Zombie’s performance that left me feeling slightly underwhelmed by Korn’s minimalist stage show, however the latter half of their set is where they shined the best. The final portion was kicked off with Davis playing the bagpipes before blasting through “Shoots And Ladders” which led into a brief breakdown to the tune of Metallica’s “One”. Continuing into “Got The Life” and “Falling Away From Me”, the band also added an extended jam and guitar solo on the end bass groove of “Blind”. Korn closed the night without an encore but rather opted to dive right into an explosive “Freak On A Leash”. Korn put on a great performance, which all in all was a part of a much greater night of 90’s alternative metal.