October 14, 2015 Korn Make History in NYC 10-5-15 w/ Suicide Silence & Islander
When the initial “Are You Ready” announcement was made in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Korn’s debut album, the excitement from fans all over North America was magnifying. On October 11th, 1994, Korn was unleashed during a time when Grunge and Alternative Rock music was in the mainstream spotlight, and in the mainstream, Metal seemed like a dying art. Formed back in 1993 in Bakersfield, California, Korn helped to redefine and shape the Metal genre, and are now considered to be one of the lead pioneers of the Nu Metal sub-genre.
Twenty-one years later, in 2015, this anniversary tour is remarkably unique, mostly because rather than taking place in arenas, Korn decided to hold the shows within intimate venues. Teaming up with Suicide Silence and Islander, the tour kicked off October 1st in Chicago and on Monday the 5th, came to a sold out Irving Plaza in New York City. Gazing through the audience, one could find a mix generations who idolized these uniquely talented musicians and were ready for this once in a lifetime concert event.
First up were South Carolina’s hard-working band Islander. No stranger to the live scene, they have been touring to spread their name and continue to promote the 2014 debut album, Violence & Destruction, via Victory Records. Touring with artists including 10 Years, Pop Evil, and Nonpoint, they have also appeared on major festivals including Rock on the Range and Welcome to Rockville. Continuing to grow a fanbase since their formation in 2011, this night it was definitely apparent as many arrived early for this set. As a muffled electronic sound slowly filled the venue, Mikey Carvajal (vocals), J.R Bareis (guitar), Joe Rickard (drums), and Ryan Pei (bass) took to the stage.
Opening with animated momentum during “Cold Speak” and “Counteract,” from Violence & Destruction, the band sparked the crowd’s energy from the get-go. As the strobing stage lights settled, Carvajal asked to have the house lights raised in order to see what a Rock -n- Roll show looks like by gazing into the moshing crowd. Continuing with “Lucky Rabbit” from 2013’s EP Pains, a demand for a circle pit was met as “New Wave” spiraled in. Carvajal gave a shout out to Irving Plaza’s security guards as he jokingly said, “Let’s make the security guards busy tonight,” and moved into “Criminals.” The band had a brief moment of silence as Carvajal grabbed the microphone to thank the crowd and went into the latest “Wake Up,” which was released just before the tour and performed special for the Korn fans in the house. As they closed their set with “Coconut Dracula,” Carvajal stood up near the balcony, and exited with a crowd-surfing grand finale. Islander will finally be taking a breather from touring for the holidays, but will be back in January, kicking of the new year a part of Shiprocked 2016 sailing out of Miami, FL.
As the house continued to pack up, it was time for California’s Suicide Silence to conquer the stage. Since their formation in 2002, life has been a non-stop struggle for them, specifically after the tragic loss of vocalist Mitch Lucker in 2012 from an unfortunate motorcycle accident. The future looked bleak for the group as they took time off to grieve, eventually deciding to rise above from the hardship. Knowing that Lucker would want the group to continue, especially how cut-throat the music industry is and the mass amount of work and passion they put in, Chris Garza (rhythm guitar), Mark Heylmun (lead guitar), Alex Lopez (drums), and Dan Kenny (bass) picked up the pieces, went back into the studio, and brought Hernan “Eddie” Hermida on vocals with them. The result was the 2014 release of You Can’t Stop Me via Nuclear Blast Records.
Honored to support Korn, they thundered onto the stage and struck in with “You Only Live Once” and “Inherit the Crown.” Having such energy lifted many concert goers’ Monday blues as they bled into “Wake Up” from 2009’s No Time To Bleed. A moshing Wall of Death emerged when the original tune of “Unanswered” from 2007’s The Cleansing erupted upon the audience. Hermida’s vocals flooded throughout the venue as he enticed the crowd to keep moving throughout “Smoke.” Fans continued to let themselves completely go during “Slaves of Substance” and the ferocious “You Can’t Stop Me.” Hermida thanked the crowd and informed them that Korn gave them more time on their set, special for this evening. As he demanded all to put their middle fingers in the air, “Fuck Everything” from 2011’s The Black Crown ripped in.
Alluding to the audience that “Cease to Exist” was the final tune of the night, Hermida stated, “Seems like you guys can’t get rid of us. Right now I don’t think you guys are warmed up enough for Korn. If we don’t see everyone bouncing, we will leave.” After Hermida’s threat, moshers continued to rejoice as the set closed with “No Pity For A Coward” from The Cleansing.
While many Korn fans have gotten used to seeing them play at large venues and festivals overflowing with 70,000 people, this night, the vibe was quite different. At this point, Irving Plaza appeared to be filled to the absolute max as fans stayed glued to their spots, not wanting to miss this experience. Screaming in rowdy anticipation, many repeatedly shouted out, “We want Korn!” As the lights dimmed, fans roared until the moment Jonathan Davis (vocals), James Shaffer (guitar), Brian Welch (guitar), Reginald Arvizu (bass), and Ray Luzier (drums) walked onto the stage.
The incredible participation from the audience was unstoppable as many screamed out “Are you Ready!” As Korn opened the night with “Blind,” many were seen moshing, singing, and headbanging right from the beginning. Moving along with “Ball Tongue” and “Need To,” fans continued to sing every single lyric while continuing the moshing frenzy. Pulsating into “Clown” and “Divine” amped the room even further while Luzier even threw his sticks into the air. Moving along with “Faget,” Davis’ vocals vibrated across the room as everyone shouted and chanted along. Cell phones flew up as many were excited to take video during the popular “Shoots and Ladders.” Davis continued to drive the fans crazy during the favorable breakdown of this track. Musically performed as though it was from the original recording, they continued to stun the crowd with excellence as they proceeded into “Predictable” and “Fake.”
As the original album was coming to a near close, many shouted out the next cut, “Lies.” Having a last moment to mosh when “Helmet in the Bush” crushed in, fans remained motionless and silent as the painful tune of “Daddy” settled in. Davis performed it as though it cut deep into everyone’s soul where everyone was reminded of hearing the cries of Davis that was recorded on the original album. After this intimate performance, where many were lucky to hear the debut album in its entirety, Davis thanked everyone and departed from the stage.
Fans remained motionless in the still packed house as they knew Korn was not finished yet. Music was lingering in the background, and many impatiently cried out, “Korn!” Shortly after, they returned to the stage and silenced the crowd. Arvizu opened with a brief bass solo as it slowly channeled into “Falling Away From Me” from 1999’s Issues. Hearing this favorable tune resulted in another howling sing along of screams while quite a few crowd surfers climbed towards the ceiling. As fans cried and pleaded for them to play “Got The Life,” Korn had a different agenda as they marched into “Here to Stay” from 2002’s Untouchables. Many broke down along with them as they shouted, “Bring it down!” Moving into “Coming Undone” from 2005’s See You on the Other Side followed by “Did My Time” from 2003’s Take a Look in the Mirror, a surprising instrumental jam ensued. Closing the set, “Freak on a Leash” flew in, and no one could be seen standing still. Davis thanked everyone for being with them for twenty years and promised to be back soon.
As fans walked out singing Korn tunes, amazed from this experience, it brought back old nostalgic feelings of many concert goers’ high school days. It also brought inspiration to the younger crowd, as there was nothing but sweat, tears, and smiles. This intimate tour finishes up on All Hallow’s Eve out in Oakland, CA, so act fast and get out there and be part of history.