September 8, 2016 Korn & Rob Zombie Collide At PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, NJ 8-30-16 w/ In This Moment
At a time when Rock/Metal music was struggling to find an identity in the mid-nineties, bands including Korn and Rob Zombie emerged to help redefine the scene. A pivotal time when the Grunge Rock movement was beginning to subside following the passing of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in 1994, Rob Zombie resurrected the scene by bringing his cinematic-Horror visions to life. Meanwhile, by 1994, Korn became one of the pioneers of the latest sub-genre of Metal, dubbed Nu-Metal. Now, over twenty years later, these two acts joined forces for a historic 2016 bill entitled the Return of the Dreads Tour.
An exciting time in the heat of the summer, Rob Zombie is gearing up for release of his latest film, 31, and touring in support of his April 2016 album, The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. On the other hand, Korn recently completed their twenty year anniversary run in honor of their 1994 self-titled album, and now they gear up for the release of their twelfth studio album, entitled The Serenity of Suffering, on October 21st. With so much history between the two bands, this was a tour not to be missed as it kicked off toward the end of July, running all through August and concluded just before Labor Day on September 3rd.
If that was not enough, sweetening the pot, the theatrical and visually stunning In This Moment joined in as an opening act. Approaching the final leg, fans from New Jersey and New York united for the only New York City local show when Return of the Dreads rolled into PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey on Tuesday, August 30th.
Dramatically kicking the night off was hard-working band In This Moment. Based out of Los Angeles, CA, this morbid, yet glamorous act has fought their way to the top over the past decade. Sustaining quite a few ups and downs, including lineup changes where at one point they almost quit altogether, instead, co-founders Maria Brink (vocals) and Chris Howorth (guitar) persevered with 2012’s Blood. Giving new life to the band, they followed up with 2014’s Black Widow via Atlantic Records. The road was never easy, but In This Moment – including Travis Johnson (bass), Randy Weitzel (guitar), along with a few backup dancers to carry out their innovative legacy – were ready to wow this crowd.
Launching their abbreviated set with “Sick Like Me,” Brink walked onto the platform with her dancers along with a costume that filled the stage with dominating claws, mysterious sadness, and a fog machine to amplify the mood. A trademark of their live shows, costumes continued to change as they went into songs such as “Black Widow” and “Adrenalize.” In addition, dancing included props, chains, chairs, and a Gothic, morbid version of Mickey Mouse Ears where Brink moved around with her dancers, keeping the audience endlessly mesmerized. The antics continued with Brink’s costume changes where no one knew what she would bring out next as they rocked into “Burn” and “Sex Metal Barbie.”
When the performance came on to an unfortunate conclusion, Brink walked onto the platform with her notorious “Whore” megaphone, sat down on a chair, and engaged with the fans, then cleared her throat in full preparation for their finale. Introducing the song, she stated, “Rising above from people’s perceptions and rising above from what people should be. This song is about taking something for granted and turning it into something powerful. As in turning hate into love.” Of course this led into the empowering “Whore,” where the crowd sang-along loudly. Before the official ending, Brink wanted to bring the New Jersey fans together as she screamed out, “We want blood!” to which the crowd yelled as Brink begged all to scream louder, and the set concluded with hit single “Blood.”
In This Moment give their fans everything they could ask for in a performance, from the music, to the theatrics, and to the message of self-worth. Between now and early 2017, In This Moment will be touring across the globe including Japan and Europe. However, there has been a rumor they will be unleashing a new album come sometime in 2017.
Following a break, and a complete set change, it was time for Rob Zombie to dominate the stage, bringing his love for Horror cinema to life. Known for his visuals, antics, and unique music, Zombie’s tightest band to date – John 5 (guitar), Piggy D. (bass), and Ginger Fish (drums) – were there to fulfill the nightmarish imagery. No stranger to the scene, Rob Zombie emerged in the late eighties with his then band White Zombie. Bidding farewell to White Zombie come 1998 and embarking on a solo career, Zombie became a superstar. He is not only a musician though, he is an actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and an invincible artist. On this evening, he came to PNC Bank Arts Center as if his movies and music collided together, ready to bring on a visually stunning set.
Kicking it into high gear with the introduction of “The Last of the Demons Defeated” from The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser, it quickly morphed into “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown” from 2013’s Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor. After hitting the crowd with newer material, Zombie moved into the classic “Superbeast” as a variety of Horror films flashed in the background with inflatable creatures floating across the stage. Meanwhile, Zombie, John 5, and Piggy D. kept the crowd going with their movements across the stage through songs such as “In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High” while a sign reading “Get High” flashed in the background. Always unpredictable, no one was sure where he would move next, and all were surprised with a cover of Tone-Loc’s “Wild Thing.”
Wanting to get close to the crowd, he demanded all of New Jersey to yell out “Party” as they moved into another hit, “Living Dead Girl.” Going in quite a few directions already, Zombie mentioned that he takes alien abduction seriously, as he held out two large blown up glowing green aliens to the audience and wanted them to crowd surf to the lawn area. Then, jokingly, he said, “I know what you are thinking, ‘I paid all of this money to see flying aliens floating around,'” before moving into “Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a U.F.O.” Keeping with that theme, an alien figure walked across the platform as the band moved into the iconic White Zombie tune “More Human Than Human” where Zombie himself jumped into the audience.
More hits progressed as “Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)” came on next before Zombie poked fun at how the audience loved their cell phones more than, “their dog, wife, mom, and cat.” Quite truthfully, seeing how obsessed people are with their cell phones, he had the audience raise their lighters, and yes, cell phones, during “The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore” and “House of 1000 Corpses.” Momentarily breaking up the cell phone distraction, John 5 went into a guitar solo that dazzled. Continuing to converse with fans, Zombie opened up, stating his own musical icons growing up included Alice Cooper as well as KISS, and it was during a time when he did not play Pokemon on his phone. With that rightful jab of popular culture insanity, he demanded everyone in the house to put their cell phones away for at least three minutes for the next performance as it was, “not worth filming or taking a photo.” He looked into the audience and assured his viewpoint as he stated, “Rock is dead thank you, goodnight,” before leaving the stage. Obeying Zombie, and putting their cell phones away, the band returned to blast into “Thunder Kiss ’65,” where everyone raised both of their hands in the air, to which Zombie enthusiastically shouted, “Now this is a Rock show!”
No shortage of surprises, John 5 took the energy to the next level as he played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but with his teeth. Rock-n-Roll through and through, they moved into the Grand Funk Railroad cover of “We’re An American Band” as Zombie himself donned patriotic attire as video in the background flashed with red, white, and blue imagery. As the band left the stage, a trailer for Zombie’s latest film, 31, hit the screen, segueing into the true closing track, “Dragula.” Ending the performance, Zombie himself looked like he did not want to leave the stage, because he was having a bit too much fun, but who could blame him. Those who missed this tour, Rob Zombie has a few shows left in North America before the end of the year that include Riot Fest on September 18th in Chicago, IL.
As the stage changed over to bright lights, with a display glowing into the crowd reading “10.21.2016,” the time was inching closer for Korn’s arrival. Historically, Korn has become highly influential on the Metal community through the years. Despite how many years have gone by, they still perform as though nothing has changed with Vocalist Jonathan Davis, Guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer, Guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, Bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, and Drummer Ray Luzier dominating in full force. Pleasing audiences around the world with the aforementioned 20th anniversary tour of Korn, it was time for the band to let loose and reveal a mysterious set list. Now signed on with Roadrunner Records, the anticipation is soaring for their new album, The Serenity of Suffering, set for release on, you guessed it, October 21, 2016. Promising to be one of their heaviest records in years, they were about to prove so to the New Jersey faithful.
As the 10.21.16 dissolved into the iconic Korn logo, Luzier walked onto the stage, pumping up the crowd’s excitement. Moments later, the rest of the band joined as the set kicked off with “Right Now,” from 2003’s Take a Look in the Mirror. Controlling the stage, Davis ran across it, singing the songs as though they were from the original recording, including “Here to Stay” and their latest single, “Rotting in Vain.” Known to keep the music flowing track after track, they did just that with 1992’s “Somebody Someone” and 2005’s “Coming Undone.”
Interacting with the audience more, Davis had the entire venue scream out “Fuck That,” during “Y’All Want A Single” before continuing to weave around all their tunes including “Make Me Bad” and new cut “Insane.” Cooling things down a bit, to practically a near silence, no one knew what was going to happen next. However, Davis surprised all once he took out the famous bagpipes, going into “Shoots and Ladders.” With everyone singing along, they threw the audience a curve once more, going into a snippet of Metallica’s “One.”
Thoroughly enjoying themselves, the audience was then thrust deeper into the past as Korn moved into their epic tune that started it all, “Blind.” Then, an unexpected turn of events occurred when Davis asked if the audience wanted to hear something old school, to which they went into 1996’s “Twist.” As the night was coming to an end, Korn honored fans’ request, gifting them a performance of 1998’s “Got The Life” before erupting with classics “Falling Away From Me” and “Freak On A Leash” to wrap up the show.
The Return of the Dreads Tour was well-worth seeing; stimulating to the eyes and ears. That said, it was quite special to see In This Moment, Rob Zombie, and Korn sharing the same stage on the same night. With Korn’s The Serenity of Suffering approximately a month away, they continue to tour, this time teaming up with Breaking Benjamin, Motionless in White, and Silver Snakes on the Nocturnal Underground Tour.