December 12, 2014 Korn triumph in return to The Paramount Huntington, NY 12-8-14
Bakersfield, California’s veteran Alternative Metal band Korn have seemingly found a comfortable home in the village of Huntington, NY on Long Island over the past few years. Fresh off a 26-date run supporting Slipknot, Korn returned to the Paramount for the third time in three years on Monday December 8th. Having the evening to their selves for a special, slightly more intimate headliner set, joining them was King810. King810 were also part of the Korn-Slipknot package, and now stepped up to the direct support slot. With no local opening acts, doors opened late at 7 pm, and the fans were lined up around the block already assuring a revved up night of Metal that would overtake The Paramount.
Taking the stage promptly at 8 PM, was King810 hailing from Flint, MI (of which the ‘810’ in their moniker represents Flint’s area code). Coming out like a wolf in sheep’s skin ready to pounce on their prey, opening track “Killem All” starts with guitarist Andrew Beal muting chords and ringing out discordant ones while vocalist David Gunn growls out what almost seems like beat poetry in the verse. Moments later, the band finally broke into the heavy groove of the chorus. Drummer Andrew Workman hits his kit and cymbals harder than any man most spectators have ever seen. His movements carried a flair for the dramatic, with each hit to the skins or swipe of the cymbal telegraphed and deliberate. Bassist Eugene Gill held it down and fills out the low end, complimenting the staccato starts and stops of the jagged riffs. By their second song, the band’s energy picked up, and the audience’s full attention was grasped in the choke-hold of Gunn.
Three songs later heads were nodding proving these guys were tougher than the New York crowd. A white drape laid out haphazardly over the band’s backline reading “God Help Save Flint” and “Welcome To Murdertown”, scrawled in black spray paint. Gunn, dressed in a windbreaker, a pair of brown Carhartts, and work boots, carried the microphone all over the stage, as he works out his demons and channels the trials of surviving in the Michigan suburbs that has seen better times. Before the final song, Gunn removes his jacket to reveal himself to be a man of enormous build and stature who could easily have been cast as an extra in 300 (2006); chiseled six-pack abs and all. In a feat of obvious athleticism, Gunn ran at Gill to slide under him and appear stage left to manipulate a sampler pad on the band’s final song “War Outside.” King810 play a solid set of groovy-metal not too unfamiliar from what made Korn so overwhelmingly popular in the late ’90s, and couple it with an almost shoegaze/Deftones-like droning at times. King810’s debut album Memoirs Of a Murderer is out now on Roadrunner Records.
As the rest of the crowd fills out the floor, seats, and the VIP sections, one could not help but notice the diversity in age groups. This is a real testament to Korn’s staying power and their ability to remain relevant in a time where trends in heavy metal change seemingly every six months. They have outlasted a lot of their peers and the myriad of copy-cat acts in their two decade plus career. Much to the pleasure of the fans, and the band, the return of co-founding guitarist Brian “Head” Welch” in 2012 simply added to the band’s strength and perhaps assured further longevity. With a buzz flowing through the air the arrival of Korn was mere moments away.
In a flurry of swirling, sizzling cymbals the accompanying light show built in intensity and came to a sudden crescendo. Cuing singer Jonathan Davis and his trademark “scat” vocal of the 1996 track “Twist” began with a cacophony of sound provided by guitarists James “Munky” Shaffer and “Head”, along with bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu. Instantly, the die hard fans open a mosh pit, as the rest of the audience surrounding the area literally brace for impact. Jumping ahead, “Here To Stay” had a syncopated and hypnotic verse, with a bridge that had the entire floor jumping in time. After the first three songs, they debuted a newer track called “Love & Meth.” Mixing well with the older songs it still retained that signature “bounce” Korn’s music is famous for. While the production value on the newer material has increased, the overall sound and tightness of the band’s set was uniform throughout.
Keeping the audience at the height of their exhaustion, with no sign of slowing down, favorite “Falling Away From Me” followed with new anthem “Spike in My Veins,” oldie “Good God,” and then “Hater.” Drummer Ray Luzier blasted through the older material with ease while adding his personal flair with extra cymbal accents and taking some liberties with parts to freshen up old grooves. After a brief keyboard interlude, Davis appears on stage with bagpipes as the rest of the band breaks into “Shoots and Ladders.” Adding intrigue to already beloved track the ending segued into Metallica’s “One” for a few bars causing a rousing cheer. Piggy-backing their cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” onto the end of “Freak On A Leash,” Davis and his troupe broke into a sort of free jam. Bidding the audience goodnight while waving, the sea of hands reaching for the stage clearly demanded more. Breaking for a brief moment, the band came back out to begin their encore that featured a relatively impressive drum solo from Luzier. Winding down the solo, Luizer taps out the familiar hits on his ride cymbal to the final song of the set, “Blind.” Davis confesses his love for Strong Island as the remaining members came in on the downbeat which instantly caused the crowd to break apart into four or five smaller mosh pits; legs,fists and empty cups flying throughout the air in every direction. This is undoubtedly the song everyone was waiting to hear, and Korn delivered it full-force.
With a strong set full of older material and the new songs peppered in for good measure, Korn knew how to work a crowd and gave a performance fans would be talking about for weeks on end. With only two more live performances left for Korn before the end of the year, fans patiently wait for the possibility of more dates in 2015 after the band’s take over of Europe in February.