There was an electric, angry crackle in the air at the Key Club in Hollywood that night. People seemed to crawl from beneath the walls of the club like so many cockroaches, and they all filled the small space with a black sense of (dare I say it?) millennium-styled dread. It was beautiful.
A virtually nameless band began the evenings’ festivities and ended up being booed and cursed off of the stage towards the end of their last song of the set. What a relief. And how embarrassing must it be to be out there doing what you do and get that kind of reception. Shame on the booking agents in this city. What the FUCK were they thinking!?
AMEN had visible and audible technical difficulties, which were a let down to many of us who had anticipated the reappearance of Sonny Mayo and Tumor Fahnstock formerly of Snot (R.I.P. Lynn..). The frontman lacked grace, ability and well… talent. Sorry, guys. Someone had to say it. But the band was tight and the songs seemed to be of quality, although it was difficult to get a grip on them due to the chaos.
It was painfully obvious who everyone was there to see. SLIPKNOT had the entire audience by the throat from the second they were mechanically herded into the club. The crowd was angry, virile and enthusiastic in their wickedness and it showed when the interrogation-style lighting washed over the small ocean of middle fingers proudly raised into the air. Slipknot took the stage with a masked vengeance and there was no backing out. (8)Corey (vocals) may as well have willed the exit doors to be sealed shut like a scene from the movie, Carrie. They were ready to kill us all and we had been forewarned. However, leaving didn’t seem to be an option. And who would have wanted to?
Dwarfed by seemingly 7-foot tall guitarists, (7)-Mick and (4)-James on either side, Corey went into a full-scale vocal attack and the moshpit rocked and swayed as the band bashed their way through (Sic), Eyeless, and Wait and Bleed. It was non-stop anarchy all the way through Liberate and Surfacing. The only break in the action was when Corey would stop for a moment to spit a few venomous words and continue on with the dementia.
The highlights had to be the lunatic energy of (6)-Shawn and (3)-Chris and the interaction between them and their respective sets of hydraulic drums and empty beer kegs (in between kicking the shit out of each other) as well as the maniacal (0)-Sid who didn’t seem satisfied unless he was crowd surfing at every opportunity between working the turntables like Norman Bates in a gasmask. And let us not forget to mention (1)-Joey (drums) – one baaaaad muthafuckah, (5)-Craig (samples/media) and (2)-Paul (bass) who kept everyone within an arm’s length of insanity at all times.
Slipknot’s overall performance was intense, and throttled with energy. It was a massive show forced into a small, sold out venue. It was an orgy of insanity and sound like nothing I’ve yet to experience, and it was just that. An experience. The songs were solid at times, and blurry at others. Kind of the way your vision would distort when you weren’t quite sure, and you’d say to yourself, “Did that really just happen? Did I really just see that?”
Purity was a standout, and was performed without a hitch. Spit It Out was also one of my favorites due to the mock affectionate dedication of it to one of my least favorite people, Fred Durst. During which, Corey asked “…Where ya gonna be in the next five years?” But hey, I’m just reviewing the show, right?
A couple more tracks from the addictive, self-titled, debut CD from Roadrunner Records, and it was time to close the set with Scissors, something Corey, our menacing ringmaster of ceremonies, told everyone they hadn’t played in a long time. Everyone watched in mock horror as Shawn (perverted clown/drummer/keg basher), brought the drums at either side of the stage to a slow and painful death with each bludgeoning from the mic stand. Scissors is one of the less aggressive songs on the CD, (if that’s possible) and it was indeed a strange, and peculiar way to end the night. But then, it wouldn’t have been quite right to leave a Slipknot show feeling any other way, would it?
(Lesa Pence spends her free time dreaming horribly gory and twisted nightmares and trying to figure out how to get them up on movie screens for the rest of the world to be horrified by.)