“And I thought it couldn’t get any better than the SECC across the road!” Corey Taylor chuckles halfway through a blazing Slipknot set. Better than the SECC? That would be any venue in Glasgow with the exception of the one you were performing in last night, Mr Taylor.
Waiting beforehand to get into the Hydro, it’s clear a Slipknot gig is more than just a show; it’s an event. Much like a Steel Panther or Alice Cooper, there’s many people dressed up, only for this one it’s people wandering in boilersuits and latex masks. It’s been a long time since Slipknot toured the UK. Hell, I wasn’t even a Slipknot fan last time and I’ve been a fan for years.
Because of the queues, I missed King 810 take to the stage but I did catch most of their set. Needless to say, it was incredible. It’s hard to believe only four people were making such an insane racket. They hammered through a short set, giving a mention to the “Grand” before David Gunn was corrected with the Classic Grand. His vocals were just as dark and brooding to give their eerie quality as they are on their album Memoirs of a Murderer. Sadly there were none of the spoken word skits which are similar. After half a dozen songs or so, they left a mainly full Hydro, warming the crowd up for Korn.
I know about two songs from Korn. Maybe three at a push. After a short wait, they greeted a roaring Glasgow, frontman Jonathan Davis decked out in a black kilt and launching into a gibberish skit for a minute before the real material began. Later he brought out a set of bagpipes, rousing the crowd into a frenzy. Support bands are either great fun and you can walk away wanting to hear more or they’re woeful and you never want to see them ever again. Thankfully, Korn were the former, rattling through a blistering set, trying to fit as many songs in as possible. The crowd were genuinely happy to see them and it was obvious a few fans were there for them. At two points Jonathan Davis was serenaded with a round of “Happy Birthday”, the second time, one third of Slipknot presenting him with a cake. When they were finished, they left with another roaring crowd. I definitely need to have a listen to more of their stuff. And those two or three songs I know? None of them were played.
As the roadies made their safety checks with the pyrotechnics, one over-zealous fan decided to treat us to his rendition of “Psychosocial”. Maybe stick to the day job? After a longer wait, the house lights dimmed and the ominous “XIX” started proceedings before the curtain dropped and nine men in masks and boilersuits treated us to 100 minutes of metal. There’s a massive spectacle involved in a Slipknot show with nine people all contributing different elements so it’s hard to know where to look. Given my viewpoint, most of what I saw was Clown and Chris Fehn on their custom drum sets which can rise and fall and turn on their own axes.
Hammering through the set, Slipknot played a blindingly good show. Despite touring off the back of a new album, they didn’t rely too heavily on its material like some bands can. They picked a handful of the better songs, sadly leaving out “AOV” but it was made up with live staples like “Duality”, “The Heretic Anthem”, “Dead Memories”, “Before I Forget” and “Psychosocial”.
Corey Taylor took time to say thank you for sticking with the band through the last few years for obvious reasons and during most of his different interludes, paid tribute to the people of Glasgow, playing up to the crazy, best crowd in the world notion.
During “Spit it Out”, the crowd dropped to their knees as is the norm, without being asked. However, clumps began to stand up again when Clown decided to wander through the crowd. I was one of them given he was a few feet from me. Crouching down again, thousands of people launched themselves into the air, jumping frantically as the song reached its peak. One last song in the shape of “Custer”. The song I had been waiting for as I’d seen Slipknot before and I knew this would be brilliant in a live setting. It didn’t disappoint.
I had expected a crowd champing at the bit once they graced the stage but from where I was, the crowd were laidback unlike when Korn were performing. Despite that, Slipknot gave a fantastic performance. Loud, in your face and uniting. As metal should be.
With a short encore, it was over. And with the promise of seeing them at Download, it won’t be long again until I see them again. Tight as always, each musician bringing their own elements to the table, it proves Slipknot aren’t going anywhere.