Is this a flashback to 1999 at the Family Values tour? No it’s not, Pitchshifter aren’t the opening act… This however, is as close as it’s going to get! Korn and Limp Bizkit on a dual headline run throughout the UK! That’s what I’d call a good night out.
Arriving at the SSE Hydro as late as I did would usually guarantee me no chance of getting to the front of the stage. Weirdly enough, when the lights dimmed for Madball I was practically able to walk straight up to the barrier. What was even weirder was the fact that New York Hardcore legends Madball were the opening act of the night. Yes, you read that correctly… Madball.
This band has been playing at 200 capacity sized venues and to be honest it’s the way it should be. It’s hardcore and small venues is where this thrives. Stage diving, moshing and grabbing the microphone from Freddy Madball is what this band are used to so to see a band like that open at the SSE Hydro is mind bending to me.
Now before they began to play, I was worried that the music wouldn’t translate in a venue of this size. I thought it would eat them up. However as soon as they began to play they had a really good response from the crowd. There was clearly a number of people there (including myself) to see them and they made people well aware of what hardcore is about.
The band were tight and didn’t miss a beat. They played a number of old favourites such as “Hardcore Lives” and “Set It Off” which went down well. Freddy Madball attempted to get a lot of crowd interaction which he was successful with the majority of the time. A couple of the songs they played were rather middling and didn’t have much to offer in terms of a memorable hook or guitar riff. Overall it was a decent set, but I don’t think anyone would have left thinking that they had found their new favourite band. Their strength is in smaller venues and it came across at points. (6/10)
As soon as Madball finished their set a massive curtain came down from the lights to cover the stage. As a massive KISS fan, I’m an absolute sucker for stuff like this. At this point the Hydro began to pack out and the space I had for Madball certainly dwindled.
Waiting for Limp Bizkit was the longest twenty minutes of my life. I love Limp Bizkit and I think that they have a back catalogue that could match most bands. The early nu metal period has some of the best bands to offer, two of which were playing on tonight’s bill. The hate for Limp Bizkit in the metal scene is alien to me. It’s like the cool thing to hate on and if you like this band somehow that damages your metal credibility. It’s funny how this changes when you’re in any rock club and “Break Stuff” comes crashing through the speaker because then you see that those people who hate on them spit every word like it’s their last. The moral of this sidetrack is “like what you like and don’t be influenced by what people tell you to like”.
Eventually Bizkit came on stage and tore the place apart, starting with a jam very similar to “Show Me What You Got”. You can picture it now, Fred Durst insulting the crowd for little to no movement and demanding the floor to bounce as John Otto smashes out the grooves. After warming us up they then went into a three song curve of “Hot Dog”, “Rollin'” and “Gold Cobra” which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Despite the guitar being non-existent in the live mix the place was still going crazy.
The band are the masters of getting people to lose their minds, their builds are incredible and it definitely didn’t stop as “My Generation” was next up. The thing I noticed during the start of their set was a feeling that something was going to kick off. Even though Fred had the crowd in his hands there were a number of items thrown at him as he made his way around the stage. Of course he shrugged it off, I mean it’s Fred Durst! I’m sure he’s dealt with situations ten times worse than that.
At this point of the set there had been a couple of interludes between songs which unfortunately took time away from their performance. I was unsure of the purpose of these interludes because they didn’t hype the crowd in any way and it was stuff that no one has heard before either. It’d be the equivalent of a guitarist playing random chords in between each song for a minute or so, it adds no value to the set. They then decided to play “Turn Down For What?” over the PA and at this point it really started to bug me.
The band mess around on stage too much and it cuts into the time they have to actually entertain the crowd. Another problem is that they have been playing practically the same set for years now. Where are Counterfeit and Pollution? There are absolute gems on those first two albums, even their latest album had some really good material that would go down great live. So I don’t understand why they find the need to play 80% of Chocolate Starfish.
I then stood at the back of the venue to watch the rest of their set and from there the guitar was still too quiet. You could barely hear Wes Borland’s once the whole band were playing.
They performed “My Way”, “Faith”, “Break Stuff” and finished on “Take A Look Around”. Although a great finish to a really good but predictable set, I think the band need to release Stampede Of The Disco Elephants as fans are hungry for new material. (7/10)
So the band of the night were due to come on, the best band of the nu metal era in my opinion. In recent years Korn have been incredible live. I was able to catch them open for Slipknot a year ago and I felt that they were just as good if not better than the headliners so expectations were really high. Again the massive backdrop was lifted and Korn kicked off their set with “Right Now”. This is the type of song that allows anyone to join in with the chorus after you’ve heard it once. Really good opener, I thought.
They then followed with “Here To Stay” from the criminally overlooked album Untouchables. I adore this song, however the tempo just wasn’t right. A lot of times metal bands will slow down their songs to add thickness and depth, this in turn can make a song heavier to the ear. However, with “Here To Stay” I felt that it took away from the song. The original tempo gives a real groovy vibe which you essentially dance to but slowing the track down removes this element.
They then played “Rotting In Vain” and “Insane” from their latest release The Serenity Of Suffering. These tracks were incredible live, the low end of the guitar shook the venue and Jonathan Davis was an absolute monster with not only his singing but his growls too. He has never sounded better in my opinion. The live mix was really good too. Even though I thought the guitars could have been louder, the overall low end of Korn was conveyed well.
Songs like “Coming Undone” and “Shoot and Ladders” were also in the set which is fine as they get the crowd going and they are easy to sing along to (especially “Shoot and Ladders” which is essentially full of nursery rhymes). However, they then went into twenty minutes of questionable song choices. Nothing from The Paradigm Shift was played, no “Narcissistic Cannibal” or “Get Up”, no “It’s On” or anything from Follow The Leader. None of these tracks have been included yet they have space for “Y’All Want A Single” and “Word Up”?
I guess it’s just personal taste, but I think they have much better songs to choose from. I wish they would trust their back catalogue and stick in songs like “Clown”, which I would take any day over hearing “Blind” again. They had the perfect opportunity to perform “All In The Family” as Fred Durst is the guest appearance on that track. They definitely missed a trick there.
However this did not detract from what was a sick gig, Life Is Peachy made an entrance with both “Twist” and “Good God”. It was awesome hearing these songs and during “Good God”, Jonathan Davis called for a massive wall of death that looked like a killer! They finished with “Falling Away From Me” and “Freak On A Leash” which are classic tunes with which to wrap up a set.
For the majority of the gig, this band were on point and the intensity in the venue was incredible. Myself and the rest of the crowd left the venue on a high and there is no doubt that I will go and see these guys again in the future. (8/10)
All photos by Carly Campbell