Festival Hall, Melbourne, December 5, 2010
Of all the people to struggle finding the correct door at Festy, it had to be me. The fact that the door my ticket had directed me to was shut tight when I arrived told me that the show must have attracted a low turn-out. In the lead up, I’d been laughed at for suggesting that somewhere like the Metro might have been more appropriate for Korn, with colleagues suggesting that Rod Laver Arena would surely have been more suitable.
I guess I showed them who was right. Despite the low patronage (possibly a result of surprisingly ambitious ticket prices,) the queue for the bar as Shihad ended their set made me realise another of the reasons why people dislike Festival Hall.
By the time I’d waded through the sea of familiar faces in the audience, I was at the front of the stage just in time to catch the beginning of the set of some character who I figured was a joke, a-la Neil Hamburger. With long, ultra-straight hair down past his elbows and covering his face, he looked like Cousin Itt wearing a velour tracksuit. The banner in front of his turn-tables bore the names of several corporate sponsors, most prominently from the energy drink sector, and what I eventually guessed was probably his name – DJ Kid Knuckles. He was certainly an enthusiastic and popular character, garnering wild applause from the audience each time he busted out his latest outlandish moves vaguely in time to the pop-metal hit choruses he was playing.
He did set the tone perfectly for the kind of show I imagined was to follow from the headliner – leaving the stage to a shriek of ‘Is everyone ready for Korn?!’ Whilst it would have been cinematic for him to bound off the stage slapping Jonathan Davis a high-five on his way in, there was actually a long enough wait between this pseudo-support for a pretty deadly-looking fight to break out on the balcony. As well as inciting riots, the break gave the audience time to take in the impressive, Giger-esque microphone stand and matching, sprawling drum kit. I could tell that drum-solo fans were going to be pleased.
When the band did finally emerge on stage, I was pleased to see them in trademark ADIDAS shirts and tracksuits. It looked likeI was going to be in for just the tacky, clichéd show I was secretly hoping for, although opening with 4U tended to hint that I might not be quite correct. There was not a word spoken between songs, which is just how I like it, with extended, industrial noise segues between songs which frontman Jonathan Davis used to suck up oxygen from a tank behind the keyboardist.
Other than the obvious highlight of Munky’s loose, slapping bass playing only meters away (as exciting in person as it sounds on record,) there was the Coming Undone / We Will Rock You / drum and bass solo medley, and of course the creepy piano solo which evolved into Falling Away From Me.
Even a costume-change (into their own merchandise, no less) didn’t feel tacky, though live the bagpipe introduction to Shoots And Ladders doesn’t have the same effect as the barely-there production of the album version.
An extended version of Got The Life closed the show satisfactorily, leaving the few younger members of the audience confused with the lingering loop of the last few bars, a staple of ‘90s arena rock, standing around confused allowing me a speedy getaway to the Carron.