Korn

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Concert Review by Mark Bayross

Wembley Arena, London – Saturday 19 May 2000

While Metallica have spent the last few years messing around with make-up and orchestras, Korn have been steadily becoming the biggest rock band on the planet. Their third album, 1998’s highly tuneful FOLLOW THE LEADER was one of the fastest selling albums in American history, while last year’s follow-up, ISSUES, debuted at number one and has since gone multi-platinum world-wide.

Korn’s set was chosen by the fans, via their website – a brilliant way of pleasing as much of the crowd as possible and remaining truly accessible to their audience. They also promised to play four songs from each of their four albums.

Judging by the roar of the capacity crowd as the curtain goes up and the band take the stage, swathed in blue light, we know they are going to be special. They launch into FALLING AWAY FROM ME and 10,000 bodies mosh in unison. The sound is incredible – bass-heavy, shaking the foundations of the huge arena with monumental industrial-strength guitars.

Dressed in a priest’s cassock, Jonathan Davis’ slight figure prances around the stage, leaning into the audience, flailing his arms around his head and crouching into a ball of rage during the particularly mental bits. IT’S ON and GOT THE LIFE follow, with Faith No More, and lately, Ozzy Osborne’s drummer Mike Bordin (himself the veteran of many a stadium) doing a sterling job of replicating the absent Dave Silveria, thump for rib-cage-rattling thump.

They do A.D.I.D.A.S. with Jonathan running along a platform in front of the much-publicised “Korn Kage” at the back of the stage (containing 30 or so die-hard fans who had won a competition to be ‘locked up’ “Jailhouse Rock”-style for the duration of the concert). The stunning GOOD GOD is delivered with requisite spite, and the sound of 10,000 people shouting “Why don’t you just get the fuck out of my face?” is particularly cathartic.

Six songs in, and time for a pause. Jonathan re-emerges in a kilt, playing the intro to SHOOTS AND LADDERS on his bag-pipes. You’ve got to admire the guy – not only has his band invented an entirely new genre of rock music, but he has managed to incorporate bag-pipes into it. A bit of goofing around in between, and they launch into the fantastic FREAK ON A LEASH, tighter than the Bee Gees’ trousers.

The intensity builds through SOMEBODY SOMEONE, MAKE ME BAD and a blistering FAGET, and, rather than fading to black, Korn finish in a flurry of squealing guitars and blinding white light. They encore with the dark synth-driven 4U and the classic BLIND and then, like that, they are gone.

A simply stunning performance of quite literally blinding power. God knows where Korn go from here. They seem unfazed by the rise of Slipknot and, with ISSUES, have directed themselves towards darker, more gothic territory. One thing’s for sure: right now, they rule the rock world and they are loving it.