Nu-Metal and Grunge and icons Korn and Alice in Chains brought their summer tour to Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Saturday night.
Although a double-billed show, Alice In Chains opens each evening. While they will always be connected to the Seattle grunge scene of the early 90s, Alice has always managed to stand apart from the rest due to their heavy metal nuances and the beautiful harmonization that guitarist Jerry Cantrell and former lead singer Layne Staley, who passed away in 2002, accomplished. If anyone still has any reservations about someone “replacing” Layne Staley, it is encouraged that you go to an Alice In Chains show and you will be convinced that William DuVall, who took over lead vocals in 2006 in the reformed Alice In Chains, is handling lead singer duties just fine.
Starting their set with “Junkhead,” DuVall, Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez, and drummer Sean Kinney showed why they are still at the top of their game. The set was heavy and electric. Alice In Chains has always managed to skirt the line of heavy and moody like no other metal/grunge band out there (except maybe arguably Soundgarden). Playing a mix of old and new, the crowd sang along to every song of the set, which concluded with fan-favorite hit “Rooster.”Branded as the pioneers of the nu-metal scene, Korn has managed to take that brand and not only fly with it but expand upon it. It’s hard to believe that their platinum-selling album Follow the Leader came out 21 years ago. Songs like “Got the Life” and “Freak on a Leash” don’t feel dated in the slightest and have a raw honesty that stands up against a lot of what is heard on the radio today.
As the lights went out and the intro started, the roar of the crowd became overwhelming as Jonathan Davis, guitarist James “Munkey” Shaffer, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Avizu, guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, and drummer Ray Luzier took the stage. They opened the night with “Here to Stay” from their fifth studio album Untouchables. They also treated fans to their newest song “You’ll Never Find Me” off the band’s upcoming album The Nothing. As Davis left the stage, the band played Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”. Davis reemerged wearing a kilt and playing bagpipes before launching into “Shoots and Ladders,” a song that always proves the strength of Korn. What other bands can get kids moshing to nursery rhymes?
The stage was impressive. Movable mirrored video walls flanked drummer Luzier and hanging video walls rose and fell with the movements of the band as they played. As the guys ran around the stage, dreads flying, the hanging art pieces not only moved up and down but also shifted front and back allowing the crowd to view all angles.
The set ended with the huge hit “Freak on a Leash,” known for it’s break in the middle where Davis launches into what has been best described as “caged-animal babble.” It’s an unforgettable moment to hear thousands of people scat with him. After leaving the stage for a few, the boys came back for an encore that included “For You,” “Twist,” “Coming Undone,” and ending with “Falling Away From Me.” As they bowed and thanked their fans for their love and support, a couple of the guys brought their kids out onstage with them to throw guitar picks and drum sticks into the crowd. Nu Metal has grown up and it has kids of their own just waiting to carry on the legacy.KORN
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