They still rock pretty hard, and seem to be holding tightly onto their rep as one of the strongest of all nu metal bands, but Korn has definitely reached middle age. Friday night’s show at the Fillmore proved that everyone — including metal gods — eventually have to deal with all the trappings of midlife crisis.
Charismatic frontman Jonathan Davis led the group with his usual aplomb, mostly writhing behind his elaborate Geiger-designed chrome microphone stand, still sporting the dreadlocks he’s always had, plus a few additional pounds. “Munky” Shaffer added the band’s signature heavy-chunked guitars as he hovered over a huge pedal arrangement completely wrapped in plastic (lessons about the multitude of drinks the packed crowd threw at the band no doubt learned long ago), while “Fieldy” Arvizu rocked his matching bedrock bass style and Ray Luzier filled out the crunch from behind his huge, all-chrome trapset. The band also brought along a fifth member that filled in on rhythm guitar, but mostly hid toward the back of the stage.
As hard as they all rocked through their 90-minute set, the band couldn’t shake off the overall appearance of aging rock stars. They played a selection of hits, including the huge “Blind” and “Freak On A Leash,” which they saved for the set’s later slots, as well as the second half of their popular cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” and parts of Metallica’s “One.” Through all of this, Davis seemed half there, half-interested, and kept wandering off stage between songs as the rest of the band played. He managed some screaming parlay with the audience toward the end, but that dried up, and there was almost none of his signature “nu metal scat” vocal grunting and whooping that fans have come to expect.
They also added some selections from the latest album “Korn III: Remember Who You Are,” reputed to be an attempt to both navigate through the band’s middle age and a return to its roots (according to their publicity), though the songs didn’t come across as particularly innovative or prescient.
Still, the fans were enthralled throughout, with most on the Fillmore’s huge floor crushed up against the stage in a sweaty, throbbing and screaming mass, behind which a smallish mosh pit held its own for most of the show. Lethargic as Davis seemed, the crowd didn’t seem to notice, and people were passing surfers up to the front and over the barricades as the security staff sprayed the throng repeatedly with huge water guns.
Todd Radunsky is a Boulder-based photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.