Korn rocks toward middle age at the Fillmore Auditorium - Reverb

Live review: Korn @ the Fillmore Auditorium

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.

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Billy Thieme is a Denver-based writer, an old-school punk and a huge follower of Denver’s vibrant local music scene. Follow Billy’s explorations at DenverThread.com, and his giglist at Gigbot.

Todd Radunsky is a Boulder-based photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.

  • Senobyte

    yea your review is horrible…

  • KornDeftonesFSUBulldog

    Actually as a Korn fan from 1994, i totally respect this reviewer. I love Korn still to this very day. But the reviewer is a very astute one at that and seems to come across as perhaps even a Korn fan himself. He notes that Jonathan doesnt scat anymore. This bothers me too. I could go on and on about certain little things about Korns show lately that, while has me concerned, wouldnt require at the very most a good ole pep talk or maybe a trip to somewhere mystical, just to clear the mind and refocus. Part of that energy is literally lacking in the missing spot Head took up, on the very right of the stage for every show. Heads background vocals were so spot on and intense (look up old versions of Ball Tongue as he backs up Jonathan during the chorus. Any of you core fans notice they havent done Ball Tongue in concert for years. No Head. Thats why. So logically, the band, who is missing the guy that founded LAPD which became Korn (Head) is naturally not going to have the old showmanship that it used to based on the missing founding father alone. Theres a ton of stuff theyve stopped doing as part of the show. Jonathan stopped doing the “Freak out thing” (anyone seen their DVD’s or early shows knows what the freak out thing is) in 1998 when they got huge. Theres a ton of stuff thats OBVIOUS theve stopped doing….actually im going to use the term “put on hiatus”…..because Korns catalogue, stage show, and concept is so diverse. Theyre just trying to keep things fresh! Trust me Mr Reviewer, if Jonathan scatted every show, that would get old. And do notice he hasnt scatted in the past 2 albums. Does that mean theyre not ever going to do it again? Of course not! Fieldys slap bass is almost completely absent from See You On the Other Side and Untitled. But guess what. Its back on Remember Who You Are! Jeeeeeez i could go on and on…Dont trip on Korn dude..Theyre figuring things out in this crazy record business…Maybe I should just take this reviewers job hehe.nnI do have to call out this reviewer on some bologna though. He starts out by calling Jonathan Davis charasmatic. But at the end, he seems confused. He calls Jonathans “half there, half interested”… Also, as compared to what though? It was a smaller venue. Anyone that saw them on their tour with Lamb of God in the summer saw an re-energized and almost verbose Jonathan Davis. Anyone that saw Korn before say, as late as 2004 knows that Jonathan barely ever addressed the crowd. On a nightly basis too. They pounded out song after song. They never even took the time to say “Good evening Sacramento” for example and Jonathan wouldnt even really greet the crowd until halfway into the show at least. Its all relative. Smaller venue…a more subdued Jonathan. They seem fine. The reviewer is too stuck on this middle age topic. He clearly went into the doors of the Fillmore with the idea that Korn is starting to hit middle age and well thats the vibe of the article he ended up writing.nnOne things for certain. They need Mr Brian Head Welch back. When that happens, watch how bad Korn starts f’in s#%# up again. Its going to be beautiful. Oh and it will happen. Trust me. Things happen for a reason everybody. Korns going to become the baddest band on the planet again, because right now, Deftones are poised to take that over and help bring back rock back more into the mainstream.