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Live Reviews : Rob Zombie, Korn and Mushroomhead @ The Big Top, Sydney 25/02/2014

By on February 26, 2014

A show featuring Rob Zombie, Korn and Mushroomhead. If ever there was an evening of live music that would trigger the nostalgic moments of a member of Generation Y’s teenage adolescence, this was the one. Upon arrival, it was immediately apparent that the majority of the people I was surrounded by were around the same age bracket as me, many who were obviously there to relive those nu-metal sounds that got them through their teenage days. While I’m sure there are many who still follow current releases of these bands, most of the people I spoke to throughout the evening were there to  hear some of the songs that they listened to back in the late 90s and early 2000s, and luckily, they would have not left disappointed.

Rob Zombie, Korn and Mushroom Head

Up first were the mask clad eight-piece ensemble, Mushroomhead. While these guys have been around since 1993, they seem to have never been greatly known which I’ve always thought could be due to being over shadowed by Slipknot, another similar act who has obviously gained much more attention over the years. I believe there history between the two bands as their earlier days were entwined, but that’s neither here nor there. The only album of Mushroomhead’s I can say I ever heard was “XX”, which I was happy to hear a few songs from in their set including opener “Bwomp”, in which they received a favourable crowd response from. As to be expected from watching a band with 8 members on stage, the presence of the band was chaotic as the members darted from side to side giving every audience member a chance for a close interaction to the show. This was made more evident by the fact that the band had three dedicated vocalists on stage. All three knew how to get a great reaction from the audience as they continually worked the crowd throughout their performance. While I found the music lacked a certain element in which made it hard to really enjoy, their performance was definitely extremely energetic and their live sound was a huge step up from the previous day’s performance at the Soundwave Festival.

Next up were one of the first heavier acts I ever started listening to. I still remember taking the classroom CD player in Year 6 to the storeroom and cranking the recently released “Life is Peachy” album instead of completing whatever assignment I was meant to be doing at the time. Of course I’m talking about nu-metal legends, Korn. If it wasn’t for sneaking off and listening to bands like them, Pantera and Sepultura back in Year 6, I don’t know where I’d be now. Probably camping out all night in front of a Ticketek waiting to buy Justin Bieber tickets for some kid I accidently had with a girl I met while out clubbing enjoying techno or some other garbage. Successfully dodged that bullet!

Now while I haven’t really listened to any of Korn’s releases since “Take A Look In The Mirror”, I was hoping that I’d at least hear a few of the songs in which I adored back in my teenage years. Not only was I rewarded, I was over-indulged as around ¾ of the set was all material from those days. Opening with the main single from their “Issues” album, “Falling Away From Me” instantly had the majority of the crowd on the venue’s floor jumping up and down to every beat. It had been a long time since I had seen a proper mosh without arms and legs aimlessly flailing, a good sign that the majority of the crowd were a product of Generation Y. While I’ve seen Korn at a few festivals over the years, I believe this was the finest form I’ve seen them ever play. Not only was the sound the best I’ve heard at the Big Top, but each member just seemed right on their A-game, especially singer Jonathan Davis whose vocals were reminiscent of their younger days. The last time I saw him perform, he was escaping off to the side of the stage every few songs for an inhale of oxygen. This time around, he barely left the front of the stage, enticing the crowd to sing along to each of the songs, and just general, go crazy. The band appeared to revel in having their original guitarist Head back in the fold, an addition that only occurred in 2013 after an 8 year departure from the group. The highlight of the night definitely would go to the enigmatic, energetic drummer Ray Luzier, an absolute beast behind the kit. He brought some of the old song’s drum beats to a whole new level with some intense fills and charismatic stick throws wherever he could fit them in. Performing such classics as “Good God”, “Freak on a Leash” and “Blind”, among others, Korn engaged the sold out crowd which an audacity which kept the audience screaming out for more after each track’s conclusion. While their new material didn’t appeal to me at all, the large amount of old material definitely did and left me actually wanting some more.

Headlining the night was none other than industrial metal heavyweights, Rob Zombie. While what felt like quite the short set, vocalist Rob Zombie alongside guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D and drummer Ginger Fish, delivered a very straight up heavy set, filled with their most renoun songs like “Superbeast”, “Living Dead Girl” and “Scum of the Earth”. With a stage adorned with black and white images of classic horror movie characters like Frankenstein’s monster, the Werewolf and Dracula, the visual aesthetic of the group’s set suited their music perfectly. I did however find it hard to become fully immersed within their set after witnessing such an energetic performance by Korn. After a few songs, they all started to blend together. There was an over-extended solo by John 5 which felt like it went too long, and a very unnecessary cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”, but after which, they recovered the set with their encore, “Dragula”, which is such a powerhouse of a song, it made sitting through the entire set worthwhile.

All and all, I believe Soundwave Touring grouped a perfect collection of bands together for this particular Sidewave as while each band had a direct musical stylistic between each other, each brought their own blend of nu-metal and other influences together to create high impact sets that made the whole night a very worthwhile evening.