Monday, October 5, 2015

Korn at Irving Plaza

Jonathan Davis
In Bakersfield, California, a band called L.A.P.D. morphed into pioneering nu metal band Korn (stylized as KoЯn) in 1993.  Over the next 20 years, Korn recorded 11 studio albums that sold over 35 million units world-wide. The band's current lineup includes founding members Jonathan Davis (vocals, bagpipes), James "Munky" Shaffer (guitar), Brian "Head" Welch (guitar, backing vocals), and Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu (bass), along with Ray Luzier (drums), who in 2007 replaced the band's original drummer, David Silveria. The band's most recent album is 2013's The Paradigm Shift.

Korn celebrated belatedly the 20-year anniversary of its 1994 self-titled debut album by performing the collection track by track at smaller venues, including at a sold-out Irving Plaza tonight. The musicians came on stage slowly, one by one, and then charged brutally into the album's opening track, "Blind," with the audience chanting the lyrics so loud that it was hard to hear Davis sing. The two-decades-old songs, originally written from a place of traumatic hurt and raging anger, retained their volatile performance, with hard and heavy beats emphasized by the waist-to-head headbanging of the musicians. "Ball Tongue" included snippets of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two" and Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di." Several songs later, Davis played a bagpipe to introduce "Shoots and Ladders." Korn ended the main set with a haunting rendition of "Daddy," a song inspired by the sexual abuse Davis experienced as a minor from his neighbor. The set ended with deafening dissonance, until roadies stationed Davis' custom-designed H.R. Giger microphone stand and the band returned on stage to perform five songs from later albums. It was not a greatest hits show, but a memorable show for Korn fans.

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