House of Blues Anaheim
Everyone born before 1990 remembers the alternative rock scene of the early 2000s. Yeah, this might have been the genesis of the Brittany Spears vs. X-tina era, but there was also plenty of tortured, eyebrow-pierced alternative rockers, none more popular than Jonathan Davis and his band Korn who dominated MTV right alongside the pop kings and queens of the era.
Korn is one of those polarizing bands. You’re either into them or not. Yes, I’ve been scoffed at on a number of occasions for downloading classic tracks like Freak on a Leash, but hey, haters gonna hate, right? I was too young to get to get a ticket to the prime time of the Family Values Tour that was spearheaded by Jonathon Davis, but that didn’t mean I didn’t rock to the tracks in the meantime (to my parent’s dismay). Upon hearing about Korn’s new album, The Serenity of Suffering, I, of course, had to grab a ticket to relive my nostalgia for the band and see if they still get down like its 1998.
This show was anything but tranquil and mild; it was rough, harsh, loud, and angry, which is a great way for the five-day-old, new and improved House of Blues Anaheim to open with a bang for local rock fans. Davis’ signature, metallic H.R. Giger mic stand was the first to grace the stage in all of its chrome, feminine glory followed by the boom of the opening song, "Right Now."
The show itself offered a fantastic mix of songs from the classic albums such as Follow the Leader, Issues, Life is Peachy, See You on the Other Side, and, their newest, The Serenity of Suffering. Most of the original members including Davis, Munky, Fieldy, and Head continue to fuel this metal machine. However, their former (and original) drummer, David Silveria did not make an appearance, replaced by Ray Luzier in 2009.
The next group of songs included "Here to Stay", "Rotting in Vain", "Coming Undone", and "Insane" followed by a passionate Davis encouraging the crowd to throw their middle fingers in the air during their anger-invoking track, "Fuck That."
Then came my personal favorite, "Make Me Badd," and the crowd excitedly stormed the pit with moshing enthusiasm. To cool off after a few rage-filled hits, the band took a turn for the unconventional with "Shoots and Ladders." This is a song filled with nursery rhyme references such as "Ring Around the Rosy," "One, Two Buckle My Shoe," and "This Old Man" while Davis plays his bagpipe (honestly). However, Davis conjured the aura of Metallica by honoring One while performing his typical beat box growls he’s known for to wrap up this song.
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Rounding out the second half of the show was a few older songs, "Blind" and "Good God." This gave the lifelong fans a time to shine as the lyrical veterans were separated from the metal rookies at this point in the show. But the band then threw everyone a curveball with their new track, "A Different World" while surprising the crowd with Stone Sour frontman, Corey Taylor. At this point, there was fist pumping, ground stomping, and devil horns seen in every nook and cranny of the venue.
Korn closed the show with their two biggest hits, "Falling Away From Me" and "Freak on a Leash." It was the perfect way to bring this runaway train to a grinding halt while keeping the crowd wanting more. Although there wasn’t an encore, the fans left HOB pleased…if not completely stoked. Yes, it was a night that summoned all the strife from the early 2000s. And it also let the world know that Korn isn’t going anywhere besides plenty of sold out venues in the future.