As this weekend marked the beginning of the Coachella music festival in Indio, there were still a considerable amount of local concerts happening that many still found worth attending. This was the case at the Belasco Theater in Downtown LA, as frontman from nu metal rock super superstar band Korn, Jonathan Davis performed a special concert to promote his new solo album, Black Labyrinth, due out on Sumerian Records May 25. The stop was part of his West Coast tour, which was contained elements of a Korn concert, yet was drastically different.
Davis, began his career as a singer with Korn in the mid ’90s, and Korn has since become one of the biggest rock band’s of the past 20 years, having sold out stadiums and arenas all across the globe, as well as two Grammy nominations, and a rabid international base of millions of fans. The band has performed with legends like Megadeth to Danzig and everyone in between.
Black Labyrinth is Davis long overdue solo record, which took a process of 10 years; as Davis rarely had time off from making records and touring with Korn, his solo album was written while on tour.
“I can’t believe this is real, I’ve waited so long for this! I love you all for being here!” Davis yelled to the near-capacity crowd at the Belasco. As fans swayed, danced, grooved and let it all out during the set, one felt the same immediate catharsis and release normally associated with a Korn concert, but what stood apart was the sound and vibe. The live band backing Davis had a giant stand up bass, keyboard/samples, and even a violinist. Still somewhat full of passion and dark emotions, The songs were not all the same, with only hints of Korn coming through.
For an hour, fans got to hear a different side of Jonathan Davis, one deeply rooted in the past, and full of emotional trauma, but this time the music was esoteric, ethereal, and not all aggressive and down-tuned. You could feel the soul-searching and spirituality, not just releasing of pain and anger.
With songs like Everyone Under My Skin, Everyone, Basic Needs, Final Days, and others, Davis displayed a wide array of emotions but mainly it was gratitude to his fans. One could hear traces of The Cure, Christian Death, David Bowie, The Bauhaus, Faith No More, Duran Duran, Pantera, and even Neil Diamond, whose classic song ‘Love on the Rocks’ was a special cover during the show.
Davis even gave fans a treat, also performing songs he wrote from the Queen of the Damned soundtrack, including ‘Forsaken,’ ‘Slept So Long,’ and ‘System’.
Fans were totally into the show, from the first song to the last, and even though the album is not out yet, many diehards in the crowd knew the songs by heart. The energy level was raging at a high level all night, and the reaction to each song was met with nothing but cheers and applause.
After almost an hour of songs, the band left the stage, and after less than a minute, roars and chants of “JD! JD! JD!” were heard throughout the venue and Davis returned with his band to perform an encore of the single ‘What It Is,’ and ‘Happiness.’
IT is hard to tell whether all Korn fans will understand or enjoy this solo album, despite the similarities to Korn’s music. The conundrum is that the through his signature style of singing and vocal patterns, you can tell it is the singer from Korn, but it is so vastly different, on so many levels.
However, judging from the fans in attendance at the Belasco show in LA, Davis’ solo record will gain him just as many fans as he has with Korn, if not more.
Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy, radio, food, tattoos, the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.