Halloween night in Melbourne brings out a few things in people. Be it the need to dress up as their favourite historical figure/fictional character, go to theme nights at the nearest club or just get completely wasted like any other night in this fine city. But for a good few thousand people, a Slipknot show beckoned them for the evening. The Iowa nine-piece (or for this tour, the eight-piece) had once again returned to Down Under and had brought along Lamb Of God for good measure. This show had all the makings of a great gig from the word ‘go’ and it didn’t disappoint.
Opening up the night were Australia’s very own In Hearts Wake, a somewhat…odd pick for a tour like this, no doubt, but they held their own. Donning white cricket outfits in the spirit of the night, the metalcore band rushed through a short set with fan favourites like ‘Survival (The Chariot)’ thrown in, but they definitely seemed to play it safe in terms of the other songs like ‘Refuge’ and ‘Divine’. This was almost certainly an attempt to win over the many in attendance who had never heard of them before or at least never seen them live, and it definitely worked out. There were also a fair amount of dedicated fans out in force amongst the crowd for the Bryon Bay boys which was good to see. While the set was tight, I did find it a little difficult to hear vocalist Jake Taylor in the mix at times. Nonetheless, it was a decent opening set considering that Rod Laver Arena was barely half full by this stage.
Next up was Lamb Of God, and they wasted absolutely no time in whipping up the many fans into a violent frenzy. Beginning with the epic ‘Walk With Me In Hell’, the crowd was bouncing as soon as Randy Blythe commanded them too, and the band was as on point as ever. Going straight from that opening song into ‘Ruin’ really kept the energy up, and drummer Chris Adler nailed ‘that’ drum fill before the closing breakdown section as well. Blythe spent most of their set flying through the air and jumping off risers, showing once again that he is still one of the most energetic metal singers of the modern era. After the last notes of the more recent ‘Still Echoes’ rung out, the fans were treated to stellar performances of two of the band’s classic tracks – ‘Laid To Rest’ and ‘Redneck’ – to end the set, complete with a fucking giant circle pit.
The last time that the Richmond, VA band found themselves in Melbourne was back in 2015 for Soundwave, and hopefully, it won’t be too long between the next drinks for LOG and Australians.
As soon as the huge Slipknot-labelled curtains opened and the introduction video ended, the headliners came out and people suitably lost their collective shit. ‘The Negative One’ and ‘Eyeless’ opened proceedings, and the newer of the two songs actually got as good a reaction as the latter which was great to see; Slipknot fans are a loyal bunch, that’s for sure. From there on in it was classic after classic, with ‘Before I Forget’, ‘Psychosocial’, ‘(sic)’, ‘Left Behind’, and many others being lapped up by the crowd. Hell, even a more off the beaten path song like ‘Skin Ticket’ got played, which is a rarity of sorts at this point in the band’s career.
As hinted at earlier, percussionist/occasional backing vocalist Shawn Crahan was missing in action due to a family emergency, but his mask and signature baseball bat were present, sitting on his spinning drum set, showing that he was with his bandmates in spirit for the night. As far as members go, to perhaps to no one else’s surprise, guitarists Mick Thomson and Jim Root nailed every single riff, and the rhythm section of Jay Weinberg and Alessandro Venturella locked in really well, with Weinberg playing Joey Jordison’s parts very faithfully.
The encore, as you may have expected, finished up the show with the old-school banger of ‘Spit It Out’, and before you ask, yes – everyone did do the ‘jump the fuck up’ part. And sure, the band may have been missing the insane pyrotechnics from last year’s Soundwave headlining performance but even so, the band killed it. As they often do.
To wrap this piece up, I find that with a Slipknot show, I know exactly what I am going to get from the show each and every time. The stage banter and crowd interaction were similar across the board from previous years, as were the usual band members band acting out and doing their things and the songs that were played, but I couldn’t care less! Whenever I leave a Slipknot show, I leave yearning to go see them all over again. And this time was no exception. Bring on another album and another tour!