Venue: The Sound Academy
Date: September 30, 2013
Show review by: Kirsti Heitz
Show photography from: Navneet Johal
Published: October 8, 2013
Label: Sumerian Records
Jonathan Davis - Vocals
James Shaffer - Guitar
Brian Welch - Guitar
Reginald Arvizu - Bass
Ray Luzier - Drums
Zac Baird – Touring keyboards
Danny Worsnop - lead vocals
Ben Bruce - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Cameron Liddell - lead guitar
Sam Bettley - bass guitar
James Cassells - drums
Brian "Head" Welch - Vocals/Guitar
JR Bareis - Lead Guitar
Michael Valentine - Bass
Dan Johnson - Drums
On September 30th fans by the hundreds made the arduous treck to the docks to see Korn with openers Love & Death and Asking Alexandria.
After interviewing Love & Death's JR Bareis, I was lucky enough to avoid the insane line up outside the Sound Academy that had started since early in the day. It has been two years since Korn last visited Toronto but this visit was noticeably different with the official return of Brian "Head" Welch on guitar.
Fans crowded the venue, giving the promise of a sweaty night as Love & Death stepped on stage to open up the night. Many fans were surprised to see Welch fronting the opening band and as word spread, smokers and stragglers came forward to get a better look. Love & Death ripped right into a headbanging riff with Welch whipping those dreads around and throttling the mic stand. Eighteen year old guitarist JR Bareis acted like a seasoned musician as he shredded, headbanged and demanded more from the crowd. Love & Death hit their top tracks "Paralyzed," "Chemicals" and "Meltdown" with everyone grooving to their sound. Bassist Michael Valentine was sporting some sort of head mask which enhanced the already dramatic performance of the band. Love & Death topped off their performed with a heavy rendition of "Whip it" which sounded more like a Korn song than a Devo song.
Asking Alexandria raged on stage next with an energetic Metalcore sound. Vocalist Danny Worsnop has equally powerful vocals whether he is screaming or singing and seems to do either without much effort. The pit was stirred up and fans started sweating up front as Asking Alexandria ripped into "Don't Pray For Me." Asking Alexandria encouraged fans to go wild as they moved around stage. Even drummer James Cassell stood up to encourage fans to jump. Their uniformed cut off black vests made it hard to keep track of who was where but its nice to see a band really work the stage. The only set back was when Worsnop repeatedly called out "Montreal" to the Toronto venue without realizing his error. But it made for a very entertaining and heartfelt apology as he genuinely looked like he felt like an asshole. The crowd seemed very forgiving and still went wild for "Killing You" and the end of their set.
Fans started screaming as Korn's unique set up was unleashed. I think a few fans wet themselves as Jonathan Davis's one-of-a-kind H.R Giger Mic stand was unveiled. As Korn filed out onstage, their dreads flew as they reeled into "Blind." Their performance was simply intoxicating. Whether you were focused on Davis’ groove and moved to his singing, or you were watching bassist Reginald Arvizu creep around on stage and slap the shit out of his bass Korn gave that unique performance that has made them famous.
All heads were bowed in head banging unison for "Love and Meth." Even the caged fans that lined the back of Korn's stage were rocking out to the catchy beat. Though I was a tad concerned when Davis had to take breaks to breath through an oxygen mask, he still broke out his bagpipes very nonchalantly for the intro of "Shoots and Ladders." Korn seemed complete as Munkey and Head has a friendly little back and forth on stage and Davis laughingly pulled a piece of straggling tape off Head's arm. Finally the band is back together and no animosity could be detected.
Fans were set off to groove, dance or headbang as Korn played "Coming Undone." Someone must have been grooving a little too hard because at some point a bra was thrown on stage and displayed for a few songs on Davis's Giger mic stand. Newer songs like "Never Never" were played in between Korn classics like "Did My Time" and "Y'all Want A Single" with the entire Sound Academy singing the catchy "y'all want a single, say fuck that!/tuck that!" Fans were treated to Korn's cover of "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd and an encore of "Get Up!" and the all time classic "Freak On a Leash." Though this was a concert where no matter where you were you had to fight for your spot, it was well worth the fight and no one left without a little sweat.