Korn’s return to Pittsburgh to promote The Path of Totality (featuring Skrillex) took a cue from the experienced: ‘new stuff is fine, but what we really want are the hits’. Although their opening acts of J DEVIL (Korn frontman Davis as his alter ego) and EDM artist SLUGGO stayed with their very new and profitable direction of dub step sounds, Korn knows where their bread and butter will always lay. Their set opened with a video (that was really just to set the mood) and then straight into barn-burners such as ‘Divine’, ‘Predictable’, and ‘Good God’. The crowd was intensely fired up and raucous from the get-go. The mosh pit breathed with its own fire and lifeblood to the security’s dismay. This is the kind of stuff a Pittsburgh crowd lives for and stays loyal to their favorite bands to see.
Newcomer to the group Ray Lazier is a West Newton boy and it was great to see him soaking up his hometown crowd with his family and friends. But, the rest of the Korn boys are no stranger to Pittsburgh and it’s ilk. Having spent time with Fieldy and former member Head during their Lollapalooza in ’97 (and a next week following visit to their former friends in Limp Bizkit at the Warped Tour), it is quickly acquiesced that their fans are most important. Jonathan Davis was spot on in his vocal range and produced an Energizer Bunny like performance. Sound was top notch as evidenced by the ‘second half’ of the set which ventured into the newest material. Pulling off the dub step sound, yet retaining metal funk mastery, Korn proved why they took the gamble to tweak their sound and collaborate with Skrillex. When the hit ‘Get Up’ came up in the set the audience’s heads where mimicking their heroes head throws, others moshed, and quite a few danced the night away.
The third act of the show went back to basics and churned out ‘Here to Stay’, ‘Freak on a Leash’, ‘Falling Away From Me’, and what may have been the shows highlight, their cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ from their 2004 greatest hits collection. The live version puts the studio track to shame and was stunning in sound and musicianship. Korn’s encore ‘Shoots and Ladders’, ‘Got the Life’ and of course the song that took them from Bakersfield, CA and put them on the path to fame: ‘Blind’.
It will be interesting what direction Korn takes next, but wherever their next venture leads, it is sure to be worth it to catch it live and in person. For a band that has been in the industry for as long as they have to continue to take risks, survive personnel losses and personal issues, and continue to keep their fans in mind and heart it is impressive they do not ‘mail it in’ but fight with artistic integrity to stay Kings of the Hill.
Review and photos: Alan D. Welding
photos of JDEVIL coming soon!