Return of the Dreads Tour: Dreadfully Entertaining (Korn, Rob Zombie, and In This Moment)

Somehow metal has a way of surviving like a cockroach.  Not your dirty hotel cockroach, though, more like something “Kafkaesque”.  Korn has never really gone away since they hit in the 90’s, Rob Zombie has stayed in the limelight from White Zombie since blowing up mainstream in 92, and In This Moment (since 2005) takes some of those influences and puts them to good use.  What that all added together makes is the sum of Return of the Dreads Tour that was a downright full on blast of great metal music with a lot of showmanship from each band.

To call In This Moment an opener is a bit of a slight, let’s just say they have not built the audience that the co-headliners have…yet.  Maria Brink has always been a beautiful temptress who blurs the lines of what many would believe a “metal singer” sounds like.  She takes that amazing voice, throws in props, wardrobe changes, grand theatrics, and of course the music to truly put together a brand.  Her guitar players, Chris Howorth and Randy Weitzel play off of one another with fluidity and flash.  What was nice about having a more open stage at First Niagara Pavilion was that the audience could see and interact with the band members more.  When ITM plays smaller venues, it is often hard to see the band and what they are doing behind the masks and makeup.  Although Brink is a show unto herself, the addition of the dancers and even the blank expression of Lord Hannibal provide that little extra that provides a memorable experience. (setlist here)

Korn and Rob Zombie have been flip flopping each night as the final performing band.  In Pittsburgh, Rob Zombie followed ITM and put on his usual jaw-dropping performance.  Zombie also employs theatrics on a grander scale with giant aliens, a dancing satan, oversized boom boxes, and tossed to the crowd massive balloons and “E.T.’s” that may or may not be anatomically correct.  Watching Rob Zombie move is a lesson in frenetic motion, he is a blur of dance, bounce, and twirl.  That guttural tone in his voice is as strong as ever, and his band mates are beyond tight.  John 5 put on his usual guitar pyrotechnics and is able to show off just a fraction of what he can do within the confines of Zombie’s genre, he may be one of the most versatile guitar players in music today.  Piggy D and Ginger Fish (bass and drums respectively) held down the beat that is an essential aspect of Zombie’s music, even when throwing in a cover such as Tone Loc‘s “Wild Thing”.  All in all, it was an amazing set with all the hits you would want to hear including some White Zombie material (“More Human Than Human” and “Thunderkiss ’65“). (setlist here)

Korn has been coming to Pittsburgh from the very beginning, playing small venues such as the defunct Metropol.  Korn have never been known to ‘phone it in’ and their performance last week was no exception.  Opening with “Right Now” from Take a Look in the Mirror, the band launched into full out dreads flying mode and set the tone from there.  Even though Korn’s brand of nu-metal may not be at the top of the charts anymore, the band is just as fresh sounding and aggressive as ever.  Pittsburgh’s very own Ray Luzier on drums has become a backbone member of the band and even though Head has been back for a few years now, he plays like someone fighting for starting position.  Korn had a little less of the theatrics to offer, but made up for it with a very tight set that included new material that definitely reminds one of their earlier work.  Davis’ voice is an instrument to itself and playing off of Munky, Fieldy, and the aforementioned Luzier and Head shows why the genre they championed is still alive and well.

All photos AWELDINGPHOTO ©2016