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The release of last year’s We Are Not Your Kind, Slipknot’s sixth studio album release, scored the Iowan metal pioneers a UK #1 and hailed praise from critics across the board. Come time to showcase the album in all its live glory, Corey Taylor and co. do not disappoint at their very first headline show at The O2.
When frontman Corey Taylor asks the crowd just how many saw Slipknot play at The Astoria in 1999, he’s greeted by a few thousand fans screaming back. He delivers a telling smirk. “The first time we played here was actually at The Astoria,” – a venue which held a max 2000 people – “and if you ask people, there were apparently 150,000 people at that gig. That’s horse-s**t. However, the legend of that show is what got us right here. Because you guys, you f**king believed in us so much that 20 years later, here we are in this f**king arena. You have no idea how much that means to us.”
This belief has carried Slipknot far. Even though there’s almost 20,000 people at tonight’s sold-out show, the family vibe is overwhelming. “I don’t care if you’ve been with us for 20 years, for twenty minutes, right now – this is f**king family, everyone in this f**king room,” Corey Taylor proclaims. All are rapidly immersed in the pyrotechnics, video projections, and flames, yet above all else in the ferocious riffs and Taylor’s powerful bellowing of Slipknot favourites old and new. The ominous, industrial backdrop is reminiscent of some sort of massive cage maze, and throughout the mosh-pit erupts song after song, with so much continuous movement across the crowd that the room literally looks like a bunch of… well… maggots.
With the palpable energy emanating off both the band and their fans, the short breaks in-between every three or four tracks provide a well needed respite, building the suspense ready for the next set of frenzied euphoria. Much like their sound, there’s an ebb and flow to proceedings, one that masterfully controls the evening’s atmosphere.
It all comes to a head in the encore, when heavy crowd favourites (sic) and People = Shit push the show further into and over fever pitch. Finishing off a performance as equally slick as it is frenzied arrives 1999’s Surfacing, a culmination of a show that celebrates not only the band’s history, but shines a bright fire on their future.
Slipknot show themselves at the top of their game, clearly at home in a live arena and with the power of We Are Not Your Kind behind them. If these arena shows are anything to go by, KNOTFEST UK is shaping up to be a truly epic day.
Slipknot return to the UK for a headline appearance at KNOTFEST in Milton Keynes on Saturday 22 August 2020. Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.