It’s Friday afternoon, the temperature is rapidly approaching zero and there is a queue outside Sheffield Arena for a show which starts in 4 hours time. Not much of a queue yet as people are still at work and school has only just finished, but the devoted Slipknot fans are out in force. The sun goes down and the shivvering begins, kids begin setting fire to their clothes to keep warm and the fans dressed in boiler suits are now the subject of envy from the crowd. Eventually 6 o’clock rolls around and the doors open, the queue has since grown much larger to that of 3 hours ago but the ‘hardcore’ Slipknot fans will be getting to the front.
Once inside the standing area it becomes obvious how heavy the show is going to be with glimpses of huge drum kits from behind the curtain and the fact that there are 18 bass bins lined up next to the stage. This is going to be loud.
Children Of Bodom – ***
The show finally begins at 7 with Alexi Laiho and his boys taking the stage. It has to be said the majority of the crowd don’t know who this band is or don’t particularly like them, nevertheless Children Of Bodom were out to prove a point. Opening on the synth-metal ridden Living Dead Beat the crowd are already jumping, perfect timing from the band throughout – especially through the keyboard/guitar solo for which Bodom are famous. Rushing straight into In Your Face is another highlight from the Are You Dead Yet album which recieves a mixed response, it seems the crowd want something heavier.
The title track from their latest album Blooddrunk never seems to end, and despite standing in awe of the tecnhicality of it all you can’t help but wonder when it will finally finish. These fans want brutal heavy metal, and they got it.
Machine Head – *****
As soon as Machine Head take the stage a barrage of double bass, electric guitar-work and powerful screaming hits you like a musical punch to the face. Which could be the sound Rob Flynn was going for to entice the crowd into going absolutely insane. During the epic Imperium no less than 4 circle pits opened up on the floor allowing Machine Head’s fans to show their ‘affection’ and that metal is alive and well in Sheffield. The high point of the flawless set however was Aesthetics Of Hate, a true thrash metal song which was blasted out in all its glory to the metal hungry fans in the crowd. Absolute pandemonium ensues with bodies being carried out constantly, some looking confused and tired others bleeding and smiling about it. Definite carnage. The set however reached a definite low point during the solo for Halo, as lead guitarist Phil Demmel passed out. Flynn and the rest of the band instantly stopped playing and went to help, he was carried offstage by band and crew members leaving the crowd in a state of shock and confusion. Flynn did appear though to inform us that they would not be able to carry on the set, but that this has happened before and it has unfortunately happened again.
Slipknot – *****
Coming onstage to AC/DC’s For Those About To Rock We Salute You could be seen as cliché but not tonight, despite the phrase being song title you know that it is truly meant by the band as this is their last UK show of the tour and have currently been away from home for 10 weeks, leaving the band ‘losing it’ to quote Corey Taylor. Despite this Slipknot are out to deliver tonight in a true onslaught of heavy metal with which opener Surfacing definitley delivers. The whole crowd screaming their lungs out with middle fingers in the air is just the beginning for the mayhem that is caused. The security at the front are no longer stood with backs to the stage watching the crowd, they’re having to push the barrier back toward the crowd to stop it being broken down. Get This is a suprise from most crowd members as the song is rarely played live and a more ‘unknown’ song from the debut album. The crowd though are loving it, telling all local bands, US bands and boy bands to “suck these nuts” is exactly what is needed to liven up the already pumped fans. New single Dead Memories was epic, not one person wasn’t singing along to the anthemic chrous. The band too were loving it, Shawn was up on his drums filming the crowd with Sid hanging off them whilst the rest of the band were thrashing around all over the place. Psychosocial was another pit starter from the Des Moines nine, the number of people being carried was increasing but all of them with huge smiles on their faces.
Another suprise song of the set was Prosthetics, another ‘unknown’ song from the debut album (which will have it’s 10th anniversary next year). Corey truly gets into the song and you can sense the emotion involved, even with the throwing of microphone stands. The older Slipknot fans screaming the lyrics far louder than the younger, plainly because they bought the album 10 years ago and realised each song was great – rather than just the popular ones. Spit It Out lead to the now infamous ‘jump the fuck up’ crowd movement (the crowd sit down on the floor, then jump up again on Corey’s signal). This lead to mayhem, people being dragged down by the more eager crowd members then flung back up again with everyone else. Sadly not everyone sat down, but in the thick of it it was literally crushing. Fan favourite Duality lead to the biggest singalong of the night, which gave everyone a bit of time to calm down after the previous event. But the tempo instantly increased with Only One, which was fuelled with such anger and raw emotion you thought Corey would start being sick. Instead before the second chorus he did a strange routine of talking in an odd voice and pointing at band members, much to the confusion of the crowd, before throwing us back into “only one of us walks away” screamed at the top of his lungs.
The encore began with the anthem of People = Shit for which the crowd again lost their minds, pits opening all over the floor and insanity all over the arena. Not one person was standing still, jumping and pumping fists whilst screaming was not an option – it just happened. The final song of the night was (sic) which was a perfect song to end on, so much brutality in one song which could have easily been used to open the set was used to finish was can only be described as amazing.
The bands tonight proved that metal is alive and well in Sheffield and the UK, and that Slipknot are as popular as ever with their latest album reaching gold status. Despite the future of Slipknot being uncertain you know that the band were happy with tonight’s performance as were the fans, everyone left smiling and covered in sweat – exactly what you’d expect from a true metal show. Bring on the 10th anniversary tour!