Photos by: Pedro Carrera
Words by: Wesley Vanhook
The sun was high and unforgiving over the San Bernardino hills for Knot Fest Roadshow. Anyone that’s been to the Glen Helen Pavillon knows just how hot the sun beats down. But the heat was no deterrent to the rabid maggots of Slipknot. Parking lot tailgating was in full-effect and the party was only just beginning. The gates opened and fans began pouring in for the masters of darkness Behemoth, as they were about to begin their dark ceremony.
This would be the second time I would see Behemoth touring North America in support of their latest album I Loved You at Your Darkest. The stage was set and as a banner of North America with a giant upside down cross was strewn over the stage. Behemoth then ripped into the wild track “Wolves of Siberia” and never let up, playing “Daimonos”, “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer”, and the classic “Conquer All” Behemoth showed their live show is a force to be reckoned with.
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With Behemoth setting the bar for the day, the groove monster known as Gojira raised the bar even higher. The crowd was hungrier and Gojira was poised to strike. Tracks like “Backbone”, “Stranded”, “Flying Whales”, and “Silvera” had the crowd headbanging until their necks broke.
Next up was Volbeat from Denmark. I personally thought it was a weird placement for Volbeat to be right before Slipknot but the fans were eating it up! Once the hit the stage the energy never stopped. “Sad Man’s Tongue” saw them throw in a snippet of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. But just because Volbeat was bringing the hard rock grooves didn’t mean they couldn’t bring the heavy riffs. They cut into the song “Slaytan” that oozed with Slayer influenced riffing. Oddly enough, the first mosh pits of the night happened during Volbeat’s set. A lot of people doubted the decision to put Volbeat in their slot but Volbeat proved why they got what they deserved.
Just the banner of Slipknot’s logo being risen on stage had the maggots go into a frenzy. Slipknot then exploded on stage with Iowa opener “People=Shit”. The mosh pits were intense and the crowd finally got what they came for. By the end of “(sic)”, the second song of the set, Corey Taylor stopped the show and told the crowd “back the fuck up and that nobody was going to get hurt on my watch.” Medical staff was trying to make their way to some fans who had been injured. Afterward, the set picked right up with a surprising performance of “Get This”, originally from the album Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat. and man was it great. Slipknot had the crowd eating out of their palms and were in complete control.
Slipknot’s stage set up was amazing, giant LCD screens had background animations filling in the atmosphere. Flamethrowers and fog machines added that extra oomph to accentuate their grooves. The stage was set up in two stories, giving the new percussionist “Tortilla Man”, Shawn, Sid, and Craig lots of room to get down. While James, Mick, Alessandro, and Corey had a commanding presence on the lower level. As the performance ended and the lights went up in the venue, I noticed one thing as I looked around; Unity. Slipknot is a band but at the end of the day they transcend music and become a community.