Slipknot + Suicidal Tendencies
Alexandra Palace, London
9th February, 2016
Review and Photography: Michelle Murphy
As thousands of fans descend upon Alexandra Palace the atmosphere is electric. Fans wait in the freezing cold in the longest queue I’ve ever seen but that does nothing to dampen their spirits, the crowd breaks into song – a hundred metallers at the top of their voices give a full rendition of “Left Behind” is something special. Once you’re though the doors, Ally Pally has everything you need for a great night, countless food outlets, acoustic bands playing before the bands start, bars and pubs a plenty.
Tonight’s opening act SIKTH (3/5) were a late addition to the bill, but there was never any danger of them playing to an empty room as the queue snaked around the building long before doors opened. Those lucky enough to get in out of the cold and see their set weren’t disappointed as the band tore through a half hour performance which reminded everyone just how good this band were.
One of the pioneers of progressive metal around 10-15 years ago, Sikth had until recently been on hiatus but any signs of rustiness weren’t evident as they ripped through a short sharp set that was eagerly received by the home town crowd.
With everyone suitably in the mood now they weren’t kept waiting for long before California cross over masters SUICIDAL TENDENCIES (3/5) took to the stage and ripped the roof off of the Alexandra Palace.
ST dug deep into their back catalogue tonight with only 1 of their 8 songs tonight coming from 2013’s 13 album, everything else was pre-2000 and in fact half the set was pre-1990, giving old school fans a chance to relive the bands glory days from the peak of their powers as kings of hardcore thrash.
It wasn’t just older ST fans that enjoyed the set tonight though, from the diehard fans on the barrier, to the frenetic pit that filled the middle of the floor to those sipping a beer at the back of the venue the room was a sea of banging heads, flying hair and raised fists.
The chants of ST!! ST!! ST!! ST!! rang out long after the band finished closing track, ‘Pledge Your Allegiance’ and only stopped to become a unified roar as 2 large red curtains enveloped the stage with 2 spot lights picking out the giant tribal S logos synonymous with tonight’s headliners.
1.You Can’t Bring Me Down
2. Ain’t Gonna Take It
3. Possessed to Skate
5. Who’s Afraid?
6. Cyco Vision
6. How Will I Laugh Tomorrow
6. Pledge Your Allegiance
With a stage set up as complex as SLIPKNOT’S (5/5) is, it was inevitable that there would be a delay, so when the house lights went down for the last time, the deafening noise that went up from the sold out crowd was as much about relief that the wait was finally over as much as it was the excitement of what was about to happen.
With the terrible way that 2016 has started it was almost inevitable that there would be some sort of tribute to one of the many fallen greats that had passed on in the last 6 weeks or so, but I don’t think many in attendance would have expected David Bowies Ashes to Ashes to come pulsing out of the PA before normal order was resumed and Be Prepared for Hell signalled the madness to come.
As the intro ended and the band took their places on stage, the curtains were pulled a side to reveal the Iowan metallers in all their glory with various risers and ramps combined with flame pots and a giant video screen back drop all to ensure maximum chaos on stage.
For all the calls that Slipknot have mellowed in recent years it’s not until you see them live again that you remember just how visceral they can be. With a set list covering all five of their albums tonight is a true celebration of their music. From the fast paced ferocity of ‘Eyeless’ to the more chilled (but no less dark) ‘Dead Memories’ and everything in between, Slipknot didn’t put a foot wrong all night. With punishing renditions of ‘Everything Ends’ and ‘Psychosocia’l being real highlights in the second half of the set.
Corey Taylor proved once again why he is considered one of the best front man in metal today as he prowled the stage spitting lyrics down the microphone in a style that is unmistakably his own. His ability to control a crowd and have them eating out of the palm of his hand is quite possibly second to none.
Drummer Jay Weinberg has some pretty big shoes to fill behind the kit but he is clearly settled into his role and storms through the set like he has been there all along.
DJ Sid Wilson might not be leaping off of balconies into the crowd anymore but he is no less manic on stage, covering every square inch of the stage at full pace dropping off of risers into his booth in perfect time to take his place in any given song.
Percussionists Shaun “Clown” Crahan and Chris Fehn have their traditional scissor lift risers that elevate them 10 feet above the stage as they rotate which adds to the dynamic nature of both these performers.
The guitar trio of Mick Thomson, Jim Root and new bassist Alessandro Ventuella are all towering monoliths of power rarely moving from their starting points but still putting on a full bore heavy metal show. While samples man Craig Jones stands at the back of the stage in his one world like a foreboding harbinger watching everything but never reacting.
Midway through the show, Corey hands over vocal duties to the crowd for the iconic ‘Wait and Bleed’ and the anthemic ‘Duality’ which both bring out the voices of the packed out room whilst Clown, in full court jester mode by now, slams his baseball bat into a beer keg with all the flair of a Major League baseball player swinging for a home run.
Despite having so many fan favourites that they could play tonight, Slipknot still manage to pull out a fresh track from their back catalogue. Tonight sees the band perform the English debut of a track from 2001’s Iowa album, as ‘Metabolic’ gets a rare outing, before they close out the set with a brutal version of ‘(sic)’.
No Slipknot show would be complete without a crushing encore and tonight is no exception. After the briefest of departures the band return and launch straight into the iconic ‘Surfacing’. With its shredding guitar work and sing along chorus it’s clear to see why this track has been a staple of the Slipknot show since day one.
After a thunderous rendition of ‘Left Behind’, it’s time to end the night on a high as Corey invites London to go down in history one more time with Slipknot which can only mean one thing, it’s time to ‘Spit!! It!! Out!!’ When the song reaches its climax and all (except the crowd who are bellowing out the lyrics and Mick Thomson’s guitar chugging out that now legendary riff) goes quiet everyone knows what’s coming next. With minimal prompting the entire crowd crouches done eagerly anticipating Corey’s command so that when he reaches his queue and barks out his order to “JUMPTHEFUCKUP!!” the assembled masses do so in unity ensuring that tonight does indeed go down in history and total chaos.
(Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie song))
1. Be Prepared for Hell
2. The Negative One
6. I Am Hated
7. Dead Memories
8. Everything Ends
10. Wait and Bleed
12. The Devil in I
16. Left Behind
17. Spit It Out
(Till We Die)