Saturday Night: Korn At Verizon Wireless Theater
Photos by James Bricker
Apparently, the members of Korn are of the mentality that if you can't beat 'em, you join 'em. And not in a sheepish, let's-get-in-line-behind-these-trendsetters way. No, no. They have the ability to see what's working for others and capitalize on it while stepping to the front of the line. Saturday night was proof of that.
The first few songs were old-school. No big lights, no fluff of any kind, just bass heavy '90s era nu-metal. But eventually, Korn got down to business, shutting off almost all the lights onstage and throwing glow sticks out into the crowd.
The womp womp was looming.
Watching middle-aged white men with dreadlocks hop around stage while dubstep blares in the background is a sight to be seen. After hearing the first two singles off their upcoming, dupstep-infused project -- "Narcissistic Cannibal" and "Get Up" -- we were curious to see how Korn would handle their live performance. And they didn't disappoint.
Vocalist Jonathan Davis' voice wasn't as good as we've heard before, but it was good enough to appease the masses in attendance at Verizon Wireless Theater. Though, we should note that a decent number of fans seemed to have retreated to the back of the crowd as the dubstep portion began. There, they sipped their beers while eyeing the stage with looks of disdain, obviously unimpressed with the new direction Korn have decided to take.
Fittingly, the dubstep portion of the show incorporated an eccentric light show as the crowd packed itself tightly and began to dance. Many enthusiasts are going to have a problem with Korn's new sound. It's still the grungy, bass-heavy, percussion-driven, '90s-era rock that fans have come to know and love, but it has a new element now. It has a new layer in between it all, but it isn't hoaky, gimmicky or a novice attempt. Korn have been around long enough to know that if you're going to incorporate something new, you'd better do it right. And they've done that, layering their new songs with just enough dubstep that it can't be ignored but not so much that it overpowers their already established sound.
Near the end of the show, the dubstep ended as Korn finished its set with a cover of "Another Brick in the Wall" and, as per usual, a performance on the bagpipes from Davis. He didn't do anything fancy on the pipes, but the fact that he had the lung capacity and the strength to play them after an hour of jumping and screaming was impressive in itself.
Besides, the bagpipes aren't so much a musical instrument as they are a measure of a person's intoxication. Put the stick in your mouth, put the bag under your arm, blow and squeeze respectively and if you can make sound come out, you aren't drunk. At least, that's what we've been told.
We can't help but wonder how long Korn will keep up this pretense. The sound works, but will this be more than a one-album venture? Probably not. So enjoy it while you can.
Personal Bias: Honestly, we're kind of excited for Korn's new album. And yes, we like Limp Bizkit too. But we swear it's only for nostalgic reasons!
Overheard in the Crowd: A white woman saying the word "Papi." Huh?
Random Notebook Dump: A few fans obviously hadn't heard any of Korn's new material, because when the dubstep portion began, a few of their faces were absolutely priceless.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.