Rob Zombie & Korn Pile On the Gore at The Woodlands

Rob Zombie, Korn, In This Moment
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 3, 2016

True metal fans all dressed in black and mostly suffering from heat exhaustion gathered at the Woodlands Pavilion in the middle of the week to blow off a lot of steam. Sweat dripped down everyone’s tattoos as they attended Korn and Rob Zombie's "Return of the Dreads," one of the summer's most anticipated shows.

The nu-metal scatman himself, Korn's Jonathan Davis, took the stage as the crowd screamed and the lights slowly broke through production fog. Three songs into the set, the longest-lasting nu-metal group looked polished on "Rotting In Vein" from upcoming album The Serenity of Suffering. Davis wasted no time singing, screaming and scatting into a silver metallic mike stand designed as a woman grabbing her head in classic angst. The sound at the Pavilion was on point and crystal clear even with Davis’s consistent growls and mumbled scatting.

The largest crowd reaction came when Davis broke out the bagpipes during the opening of “Chutes and Ladders," a demonic look in his eyes as he stared into the crowd. Fans continued to grow louder as they transitioned into the classic Metallica chorus of "One.” The bass and catapulting drums were so incredibly dense, but just when you thought fans couldn’t become any more ear-busting, "Are you ready?!?" came screaming from the PA as the beginning of "Blind." The squelch of the guitar and the grooving thumps of Fieldy’s glow-in-the-dark bass strings had the lawn moving in waves for the final two classic hits, “Got the Life” and “Freak on a Leash.” Fans who mostly came to see Rob Zombie got a bonus for sure.

Also coming off a brand-new album, The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser, Rob Zombie and crew — longtime bandmates Ginger Fish and guitarist extraordinaire John 5 — slaughtered through an hour-plus worth of classic and new material. So much mayhem goes on during a Rob Zombie show; coming as it does from a legendary horror-film director, you can only imagine the stage setup. The multiple risers with various lighting patterns, Nosferatu mike stands, comic-style demon heads, and a huge “Dead City Radio” cassette tape played in the oversize boom box (brand name: "Satan-o-Sonic") are just a few of the items strategically placed around his madman’s playground.

In addition to bassist Piggy D., more of Zombie’s playmates joined in on the fun, like the gigantic silver futuristic robot from his popular videos. And don’t forget Satan himself. A larger-than-life Lucifer hovered around the stage a good eight feet taller than any other human looking at him. The theatrics of the show were simply incredible.

The band played crisp and sounded spot-on as well. Zombie’s dance moves were fantastic. His black-fringed bell-bottom suit only accentuated his karate kicks and James Bond intro sequence-moves. Midway through the show, Zombie hopped down into the packed pit during “More Human Than Human” and continued to sing the song as he slowly traversed the length of the pit interacting with fans. After getting back onstage, he declared that the “hardest motherfucker down here was that eight-year-old kid with the mohawk!”

You can’t have a Rob Zombie show without having at least a small rant. “I've given you 30 years. Give me three minutes. Put your fucking phones up.” He had John 5 stop playing the initial riffs of “Thunderkiss ’65” twice because people pulled their phones out. Finally he got the entire crowd clapping and slammed home the classic White Zombie hit before finishing the night with Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band” and old-school exotic dancer favorite “Dragula.”

So, How Were the Openers? Metal band In This Moment feature Maria Brink as their front woman. They are quality musicians, and definitely use Brink’s sexuality to give their lyrical content some extremely sharp teeth. Just like Zombie’s show a bit later, their hour-long set was just as theatrical, only on a smaller scale as Brink and her creepy/sexy dancers changed costumes for every song. Interestingly, two of the venue’s security team faced the stage smack-dab in the middle of the show. They looked like a couple of pervs just ogling the attractive lead singer, but it was said they were there in case she fell off the stage.

Personal Bias: I liked Korn and Rob Zombie back in the day. White grease paint and dreadlock dandruff covered my lens at one point during the show. It looked like a reverse snow globe. It cleaned off easily and I’m more of a fan now.

The Crowd: A bunch of "Gore Whores" (see Rob Zombie’s song; it’s a compliment). Surprisingly, there were only two children. The rest of the kids were reportedly eaten by the bands at the earlier meet and greets.

Overheard In the Crowd: There were at least 20 instances of people talking about seeing the newly released trailer for Zombie’s upcoming frightening movie 31.
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Jackson is a freelance photographer and writer covering a variety of music and sporting events in the Houston area. He has contributed to the Houston Press since 2013.
Contact: Jack Gorman