Have you ever gone to an amusement park or live event that was so absurd and immersive that it shifts reality a little bit? That’s how a heavy metal show is. And that’s exactly how Slipknot’s Knotfest 2019 went down.
To begin with, if you are one of those people who thing that bands like Slipknot are “hate-bands” or purposefully trying to spread violence and fear, you are awkwardly misunderstanding the whole fucking point. It’s an act. It’s all an act. From their costumes down to their lewd gestures on stage. That’s the way all metal music is. The singer gets up on stage and tells you to go fuck yourself and you cheer, because you know that it’s a shifted reality. They love you. You love them. It’s a mutually beneficial ecosystem of fans and performers. Got it? Ok then, moving on.
It’s been a salty minute since I’ve been to a concert at Starlake. Sorry, I know it has switched names more times than a hiphop artist switches partners, but I will always know it as Starlake. Who can keep up with the venue constantly switching greedy rich CEO hands? Not me.
So it’s been a while, and a lot has changed since my last visit. And by a lot, I mean the pit. They shrunk the pit. It used to be half of the area under the cover near the stage. Now it’s no wider than two rows of seats. No wonder they sold out so quickly. I was a little biffed that we couldn’t get pit tickets, but we did manage to get second row, which was just as fucking good.
God, you could see the sweat flying off of Clown’s hair. It was awesome. But we’ll get to that.
Taurus got us VIP tickets so that we could get early access to merch, booze, and a trip through the Slipknot roadshow museum. It turned out that half the booze was still locked up and the employees couldn’t access it, so oh well, so much for our early access to the good shit. We ended up drinking piss water in a can. And the merch? It was pretty decent, but we had ordered tour shirts prior to the show, so we skipped that too.
But the museum? Bitch, let me tell you…
Slipknots roadshow museum was only one trailer, but it was packed full of the coolest shit I’ve ever seen. There were masks lined on the right wall like the hall of faces from game of thrones. To the left were past instruments used to record certain albums. In the center were drawers full of media, promotional materials, and band paraphernalia. The band awards hung on the right wall. Used drum skins hung on another. And the crowning jewel of the museum, in my opinion, was right before you left. Beside the exit door hung #9, Paul Gray’s, bass guitar.
The Foreplay Bands
Everyone knows that Slipknot is the main event of Knotfest. But to get to the main event, you’ve got to be pumped up by other bands. You know, something to get your dick wet with. This year, that lineup included Behemoth, Gojira, and Volbeat. Knotfest was the first time I saw any of these bands live, and let me tell you, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
Ok, it’s not that I hate Volbeat. In the right setting they would be killer. They had a fun, very rock, very rockabilly style to their music. The thing is though…Slipknot is heavy metal. Behemoth is heavy metal. Gojira? Pretty heavy. I think perhaps Volbeat was a weird choice to place as the pump band…you know, the one who gets you ready for the main event. Some of their music was on the heavier side, but the thing that bugged me was that they just seemed like a mishmash of genres with no real direction. Were they traditional rock and roll? Were they a retro steampunk cosplay band? Were they metal? I still don’t know.
Volbeat is a good band. However, it is my personal opinion that Gojira and Volbeat should have been switched on the ticket, because Gojira went full ham. And I went full ham for Gojira. I entered that dreamy concert trance where you forget the world exists and you just melt into the sound of the bass drum and the guitar gain as you head bang your way to full body paralysis come morning.
But ok, having stated my personal opinions about the foreplay bands, let’s get right to the fucking.
This was my first time seeing Slipknot live. I grew up listening to this band. One of their first albums, self titled: Slipknot, was the very first CD I ever bought with my own money. I used to have a giant poster hanging dead center on the wall over the head of my bed. My mother was concerned, but as a rebellious teenager, I ate it up. So it goes without saying that I lost my fucking shit when they came out.
We had seats on the right hand side, right near Clown and Mick. And let me tell you. It is a full on boner experience to make eye contact with your childhood gods. Clown had never been one of my more favorite members of the band, but after last nights show, I have changed my mind. His character was played flawlessly. Just enough of a mix of creepy and crazy. The more I watched him, the more I was convinced he could have been an escapee from a mental institution. But that’s his act, dude, and I loved every second of it. Right down to the part where he jerked off his drumstick.
my hearing was blown out, I was dehydrated and exhausted, and starving…
In fact, the members were all so good at their acts that I felt that reality shift hard. First of all, I’m only used to seeing these guys on a screen, so that was a surreal experience already, and then add in the fact that my hearing was blown out, I was dehydrated and exhausted, and starving…all of it conglomerated into an out of body experience.
I didn’t exist. The world didn’t exist. The only thing that existed was the music. The only thing that existed in that hour was Slipknot.
you give them exactly what they ask you for; praise.
You get so sucked into the experience that you forget about your awkward dancing, your anxiety about throwing up your devil horns, and you just give them exactly what they ask you for; praise. You give it until you have nothing left to give, no energy left in any fiber of your being, and then you go home feeling like you’ve been hit by a mac truck, but smiling so big and so full of good vibrations that you wish it never had to end. And you ride that high for days, knowing that you connected in that moment, for just one night, with thousands of others who love the band just as much as you do.
And if that doesn’t give you a hard on, I don’t know. You might want to check your pulse.Kat