May 3, 2009 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
3 INCHES OF BLOOD started off the show with a bang. Their shredding and dynamic sound that we know as 3 INCHES OF BLOOD caught our attention right away. Opening up with “Deadly Sinners”, the attack began. Their melodies sounded excellent, and the band’s energy sure kept the crowd involved. Seeing the full scale arena of the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI, it was great to see both people on the floor and in the seats headbanging away. Oh, and when those guitars harmonized, metal was reeking all throughout the venue. Playing many more choice cuts of both older classics to newer material, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD kept it coming. One awesome standout point was when the band played “Night Marauders” off of their latest 2007 Roadrunner Records release, Fire Up The Blades. They sure fired up the blades, because the energy they put out is the same energy that carried onto the audience. From the constant gallops of the guitars, Byron Stroud’s pounding rhythm (touring bassist – also known for work in Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory), or Cam Pipes near perfect live vocal delivery, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD really brought the heat.
Label: Roadrunner Records
The almighty DEVILDRIVER opened with the raw and straight in your face metal attack of “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”. Setting the crowd up for destruction, DEVILDRIVER unleashed the hell with the aggression of the undeniable verse riffs. Man, the way vocalist Dez commanded the crowd is incredible. The whole band killed the stage with such integrity and you can just tell that they love what they are doing, and could care less about the media, radio, etc. The band had their fighting words, and we had their backs. Moving along, the band jumped into another one of their killer singles, “Clouds Over California”. The whole crowd seemed to know the words, as we were all helping DEVILDRIVER sing along. When the guitar solo for “Clouds Over Califonia” came into play, our shred for me fingers all came up for the band. Not slowing down once, the intro sample to “End Of The Line” began and we knew something big was about to happen. Once the band broke loose into the brutal and uncompromising riff of the intro, the crowd went absolutely nuts! All throughout, DEVILDRIVER kept us hooked. Dez even got the whole crowd chanting, “End of the line!!” with him. DEVILDRIVER closed with their anthem “Meet The Wretched”, and let us know that they were here for us. This is also when the massive DEVILDRIVER circle pit formed, and all sorts of hell broke loose. Closing “Meet The Wretched” on such a strong moment, DEVILDRIVER sure left their mark. Much respect!! And make sure you look out and buy their new album Pray For Villains which is coming out this summer on Roadrunner Records…
Label: Roadrunner Records
First off, I must say that EVERYONE should give a hand to SLIPKNOT for their success, because they’ve created an enormous gateway for many other heavy bands who one might not normally listen to, and now do. Plus, the band continues to keep it brutal, real, and metal as fuck! Even their hit singles now-a-days are some of the catchiest ever, and the band still makes their music the way they want to play it. 2009 is the strongest year for SLIPKNOT so far, and it also marks the 10 year anniversary of their classic self-titled Roadrunner Records release. Many people do not understand what the band is all about, which takes us to the saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, or “you can’t judge a band by their masks”. SLIPKNOT’s musical direction is an extremely powerful form of expression, life, and it’s all straight from the heart! Out of all the media/idiots trying to bring the band down, no one will EVER take SLIPKNOT alive!!
Now let’s talk about why it is mandatory to see SLIPKNOT live at least once in your lifetime. Once the red curtain dropped, the stage consisted of incredible lighting, numerous SLIPKNOT banners, the keg drums on spinning and elevating platforms, Joey Jordison’s drum set on a spinning and elevating platform, incredible scenery, and a baseball bat (for “Duality”). Giving that stage, SLIPKNOT’s live presence completely killed the whole thing!! And I swear 99.9% of the people knew every single SLIPKNOT lyric. From the sampled “The Whole Thing I Think Is Sic”, the band opened up with the brutally undeniable force of “Sic”. The whole place went completely insane, and the band’s commanding energy was unlike anything I’ve ever seen! Though the absence of Clown that night left them one member short, Clown was still in all of our hearts for SLIPKNOT did not stop getting the whole venue involved from front to back. The way guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thompson counter attack has always been amazing, but seeing them team up live was plain awesome. SLIPKNOT would go on to play many selections from each of their releases, including the completely badass “Eyeless”, “Left Behind”, and we all went psychosocial for “Psychosocial”. In the mix, vocalist Corey Taylor disappeared, only for the lights to shine his way in the center of the venue. And one hell of a vocal performance came from one of the catchiest and moving anthems of last year in “Dead Memories”. Spot on also, as Corey sang his heart out in the center of the venue while the rest of the band was still on stage. SLIPKNOT closed with the song we all love, “People=Shit”. The way they made the song so powerful live was incredible, and like about every other song they played that night, the whole crowd sung along. Hearing everyone in the room yell “PEOPLE=SHIT!!” was just beautiful.
By the way things were going; everyone knew that there was going to be an encore. And when SLIPKNOT came back to kill the stage again, the crowd went crazy. Opening the encore with the anthem “Surfacing”, everyone knew what time it was. Again with everyone singing along, this time it was the powerful message of, “Fuck it all, fuck this world, fuck everything that you stand for… Don’t belong, don’t exist, don’t give a shit, don’t ever judge me!!” Seeing SLIPKNOT play this brutal offering live was one hell of a treat, and the band members ran around with authority. Closing the encore was “Spit It Out” where SLIPKNOT let all of us Grand Rapids be a part of history. If you’ve never seen SLIPKNOT live before, seen Disasterpieces, or heard of what happens in “Spit It Out”, keep reading… Getting into the verses, the crowd was at full power jumping, running, swinging, really almost anything. We all knew when the choruses came, for the whole venue was screaming “Spit It Out”. Now, here’s the part where the band stops to only Mick’s chugging riff. This is where SLIPKNOT told us to all crouch down and prepare to jump on their signal. As we are all crouched down waiting in anticipation, finally the signal to “JUMP THE FUCK UP!” came, and I think I jumped higher than Kobe Bryant on that one. All in one explosion, the whole venue jumped up and got back to the chaos of the SLIPKNOT concert. And keeping the excitement at high, Joey Jordison and his drum set began to rise towards the ceiling, turned 90 degrees, and was blasting away while his whole drum set was facing the crowd. This was one hell of an unforgettable night, and I hope to see each band in concert again in the future.
Label: Roadrunner Records
Photography by: John Bessinger – more of his work can be seen here: http://www.mwerocks.com
Written by: Alex Gilbert