September 9th(Tampa, FL)
As hurricane Dorian churned off the Florida’s Atlantic coast for what seemed like an eternity, a whole different storm was brewing in Tampa, as The Knotfest Roadshow was blowing into town. For those that were too busy with the Weather Channel, Knotfest Roadshow is the brainchild of the band Slipknot. With the success of their legendary Knotfest Festivals, they decided to pack things up, grab some great bands and hit the road for some twenty plus dates. Performing along side them would be Behemoth, Gojira, and Volbeat.
As this was to be the only stop in Florida for the Roadshow, all of Slipknots rabid fans were hanging to every word that all the weathermen were saying and praying for their favorite spaghetti model to help steer Dorian away. Fast forward to midway through hard rock titan Slipknots set, lead singer Corey Taylor told the crowd “There was no way any f***ing way a hurricane was keeping us from f***ing coming down here”. For everyone that did make it there, they got to see exactly why Slipknot is arguably the number one hard rock band, if not THE top rock band in the land. With their latest release We Are Not Your Kind the top album on all the charts, this is all the proof you need to see how big they are. So much for rock being dead! When the curtain emblazoned with their logo was sucked up into the rafters and the band hit the stage in their trademark jumpsuits and masks, all the pent up energy from days of wondering if the show would go on was released in one deafening roar. There was no easing into this show when they fired off a high octane version “People = Shit”. With his growl in full force, lead singer Corey Taylor was clearly a more powerful force than some storm just off the coast. He isn’t just a one trick pony that is all growl, he can really sing, and he proved it on their latest hit “Unsainted” off their new album. While most bands that have a new album out, they will lean heavily on it when out on tour. But not Slipknot. Tonight, the only other song they played from We Are Not Your Kind was “Solway Firth”. The rest of the night was filled with songs from across their twenty year career, including some of their biggest hits like “Before I Forget”, “Vermillion”, “Wait And Bleed”, and “Duality”. As Corey Taylor referenced the hurricane he said “I know a lot of people f***ing chickened out because they weren’t sure if the storm was going to be here. Well you tell those mother***ers what they missed” and that was visually one of the most exciting shows out there. With virtually all nine members of the band prowling a multi-level industrial stage, except for new drummer Jay Weinberg, and keyboardist Craig Jones, there was no shortage of action. Whether it was pyro or percussionist Shawn Crahan beating on a metal can with a flaming bat, every bit of the barely coordinated cacophony on stage matched the fierce level of musicianship that the band delivered to their adoring fans. There was no doubt that in the days following there be a lot of people kicking themselves for missing this.
Proceeding Slipknot were a trio of bands that could easily be headlining their own tours. The first of which was Behemoth. These lords of dark metal hailing from Poland are known for a show filled with demonic imagery, smoke and fire. To have a band like this kick things off during the daytime would normally never happen. But this is after all the Roadshow and having them kick things off makes a statement that this is not just another tour with your usual opening bands. Lead singer Nergal growled and snarled his way though an all too short seven song set. Before performing “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” Nergal showed up on stage brandishing two flaming rods, which gave the fans a great taste of the performance that they are capable of.
Normally following up a band like Behemoth is no easy feat. But the French powerhouse Gojira was more than cut out for the task. Equally as heavy as Behemoth, minus the theatricality, they filled the Amphitheatre with their sonic assault. Singer and guitarist Joe Duplantier were effortless in switching back and forth between his singing and blazing guitar work. Of course, they played their hit song “Stranded” which sounded every bit as good as the recorded version. Then again, the same could be said about all the eight songs they performed for the crowd. Speaking of the crowd, drummer Joe Duplantier was so busy tossing his sticks out to lucky fans that he said he was running low and asked if anyone had two to toss one back to him!
The last of the opening bands was Danish rockers Volbeat. While Behemoth and Gojira had the heavy end of things covered, Volbeat was positively lighthearted by comparison. But don’t mistake that as being the odd man out, their brand of boogie rock was equally powerful. While they were on stage, they were all smiles and looked they were having the times of their lives, but don’t be fooled they were all business too. Their set was a veritable murderer’s row of hit after hit. They played everything from “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” to “Seal The Deal”. Before kicking of their performance of “Slaytan”, they teased the fans by playing the beginning of Slayers “Raining Blood” only to stop after a few seconds and tell the audience “You Wish!”. That wasn’t the only tease they had in store. After an acoustic guitar was setup on stage lead singer Michael Poulson whipped up his best Johnny Cash and played a snippet of “Ring Of Fire”, then segued into “Sad Man’s Tongue”.
Every year hurricanes come and go. But it isn’t often that Slipknot goes out on tour, let alone with three other bands that could headline a tour. While thankfully hurricane Dorian will just be a footnote on this day, Knotfest Roadshow would leave indelible memories on every person that packed into the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre.
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre: