Aston Villa Leisure Center

May 19 1997

Hmmm. Generally disappointed, but more on that later. First lets deal with the support bands.

Limp Bizkit - this band will probably, like Coal Chamber and the Deftones, attract a fair few of the Korn crowd. They've been championed since the off by the band, Fred, the vocalist, is doing Wicked with Korn on this tour, and musically, well, the are not the same, but it's not difficult to imagine people being able to get into them. A much more rap oriented delivery in the vocals, but on first listen they sounded pretty good. They did name some of the songs, but the only one i can remember is Counterfeit. Even though it's nothing like the original, I'm not convinced by them doing a cover of George Michaels "Faith". Good for a laugh I guess, but not much more. A tricky gig to judge. It's their first UK show, and there's no material out, unless you managed to get a copy of the demo in advance. So no-one knew the stuff. As a result, the reaction wasn't great, despite Fred trying to provoke a response from people. According to them, the album is out, though I thought it wasn't due in the States until June at least, and they usually get it before us. But if it is, then from first listen, if you like Korn and the Deftones, then you'll probably get this as well. Oh yeah, and there was a reference to Suicidal Tendencies in one of the songs, and come to think of it, the delivery of Mike Muir isn't a million miles from what these guys, and a few others like them are doing. So maybe the Suicidal influence is there more than I first thought (which admittedly was zero).

Helmet - First time I've managed to see this band, and it would seem the love/hate relationship continues. I seem to go through a cycle of buying every other album by them. Meantime is great, and the new one Aftertaste is pretty damn good as well, but there's still something about them. And live it's the same. They just don't convince. It should be an energy blast, but it's not. That maybe down to not having a true frontman, I don't know. Maybe cos most of the crowd didn't seem to know anything by them, I don't know what it is. It's not helped by the bassist not even venturing to the front of the stage. Anonymous. Which is a shame, cos the stuff that I do know off Aftertaste and Meantime sounded good. But it just doesn't come through. Maybe seeing Sick of it All the other week is still in the mind, but compare the two bands live, (based on them both being of a hardcore disposition), there is no comparison. Disappointing.

And so to Korn. Like I said at the start, I was disappointed. Sure, they played well enough, but if you've seen them before since they started touring Life is Peachy, then you know everything about them live. Twisted starts, then Blind, Chi etc etc. You know that they'll stand stock still after the 'to come out' in Clown, Lowrider will segue to the bagpipes and Shoots and Ladders, where Jon will wave arms while on the pipes to get more response from the crowd. Get what I mean, the delivery is ok, but it's the same.

Ok, granted, this is the 6th time I've seen them in little over 6 months, but I just think they've got to find a little more diversity on stage. They're trying with the new stage setup, playing behind the curtain for twist, and bringing a curtain down, lighting candles before Kill You and Faget, but it looses rather than gains. The initial impact of seeing Korn was intense energy. Now the opening seemed to loose it. The five minutes it took before Kill You was Korn too much, even if there is a bass and drum 'workout' going on. It maybe them taking on the necessities of arena status or whatever they're going to, but it didn't really work. And Jon still is relatively limited in what he does, which in a small club with a short set was intense, but now, you want that little more. The one thing different, was as I mentioned earlier, them bringing out Fred from Limp Bizkit to do Wicked, and that was good, it was something different for us to see. But the rest. Munky still does his turning on the spot and whatever, Fieldy still sways with his bass, doing whatever it is he does.

And I sense the crowd was feeling similar. This was by far the least into it show I've seen. The place didn't look full, ok, that's due to it being a leisure centre, and probably like the Newport Centre at home, they say capacity when there's still lots of space, safety reasons, as opposed to the Rock City policy of, 'there's a space on the wall, we can attach someone else to that'. Also, it's a totally soulless venue, really quite crap, fairly big, but there is no atmosphere. Some places are meant for gigs, others simply exist, Guess which this one is. But the response was lukewarm. Maybe it was on off night for the band, but it just seemed like they need some new ideas to lift the set.

I don't know, how about playing Predictable again, or Helmet in the Bush, something different. Life is Peachy is a good album, but in my opinion, doesn't touch the debut. Maybe that's begining to show in the gigs. You look forward to the debut stuff, but find yourself wanting the rest of the songs of it instead, just for the variety at the moment.

Of course, they're still flavour of the month at the moment, so I'm not a true fan obviously for criticising, and I've sold them down the river. Think what you like, no band is above reproach. As good as they get, they are only ever bands. Besides, I'm trying to be constructive rather than just downright slagging. And I want to see Korn strive to bigger stuff, because I think they are talented, it's just at the moment, they seem as if they're stagnating a bit. Maybe they need time off, spend time with (for more than half the band) with their new wives and kids. Recharge and come back with something more. Like I said at the start, disappointing.