Review: Korn at the Fillmore Auditorium, 2/28/12

Categories: Last Night

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Eric Gruneisen
Korn last night at the Fillmore Auditorium. See more pics in the full Korn at the Fillmore slide show.


KORN @ FILLMORE AUDITORIUM | 2/28/12

The most distracting element of any modern Korn concert is not the spectacle. It's not Fieldy's glow-in-the-dark bass or Jonathan Davis' epileptic writhing or the fact that, completely confident and decked in all black, the nu metal foursome looks like a pack of reggae mermaids. It's not the size of the turnout, which, if not sold out, must have been pretty damn close. It's not the dubstep pretensions breaking into and winking through half the songs on the setlist. No, the single most upsetting and validating aspect of the entire show is the oxygen tank Davis has smuggled in, stowed next to the drumset and continues to fervently inhale from.

Because as much as you want your rockstars infallible, you want even more to emulate them -- and at last night's fist-pumping, ear-ravaging Korn circus at the Fillmore, it was hard to breathe. Other than Davis himself, those of us who were struggling came from two distinct camps of Korndom: Die-hard lifers (easily distinguished by the lighters they packed for the encore and their massive merch collections, which they modeled in their entirety) and the dupstep drones (distinguishable by their lack of tattoos and their guttural groans when opener Kill the Noise had the audacity to cover a Skrillex song).

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Eric Gruneisen
Korn last night at the Fillmore Auditorium. See more pics in the full Korn at the Fillmore slide show.

The mix is an impressive if loaded mouthful when applied to Korn's legacy, particularly when you consider why it's so easy for the guys to disappoint in 2012. Because it is. When Davis and company took to the stage, it was on-time and without pretension, a decision in direct contrast to most of the segues between songs, when the band had to be coaxed by applause between mysterious chords indistinguishable as either intros or outros. Davis and crew, dressed like either lovable pirates or mall-shopping Korn fans, wasted little time addressing the audience before launching into a setlist obviously organized to both sate appetites and fill seats.

After traveling through lesser-loved tracks such as "Lies" and "No Place to Hide," they barreled through the five requisite tracks from their December album, The Path of Totality. (Of the entire catalog, the night's most popular lyric had to be "Get Up!"'s "Shut the fuck up, get up!" For best results, drench yourself in sweat, lurk uncomfortably close to a crowd of strangers, and repeat ad nauseum.) "Chaos Lives In Everything," with its overwhelming nod to the genre Korn now insists it created, cued such bittersweet and sour overtones that one man, seated in a wheelchair in the balcony for most of the show, briefly stood up to freak out.

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Eric Gruneisen
Korn last night at the Fillmore Auditorium. See more pics in the full Korn at the Fillmore slide show.

But it was at this point of the show, ten songs in, that roughly 80 percent of the crowd first heard any of the songs that they came for. Without the blinders of uberfandom, the setlist made sense: As Davis slithered across the stage and shouted new lyrics into his silver mike, decorated with a naked woman so that it looks like the world's largest and most PG-13 Oscar statue, the tension he emoted grew distinctly seductive.

Even as we waited to start caring, Davis covered the stage like a skinnier Axl Rose in baggier pants. Although it was unclear how much effort new drummer Ray Luzier put in across the band's hour-and-a-half set, his efforts were raised -- and dramatic -- on a platform over the stage. Just in case we neglected to mention it, Fieldy's bass strings glow, and they are played with the level of schizophrenic proficiency that is rabidly technical.

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Eric Gruneisen
Korn last night at the Fillmore Auditorium. See more pics in the full Korn at the Fillmore slide show.

But after waiting through Kill the Noise, a cheesy if dedicated wubstepper who worked with Korn on Totality, the mystique of live Korn crumbled early, replaced instead by the realizations that only roughly half of this still works. While Davis' thrash vocals still cut the crap and the soundsphere with all the visceral alarm that they have always invoked, for example, his real singing voice is more settled-down than unsettling, a friendly knock-off distilled into crowd banter like "We want you to have an incredible fucking (cue thrash voice) NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHTT."

But because "Korn has been a band eighteen motherfucking years," and because they remind you of it by referring to themselves in the third person, and because both halves of the audience heard at least four songs that they wanted to, the show still ended as a dialed down-success. But the ridiculous nature of the affair, the mistake in melding two worlds, was clearest at the close. After navigating through a murky Pink Floyd cover ("Another Brick in the Wall"), Davis introduced the bagpipes for encore opener "Shoots and Ladders."

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Eric Gruneisen
Korn last night at the Fillmore Auditorium. See more pics in the full Korn at the Fillmore slide show.

With lighters overhead, bagpipes in the air, textbook creepy light show up front, every last drop of beer was flung, spilled or chugged the second Davis shrieked "Are you ready?" When Korn ended the show, one song over a decent fifteen, the overall effect was that the guys had done what we paid them to. Because in the past few years, they've done what they wanted to -- claiming dubstep, reinventing it, embracing alter egos, repackaging their back catalog into a four-chapter concert textbook. In 2012, maybe the best way to see Korn is just to listen to the lyrics and "Shut the fuck up, get up!"

Location Info

Map

Fillmore Auditorium

1510 Clarkson St., Denver, CO

Category: Music


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13 comments
AINEXAGE666
AINEXAGE666

I WANT THE ORIGINAL 5 KORN MEMBER REUNION SHOW!  THAT WOULD BE EPIC !

Loveskylemonster
Loveskylemonster

I was front row center at this show. My mind was fkn blown. No 1 left standing was awesome as hell, they got everybody pumped. Kill the noise was great as always however I was sad he didn't play hey you, tis my favorite. And then there was korn. Holy shit they fkn rocked it! Absolutely amazing! At the end of the night I had been punched kicked and spit on cuz people wanted my spot in the front, but my bruises that still haven't quite faded are more than worth the awesome epic experience this show was.

Tjrogers1513
Tjrogers1513

Whoever wrote this is obviously from what I call the generation of no appreciation. Ya know the one that thinks britney spears and Justin beiber are talented. Korn is comprised of artists with substance, something I doubt you are familiar with. And because they HAVE survived 18 grueling years being criticized by assholes like you I suggest you show a little respect and pray you don't have make such an ass of yourself on your next prestigious pencil criticizing job. Regardless if you are a fan understand and respect their artistry. They touch lives far deeper and with a far purer heart than you will ever dream of being compared to. Anyone that draws a paycheck from insulting a major force of our culture should seriously take a deep look at their life and re-evaluate their purpose. It's a respect thing. And even if they did put on a shitty show one night I can still respect them because they have earned that. Buy after reading one of your shitty reviews I guarantee you don't deserve the same respect. You see, in case you weren't aware they are humans just like u and me. Now think about their accomplishments and compare them to yours. Then do the right thing next time and give a fair review. Jerk.

Jessemusselman
Jessemusselman

To the westword: Maybe if you fucking dumbass inbread selfs would listen to more stuff like Korn, instead of JUSTIN Bieber/ or American Idol crap, then maybe you would know what the fuck you were talking about!! Fucking Assclown's!!

LMH
LMH

Sweet photo's too bad I missed this...

guest
guest

Eric Gruneisen and Kelsey Whipple are fucking idiots, and this is the worst concert review I have ever read! Complete waste of 5 minutes of my life. It figures Westword would pick the 2 most incompetent dip shits to write the review. It was a great show, and the set list catered to both old and new fans - something a band that has been around for 18 years should do!

Amber Taufen
Amber Taufen

Korn covering Pink Floyd?!

No. Just...no.

Bree Davies
Bree Davies

What I want to know is, how does one cover a Skrillex song? This concept sounds amazing/horrible. 

Jr143420
Jr143420

I was at the filmore last night and Korn was fuckin awsome. To all the Korn haters FUCK YOU ALL!!!

Rusty Shackleford
Rusty Shackleford

But because "Korn has been a band eighteen motherfucking years,"

Which is exactly seventeen and one half motherfucking years too long...

 brent
brent

I agree! I am an old fart of 53 and I first saw Korn in Chicago 1995, and in there hometown of bakerfield, CA 2000. Korn kicks ass. I would love too see them in Indianapolis soon.

Lovrskylemonster
Lovrskylemonster

Were you there? Cuz it was a more than adequate rendition. In fact it rocked. Stfu

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