Live Review: Korn Rocks the Eagle’s Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI

October 2nd, 2015 marked the day of Korn returning to the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their self titled debut album; an album that has since gone double platinum, after their recording label said they would be lucky to sell 90,000. To help them kickoff the night, Korn invited Islander and Suicide Silence to warm up the crowd.

Islander took the stage first a little after 7:30 to get the night started. It was my first time seeing Islander and I looked forward to what kind of show they would give. With just one album out, they didn’t have much material to work with and played just six or seven songs. Though much of the crowd was standing off to the sides and socializing, the fans there to see them specifically were more than pumped. By the end of the set, Islander put on a good show, but they were very much reminiscent of the Deftones, which can be good or bad, depending on your tastes.

When Suicide Silence entered the ballroom, the place was beginning to fill up nicely. Know for their ferocity on stage, they came out with a bang and kept the crowd going with no down time. As expected of a deathcore band, the classic mosh pit was a noticeable sight, but nothing that continued very long. Not having much knowledge of the band, I asked a guy after their set, who was wearing their shirt, what he thought. Clearly intoxicated when he responded, I finally got an answer after a few minutes of rambling. After seeing them several times, he said that it has never been the same for him after the death of lead vocalist Mitch Lucker – this sentiment was shared by our resident death metal expert, Tom Callahan.

Up next, the show I’ve been waiting all day for… Korn. 9:20 pm, ten minutes before they officially slated to hit the stage the crowd opened up with chants of “Korn! Korn! Korn!” By 9:25 pm the floor begins to rumble with the stomping of feet. The anticipation could literally be felt and heard throughout the venue. 9:33 pm and the simple taps on the cymbal can barely cut through the crowds cheering. As the guitars began, Jonathan Davis emerged from the backstage and asked a few symbol words that the crowd asked in unison; “Aree youu READYY?!” The final act then exploded into the hit song ‘Blind.’

As Korn rocked the Eagles Ballroom, I took notice of the stage setup finding it simple but enough – their album art hung as the backdrop; the drum kit was set up on a riser; eight amber lights mounted on the wall behind them beamed down upon them; and about twelve “interrogation” style lights hung from the middle of the stage.

From the moment the show started, Korn blitzed through their set with very little breaks in between and no commentary. Though I enjoy the intimate small talk, this is something I’ve come to expect from them. Small talk or not, the crowd was on fire with two mosh pits going constantly throughout the show. What caught me off guard was a couple of guys doing mosh angels – you know, like snow angels…just in a mosh pit. If this was your first time hearing Korn, you would have thought all of these songs were number one hits with how the fans were singing along with Davis without fail. To make this spectacular show all the sweeter, the infamous bagpipes preceding ‘Shoots and Ladders’ made an appearance. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be heard too well over the crowd. But, the fact that they were even used live was pretty awesome.

Following the completing of their debut album, Korn left the stage, but after some chanting from the crowd they returned went on to play a handful of their later hits such ‘Falling Away From Me,’ ‘Here to Stay,’ ‘Coming Undone,’ ‘Did My Time,’ and of course, ‘Freak on a Leash.’ Needless to say, these songs went over just as well as the first set, if not better.

After 20 years in the business, Korn still knows what the people want when it comes to a live show. Hopefully this tour will be an influence on their next album. If so, I’m stoked!

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