Review by Steven Paugh – [email protected]
Photos by Scott Preston
Knotfest Roadshow made its stop in Cincinnati June 1st at Heritage Bank Center wounded but ready.
Due to contracting Covid, Ho99o9 was sadly unable to perform. Unknown to the crowd until Slipknot’s frontman Corey Taylor told the audience later that night. The space left in the beginning of the show due to the absence of Ho99o9 was filled in with a performance by Cypress Hill’s DJ Lord, who put a hip-hop edge to many classic rock songs. This performance led very smoothly into the Cypress Hill set, which gave younger audiences and those who had not seen them a very sweet taste of what they could be at full capacity. Due to health reasons, vocalist Sen Dog was unable to perform leaving the frontman spotlight fully on B-Real. To those with little knowledge of the band however, they couldn’t tell the difference thanks to the effortlessly hype stage presence and crowd work of B-Real and the rest of the group. By the end of their set, the energy in the building had grown ten-fold with everyone of every age dancing and jumping around to a newfound band of theirs.
Slipknot’s set kicked off with a recording of Billie Jo Spears’s Get Behind Me Satan and Push, with the ending being unsettlingly mixed into the opening of Disasterpiece, perfectly encapsulating the insane and in your face performance they gave the whole night. Fans were even able to get the news that new Slipknot music was to be released soon, with the performance of their recently released track The Chapeltown Rag following the announcement made by Corey Taylor.
Throughout the show in between songs, the vibe would go from the gates of Hell opening to the world, to what felt like a speech at a family reunion. It’s known at this point how much Corey Taylor and the rest of the band sees their fans as family, and even with it being so well known, that’s not stopping Taylor from emphasizing it every chance he gets. So far as to one point stopping the show in its tracks for a medical emergency happening in the pit and urging everyone in the vicinity to clear paths for the medical staff to get to the situation easily. Thanks to the help of Taylor and nearby fans, the situation was taken care of within less than a minute and the show started right where they were as if it had never happened. Throughout the night Taylor brought it back up multiple times saying how proud he was of those that helped, giving a sense of genuineness for when he ends his shows by always saying “take care of yourselves, take care of each other”.
Slipknot is known for their outdoor festival performances, and it was interesting seeing them perform indoors. Apart from a few less pyrotechnics however, they still brought the high energy, extremely loud showcases they’re known for the world over. Going so far as to blow the left side of the speakers at Heritage Bank Center a mere two songs into their seventeen song set list. Though, that may not have been the only factor that was against them.
Whether or not the blown out speakers were the contributing factor, the acoustics of the venue seemed to have had an effect on the mix of their instruments; taking the individual sounds of each one and mushing them into a loud, almost indistinguishable mess, rather than having each instrument blend together. Cypress Hill seemed to have been able to avoid this most likely due to most of their music being prerecorded. It got to the point where if you didn’t know the songs well enough already, you may not have known what each member was playing or even saying, apart from very specific pieces of music. Perhaps it’d be in the best interest of Heritage Bank Center to look into the problem and see if it was on their end and possibly fix it if it’s the case. If not though, maybe metal acts would do better in a venue more equipped for that type of sound.
In the end, with the chaos of missing members, blown speakers, and even a medical emergency, none of the fans seemed to walk out of the show disappointed. In talking with a few fans after the show the only reactions heard were of how amazing the performances themselves were as a whole. One fan even went so far as to say that Slipknot sounded heavier than they did when they had seen them in the aughts. For many like them, they go to these shows to be with those they consider family thanks heavily to the attitudes of the bands in question. They love their fans and will keep doing what they love in honor of them, making it very clear how dedicated they are to them at every corner.