Photography by Samantha Sweeney
I have been waiting close to two decades for this concert. While I have a pretty diverse music palate, heavy metal has always had a special place in my heart. Since I was about eight years-old, Rob Zombie then KORN planted the seeds that would later turn into how I define myself, my aesthetic and, simply put, the music
hoarder snob that I think I am. Needless to say, the whole week–nay, months before the concert–I was giddy out of my skin to see these people, these artists whose faces and sounds I knew since I was a child, but never actually met before…until I would be mere feet from them, taking photographs.
But, first, since their show at the TLA in November 2014 I was armed and ready to see In This Moment kick off this much-anticipated thrill ride. Showtime was curiously early for a metal show on a Friday (6:30), but that did not stop members of the Blood Legion from screaming endlessly for rock goddess Maria Brink and her band of merry men as they kicked off this leg of the Return of the Dreads tour. The five-piece played many off of their latest album, Black Widow and earlier discography, but chose to start this sex metal party fittingly with “Adrenalize” from their 2012 album Blood, setting the tone for the theatrics, gyrating, and fast-paced metal to come. ITM was the perfect opener for both of the headlining acts as, at their core, the band’s music embodies both the elements of KORN’s raw, emotional hard rock with the essence of Rob Zombie’s raunchy theatrics.
Rob Zombie was up next and spared no prisoners with his rollicking set. Starting in all darkness (and subsequently between songs), the entire stadium was eerily silent as the hero of my eight year-old self made his way onstage. Amid towering graphic video monitors that flashed visuals at breakneck speed and the spooky, funhouse erections straight out of Hellbilly Deluxe popping up behind him, Mr. Zombie started off with “Dead City Radio and The New Gods of Supertown” then the oldie-but-goodie “Superbeast.” It wasn’t until after the three-song-limit in the photo pit was up and I was able to watch the show from the crowd that the extreme, high-contrast lighting and visuals all made sense. The stage was as kitschy as the man himself, combining all that is horror, carnival, and rock show all in one place. With each song, the visuals changed, and during “Well, Everybody’s F***king In A UFO,” Zombie sent what he described as “anatomically-correct sex doll E.T.” to crowd surf into the audience with a few rules that included: “Don’t take it home. Give it back,” and “Don’t have sex with it.” He said Indiana won to huge boos, but the doll did not make it far past the orchestra section at BB&T. Following the crowd’s failed aid in alien surfing, Rob Zombie served up crowd favorites like “More Human Than Human,” “Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy),” and even our nation’s national anthem before ending with his eponymous single, “Dragula.”
And, last but certainly not least, KORN closed the show on a surprisingly intimate note. The stagecraft of the previous acts had no place in their aesthetic; KORN’s set relied on the strength of their enduring music and, aside from light-changes and smoke cannons, it allowed the audience to focus on what they came for–the music and connecting to the artists themselves. Kicking off their portion with the riotous battle cry “Right Now” from Take A Look In the Mirror, the crowd was immediately pumped and sent a few happy concertgoers into the pit. Following that was “Here To Stay” and new song “Rotting In Vain” from their forthcoming album The Serenity of Suffering. The new tracks mixed with the older ones did not feel weird. Oddly, the two tracks (“Rotting In Vain” and “Insane“) felt like that had been there all along, you just didn’t know the words yet, making the release of the new album in a few weeks feel like ages. The five-piece saved their own eponymous single, “Freak On A Leash,” for last, ending the show on a high note to kick off the holiday weekend.
Check out all the photos from the show below. Tell us your favorite moment in the comments after the jump!