Slipknot – NIA, Birmingham – 27th January 2015

King 810
King 810

Tonight’s gig was my first time since the work to upgrade the NIA had been completed.  Now named the Barclaycard arena – which is bound to cause confusion with the Genting Arena (the NEC), it’s looking a lot better and the facilities are certainly improved.  That’s lucky really as tonight saw thousands of metal fans descend on the venue for one of the most eagerly awaited tours for some time – Slipknot, Korn and King 810.  The tour sold out very fast and tonight’s gig was definitely full.

First up were King 810 from Flint, Michigan – a town sadly known for its high crime rates rather than anything positive.  If you’ve heard their album you’ll know it’s a heavy album with violence being a key theme, so it was no surprise that tonight’s set was extremely heavy and aggressive, and really really good.  It’s a short set unfortunately, but they certainly managed to make an impression on the crowd tonight, and I for one would love to see them in a smaller venue where their intense performance will come across a lot more powerfully than in a large soulless arena.

King 810 setlist:

Killem All
Desperate Lovers
Murder Murder Murder
War Outside
Fat Around the Heart



Next up came Korn.  Before the gig, this was the band I wasn’t excited about seeing as I wasn’t really impressed when I saw part of their set at Download, but tonight really surprised me – they weren’t just good, they were fantastic.  They certainly had a lot of fans in the audience too – even before they came on, as soon as their backdrop went up there were huge cheers.
Who else but Korn could do a song like “Shoots and ladders” which is basically a load of verses from kids nursery rhymes?  It’s a bizarre idea but they somehow not only make it work, but manage to get huge applause from a metal crowd.  Throwing in a bit of Metallica’s “One” at the end of the song also went down a storm.  It’s also the first time I’ve heard a crowd cheer when someone plays bagpipes (at the start of the song) – Korn really do seem able to do the impossible.
I arrived at tonights gig not being a fan of Korn, but left having been converted – this really was a superb performance, and certainly left Slipknot with a hard act to follow.
Korn setlist:

Here to Stay
Right Now
Love & Meth
Falling Away from Me
Good God
Shoots and Ladders
Y’All Want a Single
Freak on a Leash


Finally it was time for Slipknot. It’s been quite a long time since they last did a UK tour (although with regular festival appearances they haven’t been totally absent from our shores).  They’re a superb live band, so I’d been looking forward to this since the tour was announced.  The show kicked off with the band playing from behind a curtain that had hidden the stage while the crew set it up, before the curtain rose to reveal Slipknot and an impressive stage set, complete with the usual rotating risers.
With most bands the focus is usually on the singer and switches to the guitarist or one of the others during a solo, but with Slipknot things are a bit different.  Yes there’s a fair amount of focus on Corey Taylor as the singer, but with so many other members on stage there is always a lot happening, whether its the drum risers going up and rotating as they play the drums or bang the hell out of oildrums, or the DJ running around the stage and leaping in the air, or just something simple like the various band members playing and moving around the stage.  It’s a great spectacle and that’s before you throw in plenty of flames.  So you’ve got a great visual spectacle, but visuals are worthless if the music isnt good enough to impress, but againt here’s no problem there – Slipknot deliver on the music front too.

It’s a great mix of songs from the latest album (The Gray chapter) and the previous albums – old favourites mixed in with new songs.  They kick off with “Sarcastrophe” from the latest album before moving into “The Heretic anthem”, and from there it’s a non-stop high energy show for the next hour and half or so, and the time just flies past.  When Corey gets the crowd to all crouch down and wait for his command it’s an impressive sight, and even more impressive as several thousand fans jump up on command.

After an inevitable encore the night sadly draws to a close, and thousands of happy and exhauseted looking metal fans pour out of the venue.  This was the last night of the UK leg of the tour, but King 810 and Slipknot will both be back in the summer to play Download where both bands are certain to go down a storm.  This really was an amazing night and I can see why all my friends who had been to previous dates on the tour had raved about it.

Slipknot setlist:

The Heretic Anthem
My Plague
The Devil in I
The Negative One
Three Nil
Before I Forget
Wait and Bleed
Spit It Out

People = Shit


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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.