Article and photos by: Linda Carlson
Cincinnati, OH – What a lineup! Co-headliners Korn and Alice in Chains, along with openers Fever 333 and Underoath, create an enviable menu of rock and heavy metal for a balmy summer evening’s outdoor entertainment. First band at 6:50PM, with music concluding near midnight…the outdoor amphitheater and lawn seating were bursting with fans.
Fever 333 started the evening off. It was daylight when lead singer Jason Butler was escorted onto the stage with a black hood over his head, wearing his black Fever 333 coveralls. The band gave a knock-out performance. There’s a certain “earnestness” about a Fever 333 performance that is always “pedal-to-the-metal” high octane rock. For large venues such as Riverbend, it can make be difficult to see the performers from afar. But, early on in the show, Butler left the stage to enter the pavilion crowd, going past the sound board, never skipping a beat as he sang. The crowd gathered close and out came the cell phone video cameras to record some up-close memories.
Metalcore band Underoath was up next. They are touring to promote the 2018 release of their album “Erase Me” that followed a multi-year hiatus as the band transitioned from its Christian rock roots to mainstream metal. The six-member band from Florida opened with their Grammy nominated song, “On My Teeth,” and ended eight songs later with “Sink With You.”
Alice In Chains gave such a terrific performance. Lead singer William DuVall worked the crowd with ease. Original members Jerry Cantrell (lead guitar and vocals) and Sean Kinny (drums), and long-time bassist Mike Inez, accompanied DuVall, playing a worthy 15 song set. They performed classics such as “Angry Chair,” “Man in the Box,” “No Excuses,” “Them Bones,” and ended soundly with “Rooster.” By now, daylight had waned and strong stage lighting amped up the visuals, kicking up the overall show a notch.
And then…Korn. Every time I see them, they just seem to get better. There is something about Korn, a certain cohesion…Jonathan Davis on vocals (and bagpipes), Brian “Head” Welch on guitar, James ”Munky” Shaffer (recently returning to tour after the birth of his daughter) on guitar, Reggie “Fieldy” Arvizu on bass, and Ray Luzier on drums…that is exceptional and always exciting. Each song is delivered with the same level of intensity as if it was the first time they played it live. There is a passion that is genuine, and it’s incredible to behold.
On this night, Davis did not don “the kilt.” But the bagpipes made their appearance, and the crowd ate it up. Welch’s dreads swirled incessantly and Arvizu stared intently into the audience with those quirky ponytails sprouting from his head. Shaffer was in his own element, very intense. Luzier was exquisite on the drums. Perched on an elevated platform and lit to the gills with amazing light, he delivered with such passion that the intensity escalated to the point that it brought him to his feet, still playing as if he didn’t want to stop. It was mesmerizing.
Song after song was met with raucous cheers and outstretched arms. And song after song, Korn delivered.
This tour is winding down at the end of August. If you were lucky to have caught their show, save your ticket stubs and relish the memories. All four bands will continue to tour, so keep an eye on tour schedules at each band’s website.