SLIPKNOT: Global Livestream Review Article 

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They’re back. For 26 years, they have been the most notorious and compelling American nu-metal band to ever exist. Last Friday on November 5, the masked band Slipknot premiered a Knotfest LA global livestream at 9 p.m. Knotfest is a musical festival created by Slipknot that hosts global performances in nations including the United States, Canada, Japan, and more.

Live from Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Slipknot’s set was an hour and 44 minutes long. Having been around since 1995, this 16-song long setlist is an unbelievably perfect treat for all their fans (also known as maggots)!

This Los Angeles festival wrapped up Slipknot’s 2021 tour with 25 shows, 6 festivals, and a global live stream.

So was this concert actually worth the $17 price tag? Does it live up to the hype of this iconic and terrifying band? 

Yes, and for two main reasons: presentation and stage visuals.

Presentation:

Slipknot is made of nine members: vocalist Corey Taylor, guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson, bassist Alessandro Venturella (Vman), drummer Jay Weinberg, percussionists Shawn Crahan and Tortilla Man (rumored Michael Pfaff, percussionist), Sid Wilson (DJ Starscream) at the turntables, and sampler Craig Jones. Although some may consider this to be an excessively large group, each of these members always get to equally showcase their talent and effort in their performances. 

Surprisingly, the concert started off with one of their top hit songs “Unsainted” instead of “People = S**t,” an intense song that’s usually played as the opening act. Nevertheless, the song choice didn’t take away from the fans going crazy as they were thrilled to see their idols perform after seeing blasting fireworks and the curtain unveil. 

With a 16-song set, it would be impossible to note every single performance in each song, but there were several acts that stood out the most during the concert.

In “The Heretic Anthem,” Tortilla Man went absolutely crazy as he crawled over his percussion seats, almost as if he were experiencing the same overwhelming sense of joyful spasms that fans experience in the mosh pit. In “The Devil In I,” Slipknot decided to change up the outro to the song with an eerie, dramatic, and slow sample sequence (presumably played by Craig Jones).

Most noticeably, Mick Thomson’s piercing guitar riffs cut through the band in songs such as “Surfacing,” “Disasterpiece,” and “The Devil In I.” Jim Root’s shredding guitar solo in “Psychosocial,” as well his other quick melodic lines in “Nero Forte,” “Unsainted,” and “Before I Forget” also stood out. Both of these guitarists all played the same heavy and catchy riffs in each song — they couldn’t have done it any better than they already do.

Sid and Craig have always had a huge contribution to the band, especially since the album 0.5: The Gray Chapter. In this concert’s playlist, Sid had plenty of opportunities to show off his sick turntable scratching in the interlude of “Wait & Bleed” between the verses and in “Surfacing” with a long scratch outro. 

Craig is the quietest member of the band that rarely (if not ever) speaks a word. But this time, he got his chance to shine in “All Out Life” where his sample in the intro was loud enough to be heard. It mimicked the sound of an ambulance siren that was edited with a cut-vocal type feel to it. Craig also played a weird screaming sample in the background during the break between “Spit It Out” and “People = S**t.”

There was also another intense outro in “Vermilion” where the percussion played by Clown and Tortilla Man added to Jay’s drum kicks in the breakdown’s four eighth notes, followed by three dramatic quarter beats. With Corey repeatedly screaming “She isn’t real,” these three instruments played together really complemented the song’s brutal and dramatic ending with their syncopated beats. 

No one can ignore Mick Thomson’s iconic guitar line repeatedly playing in the background of this song — a recognizable tune for all maggots. Not only that, but Jim Root’s chord progressions also add a nice touch to Thomson’s melody as he switches up the progression. It wasn’t a key change, but the transition to the next chord progression for the outro with the percussionists then coming in made the outro to this song stand out (while Thomson’s solo stayed the same no matter what in the last chorus and outro). 

“All Out Life” is also a notorious song that puts all of the members’ elements together. The beginning of the song kicked off with Craig’s eerie samples, followed by Sid Wilson’s choppy scratching. The guitar riffs couldn’t get any heavier in their drop B tuning, and the percussion build up at the beginning of the song was excellent. Both the percussionists and drummer stood out with their marching band solo in the song’s bridge. This marching band type of feel was also given in the bridge of “Nero Forte.” Corey Taylor also varies his fry screaming from heavy screaming to quiet but demanding rap-like style. Dynamics were just spot on in this song. 

The most unique experience in this concert was Slipknot playing their new single “The Chapeltown Rag,” which was also released on the same day as the live stream. Sid Wilson’s scratching in the intro, the heavy dramatic percussion sequences, and the guitar octaves really made fans feel the “Iowa” vibe that Slipknot previously had in their earlier albums.

Stage Visuals:

The thing about virtual concerts is that they seemingly appear to never be as ‘real’ as an actual concert. No matter who the artist is, every single musician will have fans who carry this opinion. However, this does not carry over at all to Slipknot’s performances. With nine members wearing horrifying masks blasting screaming vocals, ear-piercing guitars, and an excessive amount of swearing, any audience member could experience the same intensity just by the sight of their performances. 

The professional camera angles not only looked good, but also interacted well with each song. Everything was planned meticulously in such a way that the camera would either quickly pan sides or even rigorously move (as if the camera was head banging as well) every time a heavy guitar breakdown interlude began or when Corey Taylor resumed fry screaming after the interlude.

The lighting and fireworks were also something that just couldn’t be missed. The stage lights flickered just as quickly as Jay Weinberg’s double bass, and the fireworks complemented these lights. 

Slipknot likes to play with fire, even sometimes getting into small accidents in some of their past concerts from the early 2000s. In this concert, we saw a flamethrower attached to Vman’s bass, which was activated in perfect sync with certain parts of the song. But Slipknot wouldn’t be Slipknot if it weren’t for the Clown’s iconic baseball bat, which was set on fire for the Clown to use to hit a beer keg in iconic songs such as “Duality.” 

The band always pays their tribute toward their past bass player Paul Gray (1972-2010) and drummer/co-founder Joey Jordison (1975-2021) at the end of their concerts. The stage displayed two huge monitor screens that displayed the members alongside their names and date. Meanwhile, Joey Jordison gave out his drumsticks to the crowd — the lucky ones will be able to catch it — while “Til We Die” was playing, arguably one of the slowest songs (mostly acoustic) produced by Slipknot. The fireworks celebrating the end of the concert along with this momentous occasion set apart the concert from anything else.

Last, but certainly not least: the masks. When it comes to Slipknot’s visuals, you cannot beat them once they come out with new masks on. For every new album that they release, Slipknot (with the exception of Mick Thomson and Craig Jones) wears new renditions of their masks. Most of the masks look similar in design ever since their latest album We Are Not Your Kind (2019). 

This time, Clown came out with a complete red clown mask, Jay had a pale phantom mask with what looks like a melted mouth, and Vman wore a new pale red mask with a complex squiggly line design. But frontman Corey’s mask, which was inspired by horror character Dr. Decker from the 1990 film Nightbreed, looked especially terrifying with his bulging eyes and mouth scars. 

Overall, the concert experience was a 9/10. The only reason why it fell short of a perfect score was because of the long wait that fans had to go through before the Slipknot concert actually began. Even though the ticket said that Slipknot would perform in two hours following guest performances, many fans in the eastern hemisphere either had to stay up until midnight to see the band or watch the stream the next day, which takes away from the experience of seeing a global live stream with a live chat. 

This is the concert song list:

Prequel: For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) by AC/DC

  1. Unsainted
  2. Disasterpiece
  3. Nero Forte
  4. Before I Forget
  5. The Heretic Anthem
  6. Psychosocial
  7. The Devil In I 
  8. The Chapeltown Rag 
  9. Wait & Bleed 
  10. Vermilion 
  11. All Out Life 
  12. Duality
  13. Spit It Out 
  14. People = S**t
  15. Sic
  16. Surfacing 
  17. Paul Gray and Joey Jordison Tribute (“’Til We Die” in background)

Art by Veronica Kuzma, Art Editor

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