Early May has offered a wealth of options for Iowa hard rock and metal fans. Dark Mirror played a CD release show Saturday and Clutch and Mastodon perform Tuesday at Seven Flags, where Lazerfest took place Friday and Sunday. But Iowa's favorite musical sons, Slipknot, were also in the state Sunday, causing some conflicts for fans. The masked band played to a sold out crowd at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.
The show was big on spectacle, with risers in place for the drum sets of Shawn Crahan and Chris Fehn, as well as the DJ gear for Sid Wilson and Craig Jones. There were fireballs and flame-lined ramps. A giant demon/goat head and more. At any given moment there were nine masked men running around the stage. It was a visual and sonic feast, and the crowd ate it all up.
Slipknot took the stage to a recording of "XIX" off its latest album, ".5 The Gray Chapter," playing over the speakers, kicking off the live performance with "Sarcastrophe" off the same album. That was followed in quick succession by "The Heretic Anthem" off 2001's "Iowa" and "Psychosocial" from 2008's "All Hope is Gone."
Singer Corey Taylor also let F-bombs fly with abandon.
"We're happy to be home, are you happy to see Slipknot?" Taylor asked the crowd after finishing "The Devil in I" early in the set. "We're going to make up for lost time. It feels so good to come home and see our (expletive) family and friends). It makes a (expletive) proud."
Taylor worked the crowd like a conducting, amping it up with each song, while Wilson leaped around the stage, as well as off many elevated points.
"When I tell you to sing, you (expletive) sing. When I tell you to jump, you (expletive) jump," Taylor commanded the crowd. "When I tell you to lose your minds, you lose your (expletive) minds."
Slipknot didn't mention deceased bassist Paul Gray during the set, though Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta dedicated the song "Live For This" to him. He also wished a "Happy Mother's Day to all the cool moms here tonight." The departure of founding drummer Joey Jordison and Mick Thomson's recent family troubles were also not alluded to.
Hatebreed did a great job of working the crowd up for the main act. The floor of the U.S. Cellular Center was absolutely packed for the show, with mosh pits regularly breaking out and crowd surfers taking advantage of the tightly packed crowd.
It's tough to single out high points in the show. Spinal Tap started a long-standing metal cliché about taking things up to 11. Slipknot started at 11 and only went up from there. Sure, there were big reactions to songs like "Duality" and the various madcap antics of the band, but there really wasn't a down moment. The room was on fire with energy, as well as the heat of the actual fireballs from the stage.
"My brothers and I this stage are so (expletive) proud to say we were born and made in Iowa," Taylor told the crowd after returning to the stage for an encore consisting of "(sic)," "People = (expletive)" and "Surfacing" off the band's first two albums. The crowd and band exchanged middle fingers in a sign of respect, not anger, before going their separate ways. Slipknot could have played for another hour and the crowd would have (expletive) loved it.