Iowa native heavy metal band, Slipknot brought their traveling roadshow known as KnotFest to New Jersey for the second time this run, the first being in Holmdel, this time being at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden. A venue that is a stones throw away from Philadelphia, self proclaimed Maggots as the fan base likes to call themselves, came together to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Slipknot. Father’s brought their son’s, mother’s brought their daughter’s to hand down their love of hard rock music, as Slipknot’s music is timeless and this tours turn out proves just that.
The 7th year of Knotfest showcased Metal from across the world
First on the lineup was, Behemoth, an extreme metal band from Poland, formed in 1991. They took the stage with their dark makeup and instruments in hand, lead vocalist Adam Darski jumped on the monitors to really grab the audiences attention and to amp them up for the night of rock ahead. The set included songs such as “Wolves ov Siberia,” “Sabbath Mater” and “Bartzabel” from their eleventh studio album, I Loved You at Your Darkest, that was released in October of 2018. Along with the demonic backdrop and a quick black pope hat wardrobe addition, Darski played with fire, bringing the fireballs as close as he can get to the crowd igniting screams of excitement. Finishing off their short set with “Chant for Eschaton 2000,” Behemoth successfully shook up the crowd for a epic launch to Knotfest.
Next to hit the stage was, Gojira, A grammy-nominated French Metal band formed in 1996, made up by brothers Joe Duplantier on vocals/guitars and Mario Duplantier on drums. They are joined by Christian Andreu on guitar and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass. Their setlist included songs from across their entire discography, “Love” from their first studio album, Terra Incognita to “Stranded” off their 2016 studio release, Magma. Not even two songs into the set, the crowd surfers started flooding over the barricade as a response to the heavy riffs and growls coming from the stage. As a frequent concert goer, I love seeing musicians that genuinely loving what they do on stage, Jean-Michel Labadie was a great example of that. He was jamming, smiling and jumping like if there were no set time restrictions and if there wasn’t, he would’ve keep going the entire night. As their time came to a close, they finished heavy with their “Gift of Guilt” off of L’Enfant Sauvage.
Now that the crowd was all fired up, it was time for the headliners
Volbeat, a Danish hard rockabilly/metal band formed by Michael Poulsen after his first death metal band Dominus dissolved in 2001. 18 years and 6 studio albums later, Volbeat has seen a steady rise that most bands never got to experience. It is their sound that sets them apart from the rest. Poulsen’s lightning fast tongue and fingers deliver riffs and lyrics that make you want to jump, groove and rock out all at the same time.
As the lights dimmed the crowd roared when they walked onto the stage. Backs turned, the band started the beginning jam to “The Devils Bleeding Crown” off of their 2014 album, Seal the Deal & Lets Boogie. Lead guitarist Rob Caggiano and bassist Kaspar Boye Larsen did not stay on either side of the stage for very long and interacted with the crowd with every chance they got. Drummer Jon Larsen sits behind an amazing Jaws themed drum kit and never disappoints beating the hell out of his drums. After wildly popular “Lola Montez,” Poulsen’s acoustic guitar was brought out by the stagehands in preparation for what was about to come. If you are a fan of Volbeat, you know how much of a Johnny Cash influence is sewn into the framework of their music. Before Poulsen started “Sad Mans Tongue” he asked the crowd if they liked some Johnny Cash and played a sample of “Ring of Fire.” By that time the crowd surfing intensified and circle pits started to form, bringing smiles to the bands faces. The songs that followed was a healthy mix of their albums but mostly showcasing their newest 2019 release, Rewind, Replay, Rebound. The band was humble and kept thanking the crowd for rocking out with them. Even though they are the least “heavy” band on the bill, the majority of the crowd seemed to be thoroughly enjoying Volbeat’s set.
Now for the reason all these bands are together on one bill, the almighty Slipknot!
Slipknot has returned with a vengeance after a brief hiatus while vocalist Corey Taylor toured with his side project Stone Sour and for the writing of Slipknot’s sixth studio album, We Are Not Your Kind, that was released August 2019. The stage was shrouded by a huge curtain with the Slipknot name written in red across it. “For Those About to Rock” by the infamous AC/DC was the countdown song to their start time. In one sharp motion the huge curtain came down showing the massive stage set up along with all 9 members of the band.
Taylor was front and center starting the growl that goes into their hit from the Iowa album “People=Shit.” The whole front row was jumping in unison with smiles you only see when one is watching their favorite band perform live. There are so many things to look at on stage you almost don’t know where to focus your attention. The vibrant light show was phenomenal. The video effects made the stage look 3 dimensional and the pyrotechnics was just the cherry on top. On each side of the stage there were raised drum kits with screens that were manned by band members Shawn Crahan (Clown) and the mysterious ‘Tortilla Man’ shaking each kit on all fours like beasts. The screens were displaying images of a burning baby doll, maggots, and ants eating away at a small animal carcass between songs, making for some perfect visuals. Guitarist Mick Thomson makes his presence known with his intense stare from behind his steel grey mask and solos from stage left. Jim Root is on stage right shredding the crowd with his guitar. Behind them, skull masked bassist, Alessandro Venturella made his rounds strumming his light up bass. Sid Wilson, the comical DJ mixer, was running causing ruckus all over the stage throughout the set. He also had his own moving treadmill-like stage below the DJ table. Which I thought was a nice touch to the stage production. Jay Weinberg, son of drummer Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band was behind Slipknot’s massive drum kit. He joined the band in 2014 and dominates at his craft. Last but not least, Craig Jones was mastering the keys in the sharpest mask on stage. Mid-show, Taylor preached acceptance and how everyone in the rock community is considered “family” and that we all should have each others back, no matter who we love or the color of our skin.
Since this tour was a celebration of 20 years of Slipknot he pointed out to the crowd that he has not done this particular song for a while and is bringing back “Wait and Bleed” into the set. The setlist on this run consisted of huge hits like “Duality,” “The Devil and I,” “Psychosocial,” and “Before I Forget.” When they came back on stage for their encore after their face melting set, Taylor made the crowd crouch down at the start of “Spit It Out” and to jump up on his queue. When he gave the word, All I could was a see was a wave of rock horns and dancing bodies. Ending the night with “Surfacing” was like coming full circle, coming in and leaving Camden with a bang.
As the worn out crowd stumbles into the night with a little less hearing and a heart full of memories, Slipknot and company has successfully carved their path to another 20 years in Camden, NJ.
Check out our exclusive photo gallery by Sabrina Hersom below: