With Slipknot on hiatus, the various band members have been finding ways to keep themselves busy. For Corey Taylor, that means hitting the road in support of the latest Stone Sour album. The band was originally formed prior to the birth of the masked madmen of Slipknot, but it was not until years later that they were able to bring the older act to the big stage. When he did, it was done in a big way. Now I love Come What(ever) May, I think it is a great slice of heavy hard rock, but it is the live show that is helping solidify him as a first rate frontman, that in addition to his excellent voice. This night was no exception.
I arrived at The Chance Theater, in Poughkeepsie, NY a bit later than I would have liked. I missed the local opener, Human X, and the second act was already on stage. I made my way through the sold out crowd looking for a good place to watch the show. Early on I found myself down in the pit near the stage. I watched the remainder of the bands set from this close location, but chose to exit the pit after they finished for fear of becoming embroiled in what was sure to become a pit of action. This is definitely an activity best left to the younger members of the crowd, I am happy to step back and watch from a slightly safer location.
The band playing when I arrived was called Dirty Little Rabbits. They are another act headed up by a member of Slipknot. In this case, it is M. Shawn Crahan (I believe he wears the clown mask), one of Slipknot's percussionists. For this band he mans the stool behind the drum kit. I missed their introduction and it took most of the night before I was able to find out what their name was, and work through the confusion of which Slipknot member it was. A few I had spoken with believed it was Joey Jordison.
As for their music? I was quite impressed. It was distinctly different from Slipknot, which is a good thing. Not that I have anything against the band (I think Vol. 3 is an incredible album), it is just good to see there are other styles they wish to explore. The five-piece act is fronted by Stella Katsoudas, a charismatic enigma with a unique vocal delivery. The best way I can think of to describe the sound is alt metal freak outs. It was oddly compelling, spastic in nature, and nicely executed. They are definitely a band I would like to hear more of.
The performance was not perfect, Katsoudas' voice seemed to falter a couple of times, but nothing that ruined the show. Frankly, I was quite taken with their sound. I look forward to them releasing a full length album. Their set ended with the keyboardist taking a dive through Crahan's kit, knocking everything to the ground.
The Rabbits gave way to the final warm up act, Sydonia, hailing from Australia. Their set opened with them striking an interesting stage dynamic. The first song was driven primarily through percussion. In addition to the drummer, the guitarist and bassist put down their stringed instruments in favor of a pair of drumsticks. Attached to the drum kit were a couple of extra toms and a cymbal on each side that the two made effective use of.
Following the opening, the two would return to those drums a few more times throughout their set. Sydonia was good, not great, but solid and decidedly different from the other two acts. Their sound could probably be called alternative stoner rock, or something along those lines. They were not overpowering, or even terribly heavy (although they definitely had their moments), but the sound was definitely interesting in the use of percussion and the openly sparse arrangements. I cannot say that I am, or will be, a big fan of theirs, but I would not be averse to checking out their debut album, Given to Destroyers. They ended with a bang in what was the heaviest cut, "Incoming."
Stone Sour took the stage just past 10:00, and proceeded to deliver one of the finest sets of rock music I have seen this year. I saw them the last time they came through Poughkeepsie. It was December 8, 2002 (it was Corey's birthday, as he reminded us on this night) and they were touring in support of their debut album. It was an intense show highlighted by the hits "Bother" and "Get Inside."
As good as they were then, they are even better now. It was some explosive combination of electricity flowing through crowd and the energy being given off by the band on stage. This was definitely a special night, with the crowd singing along with every song, and the songs being executed in near perfect fashion, that is, except for when the monitors went out briefly during "Hell & Consequences."
The set began with the excellent first single, "30/30-150." That got the crowd going in short order. Corey proceeded to lead us through Come What(ever) May from start to finish. That's right, their stylist was the album. Highlights include "sillyworld," "Made of Scars," "Through Glass," and "1st Person." As good as those songs were, what really made this show so special was still to come.
They did leave off one song from the album, "Zzyzx Rd." That last song was replaced with "Bother" (with an intro of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game"), which provided one of the most memorable moments of any concert I've been to. Everyone has been to a concert where the crowd sings along with the hits. This show was no different than countless other shows with countless other sing alongs, but something happened during "Bother" which set this apart from all the others. It was so special as to actually throw Corey Taylor off his game.
As he sang the words, the crowd sang along, but when it came to singing the backup, the crowd backed off and sang that, saving Corey for the lead. The look on his face was pure amazement. Something very special happened, and Corey saw it. His reaction was priceless. You could tell he was in the midst of something new. Many singers have told crowds they were the best, but that is usually just something said to keep the crowd going, but when Corey stopped singing and addressed us, it was genuine. It was the way he said it, the look in his eye, all clues that he truly meant it. It was a moment that will not soon be forgotten.
Following that moment the set ended, but the show was not over. It was mere moments before the band returned to the stage. The set was closed with a trio of songs from their eponymous debut. The final track was the opening song of that album, "Get Inside." Talk about leaving on a high note!
3. Hell & Consequences
5. Made Of Scars
7. Your God
8. Through Glass
10. 1st Person
12. Wicked Game/Bother
3. Get Inside