Corey Taylor was 24 when he joined Slipknot. Now he’s 44 and wondering out loud in interviews how much longer his body can meet the physical demands of fronting metal’s most energetic live band.
Based on his performance with his other band, Stone Sour, the singer won’t be packing away that Leatherface mask just yet. From the second he bounds on to the sound of 5,000 people chanting “Corey! Corey! Corey!” he’s like an adrenaline shot to the heart.
Whether he’s racing across the stage, leaping up onto the platforms dotted around the set, or preaching about the unifying, healing power of music, he’s a non-stop one-man cheer-leading squad. And, with a permanent smile plastered on his face, he’s clearly enjoying it.
“Tonight is about having a good time,” he declares at one point, as if the moshing fans haven’t noticed. “Too many bands suck the fun out of shows.” Stone Sour, it’s safe to say, aren’t one of those bands.
They may not be able to match Green Day’s budget (so there’s no guitar to give away, no T-shirt launchers, no water canons) but that doesn’t hold them back from squeezing every last penny out of the expense account. Pyrotechnics light up the stage almost as frequently as Taylor’s swearing.
A confetti gun is hauled out at least twice to fire streamers into the balcony. And somewhat incongruously, during the bone-rattling Fabuless, those 10-foot inflatable air dancers that you might see at motorway services, pop up from nowhere.
All the while, Taylor leaps and roars through a set that only once pauses for breath. The lighter anthem Hesitate, which he bills as “one for the ladies”, is the sole offering to approach ballad territory on a night dedicated to the group’s faster, louder, heavier work. New album Hydrograd provides much of the arsenal, from the thunderous Knievel Has Landed to the relentless Song #3 and surprisingly bouncy Rose Red Violent Blue.
But it’s older tracks (like the nu-metal survivor Get Inside from 2002’s self-titled LP, Come Whatever May’s cataclysmic 30/30-150, the volcanic Gone Sovereign/Absolute Zero from House Of Gold & Bones) and their face-melting rendition of Black Sabbath’s Children Of The Grave that have Taylor pushing his voice to extremes.
He’s certainly not the only one on stage giving it his all, though. Roy Mayorga, with two bass drums at his disposal, can quite literally make you feel the music. Johny Chow plays his bass like a lead guitar.
Christian Martucci somehow manages to strut, point, pose, run, and look every inch the rock star while laying down impossibly fast solos. And the comparatively low-key Josh Rand uses his steady stream of flourescent-coloured guitars to unleash one rumbling shockwave after another.
These men, all in their 40s, put other bands to shame – except perhaps Slipknot.
Words about Stone Sour @ Brixton Academy by Nils van der Linden on 4th December 2017.
Photos by Kalpesh Patel. Kalpesh has more music photography up on his flickr stream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate