Slipknot Live Portland, OR 10/22/15

If there’s a Happy Hour in Hell, it probably looks a lot like a Slipknot concert — or at least the one the nonet put on Thursday night, October 22nd, at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon.

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The last stop on the masked and costumed metal group’s Road to Knotfest Tour was a high-octane, high-volume and highly theatrical celebration that featured macabre figures striding, leaping and riding moving platforms around a two-tiered stage with plenty of fire and lyrical brimstone, a few invocations of the beast and a large demon goat head above the stage to watch the proceedings.

Slipknot started the night on a 10 scale, with special effects left, right and center as the group tore through their first song of the night,Scarcastrophe, following The Heretic Anthem and Psychosocial.  Percussionists Shawn “Clown” Crahan and Chris Fehn smashed profusely on drums and beer kegs as hydraulic lifts took them up and down, while DJ Sid Wilson aka,Starscream was a dancing dervish prone to dramatic and even dangerous leaps from one part of the stage to the other despite an injured ankle from a couple of performances prior. Main percussionist Jay Weinberg, son of Max Weinberg delivered on his drum kit just as, possibly if not better than Joey Jordison did when he was with the group. Craig “133”Jones head banged his black mask of nails while conducting samples on his steel metal riser.  Guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson shredded on their signature models while killing it on early hits such as Me Inside, Metabolic, and Surfacing.  Fortunately, none of the nine band members were caught by any of the hellish flames on stage, though bassist Alessandro Venturella made clear sport out of getting as close as possible to the fiery exploding pots.

Touring to promote their 2014 album .5: The Gray Chapter, dedicated to late bassist Paul Gray and making their second stop in the northwest area of the U.S. in three months, Slipknot’s year round touring cycle has kept the metal genre alive for the year 2015. With the Mayhem Festival having lost its mojo and the Uproar tour not even getting out of the box, the genre feels like it was in a malaise.  But with a package for a late 2015 tour that included Columbus, Ohio’s Beartooth, and California’s own Suicidal Tendencies, Road to Knotfest Tour drew a near-capacity crowd to Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum that turned its concrete floor into a sea of mosh pits and even sent a quite a few moshers crowd-surfing towards the front of the stage of the venue formally known as the Rose Quarter.

These are not bands that are designed to have a calming effect on crowds, of course, least of all Slipknot, whose brutal set was accented by elaborate satanic carnival props, goat heads, and rising and rotating platforms.  The latter surveyed its 16-year, five-album catalog throughout its 17-song, nearly 100-minute show, with Taylor paying tribute to his “extended” family of fans — who sang along to songs of Taylor’s lyrics.

The group’s performance was ferocious without any let up through some of their latest work — particularly The Devil In I, which displayed a more intricate dynamic ebb and flow that gave the show a bit of breathing room.  But the group of nine’s stock in trade was pulverizing and angry with meaty metal, and the abundance of that included tightly delivered versions of Custer, Prosthetics, Eyeore, the anthem  known as Duality and a lengthy fast paced deliverance of Spit It Out.

Taylor also took time to note that Slipknot has been visiting the Northwest area of the U.S. for 16 years since Ozzfest ’99, and Thursday’s crowd made it clear that he and his band mates will be welcome for as long as they want to put on the masks and bring their devilishly enjoyable stage show back to Portland, OR.