SHOW REVIEW: Korn w/ Disturbed and Trust Company
Memorial Coliseum - November 18, 2002 (Portland)
By: Jett Black, Derek "dj carrion" Moore, Norman Cox
Photos By: Adam Michaud
New World Industries, Damned Productions, Groove or Die, and Nocturnal Movements join forces to compose a comparative show review of performances November 18th at the Portland Memorial Coliseum by KORN, DISTURBED, and TRUST COMPANY.
This Music Performance review rendered by Adam Michaud, Derek "Dj Carrion" Moore, Norman "Vagabond" Cox, and Jett "I'd rather die!" Black.
Jett : Parking Garages fees range from $10 - $20. NO SMOKING signs deck the front doors of the Portland Memorial Coliseum. No smoking at a concert? That's funny!
Norman : 16 years have passed since I set foot inside the Portland Memorial Coliseum. Back in the 80's, features of the evening included: the Monster of Rock, Ozzy Osbourne, on the Ultimate Sin tour, with Blue Oyster Cult. Now, approaching the venue perimeter, the MTV freak show antics are already in full swing. KNRK, and KUFO, 2 local pop and hard rock radio stations, have descended upon the grounds to distribute free tickets and pat themselves on the back.
Jett : Behind manic strobe lights flanking the stage, TRUST COMPANY appears to dance like ants caught beneath a flash flood storm cloud. Though the name TRUST COMPANY does not stand out in my memory, some of the songs ring forth from KNRK re-runs.
Norman : TRUST COMPANY kicks off the evening with all too familiar chords and guitar riffs that make them sound like another copy cat band riding on the coat tails of other pop rock artists.
Jett : TRUST COMPANY sounds much like Linkin Park -- a t-shirt and jeans indie rock opener. While the drummer for TRUST COMPANY, facing the onset of baldness, pounds on the toms and kick drum, guitarists left and right defy gravity.
Norman : TRUST COMPANY -- Trust them to put you to sleep.
Jett : Lights come up and floor seating combined amount to not more than 5O% of capacity. It's 8:00. Let's give time for traffic through the Coliseum door to increase for the headliners.
DISTURBEDJett : 8:11 We're assured by all security personnel that the NO SMOKING applies in the arena, and yet, as we sit stage-left in a press box, I'm getting high off the thick and pungent fumes wafting up from seats just below us here inside the Coliseum. House population density has increased now to 60% capacity, and probably will not exceed 70% due to the bannered stage set to one end excluding ALL seating behind the performing musicians, which amounts to a full one-third of the Coliseum seating capacity. Disturbed flips the switch and the show resumes.
Norman : DISTURBED (Toronto, Ont.) take the stage like rock monsters--
Jett : TRUST COMPANY held to center stage. DISTURBED, alternatively, spreads band members out more widely and covers both ends of the stage.
Derek : The lights fade away and DISTURBED explodes onto the stage wasting no time in waking up the crowd after break time between bands.
Jett : "Up top and down below" directs David Draimen, the Disturbed lead singer. "Get the fuck up!" The crowd in the balcony jumps to stand and dance and dance and cheer on DISTURBED.
Norman : Throwing out non-stop tribal beats, DISTURBED entices fans with song after song from Believe, their second album.
Jett : Bolstered by strength in numbers and the relative obscurity standing up offers to conceal both doobies and pipes, fans below the press box hit the weed with vigor and commitment. I can actually feel waves of heat accompanying potent clouds and upward drafts of Mary Jane.
Derek : Backed by an arsenal of lights, DISTURBED pumps out a 50 minute, non-stop wall of adrenaline-fueled audio fury.
Jett : Stage right, the guitarist and center David Draimen wear painted on and loose leg black leather pants respectively. Then suddenly guitarist switch ends of the stage and step ahead of the footlights while Draimen chants the crowd into arm thrusting mantras.
Derek : DISTURBED keeps fans awake during the entire performance.
Jett : Rapid and repeated the thrusting of clenched fists reminds me of scenes from Pink Floyd's The Wall. Disturbed flags flank the percussionist who sits upon a raised platform center stage -- towering like a rook overlooking his mates. DISTURBED vocalist, David Draimen, pauses after the music suddenly ceases and cups one ear to encourage the audience to chant forth lyrics.
Norman : DISTURBED pleases the crowd with authoritative interactions, leading chants and sing alongs, and feeding off of the energy that the fans throw back toward the stage.
Jett : DISTURBED guitarists swing in choreographed harmony, long hair cascading like Autumn leaves across shouldered guitars at key end points within the songs.
Norman : Messages about picking yourself up and moving on with your life reflect uplifting concepts projected upon Believe.
Jett : The completely bald DISTURBED lead vocalist, David Draimen, oscillates from one end of the stage to the other, mounting foot light extensions.
Derek : At one point, David Draimen explains what the symbol on the cover of Believe represents; 4 religious symbols aligned together into one union of all.
Jett : Lead vox commands the auience with admirable authority. Draimen, very respectful of the attending fans, and more like an aerobics captain than a drill sergeant -- guides the audience into interactive chants and demonstrations of support. The crowd is digging it and eating up the Disturbed set.
Norman : DISTURBED front man, Draimen, takes time midway into their performance to explain what the four intertwined symbols really imply on the cover of the new album.
Adam : Yes, David Draimen addresses the issue of "diversity". I like that Draimen refers to the symbol used on the 'Believe' CD cover, and explains that it represents a unification of the religious symbols of the Christian/Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, and Islamic faiths.
Jett : Pentacle = Paganism; Star of David = Judaism; Celtic Cross = Catholicism; Crescent Moon & Star = Islam.
Adam : He then makes a powerful statement about how we all tend to acknowledge some sort of deity, and that since we are all human beings, this should be all the commonality we should need to live in peace.
Jett : The crowd, cheering for the other 3 symbols remained relatively silent with any reference made to the Islamic faith symbolized by the Crescent and the star.
Norman : There is a hint of concern as Draimen explains what each symbol represents. He then points out the strength of believing in a high power beyond ourselves. "Every conflict has erupted because of differences in belief".
Jett : He could have omitted the Islamic faith , choosing to ignore it rather than recognizing it. "Can we unite despite our differences, my brothers and sisters?" "We shall see!" I believe that his inclusion of this 4th symbol, and choosing to recognise this enormous chunk of human beliefs, wins my admiration.
Norman : Interactions like this show appreciation for the fans.
Jett : SUNSHINE BLIND has a wonderful tune entitled, "Crescent and the Star".
Derek : Then as the set comes to a close, David Draimen gives out a hint of what is to come next by asking, "Portland, are you still down with the sickness?"
Jett : Pouring sweat glistens as it spills from the bald skin of David Draimen. Sweat saturating the spine of his shirt back. At the end of every bar of Down with the Sickness, I hear a different series of synthtronic bleeps, tones.
Derek : DISTURBED follows that hit song, which gave them entry into Mainstream radio, with 2 more radio hits.
Jett : "Would you like to engage in the use of profanity with us?" This charged audience continues to defend the floor and balcony on their feet. Necks and forearms dancing and thrusting in time with the deep and methodically neurotic beats.
Derek : DISTURBED ends just before 9 p.m. this evening. Overall, they pulled off a very smooth show.
Jett : Lights come up, and I reflect now upon how considerate and helpful Stan, and all the security at the Portland Memorial Coliseum, have been thus far. On the floor now, below, we can see two corseted twins in black with sequined, or other jeweled black pony falls and matching latex black corsets waiting for the lights to go down again. They're still waiting when I return to the press box almost 30 minutes later.
NO ALCOHOL BEYOND THIS POINT!
Jett: What do you mean? I can't smoke a cigarette, and now you're telling me that I can't enjoy a beer while watching the music performances either? Next, you'll be telling me to speak German and take a nice relaxing acid bath!
Derek : Unlike DISTURBED, headliners KORN took their sweet time.
Norman : Supporting the release of Untouchables, KORN almost seems to be inaccessible to the crowd during the first half of the concert.
Jett : KORN opens with support for MTV on a 50 foot screen behind an enormous stack of speakers suspended in mid-air -- thus blocking 80% of view of that screen from balconies stage left.
Derek : Using a huge projected screen with random images it flashed for about 5 minutes drawing more and more tension as fans were waiting for them and then bam! The lights come on, and out comes KORN playing furious as ever.
Jett : Cheers, roars, and clapping hands erupt for a standing audience when the KORN percussionist mounts the fully lit drum stage some 5 plus feet above stage level. Jonathan Davis darts about the stage skirted in a floor-length black garment with a silvery, glitter cross outline extending from knee to knee and from crotch to hem.
Norman : The only relationship between KORN and the crowd is the option to viewing a film produced by the band, which sometimes includes shots of the crowd.
Jett : Mic stands appear useless while Jonathan Davis' dances everywhere. And guitarists cater to the foot of the stage. The video provides only bland eye candy. Really. This hall is small enough that every seat in the house is a great seat. No titties, or anything spectacular on the screen.
Derek : KORN boasts high levels of energy and manage to burn through 4 songs I think in almost 10 minutes.
Jett : Have you ever watched yourself chanting and cheering and bringing your voice into harshness while dancing to similar music, in an underground style nightclub? Of course, you are drunk, sweaty, and it's drawing more towards closing time. In retrospect you believe that you could do better had you been just as drunk earlier in the evening, but instead you're aware of just how tired your body has become during the previous 2 to 3 hours of cavorting like animal on the dance floor. KORN seems to have reached the expiration date already. My feet are falling asleep. Telling over ambient sequencing and predictable guitar riffs -- nothing surprising.
Norman : Songs from the latest album Issues, Follow the Leader, Life is Peachy and self-titled album KORN.
Jett : Blinding lights burst forth with Jonathan Davis' repeated fist raised to audience. A wash of fuchsia lights flood upon the front levels of floor audience next KORN covers A.D.I.D.A.S. Video turns to live coverage of current KORN performance of A.D.I.D.A.S. The music halts for audience participation as the crowd in unison chants: "All Day I Dream About Sex!"
Derek : During the 5th song, they slowed things down and broke out into this long, droning, almost siren-like guitar solo, which was then was shattered by Jonathan Davis' screaming.
Jett : I've seen little girls skipping down the sidewalk look more enthusiasm and spontaneity.
Derek : After that song, the slow hitting of the cymbals signaled it was the song "Blind", then he screams "Are You Ready" and the crowd responded the only way it knew how to; going totally crazy.
Norman : The stale air that had been lingering since the show started was now fading away with each song that was played.
Jett : The vocals sound subdued, muffled, even flat against the wall of sounds from other instruments.
Derek : During the 8th song, "Faggot", the band stopped in the middle of the set and stood still. The crowd went ballistic, chanting for them to continue. When it came on again, the fans were ecstatic. Something funny happened during song number nine. In the middle of the song, they snuck in I believe the chorus from Metallica's "One".
Jett : The most interesting aspects of this performance thus far seems to be the diversity in style of dress for each band member. Okay, maybe this is a stretch of imagination to keep myself awake. One guitarist wears a football jersey, another wears a plain black t-shirt, a third wears a Chinese style black jacket shirt with the white buttons double rows down the center. Reminds me of 80's new wave style.
Derek : Slowing things down they played "Alone I Break", which would have to be the slowest song of the night. Although much more mellow than any of the other KORN songs, this is in no way was a "tame" song. By the thirteenth song the band was done and it was time for the glorious chant for the encore, every where people had lighters in the air which looked like a sea of tiny flames, then people started stomping their feet which was almost earthquake like.
Jett : The energy level seems high -- but is it also just a bit mechanical? Bouncing on the guitar seems less than spontaneous and more rehearsed. I find myself searching KORN for unique elements, especially entertaining elements.
Norman : Life and energy return to KORN's performance when front man, Jonathan Davis, brings out his bagpipes.
Jett : Lyrical delivery appears to follow the bouncing ball -- hand wrist and neck movements tied to the rise and fall together. More and more this performance seems too much like a tiresome burden upon my attention span.
Derek : When I was in my teens I was a fan of KORN, and owned the first two albums but lost interest. Seeing this performance took me back to those fun years. I saw them in 1997 at the Salem, Oregon Armory.
Jett : No more taking notes for me! I'm done. Anyone got a clove?
Norman : This is where the show starts in my opinion.
Derek : Jonathan Davis comes back out blowing bagpipes which was the intro for the song "shoots and ladders" and then rolled right into the final song of the night "Got the Life", a little over an hour into this show the crowd still showed no sign of being tired or slowing down then in the middle of the song confetti cannons appeared and blasted confetti showering everywhere in celebration of a show well done.
Norman : As the show ended, KORN finally began interacting with the fans.
Derek : This concert has shown KORN to be able to back their music up live and entertain the fans who come out to see it. KORN has a sound that is very distinct.
Jett : The cover of "One" by Metallica lends a nice touch. Give me some industrial, hip hop, or funkadelic cyber-rap. No more of this radio/MTV re-run! I'd be happier with a Dungeon Burger, and a side of fries!
Derek : It was a decent show, but it's in the present that KORN exhibit maturity as a band, and put on an overall entertaining show.