By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy…Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez
It has been over 15 years since I have stepped foot in the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. I have only been there two times, both times for a Los Angeles Lakers game. The venue has a rich, 50 year history, as an arena that has been used for concerts, award shows, and sporting events. So, it was only fitting that it was mine and Matt Martinez’s first arena show coverage. We had to show support for a band that we already seen earlier this year, Korn. They were on a co-headlining tour with Stone Sour, supported by Babymetal, Yelawolf, and Islander. They have dubbed the tour the Serenity of Summer Tour. Our seats were fantastic, and the concert was a heavy metal extravaganza.
After Islander finished their set, coming onto the stage was a rapper that goes by the name Yelawolf. Originally from Gadsden, Ala., Yelawolf was an odd choice to be part of a heavy metal tour. I have to say, this hip-hop artist is wicked fast with his words. The only musician backing him up was DJ Klever. The fans really took his words to heart and fell in love his mad flow. With songs like “Outer Space,” “Whiskey in a Bottle,” and “Catfish Billy,” the artist who is part of Eminem’s Shady Records label, tore through the set list with swift precision. His style of rapping reminds of the early days of Slim Shady himself. DJ Klever was a technical wizard at the spinning table, scratching out infectious beats. Yelawolf ended his performance with his newest single, “Row Your Boat,” which will be featured on his upcoming new record. He may be the next great phenomenon in rap today.
Complete Yeawolf Slideshow Below:
Up next, the Fox God came to the Forum to bring us his precious treasures, Babymetal. When I first saw this group, I was stunned to hear the mixture of J-Pop (Japanese pop) and heavy metal actually sounding good. I was so happy to finally see this band that I had wanted to check out for some time. Su-Metal, Yuimetal, and Moametal were exhilarating up on stage. Not only was their singing meshing with the metal music really well, their choreographed dancing captivated the audience’s imagination. From “Megitsune” to “KARATE,” Babymetal lit up the Forum and owned the night. Their background band, the Kami Band, had their chance to show off their metal skills during the opening of “Catch Me If You Can,” and they were headbanging delightfully. When they ended the set with their iconic “Gimme Chocolate,” I found myself imitating the moves. For six songs, Babymetal showed L.A. that they were a true metal act and not just a fad. The Fox God will continue to guide them.
The next group that came out to greet the Los Angeles crowd,, was a band I have always wanted to see live, Stone Sour. Fronted by metal legend Corey Taylor, they came to the stage looking to satisfy everyone’s rock ‘n’ roll appetite. Unlike Taylor’s other heavy group, Slipknot, Stone Sour was more hard rock with elements of metal and punk thrown into the mix. His partner in crime, guitarist Josh Rand, walked onto the platform dressed like Chevy Chase’s Fletch character, sporting an afro and Lakers uniform. As funny as he looked, he played some awesome riffs. The band played three songs from their upcoming album, Hydrograd, and the fans took to the songs very positively. Taylor has probably one of the best voices in modern hard rock/heavy metal today. Not only could he bring the fierceness to songs like “Absolute Zero,” he can show his softer side in the ballad “Through Glass.” Lead guitarist Christian Martucci gave us some sizzling solos, which set the music ablaze. Of all the new songs performed, I would say he saved the best for last with their new hit single, “Fabuless.” Stone Sour was everything I thought they would be. From what I have heard on the new album, the fans will rejoice in Stone Sour’s triumphant return.
Complete Stone Sour Slideshow Below:
They had saved the best for last. Korn is a band that has done so much for heavy metal and more. Having already seen them in Anaheim, Calif., Matt and I knew what we were getting ourselves into. Getting things started with “Rotting in Vain,” Korn broke down the gates and gave us fans some metal mayhem. Celebrating their latest accomplishment, The Serenity of Suffering, the bad boys of Bakersfield caused some much needed chaos. Frontman Jonathan Davis, wearing his signature kilt, was sheer tenacity on the microphone. Guitar duo Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Shaffer, dazzled us all with their powerfully guitar licks. From “Falling Away From Me” to “Shoots and Ladders,” every song was packed with energy that kept me headbanging throughout the entire show. Bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu and drummer Ray Luzier were dynamic with their playing. I especially loved Fieldy’s bass chops when playing “Y’All Wanna a Single” and “Got The Life.” Even Corey Taylor came out to join the fun by roaring some words from “A Different World.” They played a four song encore, which included the classic “Freak On a Leash.” Just when I thought they could not top their Anaheim performance, they proved me wrong.
Complete Korn Slideshow Below:
The night ended with my feet killing me, hair a mess, and neck whiplashed. In other words, this had proved to be one of the best metal concerts I have ever been to. Korn and Stone Sour scorched the Forum with terrific musicianship and profound songs. Each band was out of this world extraordinary. Unfortunately, I only caught the last 5 minutes of Islander, but I did like what I heard. I am sure I will be seeing them again very soon. Babymetal brought joy to our heavy metal souls, and Yelawolf is a trailblazer in the hip-hop world. I could not have asked for a better show. I will be seeing them all again soon enough. To all the bands of the Serenity of Summer Tour, I salute you. Horns up!!!