Article & Photos by Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Jonathan Davis has established himself as one of the greatest frontmen in rock ‘n’ roll today. The man spews out charisma, blistering vocals, and an eerie charm that has earned tons of respect in the music world, especially in the heavy metal scene. With his band Korn, they have sold over 35 million albums worldwide and have secured 2 Grammy awards out of 8 nominations. Now, at the peak of his success, JD is venturing into the unknown by putting out his first solo album in May, 2018. An album, 10 years in the making, is looking to shed new light upon his music. While the album, titled Black Labyrinth, has yet to be released, he has decided to tour with his own band and share with metalheads what he has created. Tagging along on his journey was post-hardcore band, Palisades. So, naturally, I went to cover his performance at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, Calif.
Palisades, who hail from Jersey, have this unique sound where they combine the ferociousness of metalcore with the dazzling works of electronica, calling it “electronicore.” They open up the show with the infectious “Through Hell,” where vocalist Louis “Lou” Miceli Jr. let his presence be known. Not only can he bring the harmony, he can blow the roof off the venue with his screams. Guitar duo Xavier Adames and Matthew Marshall are hardcore riff machines, with Adames sneaking in a little solo every now and then, especially on “Memories.” Bassist Brandon Elgar hits his notes with accuracy, while Aaron Rosa is swift on the drums. Elgar also shares lead vocal duties with Lou, and does a good job, while doing so. Mixing in electronica with their post-hardcore style is a risk, but it seems to pay off big time. Their arsenal of songs include, “Better Chemicals,” “Aggression,” “Dark,” “Cold Hearted (Warm Blooded),” and the ever popular “Let Down.” Palisades a walking tall, making Jersey proud.
Full Palisades slide show below:
Just before Davis took to the stage, I spotted an old friend from my Halloween Haunt days, Oscar Landeros. He is a lifelong Korn fan, so I should have expected him to show up. He actually got the VIP treatment, where he got to meet Davis himself. He was close to stage, not knowing what to expect. Though I am sure he would not be disappointed.
The lights turned red, and the band walked up to the stage ready to blow minds away. Strolling along was Jonathan Davis, where he lit up the fans with “Underneath My Skin.” He still has the haunting charm in his voice that still brings chills to my spine, and is still as charismatic as ever. His backing consists of a keyboardist, drummer, guitarist, bassist, and believe it or not, a violinist. What’s even crazier, the bassist was performing with an upright bass. Fans do not usually that at a rock concert. Between him and the violinist, they bring some symphonic flavor to Davis’ gothic sound. Joining Davis on drums was his longtime Korn compadre, Ray Luzier, who also performs on the upcoming record. He did a solid job keeping the heaviness in the songs. His guitarist was stellar.
His sound for this project is like a cross between symphonic metal and gothic metal, with a touch of industrial thrown into the mix. All of his songs, including “Forsaken,” “What You Believe,” “Basic Needs,” “Medicate,” and “Walk on By,” brought something new to the fan’s ears. He can emotional, joyous, or melancholy depending on the mood of the songs. He was so appreciative to have his pet project finally come to life. The fans responded with excitement and even sang along to his new stuff. “Please Tell Me” and “Walk on By” were my favorites of the night. He even did a cover of Neil Diamond’s own “Love On the Rocks,” which was not half bad. After a two minute break, they returned to the stage to finish off the fans with his hit single, “What It Is,” and the bombastic “Happiness.”
Full Jonathan Davis slide show below:
Euphoria rushed through my brain, for this was an unforgettable experience. This show was better than I expected. It was a packed house, and the fans would go home with smiles on their faces. Davis has found a new niche to release his creativity, and I believe that it will not stop there. Palisades wowed the crowd with their electronicore rock sound. All in all, Davis has brought light to the darkness. Be sure to check his solo debut, Black Labyrinth, when it hits the streets on May 25th. I know I will be giving that a listening to. To Jonathan Davis and Palisades, I salute you. Horns up!!!