By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
The summer season is coming to a close once again, and the leaves on the trees are beginning to change colors. The seasons maybe changing, but heavy metal is always year round. Rabit and I have been to some amazing concerts this year, both small and big. From Fate DeStroyed at the Characters Bar in Pomona to Stitched Up Heart at the Slidebar, Judas Priest in Las Vegas, and Knotfest in San Bernardino, summer was hot for metal. And what better way to close it out than with some nu metal and grunge excitement. Nu metal greats Korn teamed up grunge legends Alice in Chains to give the metalheads one last great concert experience of the summer. Fever 333 and Underøath joined them on this grand adventure that would take them to FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine on August 30th. With summer ending, we were coming undone, but we have no excuses to not keep headbanging.
First up for the evening were rap rock anarchists Fever 333. Rabit and I saw this trio of Inglewood at the Regent back in April, and we were blown away by their Rage Against the Machine style of rock. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler is wild man on the mic and he goes into fury all over the stage while he preaches what he sings. During “We’re Coming In” and “Made an America,” he went into the pits, stood on the chairs, and belt out a vicious flow, where he actually slipped and fell. Luckily, an attendant helped him up and he hugged her. Stephen Harrison delivers some sick riffs that were a crossover blend of punk and metal, while drummer Aric Improta was going postal on the kit, especially during his solo that was accompanied by a beat box flow. From “Burn It” to “One of Us,” “Trigger,” “The Innocent,” and “Hunting Season,” Fever 333 increased the temperature that hot summer night. A couple of fans behind me started to shout “You suck! Get off the stage!” Obviously, those idiots did not get Fever 333’s message. That’s fine, because we got it.
Full Fever 333 gallery below:
Underøath has been having the time of the lives ever since reuniting for Erase Me last year. I have seen them twice last year, and they do not disappoint one bit. Frontman Spencer Chamberlain is energetic as always, singing with passion and conviction. Aaron Gillespie not only kills it on the drums, but nails it on the clean vocals, giving Chamberlain an extra boost. Christopher Dudley was slamming the beats on the keyboards as well as the programming. Timothy McTague and James Smith crush it on the alternative metal riffs that have made Underøath an effective group on the metal scene. Most of the songs that they played came from Erase Me, which included “On My Teeth,” “Rapture,” “Ihateit,” “No Frame,” and “Sink With You.” They also did a couple of their more notable songs “Breathing in a New Mentality” and “Writing on the Walls.” Though they do not consider themselves to be a Christian metal group anymore, Underøath’s music will always be righteous to me, and they performed righteously at FivePoint.
Full Underøath gallery below:
After Underøath came the roosters themselves, Alice in Chains. They are one of the few bands from the Seattle Grunge scene that are still around and kicking major music ass. They are riding high off their Rainer Fog album, which was one of the Top 20 albums last year for Uncivil Revolt Magazine. Co-leader and main vocalist William DuVall brought the rugged, raw singing that was both tortured and celebratory. I met him at NAMM earlier this year, and I told him I thought he was a great addition to Alice, which he was flattered. Lead guitarist and co-lead vocalist Jerry Cantrell is as slick as they come on the vocals as he is on the guitar. His riffs are dark yet beautiful. Bassist Mike Inez can still bringing the sonic blasts that come out of his Ibanez, while longtime drummer Sean Kinney is as steady and pulsating as ever. I have always described Alice in Chains as one of the heaviest groups from the Seattle Big 4, sometimes sounding very doom like. While they were touring for Rainer Fog, they played a huge chunk from there 1992 masterpiece, Dirt. From “Man in the Box” to “Check My Brain,” “Angry Chair,” “Again,” “Them Bones,” “Stone,” “Rainer Fog,” “No Excuses,” “Love, Hate, Love,” “The One You Know,” and “Would?,” this performance was up there with the Hollywood Palladium show we saw exactly 1 year ago. During “Nutshell,” Cantrell dedicated the song to his fallen brothers of AIC, frontman Layne Staley and bassist Mike Starr. Alice in Chains ended their set with their biggest hit, “Rooster,” which was met with great enthusiasm.
Full Alice in Chains gallery below:
A black curtain is hanging over the stage, covering everything up. Next thing you know, the music kicks in with the melody of “Here to Stay” being played, then the curtain drops for Korn has arrived, dreadlocks and all. The boys of Bakersfield have been around for over 25 years now, and they show no signs of losing their insane drive. Jonathan Davis mustered enough dark energy to sway the crowd with his sinister vocals. The man can sing, scream, rap, and beatbox, making him a lethal weapon in heavy metal. The guitar duo James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch slayed our ears with their heavy, funky riffs that could bitch slap us right to the ground. Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, who is arguably one of my favorite bassists, brought his hip-hop swagger to the max on his instrument, something that has made him a household name in the bass community. The way Fieldy’s fingers move is mesmerizing to watch, especially when he slaps the bass with precision. Drummer Ray Luzier gutted the drum kit with aggressive force as well as laying in a smooth melody.
Korn is about to get ready to release their 13th album entitled The Nothing, and fans are waiting eagerly to hear what horrid songs they came up with next, like the 1st single they performed that evening, “You’ll Never Find Me.” The band played a lot their classic hits that their loyal followers went ape shit for. For some of the songs they performed, my section in the bleachers started stomping the steps with such rhythmic force, Rabit and I were surprised that the bleachers held out for that. From “Blind” to “Divine,” “Rotting in Vain,” “Twisted Transistor,” “Shoots and Ladders” (where Davis brought out his famous bagpipes), “Got the Life,” “Make Me Bad,” “Somebody Someone,” and “Freak on a Leash,” mayhem ensued thanks to Korn, especially during “Freak on a Leash.” After a quick breather, they came back out for a 4 song encore, starting with “4 U.” They finished up the night with “Twisted,” “Coming Undone” (which had a snippet of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”), and the depressing pleaser, “Falling Away From Me.”
Full Korn gallery below:
Knick-knack, paddy-whack, give a dog a bone, this old band came roaring home! If there was any concert that was going to end summer with a bang, this was the one to be at. Korn brought the nu metal, while Alice in Chains gave us grunge beauty. I cannot wait for The Nothing to hit eardrums when it is released on September 13th. Our seats were not the best, but the music sure was the best. Also, some young female fan named Autumn, who was headbanging like a freak, asked me if I was Rabit’s dad. Oye vie! Strange way to end my night, but I embrace the strange. To Korn, Alice in Chains, Underøath, and Fever 333, I salute you. Horns up!!!