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Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI
Saturday, 26 August, 2006
Behind the California quartet, a red curtain opened to reveal four other musicians (from other Family Values bands) in grotesque masks in front of three giant video screens constantly projecting arbitrary imagery.
KoRn's music sounded like the entire infotainment-saturated, technologically hobbled culture - camera phones, personal digital assistants, video-game jingles, splatter-movie special effects - condensed into dense sonic bullets with serrated and jagged edges.
The band members seemed to enjoy firing those bullets into the audience - which, in turn, seemed to enjoy the impact. This was not a mere mutual acceptance of information overload (because it is inevitable), but a kind of vicious, joyful embrace of it.
The onslaught took on another layer when frontman Jonathan Davis, natty in funereal kilt, announced that KoRn would perform its latest single, "Politics," twice in order to make a video and that a few lucky folks had been given cameras to catch several angles of fan madness.
"Politics," the song, was brutally catchy, as if KoRn had figured out how to make a well-timed punch to the gut beautiful to aggressor, victim and bystander alike.
For all its strongly internalized violence and hatred, though, the show wasn't serious like a fistfight or riot. KoRn also did its old, huge single "A.D.I.D.A.S.," which was all about desperate awkward sex (or just the desire for it), and the smile on Davis' face when he turned a fire hose on the audience was hardly the wicked grin of a fascist.
Other groups on The Family Values lineup demonstrated a similar ability to turn rage into something like art, but few had KoRn's peculiar knack for it.
The Deftones, another band from California, combined its heavy metal with woozy hallucinogenic tendencies. Stone Sour, a side project for members of Iowa's repugnant Slipknot, found its best moments when it deliberately went softer and became more reflective.
Dir En Grey went in every direction. Hailing from Japan, this quintet drew energy from lead singer Kyo.
He sang with near-operatic fervor and threw his waxy, androgynous body about as though he'd memorized every punk contortionist from Iggy Pop onward. He even managed some minor bloodletting - something appreciated by a crowd of 15,000, overloaded by rain.
01. Right Now
04. Politics *
05. Love Song
07. Falling Away From Me
08. Coming Undone
09. Got the Life
10. Throw Me Away
11. Shoots and Ladders
12. Wicked (Feat. Chino Moreno)
13. Here to Stay
14. Freak on a Leash
15. Hollow Life (Acoustic)
16. Twisted Transistor
17. Y'all Want a Single
* Song played twice for music video filming.
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