Darien Lake Performing Arts, Darien Center, NY
Tuesday, 29 August, 2006

It's a devalued Family Values tour these days, when today's dollar can't even buy Limp Bizkit's giant toilet.

After a five-year hiatus, Family Values came to Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Tuesday with fewer toys than years past and a world that needs it to stand up to authority more than ever.

As engineers of social change, the 10-band 2006 Family Values isn't really up to that job, despite the appearance of some 9,000 goateed kids clicking their cloven heels agreeably like Satanic billy goats. Korn remains as resolutely self-absorbed as ever, while the Deftones seem almost too interested in getting every pretty melody and horrific scream just right.

Flyleaf had to jerk the crowd's attention from a spontaneous, but well-organized and good natured, breakout of wrestling matches in a mud pit on the lawn. It didn't stop the wrestlers, but most ticketholders returned their gaze to Flyleaf and its charming female singer, a wacky-dangerous chick who brought to mind Alanis Morrisette: The Early, Very Loud Years.

Pretty's not for Stone Sour. It's the creation of lead singer Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root. And I'd suggest they quit that piece of costumed comedy they're also playing in, Slipknot, and stick with Stone Sour. It's a potentially wonderful metal band, as disturbed as Disturbed, with Taylor perhaps the finest singer in metal today. He can handle the screaming, but during a solo set showed off a very nuanced, almost sweet, voice.

Using the technology of the day samples and vocal distortion the Deftones were orchestral and cinematic, yet properly jarring, metal. There were moments when it almost sounded like Mercury Rev. Lead singer Chino Moreno (fashion statement: black T-shirt, black shorts, white calf-high athletic socks) is sometimes as incomprehensible as Taylor is straightforward. But that's like comparing Hieronymous Bosch to Jackson Pollack.

KoRn sounds rumbling big bigger with the addition of more backing musicians. The Deftones have surpassed their fellow Californians in layers of musicality, and KoRn's be-kilted lead singer Jonathan Davis has lightened up a bit. But it's still all about one thing to Davis... ME!

Incidentally, there's a real raw rock and roll coming out of Japan. Bands like Electric Eel Shock, which frequently plays the Bug Jar, and this tour's Dir en Grey aren't mimicking the sound, but succeeding in projecting the music's fury. It's a multicultural blend of Scandanavian Apocalyptic death metal and dance pop. Maybe the Japanese band's appetite for over-the-top stage theatrics and dyed-blond hair comes from growing up in a nation with master puppeteers living on every street. What really made it an ear-ringing success, however, was I couldn't tell if the falsetto-shrieking Kyo was singing in English or Japanese.

Coming soon.

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