Live Music + Gig Reviews

Slipknot + My Ruin @ Astoria, London

24 May 2004



A while ago I saw Limp Bizkit at Brixton Academy, and supporting were a band called The Tarantinos. Their set consisted of cover versions from the Tarantino films – good for pubs, exceedingly bad for a gig of that nature. It was the perfect example of wrong band, wrong time: boos, missiles and the band retreating from the front of the stage, all ensued.

In contrast, My Ruin fitted the “support act” bill perfectly tonight. Tairrie B’s hermaphrodite vocals roaring over chunky bass and guitars were just what the crowd needed. Although the initial enthusiastic mosh pit died down rapidly, people were left well warmed up for the main feature.

Fighting the standard support band sound, which swallowed the lead guitar, My Ruin’s songs matured through the set as they became more melodic and riff-driven. Made To Measure was one of the better ones. They also benefit from one of the more attractive drummers I have seen for a long time at a metal gig.

Slipknot have three drummers and none of them are in the slightest bit attractive, but then I don’t think they really care that much…

The crowd had to wait for over an hour before Slipknot squeezed onto the stage (bit too fashionably late guys). Nevertheless, this was an intense affair – the physical pounding of the music was relentless, but oh so welcome. Four from the new album – The Blister Exists, Three Nil, Duality and Pulse Of The Maggots were aired. They were all strong, but with the exception of Duality, a non-knowledgeable crowd was left listening rather than joining in. Some older songs interspersed (Sic, Disaster Piece, Left Behind) kept the attention.

This was most definitely a hot one. The pits were working well at the back, with a large crush at the front creating near Death Valley temperatures. However, the floor was like an ice rink: please Astoria, put some grippier floor down, la Brixton Academy – you owe it to the kiddies, they need to learn to mosh without falling over…

The second half of the gig consisted purely of favourites, but then Slipknot are a marketing machine (oooh, they wear masks and are nasty – drop the dead donkey! We can scare some mothers here!) and know exactly which songs please the crowd. Hence, My Plague, Wait And Bleed, The Heretic Anthem, Spit It Out (including the neat trick of getting most of the Astoria to sit down before the crescendo), People = S**t, and the usual, favourite finale of Surfacing.

The sound throughout did tend to drown some of the guitars’ grinding and lead riffs, and the band’s stage presence seemed overly “managed”, although with brief talks to the crowd, Corey Taylor did repeat his enthusiasm for London and this size of gig (a much better way to see them than big outdoor festivals). Sheer exhaustion of keeping up with the consistent aural battering somewhat muted the crowd in terms of response but hey, this is Slipknot, not Katie Melua – everyone knew what they wanted, Slipknot delivered, and left the punters well sated.

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More on Slipknot
Slipknot – 9.0: Live
Slipknot: “When I put that sticky, tight thing on, I know it’s Slipknot time” – Interview
Slipknot + My Ruin @ Astoria, London
Slipknot @ Reading Festival, Reading