TVD Live Shots: Slipknot, Lamb of God, and Bullet for My Valentine at Concord Pavilion, 8/26

I remember the day I first heard the name Slipknot. It was 1999 and I was working at a Sam Goody store while going to college in my hometown of St. Louis. A guy who worked part-time came in one day raving about this new band from Iowa that looked like a cross between the family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Rob Zombie’s worst nightmare. That week Slipknot’s eponymous debut record hit the store shelf and we had a brilliant idea to give it a listen in the store.  While it didn’t go over well with the lunchtime crowd, in fact, it cleared out the store pretty quickly, it was something truly unique. I don’t think we had any idea at the time that record would come to redefine metal as we knew it. 

Roadrunner Records had one hell of a roster at the time including Type O Negative, Black Label Society, Spineshank, Machine Head, Nailbomb, Seputura, and even some newer unknown bands that were killer, such as Electric Eel Shock (I’ve caught them twice—two of the most insane shows I’ve ever seen), Dry Kill Logic, Faktion, and Amen. Slipknot though was their first act to ever reach platinum status and arguably the reason the label would be bought out by a major.

Fast forward to last week and the first time I have seen Slipknot in more than a decade. While the band’s image has grown considerably darker over the years, their live show was as epic as ever—if not even more grandiose. The “Summer’s Last Stand” tour lineup included metal heavyweights Lamb of God and Bullet for My Valentine, along with newcomers Motionless in White. It would quickly make up for a Summer full of lackluster metal festivals and end the season on a high note from hell.

Slipknot’s latest release, .5: The Gray Chapter has garnered rave reviews and the live show is truly one for the ages. Even if you are not a fan, this is one of those shows that every metal head needs to see at least once. It was nothing short of a full onslaught of what hell on earth might actually look like in real life—sort of like a Ringling Brothers Circus with Satan himself as the ringleader summoning demons from deep below to condemn the entire audience to the bowels of hell.

And that’s coming from someone who really enjoyed the show. No one can touch Slipknot when they are on top of their game like this.

Slipknot Photographed by Jason Miller

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With that being said, Lamb of God is in my opinion the best American metal band on the planet at the moment. Their last five records are absolute masterpieces of modern metal and this band never strays from what makes them so great, staying true to their roots.

Their latest album VII: Sturm und Drang (VII: Storm and Stress) was released in July and debuted at #3 on the Billboard chart which is pretty much unheard of for an album this heavy.

Slipknot Photographed by Jason Miller-6

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Slipknot Photographed by Jason Miller-8

Opening up the show was another band that I really dig, Bullet for My Valentine. These guys came out of seemingly nowhere in 2005 with an incredible record called The Poison. They were also being hailed as the next Iron Maiden with their epic metal gallops and dual guitar solos.

They got heavier with their next record, Scream Aim Fire, but then got lost in some sort of metal identity crisis on the next two, Fever and Temper Temper, before returning to true form for 2015’s Venom. These guys are fucking killer live and were the perfect opener to set the stage for what was to follow.

Slipknot Photographed by Jason Miller-9

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LAMB OF GOD

Lamb of God Photographed by Jason Miller

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Lamb of God Photographed by Jason Miller-9

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Lamb of God Photographed by Jason Miller-15

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Lamb of God Photographed by Jason Miller-18

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE

Bullet for My Valentine by Jason Miller

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Bullet for My Valentine by Jason Miller-3

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Bullet for My Valentine by Jason Miller-16

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Bottom line: Epic mini-metal fest puts the other big festivals to shame. Check out hi res shots in the gallery here.

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