Stone Sour

support Hellyeah
author AP date 16/11/10 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Week 46 turned out to be a busy period for the Rockfreaks.net staff, with just about every noteworthy band way back from our teenage years playing a concert in Copenhagen. The first of these was Corey Taylor's oft-overlooked second band Stone Sour, who have resurrected the interest of both the mainstream and underground press with their latest opus "Audio Secrecy". Judging from the dense crowd downstairs (and most seats filled upstairs as well), the album has not gone unnoticed among Danish music aficionados either. Good, because the only way big rock bands like Stone Sour can really impress, is by inciting a massive, collective party where everybody sings every word back at the band. But enough babbling, here are my impressions.

Hellyeah

Hellyeah's music is so obviously angled at inbred rednecks, and so utterly devoid of the crushing force and mighty grooves of Pantera, that were this an album review, it would almost certainly earn us a new choir of haters. When your songs switch catch phrases like "hell yeah!" and "god damn!" on repeat and pretend they constitute a chorus, there is no pretending that your music isn't stupid and pointless. Oblivious to these things, however, Hellyeah seem to slide in well with the downstairs crowd, probably because the legendary Vinnie Paul has, for reasons unknown to me, decided to lend his prowess to such a sad excuse for a band. You would at least expect them to honour his legacy in both Pantera and Damageplan with a cover or two, but sadly, we are left with dumbed down blue collar bullshit à la "Hellyeah!", "Goddamn", and the obligatory "Cowboy Way". If you somehow manage to paralyse the part of your cerebral cortex responsible for speech perception, then about one third of Hellyeah's setlist actually sounds moderately acceptable (I speak of "Hell of a Time", "You Wouldn't Know" and "Stampede" of course) - until they unleash their 'anthem', titled "Alcohaulin' Ass", which is preceded by a short speech by Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray about his lifestyle - enjoying one hour of sobriety per day. Why does this band even exist?

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Stone Sour

More importantly, what is a band like Hellyeah doing supporting Stone Sour? The only thing that the two bands have in common, is allegedly a deep and profound friendship - one never acknowledged by the ubiquitous Corey Taylor, nor any of his backing band. "Hold on a second, his backing band?", you probably find yourself asking, and indeed, despite their best efforts Corey's highly egotistical, megalomaniac persona takes over the minute the band steps on stage. His Slipknot alter ego spills into the show, both through his psychotic demeanor and his interaction with the crowd, which he has an awkward tendency to address either as motherfuckers or one big family. Whether during a song or a short break, this is very much a Corey Taylor show (although it must be said that former Soulfly drummer Roy Mayorga is doing a hell of a job resisting this on his pedestal, slamming his skins as furiously as the iconic Dave Grohl during his Nirvana days, or Dave's modern-day equivalent Ilan Rubin in his role as Nine Inch Nails' latest session drummer).

But fortunately Corey has enough charisma to command crowds much bigger than tonight's, and his rendition of "Made of Scars", "Say You'll Haunt Me" and "Unfinished" quickly defeats my initial skepticism. During these songs we see and hear Corey at his most honest, heartfelt and passionate, though the doses of heavy-as-fuck material from the band's first album, which are served in equal amounts via "Get Inside", "The Bitter End", "Hell & Consequences" and "30/30-150", sound equally impressive when delivered with Corey's trademark animosity. One thing is certain: Corey has the crowd in his palm, and this is perhaps best exemplified by his solo song "Bother". During this chilling discharge of emotion, he literally controls the crowd with his hand, achieving at times total silence amidst the swaying lighters. Bathed in fragmented spotlights, it is here that the full extent of his voice becomes chillingly apparent - not least through his admission that he is ill tonight and that he is sorry if his voice is grating our ears. What, may I ask, does he sound like when he's not ill?

This brief moment of calm then sets the premise for the evening's finale, beginning with a seamless transition into a half-acoustic rendition of "Through Glass" and culminating in "Get Inside", which reminds me of Slipknot's "Spit It Out" with its fluid rap singing and furious calls to arms. This, and the following, crushingly heavy encore threesome, is another testimony to Corey's versatile talent as a vocalist and performing artist, and has me thinking Stone Sour must be as heavy as a rock band gets to be without being called a metal band. The band exits to huge applause, and despite having had my Stone Sour cherry popped tonight, there can be no doubt that this is one of the finest alternative rock bands around.

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Setlist:

01. Mission Statement

02. Reborn

03. Made of Scars

04. Say You'll Haunt Me

05. Unfinished

06. Let's Be Honest

07. Your God

08. Bother

09. Through Glass

10. Digital (Did You Tell)

11. Get Inside

--Encore--

12. The Bitter End

13. Hell & Consequences

14. 30/30-150

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