The night was hot and the lines coming off the freeway were long. Everyone was trying to get into the parking lots for Ak-Chin Pavilion. People were coming from all directions by car and by foot. They were excited to be seeing Slipknot again. The lines for merch were long, everyone wanting to grab their memorabilia before it sold out. Many of the people were here last summer; it was the concert of the year making headlines for the 30-foot fire that was made in the lawn. This year’s lineup included some great bands.
The first band to open up Knot Fest was Crown the Empire. Crown the Empire is from Dallas, Texas that formed in 2010. The bands line up is made up by Andrew “Andy Leo” Rockhold-vocals/keyboard, Brandon Hoover-guitar/backing vocals, Hayden Tree-bass/backing vocals, and Jeeves Avalos-drums. They opened up their set with their song “In Another Life”. The crowd cheered with excitement. They headbanged and jumped with every song this metal core band threw their way. The band played an amazing set and really showcased who they were and why they had deserved to be on this tour.
The audience was slowly growing as the night progressed and the next band was about to come onto the stage. The lights went dark and the screen on the back of the stage came one. A short little snippet came on and then all of a sudden, the band come onto the stage dawning animal masks. It was finally time for Ice Nine Kills. They opened up their set with “Funeral Derangements” from their 2021 album Welcome To Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2.
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, this heavy metal band is made up by Spender Charnas-vocals/keyboard, Patrick Galante-drums, Ricky Armellino-guitar/backing vocals, Joe Occhiuti-bass/keyboards/backing vocals, and Dan Sugarman-guitar/backing vocals. The band was formed in high school in 2000 by Spencer Charnas and Jeremy Schwartz. Charnas is currently the only original member in Ice Nine Kills.
The bands high energy and performance kept the audience glued to them. Their act was theatrical and entertaining. Their set progressed and told a story about murder. It left you wanting to watch more. What made it truly special was that their performance and acting throughout their set was a continuation of the video clip that played at the very beginning; it was completing the story. This was the perfect way to get everyone ready for the main event! Ice Nine Kills also recently released an acoustic version of their song “The Shower Scene” over the summer. They ended their set with their song “American Nightmare” from their 2018 album, The Silver Scream.
Ak-Chin was even more crowded than earlier in the night. Those who had been waiting in the merch lines found their way back to their seats. People were scrambling to get their final drinks of the night before Slipknot could ascend to stage. Finally, it was time! A huge black sheet that read slipknot had been placed in front of the stage, obstructing the fans view of what the stage set up was going to look like.
Music started to play; it was “For those About to Rock (We Salute You)” and then it went into “Get Behind Me Satan and Push”. Then all of a sudden, the curtain dropped and it was time. Slipknot came onto the stage in their full glory. They began their set with “Disastarpiece” and then went into “Wait and Bleed”. You thought the crowd was crazy for “Disasterpiece” but the second “Wait and Bleed” came on the crowd went absolutely wild! Moshing started and the security guards got ready because they knew what was coming: crowd surfers. They came in waves! The people let is all hang out, balls to wall excitement and energy was released.
The set list kept getting better and better; they played “All Out of Life”, “Before I forget”, “The Heretic Anthem” and “Duality” to name a few songs. People of all ages were in attendance. At one point in the mosh pit and older Hells Angels member could be seen raising his vest to Corey Taylor.
Taylor took to the microphone and addressed the audience.
He said “Ill tell you what, we just released a new album. How many people have that fucking album here tonight?! The name of the album is “The End So Far”, and a lot of people wanna talk, a lot of people wanna run their mouth, a lot of people wanna say ‘oh this is it! They’re breaking up!’ Those people are idiots. Because this album simply means the end of a very important era of Slipknot’s lives and the beginning of the next 10-20 fucking years of our goddamn career. So, we thought since were back with our family, cuz we’re all fucking family here, right? We also thought since were in one of the craziest fucking cities in all of United States of America, we thought that we would give you just a little bit off of our new fuckin album. Is that what you want? Then Phoenix its time to sing ‘The Dying Song’”.
The audience went absolutely nuts, eating up everything Taylor had to say and every word he sang. Taylor then asked the audience to give it up for Crown the Empire and the boys in Ice Nine Kills. Taylor then addressed the audience again! Taylor stated “I gotta tell ya man, we’ve been coming here since 1999 man. And every time we’ve come here you guys make us feel like we are from here so thank you so fucking much!” He then asked the audience how many people have seen them before and how many of you are seeing us for the first time. He then cracked a joke about how a lot of the new fans are very young, and that everyone at the show is a part of the Slipknot family. He uses this as a transition into “The Heretic Anthem”, having the crowd practice yelling “if your 555 then I’m 666!!!”.
Slipknot is truly one of the bands; if you have the chance to see them you need to take full advantage of that and go! They always put on amazing shows filled with fire and entertainment. Taylor always addresses fans throughout the night making everyone feel like they are a part of the Slipknot family. They ended their set with “Spit It Out”, but came back onto the stage for a two-song encore! They ended their night with “People=Shit” off their 2001 album Iowa and “Surfacing” off their 1999 self-titled album, Slipknot. It was really an incredible and unforgettable night. Everyone is looking forward to the next 23 years Taylor promised everyone.