I thought I had officially escaped the blistering Arizona sun in the middle of summer by missing Ozzfest this year, but 'lo and behold Korn got the last laugh. Unlike Ozzfest, they added amazing talent like Five Finger Death Punch, Droid, Trivium and Hellyeah. I simply couldn't miss this show, sweltering heat or not.
This is the first time I have been to Family Values, so in covering the event from a media perspective, the set times frankly sucked. Racing from stage to stage with very little time in between not only caused me to miss bands or cut the coverage short (some I was thankful for, but still.) but also I couldn't give my full attention to the bands I did make it to see. So if you don't see a certain band mentioned, or the review is ultra short and choppy, there was simply no extra time to take during the rushing around.
First up for the day was Invitro. Unfortunately, first impressions are lasting impressions, so as they hit the stage with the goofy Reynolds aluminum foil on their heads (ghetto Slipnot masks?) I couldn't help but start planning my escape to the beer line. The band played on the second stage which wasn't in the normal area that was usually set aside at the Cricket Pavilion, like for Ozzfest's second stage. It was more on the backside of the restrooms in a very small area. It must have been ten times hotter here than anywhere else (the day itself was in the triple digits). But the band played on. Overall they simply weren't that impressive, and nothing memorable, except for the masks. They have elements of punk with slightly crunchy riffs here and there, but not much else. The frantic-then-calm vocals like those found in New Disease were just plain annoying.
Eventually the masks did come off I hear but it was not until after the media was ushered away to the next band.
Neaurosonic was the first band I was glad I only had a short time to be subjected to. The band came walking out in somewhat dark, raggedy looking suits, jet black hair, and black finger nail polish. Wow. Originality. The guitarist kept walking in circles like a puppy that needed to piss with a look like Keith Richards finding a long lost stash. Even the crowd was looking at them in disbelief of how they might have gotten on the main stage. Next.
From Liverpool (UK) we have the Teletubbies on acid. Uh, I mean Twin Method. Each member was dressed head to toe in presumably their favorite color. From the hair all the way to the socks and shoes was brightly color coordinated. Yawn.
The band is utilizing two singers - one screamo and one clean. Both fail to hit their mark in part due to the weak guitar they sing over. The band is very bland and pushes melodies so far over the top they sound like a bad pop band at times.
Thankfully, a reprieve from constantly asking What the fuck was THAT?! after leaving most of the second stage bands came when Trivium hit the main stage. They have come a long way since landing on Ozzfest a couple of years ago. While the energy is still as high as ever, the band is looking more and more like seasoned professionals thanks to their heavy touring. The nearly packed crowd was on its feet and yelling loudly along to each chorus. Their short set was enough to rile up the crowd and keep them going for the next band.
Set list: To the Rats, Tread the Floods, Becoming the Dragon, Rain, Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation, Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr.
One of the many highlights was the performance by HellYeah. The crowd went absolutely berserk when Vinny Paul came walking out and was perched high on his drum set. I did manage to get the set list, but I had about 45 seconds to listen to the band before being ushered off to the second stage.
Set list: Mater of Time, GodDamn, Naseau, Stone Cold(?), Alcohaulin' Ass, You Wouldn't Know, HellYeah.
Showing that they were there to conquer, Five Finger Death Punch proved that their studio album can't capture the power and force that the band possesses live. No nonsense, full frontal metal assault is what they are good at and they waste no time in making you forget any of the other bands that have played before them on the second stage. The set was way too short for such a intense band.
Vocalist Ivan was bound and determined to make sure the crowd was pumped up and participating. I looked away for a minute and when I looked back he was jumping on to the security barrier and leaned over, equivalent to two rows deep in to the GA crowd, and shoving the microphone in numerous faces for a sing-a-long.
Can't wait for these guys to come back and play a longer set.
Set list: Ashes, Salvation, The Way of the Fist, The Bleeding, White Knuckles.
Flyleaf was a very quick set for me as I had barely one song in which to shoot them, on the way to see Droid. Why the crowd's reaction was so strong when they came out is beyond me. I had heard the new CD and was rather glad I had to rush to Droid's set. This was nothing more than pop/light rock with a female vocalist. This band could blend within the genre and not even be missed.
Droid was the only band that had a chance to follow FFDP on the second stage, and they did so with fierceness. Any other band would have been eaten alive. Another break through band that is giving the metalcore genre the brutality it deserves and another short set for me, I only got to hear the first two songs and if it's any indication of how the rest of the set went, stretchers were probably needed to recover both the FFDP and Droid crowds.
Set list: Withdrawls of Me (no, that's not a typo), The Resurrection, Salt the Graves, Behind Dead Eyes, No Gods No Masters, Built to Last, God of Anger, My Oath.
Why Trivium came on before Atreyu was a question that seemed to be on the faces of most of the concert goers. Atreu seemed to have fallen in to that typical metalcore formula with their first two releases, but as their third release has just hit stores, they seemed to have gone a little more commercial. The band was tight, and the guitar solos seared, but as far as crowd response goes, they should have come on before Trivium. The momentum just didn't carry on and it showed. A large majority of the crowd timed this set as "beer time."
Evanescence has never really been a band of interest for me. I dig Amy Lee's vocals at times because they are so strong and I don't think I have ever heard her crack a note. My respect goes out to singers with that kind of talent and strength.
The band was good, but just nothing awe inspiring. The girls in the front row were screaming "Amy we love you!" so often I didn't know if I was in the lesbian section or a Beatle-esqe stage rush was being organized. Either way, I was glad to make it back to the air conditioned media room.
The finale (as well as the final short set for me) was Korn's performance which was flawless and energy soaked. Their stage set up this time had the drums in the center of the stage towards the back, stairways that climbed up to walkways on each side which in turn came back out towards the crowd, right to the edge of the stage. They were roughly 10 feet high on the stage.
Jonathon Davis' pent up energy kept him running from side to side and along each walkway. Bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu sauntered around the stage providing pummeling base lines as guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer delivered the signature Korn riffs. The crowd went nuts and basically flew out of their seats when the band hit the stage. No one could have left disappointed.
Family Values went where Ozzfest should have, but failed to, and clearly made it the festival event of the summer. Korn has even pushed it a step further by cutting off the dead weight and bringing powerhouses HellYeah, Five Finger Death Punch and Droid back out with them for a month and a half extension dubbed the Bi#%h! We Have A Problem tour. The following dates have been announced:
- Sep. 22 - Reno, NV - Lawlor Events Center
- Sep. 23 - Bend, OR - Les Schwab Amphitheater
- Sep. 25 - Vancouver, BC - Pacific Amphitheater
- Sep. 27 - Edmonton, AB - Rexall Place
- Sep. 29 - Winnipeg, MB - MTS Centre
- Oct. 01 - Milwaukee, WI - Eagles Ballroom
- Oct. 02 - Merrillville, IN - Star Plaza Theater
- Oct. 03 - Youngstown, OH - Cheverolet Center
- Oct. 05 - Nashville, TN - Nashville Arena
- Oct. 06 - Memphis, TN - Mud Island Amphitheater
- Oct. 08 - State College, PA - Bryce Jordan Center
- Oct. 09 - Portland, ME - Cumberland County Civic Center
- Oct. 10 - Wilkes Barre, PA - Wachovia Center
- Oct. 12 - Marion, SC - Carolina Amphitheater
- Oct. 13 - Birmingham, AL - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
- Oct. 14 - Biloxi, MS - Mississippi Coast Coliseum
- Oct. 16 - Little Rock, AR - Alltell Arena
- Oct. 17 - Austin, TX - Frank Erwin Center
- Oct. 19 - Corpus Christi, TX - Concrete Street Amphitheater
- Oct. 20 - Hidalgo, TX - Dodge Arena
- Oct. 21 - Beaumont, TX - Montagne Center
- Oct. 23 - Tucson, AZ - Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater
- Oct. 24 - Las Vegas, NV - Joint
- Oct. 25 - Salt Lake City, UT - E Center
- Oct. 27 - Seattle, WA - Wamu Theater
- Oct. 28 - Portland, OR - Memorial Coliseum
This extension tour is the "best of" Family Values 2007 in my opinion, so get out and catch it. You won't be sorry. Sweaty, bruised and disoriented, sure - but not sorry.