Back in the day, people would discover music live before hearing the studio recording. This was during a time when we didn’t have excessive access to electronic devices via smartphones, computers, radio, or Television. We have to admit, nothing beats hearing a song for the first time live. With that said, Jonathan Davis embarked on an extensive North American trek for his upcoming solo effort Black Labyrinth ahead of its release date, which is set to arrive on May 25th via Sumerian Records. The KoRn frontman figured to go old school by having his fans hear the new album live. The North American run kicked off last month in Portland, OR and we were there for his near-sold-out show in NYC on May 12th at Irving Plaza.
New York City alternative metallers Kings Bounty opened up the night as they pumped up the crowd by introducing their edgy style. The group initially formed back in 2015, and on this night it looked as though they’ve been together much longer.
New Jersey’s Palisades were up next as their energy reminded the audience of a late ‘90s/early ‘00s post hardcore act such as At The Drive-In. They gave it their all as they promoted their self-titled album (2017) via Rise Records with songs such as “Better Chemicals.” When we say “gave it their all,” we meant it since it looked as though bassist/backing vocalist Brandon Elgar gave up a few fingers as he was rocking out with a cast on.
It was obvious that many of the concert-goers were there to hopefully hear a classic KoRn tune. However, aside from drummer Ray Luzier, Jonathan Davis made it known that it was his solo material only. His solo band included guitarist Chris Nix, upright bassist Brian Allen, keyboardist Sven Martin, and violinist Emilio “Zef” China. The stage remained in deep red lights throughout Davis’ entire performance as it was obvious he wanted to share his deeper and darker side. One could summarize his material as a morbid KoRn as he kicked off the set with “Underneath My Skin” and “Everyone.”
However, one of the biggest highlights was hearing Jonathan Davis’ vocals for “Forsaken,” Slept So Long” and “System.” There were many in the crowd who were familiar with these tracks as they appear on the 2002 soundtrack for Queen of the Damned. During that time, the KoRn singer was unable to have his vocals included due to legality issues with the label. Therefore, not only did this night introduce an album, it also gave him the opportunity to present over fifteen year-old songs as they were originally intended.
Although there weren’t any KoRn songs, Davis managed to cover Neil Diamond’s “Love on the Rocks” towards the end of the set. The evening felt more-like a listening party than a concert as he managed to make a near-sold-out venue feel like an intimate evening.
“Underneath My Skin”
“What You Believe”
“Slept So Long”
“Walk on By”
“Please Tell Me”
“Love on the Rocks” (Neil Diamond cover)
“What It Is”