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Concert Reviews:
Korn, Alice in Chains keep DTE rocking for another night

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Bringing another heavy music show into town on the heels of Slipknot's Knotfest Roadshow was a tall order.

But Korn and Alice in Chains proved more than up to the task on Tuesday night, Aug. 13, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

While Slipknot laid waste on Monday, Aug. 12, with unceasing theatrical spectacle, its two hard-hitting brethren -- along with undercard acts Underoath and Ho99o9 (pronounce Horror -- scored with leaner and meaner performances that focused on songs and musicianship. The combined show also benefited from variety, too, Korn's brand of industrial nu-metal and ensemble precision just far enough from AiC's grunge-rooted sound to make them not just like the other, but close enough to keep each other's audiences rocking throughout the groups' respective 75-minute, 15-song performances.

Seattle's AiC, declared "legends" by Korn frontman Jonathan Davis, of course has the rare distinction of thriving in the wake of losing a frontman (Layne Staley, who passed away in 2002). William DuVall, on board since 2006, appeared even more confident than ever during the quartet's set, a charismatic presence with or without a guitar strapped on and a vocalist who's proven himself over three studio albums, including last year's "Rainer Fog" -- whose "Never Fade" and "The One You Know" fit seamlessly into the AiC repertoire on Tuesday.

But the group also kept itself, not surprisingly grounded in the angsty 90s favorites that put it on the map, with Jerry Cantrell delivering a series of genuinely memorable guitar solos as the group worked through the likes of "Man in the Box," "Them Bones," "No Excuses," "We Die Young" and a set-closing pairing of "Would?" and "Rooster." Projections on five video boards that moved up and down behind the quartet gave the set its visual pizazz, but AIC's songs were the real stars, a testament to the enduring impact of truly good material.

The same can be said for Korn. Sitting somewhere between, say, AiC and Rage Against the Machine, the heavy-hitting California troupe -- which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October -- has a sound distinctive enough to identify with your eyes closed but one that has enough musical integrity to endure long after most of its stylistic comrades have faded away. Playing in front of and beneath mirror-like veneers that also housed video projections, the California quintet -- assisted by a touring keyboardist -- offered a taste of new with the pounding "You'll Never Find Me" from its upcoming album "The Nothing" but mostly paid homage to its heritage via favorites such as "Blind," "Twisted Transistor," "Freak on a Leash," "Falling Away From Me" and more.

Korn fashioned a few genuine metal Moments into the show was well. The kilted Davis' bagpipe introduction to "Shoots and Ladders" remained a highlight, while the group tagged a bit of Metallica's "One" into the end of the song. "Coming Undone," meanwhile, morphed smoothly into Queen's "We Will Rock You" In the end it was as start-to-finish solid as AiC, and proof to fans that both groups are, as Korn sang at the beginning of its show, "Here to Stay."

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