I've been in my fair share of mosh pits, but I'm pretty thankful that I wasn't in any of the three or four that raged on all through Slipknot's show at Jobing.com Arena on Thursday night.
Swirling like tornadoes full of teen angst and shirtless fat dudes, the pits dominated the already chaotic arena floor and provided countless examples of what happens when keeping it real goes wrong.
Detractors (myself included) can say all they want about Slipknot's music or image, but the visceral reaction of fans is proof that the band is doing something right.
Although most groups connect with their audiences at the beginning of shows, not many ignite as much energy as Slipknot does and then sustain it from the first song to the last.
While it's possible to attribute the potency of the band's stage presence to its showmanship or originality, I think it's more realistic to relate it the fans. Simply put, there is a market for cheap thrills and Slipknot knows how to give that market what it wants.
Since the band's fan base comprises primarily teenagers and pro-wrestling fans, two of the most predictable demographics on Earth, the group didn't need to dig too deep to figure out what works.
Guys in masks who jump around and hit things have always captivated the young and the young-at-heart. Because half of Slipknot's fans haven't been around long enough to know how stale the band's gimmick is, and because the other half lacks the discerning taste to care, it's a good bet that the group will continue to do well for the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, every kid cuts his or her teeth on a cheesy fad band like Slipknot at some point, so there's no reason to knock the band's hustle. As stupid as Slipknot looks, the group definitely made smart choices when it came to choosing a set list that spanned its career and ordering it chronologically. It was a refreshing change to hear a bunch of old songs like "(sic)" and "Wait and Bleed" lumped together at the start of the show, instead of sprinkled in later like many groups tend to do with their earlier material.
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While the band is probably eager to promote newer songs like the title track from their most recent album, All Hope Is Gone, the members clearly made it a point to prioritize their earliest tracks.
In the end, Slipknot's marketing ploys and cornball stage antics may fall short of my lofty standards, but I can't deny that the band knows how to keep its fans happy. You can't argue with a few thousand metalheads (pop metal or not), and I for one don't want to.
Last Night: Slipknot at Jobing.com Arena
Better Than: Mushroomhead.
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Personal Bias:I listened to Gwar growing up.
Random Detail: The band was all wearing skinny emo jeans. When did that start?
Further Listening: Slipknot fans may want to check out Wisconsin Death Trip from Static-X.
By The Way: I hope the band isn't paying that third drummer who looks like Kane very much. All he did was whip his hair around and pull his pants up every five minutes like Chris Farley's motivational speaker character from SNL.