Review: Knotslip + support @ Islington O2 Academy, London (12/10/14)

I was introduced to SlipKnot and, consequently, metal when I was 13 or 14 and can’t say I looked back. I loved SlipKnot’s music as it was loud, fast and angry (and not forgetting there was a lot of swearing which every 14 year old loves when it comes to music) and have, since my first gig 10 years ago, wanted to see the band live, but never had the chance. This gig, however, made me feel like I was at a SLipKnot gig. But before we go into that, a little bit about the support bands.

The first band whose name I didn’t catch was okay instrument-wise with some good riffs and cool basslines, but the vocals were boring without any variation and the singer, rather than communicate with the audience in an entertaining way, repeatedly called audience members who weren’t moving pussies. He also had a bit of an overblown ego and was generally quite boring. Not a band I’d be interested in seeing again.

The second support band, Brutal Horizon, was a big improvement to the previous band. Vocals were both melodic and heavy, as were the guitars. The singer communicated and spoke to the audience and both he and the rhythm guitarist decided to take a walk through the audience with the latter first nearly causing me to drop a full pint of snakebite before standing on the edge of the mixing desk. This band was both talented and entertaining and managed to get a lot more movement from the crowd. We were informed that an album is due soon so I’ll have a lookout for that.

Not including Knotslip I’ve seen two tribute bands – Ayn’t Skynyrd and Limehouse Lizzy (with the Lizzy gig being at the same venue as tonight) – both of which were excellent, but last night I saw a tribute band which was something very different. I’ve watched DVDs and videos of live SlipKnot shows and therefore seen what an experience of seeing SK live would be like. With this being the only comparison I can make, I think I can safely say that Knotslip got everything “right”. Stage personas (i.e. “Craig” quietly standing at the back, “Corey’s” language when speaking to the audience and “Clown” & “Chris” exiting the stage to the side and standing on the bar with the strap-on snares) were performed as one would expect, and even stances and movement from the guitarists were the same.

If I remember correctly, the night began with ‘Wait & Bleed’ – inevitably one of the best starter songs due to its mellow start before dropping into pure heaviness – and from then on the band played songs from all four albums currently available (Slipknot, Iowa, Vol 3: Subliminal Verses and All Hope is Gone) and somehow they didn’t miss out any songs I wanted them to play. From the first song to the last there was no such thing as a still audience (although I did spot one guy at the front who hardly moved all night).

Along with stage personas being maintained we had “Chris” playing with his long nose (an alternative form of a “posh wank” perhaps?) and “Clown” diving from the keg/drum stands. I’m not sure the venue’s ceiling is high enough for “Sid”/”133” to perform his sort of dives/jumps. Furthermore, all the musicians’ playing was tight with no mess-ups or bad playing which I don’t doubt some tribute bands have been guilty of doing.

I spoke to most of the band outside after the gig where we were told that the start-up of the band had been quick and random and that before formation some members had never listened to Slipknot. This shows that the band has worked hard to get where they are as Europe’s no. 1 SK tribute band and for that respect is given. Along with that, I was worn out after 2 songs (don’t worry, I was soon back in the pit) so I don’t know how the band managed to keep going in such a small and hot venue.

All in all a brilliant night and until I have the chance to see the real Slipknot on January the 15th I’ll be keeping an eye out for future performances from Knotslip in close vicinity to Essex/London.


Pete Kent

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