The nu metal Korn performed at the Giant Center this evening, along with metal groups Chevelle and Code Orange. And while spending an evening at Hershey’s Giant Center, listening to the three bands shred, wail and growl their way through a raucous concert, I had more than a few thoughts occur to me.
Here are my musings, reactions and realizations that came into my mind as I enjoyed a night full of head banging and distorted feedback.
- Wearing a bright red hoodie and yellow shirt, I am dressed too colorfully for this show. Sure, there are some reds to be seen, mostly in flannel form. But the rest of the color palette of this crowd feels like I’m in a Zack Snyder movie.
- I wondered before arriving what sort of crowd would show up for Korn. They had some of their biggest hits when I was at the end of my high school career, and sure enough, the crowd seemed to be largely Millennials and Gen X. It was great seeing that everyone’s Doc Martens and JNCO jeans were still in good condition !
- I only actually saw one pair of JNCO jeans, but I’m so glad I did.
- Opening acts are always a tough gig. Only half of the crowd has arrived at the start of the show, and no matter how hard you try, they’re only going to give you so much of a response.
- That said, Code Orange is doing perhaps one of the best jobs I’ve seen an opening act do, in getting the crowd hype. They were going hard non-stop through their entire set. “I know it’s early,” said Code Orange’s lead singer to the crowd at one point. “I’ve been there, sitting, listening to a band I’ve never heard of in my [expletive] life. I get it. Thank you for being early!”
- Code Orange hails from Pittsburgh, and took a moment to acknowledge their PA roots. “You know we’re Pennsylvania boys, right?” the singer asked. “You’re going to learn!”
- It occurs to me that metal concerts are kind of like a baseball game, in that I have nothing against them, and wouldn’t normally go to one. But once I’m there, I realize how much damn fun they are, regardless of if you know what’s happening or not.
- How do metal singers maintain their voices when they go into those screams and growls? It’s so impressive to hear them do a whole set for an hour or more with that kind of intensity.
- However, I admit that I often have no idea what they’re singing. And that’s not a criticism: their fans clearly know what they’re saying, and my hearing has never been the sharpest even before I started professionally attending concerts regularly. I just mention it because looking up the lyrics is usually how i figure out what songs they played. So that’s gonna be tough this time.
- Shout out to the lady sitting in front of me, who kinda looks like Jinx from “Arcane” without the blue hair. You are having a great time listening to Chevelle!
- It’s hard to deny Chevelle rocks, even if you aren’t much for their style of music. There’s also a surprising politeness to their banter. “Thank you ever so kindly,” said lead singer Pete Loeffler to an appreciative crowd. “I take it you’re feeling pretty [expletive] good, Hershey?”
- Man, I don’t care what anyone says. Head banging is cool.
- Chevelle hit the ground running at the top of their set and kept the energy going for song after song. There weren’t a ton of theatrics, no pyrotechnics or anything like that. Just a lot of rock, a modest but dedicated mosh pit, and even some crowd surfing.
- “Why’s everybody sitting down?” Loeffler asked. “Get up out of those seats!” Please don’t take it personally if I remain seated. I have work to do, after all.
- “All of you sitting down, I still love you!” he added later. Aw, thanks! I appreciate that. “Thanks for coming to our rock show!”
- I noticed more than one “Still a Freak” t-shirts from the Korn fans, referring to their song “Freak on a Leash.” I wondered about who would be young-at-heart enough that they’d still be willing to mosh, and there were certainly a decent number doing so for most of the night. Bless them. My neck hurts just from sitting here and tilting my head slightly to the left to see the stage.
- The moment Korn hit the stage, my late-’90s nostalgia hit hard. Someone get me a Surge and a chain for my wallet, please.
- The members of Korn have such an ease to how they work the stage and the crowd. They’ve been at this for a long time, and I’m sure with far rowdier crowds, but I’m still impressed how deftly they can ride the wave of the audience’s excitement.
- I stepped away for a moment only to hear some odd, wailing siren. By the time I returned, I saw that Korn’s lead singer Jonathan Davis was actually playing the bagpipe. This I did not expect.
- By the way, stepping outside of the seating area to grab concessions or use the restroom did very little to block the sound coming from the stage. This was one of the louder concerts I’ve attended in Hershey.
- Similarly, the band breaking into a rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” was also unexpected but not unwelcome.
- Davis led the crowd in a collective flipping off of the general sorry state of current world affairs. It was very cathartic.
- As this was one of the rowdier shows I’ve seen at Giant Center, I shouldn’t be surprised that there were a few individuals who didn’t make it the whole way through the show. Giant Center ushers and staff bearing the words “public safety” on their shirts were out in numbers I haven’t seen before. As were police. I saw a few folks that seemed to have sustained some kind of injury or were otherwise unwell, and at least one person who was, uh, invited to leave the stadium.
- That said, it’s important to note that this was also notably one of the most friendly crowds I’d even been in at the Giant Center. The awkward shuffling past other audience members to get to your seat was genuinely kind in a way I haven’t seen before. People were just excited to be here and enjoy music!
- “Freak on a Leash” sounds really, really good live. And if that song has ever got you hype for something, I hope you have the chance to see, hear and feel what a crowd does when Davis yells “Go!” at the climax of the bridge.