The Alien Critic Reviews...
The Alien CriticReviews...

TAC Reviews...Slipknot: Live in Birmingham

Date Posted: 14/02/16


You may have noticed that I did not post a review last week…could this be because my attention was distracted by the imminent arrival of my people and there was no reason to continue writing for a human race that is about to be wiped out?? No, it wasn’t. The reason is that I have been busy over the last couple of weeks travelling around seeing if I could contact my people in a way other than phoning so haven’t had much time to write. But you must have noticed I have created a new section for my website TAC Reviews…Live Events. You must have read my little introduction for this section so I don’t need to repeat myself here...I’m just going to dive in so…


Yesterday 12/2/16 I travelled to Birmingham to go and see Slipknot perform, for those of you not in the know allow me to enlighten you. Slipknot is an American heavy metal band that was formed in 1995, and whilst over the years the line-up of the band has changed they are still going strong. This was the first time that I was going to see them live and whilst I was familiar with their music I couldn’t have picked out any of their songs specifically. Also I am not reviewing their whole tour here, just the gig I went and saw in Birmingham.


Slipknot European Tour 2016


Believe it or not I am a massive metal head, I know an Alien Metal Head, who’d have thought it…thing is there is so much to like about the genre, but bizarrely metal heads are generally regarded as the kinds of people who would tear a venue to shreds during a gig and stab each other in the process. Admittedly I had this opinion myself and one day I shall write about my first metal gig experience. If you are reading this after I have written that then go check it out and you will know what this kind of music means to me. As far as this review goes allow me to just say that I was really looking forward to seeing another live gig…so did it disappoint??


I’ll get to that in a bit…


Last night a close friend of my skin sack (Gaz) described me as a veteran of metal gigs and perhaps that is true, I have been to a number of gigs over the years, and yet as Gaz and I sat having a pre-gig beer I felt the familiar mixture of apprehension and excitement building inside me. I have been disappointed at metal gigs before, imagine if you will weeks of anticipation leading to a bland performance. This happens pretty much every time I have sex, I’m decent enough at human coitus (the stains women leave on my sheets are proof of that…sorry wandered from the point…) but the women I end up bedding are generally a disappointment…I have had similar experiences with some gigs. I wait for so long to see a band, my skin sacks friends build up the gig, we discuss previous shows and it will be all we talk about…then the band just phone in a performance, this happened when I saw Sikth last year in Bristol and the last thing I wanted was for this gig to end up the same.


I could not have been more wrong, from the moment Slipknot appeared on stage they were truly magnificent, their energy, their passion and we, the audience, fed them with our roars of applause as they in turn fed us with the music that they live and breathe. The performance was loud, violent, and the stage itself twisted to reflect the pounding of the drums and the ferocity of the metal music. Whilst there were no pyrotechnics, the light show was as spectacular as the band themselves and blended seamlessly with the music. I get that they look a bit fucked up but trust me, the lead singer Corey Taylor has an amazing voice, if you don’t like metal he has done some non-metal stuff and I urge you to check that out as well as his songs with Slipknot.


I spent most of the gig crushed up against the people in front of me as close to the stage as I could possibly be, normally the idea of being up close and personal with a bunch of sweaty human beings would be repulsive to me but last night I did not care. I was bathed in my own sweat, my clothing was saturated in it with my mind and body barely surviving the onslaught of crushing bodies, metal music and the band on stage expertly working us into a frenzy.


I didn’t start off at the front though…I had to get past the mosh pits first


The misconception with people who don’t know or who have never experienced a gig like this before is that a mosh pit is a violent place and anyone foolish enough to venture into one needs to be prepared to emerge with cuts and bruises. I would be lying if I said that isn’t the case because it certainly is, I have seen fans with broken noses, faces sliced open, and blood splattered on bystanders. However, everyone in the pit knows what the deal is, they know what they are doing in there, and simply put a mosh pit is the most organised chaos I have ever seen. In the pit people watch out for one another, should someone trip and fall, fifty pairs of hands will haul them to their feet and hurry them out of harm’s way. A pit only occurs at certain times during a song, and it is during these moments when bodies are being thrown around as effortlessly as they are in the ocean that I was waiting for…because it is in those minutes when the crowd is being split apart by the pit that you can surge through the gaps in the surrounding audience to get to the front but to do that you have to cross the pit itself


Depending on the size of the gig there may be one pit or many, and last night there were three. Three times I waited…and three times Gaz and I battled our way forward pushing and shoving others out of our way as we were tossed around like a piece of wood being thrown around by a tornado. We were drawn to the front, to the stage, to the band and neither of us was prepared to simply stand at the back. Gaz and I did get separated when we neared the front but by then we were as close to the stage as we could physically be as the bodies before us were not budging. I did not doubt that my friend would be fine for two reasons, one: he is built like a brick shithouse, and two: he has been going to gigs long before I have so knows how to look after himself.


The members of the band are masters of their craft, the drums, the guitars and of course the vocals were all flawless.


This may sound bizarre but I have had moments like the one I am going to describe to you now before when I have been at fantastic gigs… I have actually felt pity for people who aren’t at the gig and don’t like metal music.


I have been attempting to describe to people who don’t know what it is like to experience what it is to be at one of these gigs, be part of a mosh pit and see a band as spectacular as Slipknot. Personally when my mind and body are struggling to keep up with the onslaught of crushing bodies and sensory overload that I pity anyone who has not been to a show like this because the truth is they will never understand what it feels like to be a part of the audience at a gig like this. Nor will they experience the insanity of such a gig. They are missing out on something truly awe inspiring and epic. To be a part of the metal community is indescribable to someone on the outside and whilst there are naturally the odd dicks in the mix the majority of metal heads are the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet.


I left the venue feeling like I’d been beaten up, I was panting, my throat was raw where I had shouted myself hoarse, Gaz and I had reunited and there was a huge smile plastered all over my skin sack’s face


Perhaps I am a veteran of metal gigs now…perhaps I am just an alien in a human skin sack that doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about so allow me to finish talking about this gig with my usual Thumb rating. For Slipknot: Live in Birmingham I am 100% giving them my highest honour, yes, they are worthy of my rare 2 Thumbs Up, and I am still torn about whether the show was the best gig I’ve ever been to.



10/10 – An awesome show with a spectacular band and if you are a non-metal fan then listen to some of Corey Taylor’s other stuff because he is an amazing singer, and if you are a metal fan then you must check Slipknot out during their 2016 European Tour.


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© Chris Sharman