LIVE: Slipknot / Suicidal Tendancies/ Sikth @ Alexandra Palace

By Dave Bull

This show is about celebrating bands that have been around since at least 1999, and in today’s throw away world, both materialistically and conceptually, is quite some feat.

Tonight is all about Slipknot, who return to London for a two night slot at Alexandra Palace – not bad for a band that were thrown into relative disarray a couple years ago (due to the death of the late Paul Gray and the departure of drummer Joey Jordison) and all-but written off by the American press. Tonight is about showing that there’s plenty more where that came from, and to enhance their incredible ability to reel in new fans and transcend age groups.

First up tonight though are Sikth, who must be kicking themselves for being so forward thinking. If only their erratically technical blend of metal had come onto the scene today, rather than at the early part of the noughties, their relative successes may have been more. They resemble a slightly more relaxed, dual vocal version of The Dillinger Escape Plan. They still possess an onstage chemistry that shows there’s yet more in the mixer and songs from new album ‘Opacities’ provide promise for a future that may now take Sikth where they deserve to be.

New song ‘Philistine Philopsophies’ shows the immense blend of their reasonably unique dual vocal attack with the harmony and higher end parts simply divine; the ferociousness of the harder parts providing the blend which enhances Sikth’s credibility. If Sikth weren’t on your radar in the early 2000’s then perhaps they should be now.

Next up, seminal thrash legends Suicidal Tendencies enter the stage to rapturous applause and clearly their presence is appreciated. Complete with circle pits, ‘S.T.’ singalongs and ridiculously delightful lyrics, Suicidal Tendencies are well versed in entertaining. Vocalist Mike Muir jumps around the stage in a delightfully fresh and energetic manner and it turns out they are the perfect support band, adequately ramping up the expectations whilst providing a barrage of quality tunes.

And so to the reason most are here, enter stage left the mighty machine that is Slipknot. Homage is paid to David Bowie with ‘Ashes To Ashes’ before the creepy ‘Be Prepared For Hell’ deliciously sets the stage as the curtains are pulled back to a haunting vision that wouldn’t look amiss at a carnival curated by Rob Zombie.

Slipknot play a tight set, and with a mouth watering back catalogue of metal winners, and a crowd adhorned with their merch, it would literally be impossible to fail. Songs from their self titled record, ‘(sic)’, ‘Wait And Bleed’ and later on ‘Surfacing’ and ‘Spit It Out’ are phenomenal and remind this writer what it felt like to listen to this band for the first time in 1999, which paved the way from Oasis and Blur to a whole new world. Regardless of what some may think of them, Slipknot are important. They were and are enablers, facilitating people’s transition into the alternative world of music, and for that they deserve all the plaudits.

Songs from Iowa, now, unbelievably 15 years old, ‘Disasterpiece’, and ‘Everything Ends’, add meat to the already dripping bone, and comparably newer songs such as ‘Duality’ and ‘The Devil In I’ add an all important choral element to proceedings, the crowd bellowing back: “I push my fingers into my eyes”.

The night isn’t without its drama, as a rather large man is upended whilst crowd surfing and lands on his neck, knocking him unconscious while everyone runs over the top of him. He thankfully surfaced, dazed but seemingly OK. But perhaps this is further evidence that crowd surfing is a delight, but only when you weigh less than 8 stone and are probably about to sit your A levels. For 30+ men, let it go!

All in all, tonight was great. Three bands at the top of their musical game played sets full of huge tunes. The only disappointment was the big venue curse which seems to suck some of the life from certain performances like a hungry leach. Slipknot 2017 tour at the UK’s academy venues?! In your dreams…