It was the first decent evening you did not have to have a heavy coat and wrap up like an Eskimo to stay warm getting to where you were going. I guarantee everyone attending tonight’s show would agree. Not much could keep these concert-goers’ way from the Target Center in Minneapolis Minnesota, last night for the 2022 Knotfest Roadshow. This nonconforming tour features headliner Slipknot, In This Moment, and Jinjer. Jinjer was unable to be on tour, so Wage War stepped in to fill in the spot.
Since this was my first nu-metal rock, I honestly did not know what to expect. I’m an 80’s rock gal, so the death roar is foreign to me and not necessarily my favorite. I had my earplugs ready to go and clipped to my media pass on my belt loop for safety as I entered the venue. As I walked into the building, Slipknot t-shirts were the theme, everywhere. I almost felt out of place with my ACDC tee. I was the first to show up, which is rare. Eventually, all the photographers arrived, and we were escorted through a maze of corridors to an EMS station for a rapid Covid test. Afterward, back to the main office to wait for the opening act, Wage War. Originally Jinjer, a metalcore band from Donetsk, Ukraine, was to have opened for Slipknot, but due to the War in their homeland, the band was unable to come on tour at this time.
We eventually made our way to the pit. The variety of individuals at this show really surprised me. From young to old. From your typical dad types to people with impressive spiked mohawks. The pit was wide, which I appreciated, makes it much easier not to run over each other. The crowd was massive. 19k (give or take). I knew the crowd would be wild and they did not disappoint throughout the evening. The opening band Wage War took the stage with a red background that reminded me of the red light district in Amsterdam. That was a continuous theme throughout their set. The lights streamed across the stage on the front part of the crowd as it danced across the stage. It pulsed to each beat. I was very impressed with this band as soon as they hit the stage. Wage War is stellar musicians. This Ocala, Florida, native band’s stage presence was commanding but not overpowering. They opened the set with their song “Relapse“, which was a fast beat hard-hitting tune. Something you would hear out of a Tom Cruise movie during a high-impact car chase. The stage was tall, so it was hard to see what was going on with most of the band. I felt like we were in a hole in the ground trying to peer up. I maneuvered from left to right and back to the center trying to catch what was going on. Their 2nd song of the set was “Low”. This one was my favorite. A mixture of a punch and a harmonious blending of vocals by both lead vocalist Briton Bond and co-vocalist and lead guitarist Cody Quistad who continued to play sinister and wicked cords at the same time. To see these two go between melodic harmonies into a death scream blew me away. The stage presence was consistent high energy for each band member including drummer Stephen Kluesener who seemed to be bashing those drums to death while he miraculously kept the tempo lead of the band. Bassist Chris Gaylord laid down a gritty dark undertone that set the darkness for each song. The 3rd song of the set was “Alive“. I do believe this is where the mosh pit started, which is your typical song to start it off. The band continued to keep the crowd going throughout their set, ending with their song “Stitch“. Appropriate for ending their time on stage and keeping the crowd wanting more. Whatever your opinion is of the “roar” or “cookie monster” singing, this band has the chops and musical skills to give anyone else a run for their money. Check out their song “Johnny Cash” to get the full appreciation of their musicality. I can say I am now a fan and plan to follow and see them in May 2022 when they return to the Target Center.
Wage War is:
Briton Bond – lead vocals
Seth Blake – lead guitar
Stephen Kluesener – drums
Cody Quistad – rhythm guitar, vocals
Chris Gaylord – bass
7.) High Horse
9.) Death Roll
10.) Circle the Drain
We received word that we would not be able to shoot the second act In This Moment. At that time, I really wasn’t worried about it, and we’ll just go with the first and last act. However, when I stepped out to go grab something to eat and catch some of the second act, I was truly disappointed we didn’t get to shoot the set. The visualization of this set was remarkable. I have never seen anything like it. I was just blown away by the stage setup. For this grunge metal female-fronted band, it was Lady Gaga, meets the scarlet letter, meets American Horror Story. Yes, exactly what I said. The beginning of the show started with a white draped screen with a black widow spider on the front covering the front, while the music included air horns, sirens, and drums. When the screen dropped the crowd flew into a frenzy.
The band appeared motionless with white face paint wearing nun and priest outfits. In the center, atop everyone, is a figure dressed in a long white sheet and white ritual-inspired headdress. She eventually strips away the sheet to reveal a black sacrificial like gown. The back of the stage included a black drape with a pentagram and various symbols as a backdrop. In front of that was a red triangle light that continuously lit up during the performance, shimmering through different colors. The show included costume changes with every song for both lead vocalist Maria Brink
Maria Brink and her two backup dancers. The elaborate costumes were so dramatic that she had to have the two backup dancers assist her up the platform where she held onto a handrail to ensure she didn’t fall. Brink, with her powerhouse voice with theatrical undertones, was front and center, perched on a platform surrounded by the 2 dancers; they dressed similarly, all while mimicking each other in every move as if possessed. There was quite a bit going on to try and keep up with. The band seemed to stay stationary, never pivoting from their spots. Bassist Travis Johnson and lead guitarist Chris Haworth were right up front, while drummer Kent Diimmel and rhythm guitarist Randy Weitzel were located further back on stage and almost unseen due to lights and the relentless stream of smoke that consumes the entire stage. The band’s heavier tones came out in songs like “Adrenalize” and “Sick Like Me”. Musically they sounded solid, and I enjoyed the grungy industrial sound they brought to the table. Essentially, all eyes were on Brink throughout the show. I feel that this may have taken away from the performance of the other band members.
The encore ended with their song , which was led into with Martin Luther King Jr’s “Free at Last” speech. Black and white balloons were released from the ceiling, which included the band’s logo. The once perched simple podium was now a yellow podium with Whore writing in red blood. Brinks wears a dunce cap with Whore written on the cap, and both backup dancers continue throwing up signs with the same words. Finishing off the set with this song was a strong ending for this band and an appropriate lead into the headliner for the night. Another surprise for me tonight with this band. Definitely, another one that I would return to see in the future, and fingers crossed that I’ll be able to photograph it.
In This Moment is:
Maria Brink – lead vocals
Kent Diimmel – drums
Chris Howorth – lead guitar
Randy Weitzel – rhythm guitar
Travis Johnson – bass
Maria Brink Stock Photo from 2018
Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey)
Salvation (played from tape)
2.) The In-Between
The Infection (played from tape)
3.) Sick Like Me
Rise With Me (played from tape)
5.) Big Bad Wolf
Holy crap! So, I was a Slipknot virgin before the other night. I have officially been inducted into the Slipknot world as a definite future follower. I have seen photos and videos and was not my thing. However, I was told that this show was one I needed to see and experience in person. Photographing Slipknot is held in the highest regard and at the top of their game. As we ascended to the pit for the last time, the crowd seemed to be even more amplified and intense in waiting for the headliner to start. Pushing forward to the front railing and I anticipated that things were going to get dicey. Someone told me to be careful while I was standing up in the pit so that nobody set me or my hair on fire. Um, what? Did somebody just say be careful that an audience member may set you on fire? Well, I will be on higher alert. I did see a video that fans in the mosh pit did set a bonfire at one of the concerts and the concert had to be stopped. I just can’t even touch that right now. As we waited for the show to start, there was a large parachute-type cover that was over the front of the stage and that seemed to make the crowd even antsier. All of a sudden, the intro music Get “Behind Me Satan” and “Push” by Billie Jo Spears starts and begins the screams. Music plays from behind the curtain. It suddenly falls away and is pulled up into the ceiling. Standing on stage is a spectacle never viewed by these eyes. There is a lot to take in. I feel the visual overload distracted me from the music. There was a lot going on the stage at any given time. I had to equally divide my attention among all members of the band and others that meandered across the stage randomly. The visual stimulation was intense. The sheer number of individuals on stage performing in their own right but together however was impressive. The stage was filled with lights across digital screens and plenty of pyrotechnics. Flames shot up from the back of the stage and you could feel the heat from the pit.
Lead vocalist Corey Taylor is the perfect frontman for this band. His personality and playful antics with the crowd added to the show. I quite enjoyed his singing when he sang especially in songs like “Before I Forget” and “Unsainted“. At one point he chose a ballad type of song in which he stated that he waited 19 years to sing it and luckily it was tonight. When he slows down his tone and sings, he reminds me a lot of Barry Manilow. Guitarists Jim Root and Mike Johnson, as well as bassist Allessandro Venturella, was front and center with Taylor. They added to the energy at the front of the stage and led the band with chugging heavy tones and fast plucking. There were times that I found myself disassociating myself from the music. “Disasterpiece” was one of those songs that did not root with me because of the chaotic melody. As a southerner would say, it was just like a huge clump of grits.
As I continued to track members of the band around the stage, toward the back of the stage was drummer Jay Weinberg laying down heavy beats with a heavy foot on the kick drum. He was centered between DJ Sid Wilson, wearing a red jumpsuit and spikey long nails covering his head. To the right is keyboardist Craig Jones, eventually figuring out he was the meandering guy that resembled a monk. Above the stage on two platforms were members Clown and Shawn Crahan, providing backing vocals and Percussions (toms). Each member adorned a mask of some sort which apparently changes every album cycle. It was interesting and disturbing at the same time. A cross between the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hannibal Lecter, and The Strangers. This, with the incredible industrial stage presentation and the video screens adorning the entire stage added to the visual chaos. Eventually, toward the end of the set, one of the band members walked around with a flamethrower driving the crowd into a frenzy. The crowd aka maggots (what their fans are known as) was insane from the get-go. Two songs in the show, numerous people were pulled over the rails due to the crowd pressing up against those in the front. Even the pit was dangerous. I received a jacket and a camera lens to the back of my head. I figured once I got out of the pit, I would be safe in the back of the venue. Nope…… I got hit in the head with a cup. So yeah, not set on fire that evening, but pelted with several objects. Hey, there’s a first time for everything.
Taylor thanked the crowd for coming out and showing love. He said, “We have been doing this professionally for 23 years and we plan on doing it for another 23 more.” He laughed and added, “Well, it might look a little different than this you could imagine.” I sat watching around me as people melodically threw their hands in the air in unison and sang to the music. A swirling mosh pit appeared in the middle of the crowd on the floor. It would appear out of nowhere and move like a whirlpool and then disappear again. I noticed the age genre included people of all ages. Men, women, young adults, and more. There were rockers, dads, young girls, metalheads, and more. There were bro moments between fans and impressive stamina of headbanging that ended until the very end. One fan that stood out was this guy who sang every word to every song as his life depended on it. His passion and conviction were intriguing. Dressed in a black t-shirt and sporting an impressive mohawk, I asked him if he was a huge fan. He said, “Fuck Yeah! I have seen 49 shows!”
Regardless of your taste in music, you must agree that this Grammy Award-winning band is here to stay and commands a legion of fans through its music. Thanks to the band friends, the late Joey Jordison & Paul Gray, and current band member Shawn Crahan, those faithful planning nights in Des Moines, Iowa. Without those late-night planning sessions, Slipknot would have been just a thought and a wild imagination that never came to be.
Corey Taylor –Lead Vocals
Michael Pfaff – Percussion/Backing Vocals
Jay Weinberg – Drums
Alessandro Venturella – Bass
Jim Root – Guitars
Sid Wilson – Turntables/Keyboards
Mick Thomson – Guitars
Craig “133” Jones – Samples/Media/Keyboards
Shawn “Clown” Crahan – Percussion/Backing Vocals
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) AC/DC
Get Behind Me Satan and Push (Billie Jo Spears)
2.) Wait and Bleed
4.) Before I Forget
5.) The Chapeltown Rag
6.) Dead Memories
8.) The Heretic Anthem
10.) The Devil In I
11.) Solway Firth
12.) All Out Life
17.) Spit It Out
515 (played from tape)
18.) People = Shit
‘Til We Die (played from tape)
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As a Minneapolis-based professional freelance photographer and photojournalist, I feel I have a passion for sharing new perspectives of the world. Since picking up my first DSLR camera, I have been hooked ever since. Striving to capture the rawest forms of emotion through my photos, I am determined to make the viewer feel as if they were there too. Whether I am photographing landscapes, families, children, events, or concerts, I feel I have a way of capturing the true essence of the moment and finding the extraordinary in an ordinary place.
I am always looking for a creative outlet through my art, I find myself drawn to concerts as a rock music lover. You will find me right up front in the pit with everyone else. I have documented tours with some of the biggest artists in rock history including George Lynch, Judas Priest, Billy Idol, Slaughter, Vince Neil, Rick Springfield, and many more. I continue to push boundaries with my work and strive to capture some of the most iconic moments that represent the vibe of the artists and crowd as well as the atmosphere of the overall event. I am a contributor for All Music Magazine and a published photographer including features in Guitar Magazine and a feature cover photo on George Lynch’s 2021 solo album. Some of my clients include Morley Pedals, Rat Pak Records, Two Notes Audio, and many more.
“I capture emotions, not images.”