90s nostalgia has been steadily growing for a few years now, so it came as no surprise when two of the biggest nu metal acts of the era, Korn and Limp Bizkit, announced a joint-headline tour through the UK in late 2016. With hardcore stalwarts Madball joining in on the action, the tour descended on a packed Wembley Arena on a cold December night with hundreds of fans eager to celebrate the past while also reveling in each band’s present.
Opening the night was Madball [8/10]. Delivering a relentless starter course of 90s NY beatdown hardcore, Madball provide an energetic warmup for the night ahead. It must have come as a disappointment to frontman Freddy Cricien when he asked who’d heard of Madball before and had such a meager response, but the crowd still gave the quartet warm reception as they blasted through their set.
The crowd was eager to soak in their turn-of-the-century nostalgia, though, and Limp Bizkit [9/10] were more than happy to give them their fix. Fred Durst was on top form as the group, only containing 3 of their classic lineup due to DJ Lethal’s 2012 departure and Sam Rivers’ continuing recovery from degenerative spinal disease, delivered (almost) all the classics with the help of DJ Frank Carino and bassist Samuel G Mpungu. The only real let down was the fact that they didn’t play “Nookie”, instead opting to flesh out the setlist with partial covers of Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Pantera. The cover of George Michael’s “Faith”, though, which earned Limp Bizkit their first breakthrough on radio stations stateside, has a new significance due to Michael’s tragic death only a week after this concert.
Leaving the stage to the Simple Minds hit “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is a clear indication of the band’s current state of flux, however, as difficulties in the studio continue to delay the release of supposed next albums, Stampede of the Disco Elephants and The Unquestionable Truth (Part 2) and leave the band relying on their past successes on the live setting.
Co-headliners Korn [10/10], however, are very much living in the present. They had just released the critically and commercially successful 12th effort The Serenity of Suffering and the two tracks they played on the night, “Rotting In Vain” and “Insane”, are sure to be live staples for a number of years, and we can probably expect to see plenty more of the album being played when Korn start properly touring in support of it. Somewhat disappointingly, though, these were the only songs they performed from the post-See You on the Other Side era, however the band’s back catalogue is more than strong enough that it would be difficult to cover every album adequately. With a smattering of covers including segments of “Word Up!”, Queen’s classic “We Will Rock You” (blended in with “Coming Undone”) and Metallica’s “One”, it’s clear that Korn are here to party tonight.
At the end of their set, Jonathan elected to celebrate the 20th birthday of sophomore effort Life Is Peachy, an album which he claims the band “hated” at the time of their release, but have grown fond of over time, before playing classic cuts “Twist” and “Good God”. You had to wait until the encore, though, for the band’s best known tracks “Falling Away From Me” and “Freak On A Leash” though, with the closer playfully followed by the Richard Cheese rendition at the end of the night. Korn have a renewed energy and, as 90s nostalgia continues to embed itself in mainstream culture, they might just be ready to reclaim their throne as kings of the alternative.
Korn’s new album The Serenity of Suffering is out now via Roadrunner Records. Visit korn.com for more info.
Limp Bizkit are currently working on their 6th studio album Stampede of the Disco Elephants. Follow them on Facebook for updates.
Madball’s latest effort, Hardcore Lives, was released in 2014 via Nuclear Blast. Follow them on Facebook.