Cover shot – KNOTFEST
Australia has been waiting patiently for Slipknot to bring Knofest to our shores, ever since we first heard about the festival back in 2012, we have been waiting. Well, the day is finally here and us Melbournians are so excited that we have up rocked early to line up to get through the gates to Flemington Racecourse the moment they open. We start heading down to the main stages to find out that the opening band Malevolence is getting moved to Stage 1 and will be starting a half hour later as ‘Bad Omens’ have dropped out due to the health issues of vocalist Noah Sebastian. This gives us a bit of time to check out the grounds which include official merch tents, tonnes of metal themed market stalls from local vendors, a tattoo shop, a wrestling ring, another stage area and of course the Slipknot Museum. This day is going to massive!
After seeing them last night at their side show at the forum, I have no doubt that Malevolence will get this day off to a good start. Although there was an unexpected delay, this band from Sheffield, UK came out strong, launching into their first track while frontman Alex Taylor shouted to the crowd ‘let’s get this fucking party started!’. Other tracks included ‘Still Waters Run Deep’ and ‘Self Supremacy’ which the lead vocalist dedicates to the crowd in the mosh pit. Malevolence really knows how to pump us all up ‘we’re the first band of the weekend so you fuckers need to set the benchmark, let’s set the fucking levels!’.
This metal core band from Melbourne is the first local band of the day, they come on stage and after pushing through what appears to be a few microphone issues, they get back on track and ramp things up with blasting kick drum beats and screeching vocals. Vocalist Jack Bergin gives a huge thanks to all those who showed up early to support them.
An intro track plays as Alpha Wolf walk onto the stage and the crowd is cheering. This Australian band is tight right off the bat the lead vocalist Lochie Keogh exclaiming ‘playing with Slipknot in our own fucking city, it doesn’t get much better than that!’ They play the track ‘Hotel Underground’ from the 2022 EP ‘The Lost & The Longing’. This is a super fun set, not only is the guitarist Sabian Lynch climbing the scaffolding on the stage during the performance but there is a pretty huge circle pit going, there are a whole bunch of promotional Alpha Wolf beach balls getting punched but there is also some guy perched on someones shoulders and playing what seems to be a serious game of connected four with anyone around him. The party has definitely started!
This metalcore band from Kentucky in the United States are up next, the singer thrashes around on the stage to some hectic instrumentals while screeching at the crowd ‘if I see you, you better be moving, everybody fucking move!’. This set is a crowd pleaser which includes the track ’God Knows’ from their 2021 album release ‘A Tear in the Fabric of Life’.
Spiritbox, a Heavy Metal band from Canada is up next and I realise, that they will be the only female fronted band of the day, and so far it’s looking like it might be one of the stand out performances of the day as well. Courtney LaPlante holds the crowds attention with her jet black hair, bright fluoro orange hoodie and red shorts and her impeccably balanced screams and clean vocals. I’m loving watching her stomp around on stage and she kneels down and looks to the crowd ‘thank you so much for the welcome at Knotfest, we are Spirit Box. The fans really brought their energy for the track ‘Holly Roller’
Basist With the bassist wearing a Spice Girls tee and the singer rocking a tee adorned with imagery of Taylor Swift, we know they are not taking themselves too seriously. They play the tracks ‘The Antidote’ from the album ‘The Black Swan’ and ‘We Don’t Care Anymore’ from ‘In the Wake of Determination’. The antics continue with vocalist Dan Marsala shouting ‘Goddammit I fucking love Australia, we are Story of the Year and we’re from St Louis in Missouri’ and after bassist Adam Russell makes an inappropriate joke about fucking spiders, they launch into the ‘Tear Me to Pieces’ title track. Love to engage with the crowd. They may not be the hardest band today but they love Melbourne, they love Aus and they really show it in their performance as they engage with the crowd. Last track of the set was of course, ‘Until the Day I Die’.
Back on stage 1 In Flames, the Swedish Heavy Metal band launched straight in to their set. Out of nowhere, everyone in the mosh pit squatted down and started simultaneously rowing with the In Flames lead singer Anders Fridén losing his shit and responding to the crowd ‘can you do a circle pit around these people?’. Obviously there were a lot of impatient Amon Amarth fans in the crowd. The set included the track ‘I Am Above’ from the 2019 release ‘I, the Mask’.
With his long hair, piercing blue eyes and sharp cheekbones, lead vocalist Johan Hegg could definitely be a Viking leader! The stage was set with two huge viking figures which towered over what looked like the helm of a huge viking ship which housed the drummer Jocke Wallgren. People in the crowd came prepared to rock out to this viking themed Swedish Melodic Death Metal by rocking viking swords, axes and shields made from cardboard ‘we love that shit’ exclaimed Johan, ‘you truly are the great heathen army!’ This time, the row pit actually made sense. ‘Brothers… Sisters… Vikings, raise the shield wall!’.
First wall of Death for the day. The next Australian act up to play is Northlane, and although they are a local band they have big band energy, they belong on a stage. We all enjoy watching the first wall of death for the day and the huge light screens on stage. The set includes the track ‘4D’ from the album ‘Alien’ released in 2019.
Trivium are happy to be reunited with us again since their last tour was back in 2019 and their last heading tour was all the way back in 2016. Matt Heafy is super animated, he literally has a huge smile on his face the whole time and it lifts the crowd right up and reinvigorates the whole festival ground. The frontman Matt explains how Australia really took to their fourth studio album Shogun as they begin to play the track ‘Down from the Sky’.
Megadeth took to the main stage and the crowd jumped to action and all of a sudden everyone’s phones were up ready to film the original power house metal band from Los Angeles illuminating the sea of people paying respect to a legendary band. They played tracks from their more current studio albums but mainly classic tracks including ‘Angry Again’ from their 1993 album release ‘Last Action Hero’. Frontman Dave Mustaine spoke about covid and his battle with cancer, and being recently diagnosed as cancer free and how he continued to charging on with his music and tours for the fans.
If you have seen Parkway Drive perform at a large event then you know they love their theatrics. Once again they pull out all the stops with their opening ceremony, pyrotechnics and the new introduction of a classical string trio. We get to hear tracks like ‘Carrion’ from ‘Horizons’ and ‘Dedicated’ from ‘IRE’. Lead vocalist Winston McCall keeps the energy high all throughout the epic set.
Anticipation is high and the wait was long. 12 incredible bands in 9 hours straight with no breaks, and we have all earned our place at the stage for the headlining act, the festivals namesake Slipknot. With 1 min to go until the band graces us with their presence, Dolly Parton’s track 9 to 5 blasts through the speakers as the whole crowd sings and dances along to the interesting choice of music. The massive Slipknot banner waves in the breeze, the bands logo lit up in a blood red light. We all wait. All the nine members of the band approach the stage as the crowd roars and immediately opens with ‘Disasterpiece’ from one of their most iconic albums ‘Iowa’ released in 2001. They follow this track up with ‘Wait and Bleed’ from the self titled album released in 1999. When Corey addresses the crowd with the question ‘Who out there is seeing Slipknot for the first time tonight?’, there comes a roar from the crowd, and I realise how amazingly lucky I am that this is the third time that I am seeing one of my all time favourite metal bands in the flesh. The first being at UK’s download festival in 2019 which was indescribable and will always remain one of my favourite metal experiences. Slipknot have always been with me in my journey, from relentlessly listening to their early albums on my iPod to head banging to their many hits at the metal club nights hosted by Destroy All Lines to the live performances. Obviously the intensity of the day is effecting people in the same way as the crowd goes nuts and even one party goer actually shuts down the whole event while, the music stops, the lights come on, and we all wait until they climb back down from the speaker tower. What a massive way to end a massive day.
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