Concert Review: Korn and Islander Fill the House of Blues Anaheim

Islander and Korn Concert Review
With Song River

Two nights completely sold out at the House of Blues newly re-opened/new location and the night was honored by two bands who present in all aspects the sound of rock- Islander and Korn. Both bands ripped open a jammed packed house filled to the point where it seemed no one could move or breath. No one cared, though. They were going to figure out how to yell, flash the metal sign and drink themselves into oblivion. This night was all crunch and the second half of the show brought out a surprise that will be talked about for years.

Islander, a nu metal band formed in 2011 and out of South Carolina, had a deep friendship with Korn. It wasn't too long after the start of the 2014 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, Korn bassist Fieldy invited Avenged Sevenfold drummer Arin Ilejay to check out a band called Islander, which was playing hours before the two headliners were scheduled to perform. From there a mesh of support began to really take hold after Islander took some hits in line up changes everything though really took on a whole higher power of octane for them. 

With their recent album, Power Under Control, Islander has been touring almost non-stop with bands like Korn, Seether, Papa Roach, P.O.D. all while increasing the radio rotation to the max.

Their popularity became quite evident as they opened for Korn at the House of Blues on the two sold out dates March 5 and 6th. From the moment Mikey Carvajal [vocals], J.R. Bareis [guitar], Ezekiel Vasquez [bass] and Arin Ilejay [drums] took the stage you witnessed the merging of both audience and band. Standing on the sidelines as the crowd reached forward with their hands in the air in unison to “Darkness” there was no stopping the phenomenon of unity.

Carvajal's vocals were in full blossom, each note, every lyric he sang with all he had and everyone felt that same high emotion from Bareis's succinct guitar work, Vasquez's illustrious bass line, and the power that only IIejay can bring on is drums.

The performance was never a question, Islander gave it all. Mixing in a bit of their older stuff along with their latest album with songs like, “Green Slime Man” you just can't miss as everything Islander creates holds their own signature ring and it is all just cool.

That final connectivity reigned itself into completion as Carvajal in their final song climbed down off the stage, climbed over the crowd barrier and had the crowd hold him up while he sang and shared his mic with their fans. It was incredible.

The wait in between bands was noticeably quick. If the House of Blues in Anaheim keeps to their clock of bringing bands on and off and on again without hitch they have a formula other venues need to take a look at. The relatively short duration that occurred between Islander's final song and exit to the entrance of Korn was almost unnoticeable and it kept the fans of this extremely packed and sold out night obviously grateful.

Some believe Korn is one of those polarizing bands of either you like them or you don't. From the years they have been in this industry that call is just chuff. There are plenty who may not find their music to their own tastes but have a deep sense of appreciation for what they have accomplished. There were several in attendance on this night heard saying they had never purchased a Korn album, weren't huge fans but nonetheless had an appreciation for what they have accomplished and that is why they were here to see them.

The heightened jitters of gossip quickly spread that Slipknot/Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor was in the building, fueling speculation that Korn’s performance could feature a special guest. The rumors were well... true.

Korn, who hails from the land of Bakersfield, California, are without hesitance the nĂ¼-metal notabilities. With 12 albums and 24 years into a vocation that has included seven Grammy nominations and two wins, Korn's latest record, "The Serenity of Suffering," landed in the top five on the Billboard 200. Plus, led them to a Grammy nomination for best metal performance.

Korn's duration and commercial attainment have also given their persona the opportunities to evolve over the years. Something many bands aren't given much anymore. Really the power holds Korn has brought in with their style of incorporating bagpipes and intensely emitted scatting it has opened doors to bands like Linkin Park and others. Korn has been the genesis in the realm of nu metal.

All aspects of who Korn was stood. This concert night was ready to go. Jonathan Davis’ stepped up to his signature, metallic H.R. Giger mic stand and the venue's walls were peeled back with Korn's opening song, "Right Now." Davis' with his uncanny ability to let loose like a rabid gargoyle with one of the only non-singles to be performed, “Twist.”

Korn blitzed a howling mix of songs from the classic albums such as “Follow the Leader,” “Issues,” “Life is Peachy,” “See You on the Other Side,” and, their newest, “The Serenity of Suffering.” As the original members including Jonathan Davis, James Shaffer [guitar], Brian Welch [guitar], Reginald Arvizu [bass] and Korn's drummer since 2009, Ray Luzier, together they all were the fuel for this massive metal machine, the bagpipes and nursery rhymes figured into a single song, “Shoots and Ladders.” Every aspect of Korn was the synergy tightly gathered into a nucleolus of the finest metal formula possible.

The second half of Korn's show showcased a few older songs for the lifelong Korn metal fans, “Blind” and "Good God.” It was to be the song, “A Different World” which Corey Taylor appears on Korn's latest album, that the rumors would be dispelled as on their final number Corey Taylor came out to sing with Davis. That moment was designed to be the epitome of a mic drop, time and space stood frozen and the surreal moment was the climatic venture of victory.

Following the song, Taylor announced that Korn and his band Stone Sour would be touring together this summer. It was the perfect strong pivotal point as the encore took the audience into full elation with two of Korn's biggest hits, “Falling Away from Me” and “Freak on a Leash,” without a doubt this show was a triumphant success. Not only for Islander, Korn and the fans but a major chime for a well-measured show at the new House of Blues in Anaheim.

"Rotting In Vain"


* 6/26 date on sale March 17th
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