With five stages all around this historic site known to most as Glen Helen Regional Park, home to the original US Festival, day one of this year’s Knotfest started out loud and crazy. With bands like Chasing The Bullet, Doomsday Mourning and Kaustic head banging on the Highway Stage as people entered the grounds, to Khaotika and Belphegor shredding on the Extreme Stage this crowd knew they were in for a long and crazy day. With headliner Judas Priest still nine hours away there was going to be plenty of chaos and killer music with a ton of up and coming bands to listen to. From the food vendors, merchandise booths, festival rides, the Monster trucks and acrobatic freestyle motocross aerial show on display and with the ever famous Slipknot Museum, you couldn’t say there wasn’t always something to do or hear.
Stages two and three consisted of a huge rotating stage so that the music would never stop and the mosh pits would keep on moshing to bands like Battlecross, Goatwhore and At The Gates. The crowd kept growing with anticipation of Body Count, which is the ICE-T fronted metal band. As their set started out with a few technical difficulties and ICE-T letting everyone know he wasn’t very happy about it, finally it was time for some serious head banging music. ICE-T showed he is not just an 80’s gangsta rapper and actor, but a hell of a front man for this great metal band. Ripping through a 40 minute set that included Body Count’s in the House, There Goes the Neighborhood and Cop Killer these guys proved they belonged on that stage. Killer guitar riffs and bass lines made for great crowd surfing music. Stage two and three ended with GWAR, who if you have never seen them, you should go experience these guys some day because the visual aspects are freaking awesome. All the security guards and most photographers were draped in plastic as GWAR likes to spray fake blood all over the place. What a great way to end the side stages for day one.
The main stage kicked off with Corrosion of Conformity tearing through a setlist which included Wiseblood, Vote With a Bullet, Albatross and ending with Clean My Wounds. The fans just kept filling this historic venue up as the music played on. Metal masters Trivium and Mastodon each played for about 45 minutes and just blew this crowd away.
So we are now down to the last two bands of the evening and with the best set for last of day one, this place was packed. Korn set the place on fire with an hour and 15 minutes of their greatest metal hits Falling Away From Me and Freak on a Leash were the obvious crowd favorites. Jonathan Davis, James “Munky” Shaffer, Brian “Head” Welch, Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu and the amazing “Ray Luzier” showed why they are still atop the metal music scene. They could of easily been the day one headliner.
Last but not least it was time for the Metal Gods themselves to grace the stage that they set ablaze all the way back in 1983. Judas Priest delivered a powerful set of classic heavy metal that still sounds as good as it did over 30 years ago. Opening with Dragonaut, Metal Gods and Victim of Changes, Judas Priest had this place head banging away. Some of my personal favorites were played such as Screaming for Vengeance, Breaking the Law, Hell Bent for Leather and the huge hit You’ve Got Another This Comin’. Rob Halford aka “The Metal God” sounded like a man who had nothing to prove because he has proven time and time again–he is one of the best ever. Ian Hill, Glenn Tipton, Scott Travis and Ritchie Faulkner absolutely showed that these festivals and songs are what heavy metal is really about. Ritchie has pumped new life into this historic band and I hope they stay around for many more years. Ending their set with Painkiller, Judas Priest sent this huge crowd home and ended day one of Knotfest as great as any band could have.
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