by photojournalist Dave”Moto” Bishop
Saturday night the MidFlorida Amp was host to the 2nd stop of a 28 city tour with heavy hitters Korn and co-headliner Staind. Nearly 20,000 fans, covering every age group from 7-70 from were in attendance. If Rock was a weather condition, then Saturday was as hard rock as it gets. Afternoon temps had soared into triple digits. Typical Florida weather saw a huge 30 minute downpour an hour before showtime. The sun returned and the humidity mixed with moisture created rising steam everywhere that couldn’t have been better produced from a stage side fog machine!! Fans drenched with sweat only celebrated harder. The official merch tent saw a line at least a half mile in length and wait times over an hour and didn’t seem to detour even one of them!
Josh Scoggin and Drummer Nikko Yamada of the duo ‘68 opened the show. Officially labeled as an American noise punk group, better described as a gritty garage band, they are amazing. On first sight, it appears a skinnier version of the Blues Brothers are hitting the stage as Josh and Nikko walked out casually dressed in black suits, white shirts and black ties. Once they hit the first note, it was apparent that was the only likeness to the Blues Brothers. Loud and in your face, the duo tore through songs from their latest album, “Give One Take One”, including the hit “The Knife, The Knife, The Knife”. A strange set up, where Josh and Nikko face each other rather than the crowd made this feel as we were just watching two guys laying down fire in their own private garage!!
The crowd erupted as Staind was next to step on stage. Aaron Lewis, who has a long history of fighting with fans and drunkenness on stage was in perfect form!! He took the stage with cigarette already lit and saluted the crowd and then raised a toast before downing the first of many drinks on the night. His voice however was completely amazing the entire set. With no official news release, we were all surprised to see the former Breaking Benjamin drummer, Chad Szeliga on the kit for the night. Johnny April was solid on bass and Guitarist Mike Mushok, also a co-founder of the group St. Asonia, in my opinion stole the show with hard and solid riffs. They opened the show with some of the bands earlier, harder songs from the Tormented era and then transitioning into some of the slower hits like “Its been Awhile” and “Something to Remind You”. The entire set was flawless and fluid and had the crowd singing every line of every song.
Korn invaded the stage with a mix of lights and smoke and the house lights slowly rose. A sea of black t-shirts and hands in the air was lit up and we suddenly could only buckle up and hold on!! One song in and the entire Amp was turned into the world’s largest mosh pit. Fans were in the aisles, standing in chairs and celebrating one of Rocks best. With 13 studio albums and countless hits, literally every song seemed to be the crowd’s favorite. The highlight for me was Jonathan Davis breaking out the bagpipes and then playing a perfect rendition of their hit “Shoots and Ladders”. Suicidal Tendencies bassist Robert Ra Diaz, who was filling in for Fieldy Arvizu, played as if he had been with Korn since the beginning. A set lasting well in excess of an hour left us all breathing hard and heavy and showed us that Korn show no signs of slowing up anytime soon!! They came ready to play and let us know Rock…is DEFINITELY not dead!!