Korn Show Their Moody Side At Apollo Theatre

Band performs recently released Issues in its entirety for the first time.

NEW YORK — Hard-rock heavyweights Korn recruited the services

of a choir and police bagpipe band in debuting their new rapless but

moody album Monday night at the storied Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Accompanied by an eight-member choir and, briefly, by a 13-piece New York

City Police Department Celtic band, Korn blasted, in running order, through

the 16 songs that make up their fourth album, Issues, which was

released Nov. 16. Singer Jonathan Davis, dressed in a Scottish kilt, looked

delirious at times as he sang his lyrics for the crowd of about 1,400.

Missing were the hip-hop collaborations and mellower grooves of the band's

previous album, Follow the Leader. That disc established Korn as

one of rock's most popular acts. The Apollo Theatre show was broadcast

on U.S. and international radio stations.

"The album right before this, it was much more hip-hop," 16-year-old

Patrick Sines of Brooklyn, N.Y., said. "This one, it's like I sense the

agony. The music is intense."

The stage at the Apollo, a legendary venue known as a premier rhythm &

blues showcase for rising and established stars, was decorated with

candelabra, creating a mood like something out of a horror flick. Colored

lights — navy blue, purple, green, burnt orange — surrounded

a backdrop of two red Oriental rugs and a small red sofa. The stage also

featured several lava lamps.

Korn's new music touched on agony and anger. There were eerie, haunted-house

guitar sounds and quiet wails on the verses and crashing metal riffs and

screams on the choruses. Several songs, including "4 U," "It's Gonna Go

Away" and "Am I Going Crazy," found Davis alone onstage, backed only by

Gothic, trip-hop beats and his choir.

The performance opened with "Dead," backed only by bagpipes and vocals.

Davis led the Celtic band as it romped through the droning but uptempo


From there, Davis' bandmates — bassist Reg "Fieldy" Arvizu, guitarists

Munky and Head and drummer David Silveria — emerged from the darkness

at the rear of the stage. With Arvizu leading the charge, the band next

played the first Issues single, the thrashing "Falling Away From

Me" (RealAudio

excerpt). Arvizu, dressed in a blue plaid shirt, a white derby

and a large gold chain, spun in place and rocked wildly as the song


On a few songs, the album uses electronic drum effects, which Silveria

re-created during the concert. Munky and Head, as is their custom, alternated

between minimal fuzz and chimes and thick, loud guitar licks.

The night's clear star, though, was Davis, who at times seemed to find

a spiritual connection with impassioned Who frontman, Roger Daltrey. As

Daltrey often does, Davis moved and contorted his face as he sang. He

jumped around and at points lost himself in the music. He even tipped

his head back to scream into the microphone, a Daltrey trademark.

The band's new lyrics are as provocative as they are evocative, and Davis

delivered them mostly with conviction. "Your feelings I can't help but

break them/ I'm sorry I don't feel the same/ My heart inside is constantly

hating/ I'm sorry I just throw you away," he sang on "Trash" (RealAudio

excerpt), the album's third song. "Sometimes I wish I could be

strong like you," Davis shouted out 10 songs later on the ironic "Let's

Get This Party Started" (RealAudio


The attending fans — overwhelmingly white in a venue known for its

African-American performers — danced with Davis, often jumping and

rocking in unison. The fans stayed in their seats for 10 minutes after

the band closed with "Dirty," convinced an encore would come.

It never did. But no one seemed to complain.

Several fans said Issues marks a return to the band's affinity for

murky heavy metal and often-indecipherable, angry vocals, which they used

on their first two albums, the 1995 self-titled debut and 1996's Life

Is Peachy.

Neither Davis nor the other bandmembers acknowledged the crowd during

their performance, but they waved to the audience as they walked offstage.

"It was very sludgy, a lot slower. But it was slammin'," Amy Sciaretto,

24, of New Jersey said.

"It had a spiritual feeling to it, especially with the candles," said

Beth Litwak, a 15-year-old fan from Rockland County, N.Y.

Manhattan resident Jennifer Vinnick, 26, said she was expecting a much

heavier sound. But she admired the band's creativity, she added.

"They deviate from the typical hardcore band," she said. "They make it

their own thing."

VMAs 2018