Review: Freakers Ball 2013 presents musical oddities
Freakers Ball 2013 was Oct. 25, and for all you that missed out, this was the lineup of groups was: first “Even the Dead Love a Parade”, “Love & Death”, “Gemini Syndrome”, “Beware of Darkness”, “Fiver Finger Death Punch”, and finally “Korn”.
The show took place at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, and from the outside the venue doesn’t give off the vibe that it would be a good place for a metal concert. At 4:30 p.m. when the concert started, the parking lot was still mostly empty with pockets of people hanging out by their cars getting lit before the show.
There were all different types of attendees that night, there were fraternity boys, what looked like high school kids on dates, older people, who judging by their long hair and T-Shirts, they were really only there to see Korn.
At about 8 p.m. the parking lot filled, and all the rock fans started migrating towards the entrance. The lobby of the building looked like a typical sports stadium; there were concession stands serving ballpark food and beer.
When you make it through the costumed attendees and long-haired freak crowd and make it to the auditorium, there are two projector screens on either side of the stage, a small pit area at the foot of the stage and a couple sections of floor seating – although these seats weren’t being utilized because most people were standing. Then there was a second level that was farther back but at stage level, and finally there was a balcony that hung over the second level.
While the first and second levels were almost completely full, the balcony was fairly empty. There were complaints from passersby about the pit being too hard to sneak into unlike other venues.
It was an entirely enclosed venue, so there was no smoking in the building, but there was a small smokers’ section outside on the side of the building, and during intermissions this area became extremely crowded.
At about 8:30 p.m. the theatre really filled up when Five Finger Death Punch was getting ready to take the stage, which was one of the two big name bands that were playing that night. From the balcony it was difficult to see the band and to hear the lyrics, it could have been the sound mixing, or it could have been that the venue had poor acoustics for that kind of music.
5FDP put on a good show, other than being difficult to hear, and they played at least three cover songs, including the one that made them famous, “Bad Company”, originally preformed by Bad Company which drove the crowd wild. Also they covered an LL Cool J song, “Mama Said Knock You Out”, which was a nice rock tribute to an older hip-hop song.
They even had a few of the Rock-Zombies, the people that violently throw their head front and back and sort of do an odd dance with just their upper body, on hand. After the band left the stage, there was an intermission for people to refill their drinks and empty their bladders; the lines for the restrooms were a nightmare just to look at, but the one entrance and one exit setup seemed to streamline the process.
After the intermission, a couple of radio personalities from 97.1 the Eagle came on stage pitched some advertisements while still more ads ran on the screens next to the stage.
When the lights went down and Korn was about to take the stage, the crowd once again went wild. This was the first time since 2005, when the group broke up, that its lead guitarist was back in the band.
Even though the pit was fairly small, it seemed to double in size, but from the balcony it was apparent that this was an optical illusion because about half the crowd on the floor had seats behind them, they were just choosing to stand.
It was also apparent that the balcony people didn’t care about the no outside drinks rule because bottles of booze brought from home started tipping upward; there were even two fans in the back that lit a funny-smelling cigarette and were passing the little orange dot of light back and forth between each other.
Korn took the stage in costumes, and the front man, Jonathan Davis, looked like Rick James. The lead guitarist, Brian “Head” Welch, wore a masquerade mask that had an extremely long nose and seemed to be modeled after a long beaked bird.
The other guitarist, James “Munky” Shaffer, wore a maid’s costume complete with makeup and had his long dreads pulled into pony tails. The bassist, Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, wore a zebra print cape, giant glasses shaped like stars, and a top hat, and the drummer, Ray Luzie‘s costume was hard to see, but it looked like he was wearing the scarecrow mask from Batman.
They all looked like they had raided a cheap Halloween store only hours prior to them taking the stage.
Korn seemed to rock harder than the other bands. The music was loud fast, and has plenty of bass, but their beat is fairly simple to follow, their songs don’t have many slow moments – only a few here and there to give the Rock-Zombies’ necks a chance to rest. By this time they seemed to be about a third of the crowd.
While it was hard to hear the lyrics they did play most of their older songs that made them famous in the ‘90s – most notably “A.D.I.D.A.S” and “Shoots and Ladders”, complete with the infamous bagpipe intro played by the front man.
Korn left the stage and never came back to play an encore, which was quite sad. The bands were worth seeing but the venue was bad for this type of music; metal is not meant to be so clean and comfortable. Not saying that it was a terrible place to see a show, but it was too corporatized, and just not a good place for loud, angry, vulgar music.
Also the show was put on by 97.1 the eagle and they asked that I add this picture to the article.