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Boy was I in for a wild ride knowing I was attending Knotfest Roadshow 2021. Back in 2020, I had every intention of going to Knotfest here in Dallas, but Covid decided it wanted to ruin that opportunity for me. I wasn’t sure when it was going to return and thankfully, I was able to catch the Roadshow when it rolled through. We had a stacked lineup for this show with obviously Slipknot headlining and Killswitch Engage, Fever 333, and Code Orange getting the stage warmed up. I was excited to finally get to experience these legends.

Starting things out was Code Orange. The pro to going to all these shows is seeing bands that I’ve never heard before. It opens my ears to new music and Code Orange was one of them They opened their 8-song set with “Swallowing the Rabbit Whole” and they did not hold back. I was super impressed with the female vocalist they had. She was insanely talented! They played some more of their top hits like “Bleeding in the Blur”, “Forever”, and then closed out their performance with “Underneath”. The most interesting part for me was noticing that their lead singer, Jami Morgan, resembled Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots. I couldn’t unsee it!

Next act was a band that I was told to get mentally prepared for, Fever 333. I was told they put on one hell of a performance, and they were right. Their lead singer Jason Aalon was absolutely wild on stage. He did not hold back, and I was there for it. They started out the set with “BITE BACK” and the crowd went wild for it. I had listened to some of their songs prior to the show so I could prepare, and I heard some of my favorite tracks. “Made An America” being one of them, went so hard. Jason’s stage presence was one that you couldn’t forget. They went on to play some other top hits like “One Of Us” and their most streamed song, “Burn It”. Definitely an unforgettable performance.

Killswitch Engage was up and it was almost like nostalgia seeing them for the first time. I remember being a kid playing their songs on Guitar Hero and now I’m finally getting to experience them in real life. I was stoked. They opened their set with “Unleashed”, and it couldn’t have been a better start. Throughout the entire 14-songs, they had the crowd yelling and singing the songs the whole time. I knew it was only a matter of time before they played “My Curse”, and the moment I head the first note of the song, I knew it was happening. I felt alive in that moment. It took me back to some of my fondest memories with my friends in high school jamming this song in the car on our way to the local Sonic. Pure bliss. The moved into playing some more great songs like “This Fire”, “In Due Time”, and their infamous cover of “Holy Diver” by Dio. I loved everything about their performance.

And finally, the kings in Slipknot were about to go on. What I found interesting was the hour-long break between the two sets. I wasn’t sure why they needed so much time to get ready. I couldn’t have imagined what was happening behind the curtain until the lights go dim, and you hear a huge POP, then the screen covering the stage flies up. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was one of the most immaculate stage setups that I had ever seen. I’m talking multiple levels and like 9 members on stage all contributing to the sound. They made it look like they were in a warehouse/sewer with fans spinning on the screens and fog in these tunnels. It was the wildest thing I’ve ever seen at a concert. Also, the bassist had a flame thrower on his guitar which was crazy to see. And lest we not forget to mention their stage presence, geez. It was all over the place and there was so much to pay attention to. All that being said, lets jump into the set.

They opened it up with “Unsainted” and it really didn’t take much at this point to get the crowd moving. Corey Taylor is one hell of a singer as well. Unmatched in my opinion. Some of my favorite songs from the set were “Before I Forget”, “Psychosocial”, “Wait and Bleed”, and “Duality” to just name a few. It was super intense the entire time, but Corey made time to slow down and talk to the crowd in between songs about being good to each other because we are all we got. They ended up encoring with “People = Shit”, “(sic)”, and lastly “Surfacing”. I was completely blown away by what I had just witnessed. This was an 11 out of 10 performance, and in my opinion one for the ages that I soon won't forget. Can’t wait to see Slipknot again - they are truly the new kings of metal!

(Photos Credit:  Jamie Ford)

James Coffman

Photojournalist - Dallas

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