San Francisco Warfield Theatre

A forest of devil signs greets the nine masked men...

It’s not exactly the heartland. We are 1,000 miles away from the parched, mall strewn suburban beauty that spawned both [a]Slipknot[/a] and the kids who worship them. The Bay Area may be the home of [a]Metallica[/a] and [a]Machine Head[/a], but this is not ‘Knot Country.

So the gig doesn’t sell out and some of the kids here are pushing 30, mysteriously sporting Marilyn Manson “This is your world in which we grow and we will grow to hate you” T-shirts. A forest of devil signs greets the nine masked men as they shamble somewhat sheepishly onto the stage. Then all bloody, er, hell breaks loose. First timers are still lifting their jaws from the floor as singer Corey exhorts the shirtless swarm in the pit to “promise me you’re gonna be the craziest crowd in the motherfucking world tonight”.

That’s not even the first clichi (that would be “Are you fucking ready?”) of a show that is more slick than sick. A roadie positions himself deep in the pit to catch Sid the DJ‘s stage dive. Clown-masked Shawn carefully sets fire to his sleeve, but disappointingly doesn’t piss on it to put it out.

‘Wait and Bleed’ does, however, piss all over the MTViated version and ‘Surfacing’ has the required brutal urgency. ‘Spit It Out’ comes complete with Sit Down-style theatrics as the crowd obediently crouches on the floor awaiting Corey‘s order to “get up like Satan himself is fucking you in the ass”. Hmm, don’t remember Tim Booth putting it quite like that.

It is all sweetly, perfectly choreographed to a viciously psychotic metal racket swatting the back of your eyeballs. [a]Slipknot[/a] may be to rock ‘n’ roll what the WWF is to Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling, but who cares if it’s fixed when there’s a clown on fire?