Slipknot ​Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, August 9

Slipknot ​Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, August 9
Photo: Rick Clifford
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The thing with Slipknot is you really just need to take them as they are: pure, over-the-top carnivalesque theatricality. A little bit infernal big-top and a little evil vaudeville, their massive, junkyard circus set was dominated by the huge head of a hairless and horned sphinx cat, with rotating platforms for drummers and dancers and ample space for pyrotechnics. Corey Taylor served as much as a master of ceremonies as a frontman, directing the chaos for his masked and jumpsuited companions on stage.
 
His performance occupied a strange place between aggression and emotiveness, sometimes indulging in delighted screaming, and then transitioning suddenly into anguished, abandoned cleans, like some Phantom of the Trash Pile. Their efforts towards horror are goofy and their attempts at meaningfulness are overwrought, but somehow, altogether, the excess is so overwhelming that it becomes wonderfully, hilariously entertaining. It might feel embarrassing at first, but once you give yourself up to how much damn fun it is to watch "Sarcastrophe" and "People = Shit" performed live while spit flies from Taylor's stitched up, suppurating mouth and the key grip runs around in a gimp suit and vinyl gas mask, it's impossible not to have a blast.