Korn and Breaking Benjamin have joined together for a run through North America dubbed the ‘Winter Tour 2020.’ Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota saw fans flocking through the doors with a great anticipation of a night of heavy music . Bones UK provided support for the co-headline tour.
The three-piece outfit, Bones UK, took the stage first. Led by vocalist and guitarist Rosie Bones, they launched into their own brand of rock-n-roll that fused pop melodies, a touch of industrial and blues with a modern rock attack. They embodied the punk rock spirit by preaching against conformity. Guitarist Carmen Vandenberg provided plenty of guitar licks as they worked their way through a short set. This was my first encounter with them and I hadn’t yet explored their self-tilted album that was released in 2019 but since the show I’ve run the album a few times and have found some interesting tunes on it. Despite not fitting in with the bands that would come later, Bones UK, made every minute count while on stage and made some new fans in the process.
Breaking Benjamin took the stage with the powerful “Diary Of Jane” and proceeded with a set that was chalk full of songs that had the crowd singing right along with vocalist Benjamin Burnley. They have continued to tour on the strength of the 2018 release ‘Ember’ and played “Red Cold River” and “Torn In Two” from it. The band was cloaked in dark shadows on stage with the backdrop of the fiery eye of the ‘Ember’ artwork glaring at the crowd. The band had plenty of material to pull from and kept fans engaged with “Until The End,” “Blow Me Away,” “Shallow Bay” and the monster hit “So Cold.” The band featuring guitarists Jasen Rauch and Keith Wallen, bassist Aaron Bruch and drummer Shaun Foist were in complete unison, as you would expect them to be. They powered the musical muscle as Burnley paced the stage and interacted with the crowd. He also took the opportunity to add in a third guitar for a few songs. Breaking Benjamin has built an incredible following and the proof was the response they got as they worked through the set. The closer “I will Not Bow” capped off the set perfectly.
It was now time for Korn to take over the stage. The curtain dropped as “Here To Stay” pounded the arena walls. You could feel the energy in the building as the first wave of crowd-surfers made their way to the barricade for security to scoop them up. With over two decades of history, Korn, continues to be an act that not only delivers live but also feeds off the energy of creation.
The band released ‘The Nothing’ in 2019 and has refused to stand pat on past album successes. It truly doesn’t matter where fans might have jumped into the bands timeline when it comes to taking in a show. Everything sounds huge and intense and they never disappoint. Jonathan Davis controls the stage from the moment he steps on it.
His vested emotion in the songs is felt through his delivery of the lyrics like in the song “Faget.” The rawness of the song still came through despite it being a track off the first record that was released in 1994. He sang like it was the first time anybody had heard it. The band still features the founding members that include Davis, along with a cast of characters known by “Munky,” “Fieldy” and “Head” and they commanded their own attention as they moved around the stage.
It’s always a pleasure to watch and hear Ray Luzier play drums. He is an absolute beast behind the kit and is a power surge for the bands sound. “Shoots and Ladders’ was a definite highlight. Davis with the bagpipes and then ending the song with a snippet of Metallica’s “One” was crushing. I’m still fully invested in the album ‘Follow The Leader’ so “Got The Life” and “Freak On A Leash” were especially satisfying. The set closed with “Falling Away From Me” to a rousing response.
Very few bands can sustain success as long as Korn has. The have been able to stay relevant and expand their fan base as new generations find their way into the bands appeal. Their performance at the Xcel Energy Center showed exactly why they have endured and will continue to do so.
Review & Photography by Jeff Kunze