January 28th, 2014 / Review by Kat Corbo
Red and Kat’s mini videos of the night:
Tuesday night in Chicago, here come Red and Kat: no sleep, freezing, silliness at its prime. We had woken up that morning to eighty degree weather in LA after being there all weekend for NAMM, and when we landed in Chicago it was negative twenty. So we opened our bags, layered on all of our clothes, and faced the tundra so Tammy could stop at work before we were off again to the House of Blues early to interview Leigh Kakaty from Pop Evil. We were running on nearly no sleep, our heads still fuzzy from the whirlwind of inspirational energy we had been surrounded by all weekend. After a fun but deep interview with Leigh we went inside to stake out some good spots for the show. Stolen Babies kicked the night off with an eerily intriguing set. Dominique Lenore Persi sang and played the accordion, and combined with the haunting bass rhythms and the electrifying drums you felt transported into a demented circus. They did an excellent job, keeping the crowd energetic and entertained throughout their entire set.
Pop Evil blew the stage up next, hyping up the crowd, bringing the same high energy that we have seen them bring to their own headlining shows. Tammy and I recently started rocking out to Deal With The Devil after seeing them play twice in November, so we couldn’t hold back our excitement at finally being able to feel the full effect of singing along and knowing the words during a live Pop Evil show. They played a lot of their hits like “Deal With the Devil,” “Trenches” and “Boss’s Daughter,” and they brought out other meaningful, strong songs like “Torn to Pieces” and “Hero,” which helped them to connect with the audience on different levels all night. Despite being so sleep deprived, the energy coming from each member on stage made it easy for us to rock out with all our energy, sending the rocking vibes right back to them, sufficiently warming up our voices and head banging skills for Stone Sour. Leigh made sure everyone in the crowd was warmed up too, ending the set by walking out into the crowd, standing on their hands, and creating a true group sing along to “Last Man Standing.”
Stone Sour was up next, and they had no idea what they were about to be walking out to. This crowd was not your regular Tuesday night audience: everyone in attendance trekked through the snow and negative degree weather just for this middle of the week hard rock show. Maybe it was due to the fact that almost exactly one year ago Stone Sour played Congress Theater with Papa Roach, but that day many people could not make it to the show because of the ice storm that ripped through the Midwest. It had brought everything in Chicago to a halt, meaning there were now tons of crazed fans in desperate need of their Stone Sour fix. The band opened with “The House of Gold & Bones,” and the only way to accurately describe what happened next is – complete chaos! During the heavier shows we attend, I normally either stand near the side or I have Tammy next to me to protect me from the crazy crowds, (being that nobody wants to mess with her, her spikes, or her devil-red hair), but this time she was busy photographing the show, and there was no way I was giving up our killer second-row, middle of the stage spots. About twenty seconds into the madness I stopped trying to fight against the raging crowd and just went with it, putting my fist in the air and getting smashed between my fellow rockers, and it was exhilarating!
Tammy came back three songs later just in time for “Black John,” and our hair went everywhere (I know how much getting whipped by Tammy’s mane hurts, so we apologize to all those around us that night. But we were all lost in the music together, so nobody probably cared too much…until the next day when they woke up with red stains on their faces and arms thanks to Tammy’s hair dye). We both looked at each other after the song ended, exchanging a knowing look of “we’re about to have horrible bang-overs (aka whiplash) in the morning, so let’s make it worth it and go all out.” And we did, so much so that when we went to a Gibly Clark show the next day there were a handful of random people who said “Hey, you girls were at the HOB show last night! We saw your hair flying from the balconies!”
Corey’s personality on stage was half the reason Tammy and I had such a memorable time that night. He took his hoodie off after the first few songs to reveal a Josh Rand t-shirt underneath, getting applause out of the audience and his band: Josh next to him shaking his head and laughing. It set the tone for the rest of the night, with everyone seeming to forget it was the middle of winter on a Tuesday, acting like they were at a sold out arena on a Friday night. They chanted Corey’s name on at least three different occasions, and he kept mentioning how crazy, in a good way, they all looked and sounded. The crowd formed a full-on mosh pit during “Through Glass,” one of Stone Sour’s popular, slower songs, and Corey mentioned how crazy the energy was since his fans felt the need to mosh during such a slow song. He couldn’t do anything but shake his head and smile at the insanity going on in front of him.
Next, Corey picked up an acoustic guitar and played 30/30 150 to the audience, showing them a calmer, more simplistic side of him. He played “Nutshell” by Alice in Chains immediately after, and then made a complete 180, bringing the band back out for “Bother.” He ran around the stage, making sure every person in the audience could feel and absorb his wicked energy, singing every note with incredible passion, like each could be his last. Before the last song, he announced that he wanted to try out a new cover for the first time, one by Alice in Chains; he talked about how without them, Stone Sour wouldn’t even be there. Tammy and I are huge Alice in Chains fans, so we screamed and jumped at the opportunity to rock out to one of their songs being played live. We probably looked insane the whole time, freaking out when we realized what song it was and then serenading the people around us, but we had a blast and that’s all that matters!
Stone Sour walked off the stage after “We Die Young,” but the crowd wouldn’t leave, begging for an encore. Everyone lost it when they heard the unmistakable opening riff to “Gone Sovereign,” and the mosh pit started up for the last time of the night. Corey thanked the crowd again for being so amazing and intense, and ended the show with “Absolute Zero.” The crowd came together to be one big, colossal, rocking family that night, and it made for an astounding show all around. Each and every member left us wanting more: the bass player, Johny Chow, played with such fury that you could feel every note he hit, and the guitarist, Christian Martucci, was a blast to watch, smiling and jamming away the whole night. Josh Rand shredded the stage with awe-inspiring solos, and the drummer, Roy Mayorga, took over the drum kit with animalistic intensity during every song. We truly hope to see Stone Sour again soon because their show left us high off adrenaline, wanting to stay and see the whole thing over and over again. The fans were not just watching a band that night, they were a part of the show, and that’s what made it so impressive and powerful.