A chilly evening in London is the setting for a concert that would have a lot of meaning for me personally. My idol, Corey Taylor, is bringing his band Stone Sour back to the UK, supporting their latest album “Hydrograd”. The album itself has brought mixed reviews from critics, but appears to have been embraced by the fans.
Kicking off proceedings tonight is The Pretty Reckless. The set flows well, the tempo of the songs rising and falling, without losing the audience at all. The pace quickens toward the end of their set, which is longer than most warm up acts, as The Pretty Reckless are the only support act tonight. Opener Follow Me Down is a great way to kick things off, the heavy rock with a slight Southern twist working to defrost the gathering crowd. Voices are raised throughout the set, but it isn’t until Heaven Knows that the audience is given a chance to really stretch their lungs. Taylor Momsen’s voice belies her slight frame, her throaty rasp conveying the emotion of the song with more power than one would imagine her being able to deliver.
After a brief interlude of watching the roadies set up Stone Sour’s stage, the main attraction begins. The lights drop, and the crowd is greeted by the opening track on “Hydrograd”, YSIF. And what better way is there for a band to announce they are taking to the stage, than by playing a song that starts with the phrase “Hello, you b******s”? The band kick things off with Taipei Person/Allah Tea, before moving on to Knievel Has Landed. All the fans within Brixton Academy sing along, confirming that the people at large are enjoying the new material. Corey Taylor is stalking the stage, a near maniacal grin occupying his face. The crowd lend their voices to the chorus of Made Of Scars, reinforcing the amazing power of Corey Taylor’s voice. The older material goes down just as well as the newer songs, with Reborn giving Corey Taylor the chance to show off his astonishing ability to scream, and Say You’ll Haunt Me proving to be the most poignant song of the evening for the author.
30/30-150 again show’s the singer’s screaming abilities, before Corey Taylor comes to the front of the stage with a guitar, and launches into a small “sing-a-long” section, with Hesitate and Tired being the next two songs. The audience is then told that the next song has possibly the longest title ever, and the crowd is in
fine voice for Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I). Staples of the Stone Sour set, Get Inside and Through Glass follow, mixed in with tracks from House Of Gold And Bones, and lead single from “Hydrograd”, Song #3. The UK audience is then treated to a Black Sabbath cover, Children Of The Grave, with Corey Taylor informing the crowd that every time he performs in the UK, and London especially, the people who come to see him make him feel so welcome, that he feels as though he is performing in front of a home crowd, that he is from here. The band retires, before coming back out to perform the final three songs of the set, Gone Sovereign, Absolute Zero, and Fabuless. It could be argued that the band made a mistake in omitting Bother from the set, but in all honesty, it’s absence is barely noticeable in amongst some excellent song choices.
The newer members of the band have slotted in seamlessly, and there is a good vibe within the members. From start to finish, the band have kept a near rabid crowd pumped up, even during the slower songs. The most apparent thing is just how much fun the band are having. It’s clear how much they are enjoying tonight’s performance, and this will surely translate to even better concerts, and a magnificent album to follow in a couple of years’ time. It has been several years since we had a proper album tour from Stone Sour, and whilst the band may have changed slightly, they are a cohesive unit, and have lost nothing in their downtime. That being said, obviously some members of the band had less downtime than the others. There were some big hints to a summer appearance for the band, with Corey Taylor mentioning Download 2018, which may still be possible despite the band announcing three shows in June being their only UK appearances for the year. On the strength of tonight’s showing, we can only hope that they will grace the hallowed turf of Donnington in the summer, and before too long, headline the festival.