NEW YORK, NY—The air inside the Nokia Theatre has the stench of something sinister. It breathes a thick dark mist. A dim back light is the only thing to help the stage crew construct the voice of the caged beast. As set time draws closer, a towering velour backed throne is carried out and placed in front of a waist- high microphone. Symphonic thunder carries over the house PA, the room goes completely dark and there’s a lingering feeling of anticipation.
Emerging through the darkness is Jonathan Davis, accompanied by an ensemble of black suited musical magicians. Davis, who has chosen to embark on a short solo tour to give Korn fans a quite different experience from their audible assaulting electric show, slowly placed his hands upon the lion heads gracing his arm rests. His presence is undeniable.
The string of dates comes on the heels of Korn’s longest break in 14 years, a whopping two months. In a roundtable press conference to journalists on Nov. 1, Davis explained how the nonstop roadwork has left something more to be desired. He worked on compositions for the Queen Of The Damned soundtrack only to have them sit on a record store shelf, never seeing the stage. This was Davis’ opportunity. “Korn is not over, this is just to give the fans something different, something in a new light,” he protests.
The musicians that were backing Davis consisted of Miles Mosely (bass), Zac Baird (keys), Shenkar (violin), Michael Jochum (drums), and Shane Gibson (guitar).
The overall tone of the project was a syncopated moan, with the majority of musical dazzling and grit coming from the standup bass of Miles Mosely. There was no explosion and, at first, the venue was kind of uneasy about that. But it was Davis that changed the demeanor of this audience in the span of about a half-hour. Remaining seated and squirming in his throne like a man possessed, Davis rattled through reworked numbers that included “Kick The P.A.” off the Spawn Soundtrack, as well as “Not Meant For Me,” “Foresaken” and “Redeemer,” which appeared as part of Queen Of The Dammed.
The crowd went from weary to perplexed, and finally to hypnotized, as Middle Eastern phrasings were gracefully expelled from Shenkar’s double violin. Again, Mosely on bass was stellar, as he morphed tones with an army of distortion pedals at his feet.
The 90 minute set also featured covers of “Love On The Rocks” by Neil Diamond and “Blue Monday” by New Order. Davis looked healthy compared to his early days with Korn and his decade long sobriety has yielded creative focus. Songs from The Untouchables were also showcased.
The only point of the evening where the crowd broke the “intimate” code of ethics was during “Got The Life” (Issues, 1998) as the floor descended into a swirling pit.
The tour will carry on until Dec. 11 and will trek through a southeast national crossing. A released Limited Edition LP and DVD will imprint the project in stone.