This weekend gave audiences their first look at the Slipknot Knotfest Roadshow, arguably one of the best bills that metal fans will see in 2019. We were lucky enough to catch one of the first shows on the run in San Bernardino and can offer some insight on what to expect.

Matt Stasi, Loudwire

1. The stage production for the new material tops what they've done prior —

Simply put, the new stage production for Slipknot is bonkers. As the band gets older, they’ve reimagined a bit of how to capture the audience’s attention, and while you may not see Sid Wilson flying into the crowd as much, his moves aboard the walking treadmill are visually interesting enough to draw your attention from every other chaotic thing going on onstage.

Elsewhere, you’ve got Jay Weinberg settled in on drums atop of propeller wind machine that creates a visually intriguing centerpiece as the blades are in perpetual motion throughout. Both Shawn “Clown” Crahan and mystery percussionist Tortilla Man remain on drum thrones towering over the crowd, but the new three-tiered stage set up, allows them more space to roam as needed, and they take advantage of it.

The paneled look also provides great access for the band’s mood lighting and visuals. Just about every song has a color theme, while occasionally they forego the mood lighting for a striking visual, as the fiery, star-filled night sky provided a stunning backdrop for “The Devil in I.”

Prior to the tour’s launch, Corey Taylor spoke of wanting to create some “Iron Maiden stuff," and it’s safe to say that Slipknot’s current stage production ranks among the best in the genre, rivaling the standard set by the metal icons.

Matt Stasi, Loudwire

2. There are still new stage tricks —

For years, Slipknot have put on one of the most chaotic live shows going. But with age, there’s wear on the body. One thing of note from the current incarnation of the Knotfest Roadshow is that you’ll see less people flying into the audience, but Slipknot have found interesting ways to keep the show visually stunning and garner your attention.

Sid Wilson seems to be channeling Cab Calloway or Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay, as his moves aboard the walking treadmill tend to draw the eye amidst all of the other chaos onstage. Meanwhile, you can always count on Corey Taylor to leave it all onstage, and despite suffering a few injuries in recent years, he remains an active force and presence in the eye of the storm. And yes, you'll still get your "Get the fuck up" moment.

All of the members seem to have gotten a lesson in feng shui as they now appear to move more freely about the stage than before. The upper tier of the stage now appears to be a favorite hang for Alessandro Venturella, with his guitar that lights up hues of red, blue and green also drawing attention.

As in the past, you can expect pyro to play into the performance. One of the cooler tricks of the night was watching Clown drop from his perch to grab a flaming torch to bang away on a hanging steel drum during “Duality.” Plus, the band work in explosions, but keep them at a minimum in order to make the effect greater.

Matt Stasi, Loudwire

3. Tortilla Man is legit! —

Nobody knows exactly yet who Tortilla Man is, but he’s definitely making his presence felt. The mystery musician is banging away atop his drum throne, but also working his way around the stage, even grabbing a mic to lend backing vocals for Corey Taylor during “Get This.” Often, we see bands either hide their new members in the back or worse yet offstage, but that’s not the case for curious looking Tortilla Man, who is every bit as much a part of the show as his bandmates.

Matt Stasi, Loudwire

4. The new material works ... and works well —

Slipknot have reached that point where it’s hard to make a set list. There are so many things that people want to hear, and so far there are a few notable songs missing. However, the band has been playing “Unsainted” and “All Out Life,” and both tracks are welcome additions to the set. “Unsainted,” which received some mixed reaction upon its release, got one of the bigger crowd reactions of the night during the San Bernardino stop.

Meanwhile “All Out Life” is a new anthem for fans who get a chance to belt out the new album title “We Are Not Your Kind” with furious passion. “Solway Firth” has been positively reviewed, but has yet to turn up in sets. Maybe some lucky fans will get it before this run ends.

Matt Stasi, Loudwire (3)

5. Diversity Rules —

If there was one major talking point throughout the entire show, it was bringing diversity while playing to a metal audience. “So much diversity, so many flavors, one goal” is how Behemoth’s Nergal described it, while Volbeat’s Michael Poulsen joked with the crowd about following the brutality of Behemoth and the intensity of Gojira that they were there to bring the “beautiful” music to the crowd. Slipknot’s Corey Taylor stated, “This represents what heavy metal is all about. There’s just so many kinds.” One thing is for certain – Slipknot have put together a killer bill with three acts that could be headliners in their own right, but have decided to unite to show off metal’s many styles.

So get yourself out and see the Knotfest Roadshow, coming to a town near you. Get dates and ticketing details here.

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