Last night, hundreds of fans filed into a line leading up the street and wrapping around the corner outside of Charlotte's popular music venue, The Fillmore. The venue doors opened at 7:00 p.m., and experimental rock band Stolen Babies took the stage promptly at 7:30 p.m. as the crowd trickled in. Though the three piece band only played a short 20 minute set, their eclectic look and sound (including an accordion) certainly garnered the attention of onlookers.
Stolen Babies turned the stage over to quickly rising rock band Pop Evil. The five piece band was formed in 2001, by vocalist Leigh Kakaty. Despite being part of numerous national tours and festivals, the band did not accumulate a strong following until their 2013 album release Onyx. The album features Pop Evil's first national #1 single "Trenches", which also won Radio Contraband's Rock Radio Award for 2013 "Song Of The Year". Not long after "Trenches" topped the rock charts, Pop Evil released a second single from Onyx "Deal with the Devil", which also took a #1 spot. Both of these singles were played during Pop Evil's set, along with a solid mix of songs scattered across their three album discography.
There was a 30 minute lull in the action after Pop Evil's set which permitted anticipatory fans ample time to prepare for the absolute onslaught Stone Sour proceeded to bring. Fans screamed at the top of their lungs as overhead lights dimmed and the stage lit up. The band wasted no time in getting energized, as they kicked off their set with the title track from their recent 2013 two-disc compilation album The House of Gold and Bones.
The House of Gold and Bones - Part 1 was nominated for the 2013 Golden Gods Award for Album of the Year. Though it did not win, Stone Sour as a whole did win the Golden Gods Award for Best International band of 2013. Vocalist Corey Taylor originally founded the band in 1992 in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1995, Taylor, who went on to become the vocalist of well known metal band Slipknot, was joined by James "Jim" Root, now also a member of Slipknot. Shortly thereafter, the band ended up on a five year long hiatus in 1997. Stone Sour reformed in 2002, and have held an unchanging lineup since 2011, when Taylor and Root were joined by Josh Rand (guitar) and Roy Mayorga (drums). In December, 2013, Root confirmed that he would not be joining Stone Sour on this tour, instead taking time to work on an upcoming Slipknot album. Christian Martucci, a mutual friend of the band, is filling in for Root. The four artists are also accompanied by Johny Chow, who has acted as the bands touring bassist since 2012.
Continuing the intensity, Stone Sour performed another new song from The House of Gold and Bones compilation "RU486". The band's 2010 #1 single "Say You'll Haunt Me" from the album Audio Secrecy came up as the third song of the set. The remainder of the show consisted of numerous other fan favorite songs and singles from Stone Sour's five album discography - until about halfway through, when Taylor brought out an acoustic guitar and performed a cover of Alice in Chains "Nutshell". The cover segued into a jaw-dropping solo acoustic rendition of one of the bands first chart ranking singles, "Bother". The Golden Gods Best Vocalist of 2013 award winner Taylor delivered flawless vocals, perfectly matching his sound on the album. Taylor took a dramatic pause prior to the final verse of the song, which allowed just enough time for some crowd interaction. The crowd persuaded Taylor into strumming and singing the chorus of Rick Springfield's classic "Jessie's Girl". Though he attempted to quickly abort playing the cover, the crowd revolted until he resumed... getting through a mere 10 seconds of the song before bursting into laughter and candidly flipping the bird to the audience!
Already hyped up fans somehow found it in themselves to amp up the intensity to an even higher level during Stone Sour's final three song encore, which included "Gone Sovereign" and "Absolute Zero". Taylor closed out the evening by paying tribute to one of the original metal bands with a cover of "Children of the Grave" by Black Sabbath. Not a moment went by without at least one fan crowd-surfing overhead. The combination of Stone Sour's profound stage performance simultaneous with the crowd's fierce participation made this show an incredible and promising opening to the 2014 concert season and easily served as a reminder that rock is definitely not dead. Yesterday's show in Charlotte was only the second of this tour leg, so be sure to check all dates and don't miss out seeing these bands if they are playing in a venue nearby!