Review: Corey Taylor – O2 Academy, Glasgow

If anyone wandered in off the rain-soaked streets and wasn’t sure who was packing them in like sardines at the regal old cinema just over the River Clyde in Glasgow, then the rather large letters on the screen behind the band would have served as a clue. Lit up by blinding red lights, the letters CMFT would probably have been clear from space, as would have been the huge smile sported all evening by the person behind the initials CMFT: Corey Mother Fuckin’ Taylor. Having tested the solo waters in October 2022 on 4 live dates with his CMFT band, it was a speedy return to “My Island” for Slipknot’s #8, and it is fair to say that Taylor is having a total blast on this run of 9 UK & EU dates that end in The Netherlands on November 24th.

You would be hard-pushed to find a frontman for an arena/festival headlining trailblazing Metal band that is having as much fun as Taylor is on these intimate dates (intimate to someone from Slipknot, but large venues for everyone else), and it would not have escaped even Painty the Pirate that Taylor has surrounded himself with band mates who – just as importantly – bring a sense of brotherhood and camaraderie, as well as musical ability. Having an opening act that the headliner not only enjoys but gets along with is also crucial, and Corey seems to have gone with a band that does both: the NYC-based genre-blending OXYMORRONS.

Having just delivered their full-length debut on Mascot Records – the seismic ‘Melanin Punk’ – and already been confirmed for Download Festival 2024, OXYMORRONS are continuing the overseas momentum that began earlier this year when they performed in the UK on the Bad Omens ‘Concrete Jungle Tour’. Rap-rock is the peg that most would hang the OXYMORRONS jacket on, but there is also heaps of punk and nu-metal in there, and at times, they all come together in one major bundle of energy.

The intro to set-opener ‘Enemy’ (which also opens ‘Melanin Punk’) is all about the combination of Jafe Paulino’s buzzsaw guitar licks with the solid hits from Matty Mayz, and these two play an important role in the set because not only is it great to see a hip-hop-influenced band play with live musicians rather than use samples, but they form the bedrock for Queens-bred brothers Deee and K.I. Bellevue to bring some of that famed NYC swagger to the party. And bring it they do. An older track, ‘Green Vision’, is a perfect example of how to make exciting multi-genre music seamless; with machine-gun fast rapping mixed with heaps of nu-metal riffage, and some punishing work from Mayz, it flys past in a blur of energy, but the most memorable part is the thick vocal hooks from both Bellevue’s. ‘Graveyard Words’ is a fantastic example of a N.E.R.D, and Jay-Z with Linkin Park influence, and the co-vocals are immense.

It’s great to see an opening act treated with respect by the headliner, and not only do OXYMORRONS get a fair crack of the whip with both sound and lights, but they also get 45 minutes to make their mark. Having the best time of their lives, they drop the live debut of the heartwarming ‘Moon Chasers’ into the set and along with set closer ‘Justice’ provides one of the highlights of the set. The closing pair highlights the meaning of the band name (OXYMORRONS with 2 R’s because a band called Oxymorons exists and wanted 25K to surrender the name), ‘Moon Chasers’ is the band at their lightest – an Arrested Development vibe in places – and ‘Justice’ (which features some killer backing vocals from Paulino) has a great contrast with light vocals and fast breakdowns. Once the houselights rise, Deee and K.I. are down at the barrier high-fiving the entire front few rows and posing for selfies. After a trip to the bar, I’m back in position near the front…and the pair are still at the barrier making new friends. An insanely good set and if you enjoyed Anthrax with Public Enemy, and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. then these are the guys that you have been looking for.

By the time the house lights dim and the familiar strains of ‘The Box’ from the new album ‘CMF2’ fill the room, the place is rammed. Absolutely rammed. It was busy for OXYMORRONS, but it is now so packed that when you hear the total stranger next to you say that they are going to the bar, you ask them to get you one whilst they are there. It seems that a few thousand people want the opportunity to catch Corey Taylor up close and personal rather than watching him on a screen while they are up to their arses in mud in a field in the East Midlands. And it is boisterous. This is not a stand-back and watch crowd, this is a hardcore crowd. Later on, watching the madness unfold from the relative calm of the balcony, it is like the famous scene in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’…“Indy, why does the floor move?” as the standing area moves back and forth like the wildest of seas. Carnage. Utter carnage. Standing there surveying the carnage as it unfolds in front of him is Mr. Corey Mother Fuckin’ Taylor.

Backed by one hell of a band that includes Christian Martucci (Stone Sour/Black Star Riders) and Zach Throne on guitars, the powerhouse Dustin Robert on drums, and Eliot “Two Fingers” Lorango on bass, Taylor is in fine form as the expertly constructed set is played at a blistering pace. As it does on ‘CMF2’, ‘Post Traumatic Blues’ follows on from ‘The Box’ and proves to be the perfect set opener. The searchlights strafe the audience and combine with an explosion of strobe lights and a wall of red to make for an all-out assault on the senses. Taylor is pacing the stage like a man possessed and finally, he makes his way front and centre to unleash hell. Man, he is fucking formidable as he delivers the first of many solo tracks that are total bangers. Hooky-as-hell, the chorus to ‘Post Traumatic Blues’ rattles around for ages and keeps on resurfacing days later. Throne and Lorango are helping out on backing vocals, Martucci is covering every inch of the stage, and the impeccable Dustin Robert is controlling all the chaos from behind his kit. Superb. When the song is ending Taylor roars “Welcome to the party, Glasgow!” and is met by such an incredible response that he takes a second or two to stand back and soak it all in.

This is nothing compared to the response that the first Stone Sour track aired tonight gets when Taylor announces “Let’s go back to two-thousand-and-fucking-two…” and casually drops an insane version of ‘Tumult’. Once the song ends and a sense of calm is restored, Taylor pauses to talk and is met by the usual vociferous Weegie crowd, and after a few seconds of grinning from ear-to-ear, he proclaims “Glasgow, you had me at hello, goddam it!” as the incredibly chatty and personable side to Taylor shines through. Ever the perfect host, Taylor genuinely wants to connect with everyone in attendance, and although the set flies past in a flash, there is never a feeling of things being rushed, and it’s easy to see why the dude from Des Moines is so comfortable with the stand-up comedy, and spoken-word formats that he has dipped his toes into; in short, he’s the cool Uncle that you call when you are stoned and can’t find your way home, because you know that he won’t tell your parents.

As expected, the Slipknot and Stone Sour material aired is greeted like heroes returning home, with ’30/30-150′ and a stunning version of ‘Through Glass’ reminding everyone of just how good Stone Sour was, and ‘Before I Forget’ and ‘Snuff’ forming a Slipknot sandwich with the ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ theme song as the filling. “Okay, should we get it over with?” asks Taylor before following that up with “Are you ready, kids?” and a pantomime-voiced “I can’t hear you…” as he starts to strum the theme song on an acoustic guitar. Surreal, but great fun. Among the material from Slipknot (‘Duality’ still crushes, even today some 20 years on) and Stone Sour, and a stellar cover of Sabbath’s ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ (where Eliot Lorango earns his nickname “Two Fingers”), are some choice cuts from both CMFT albums. ‘Black Eyes Blue’ is one of the best songs that Taylor has produced in years and the Joe Strummer/Clash influence is quite strong on this tale set in London; the punk vibe hangs around on ‘Talk Sick’ which has some fantastic guitar-fuelled moments and a frantic change of pace mid-song that sounds like Rumble music on crystal meth, and the wah-wah infused speedy outro is gonzo; and then there is the magnificent ‘Midnight’ which is so dark and foreboding that the only thing missing is a tolling bell and the sound of rain – special mention to Christian Martucci for his incredible solo towards the end of the song.

Corey Taylor has gathered great momentum with 2 very strong solo albums in 3 years and if he keeps on going in the trajectory that the quality of ‘CMFT’ and ‘CMFT2’ suggests, then ‘CMFT3’ is going to be something special.

One of the gigs of the year, this show is simply too good to miss.

Remaining European Tour Dates:

19/11 – France, Paris | Le Trianon

20/11 – Germany, Cologne | Palladium

22/11 – Germany, Berlin | Verti Music Hall

24/11 – The Netherlands, Tilburg | Tilburg 013

For tour and remaining available ticket info, visit: https://www.coreytaylor.com/

Review – Dave

All live images – Callum Scott

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