We all know that Corey Taylor is a regular visitor and highly-respected artist to Australia, and has had one hell of a successful career through his passion with heavy music. No matter which of his two bands wants to come, it’s always a blast to catch him and his troubadours in action. Luckily, Australia got to see the return of Stone Sour, for the first time in four years, since their last visit to the country, in support of the now-defunct Soundwave Festival. Returning for their first and very own headline tour since the Come What(Ever) May era, Australia was bound to see Stone Sour at their pinnacle. I caught the acclaimed alternative metal outfit at Festival Hall, with the support of Sydney-based hard punk rock quintet Bare Bones.

From my view from the balcony, this was the first time I had ever gotten a full and good view of Festival Hall, even though I’ve enjoyed a lot of my time in the pit. So, watching the entire show from there felt completely different compared to what I’m normally used to.

With Bare Bones starting up the show with fiery opening, Festival Hall’s capacity was being filled up as they performed. Reminding me much of a more hard-hitting version of The Bronx, Bare Bones delivered some powerful tracks from their debut full-length Bad Habits and came with a strong stage presence and aggressive attitude. Having seen them since their appearance at Unify earlier this year, their support slot for Stone Sour showed that they had really upped their game and put in a lot more finesse in their style since then. Though not much movement was made from the crowd, Bare Bones gained a great reception from Festival Hall’s patrons and did whatever they could to make sure they were able to please those people that were eagerly waiting for the main event.

The lights fade out and within a few seconds, Stone Sour stormed the stage with ‘Taipei Person/Allah Tea’ and they already had the fans going berserk in the pit. Throughout the entire ninety-minute timeslot they were given, Stone Sour brought a number of classics and fan favourites to the table along with a handful off their latest record Hydrograd. Corey Taylor and co. maintained zealous and enthusiastic personalities right through the performance, and really had a lot of quality put into
their live executions of their recorded pieces.

From old favourites such as ‘Bother’, ‘Made of Scars’, ’30/30-150′ and ‘Blotter’ to their fresher material including ‘Song #3’, ‘Do Me a Favor’ and ‘Tired’, there was nothing to be heard from Stone Sour’s audience other than powerful singalongs from one track to the next. But, probably one of the most unexpected parts of the show was when Stone Sour’s wacky waving inflatable tube men from their ‘Fabuless’ music video popped up during the encore after ‘Gone Sovereign’ and ‘Absolute Zero’, and
started waving around like mad behind Roy Mayorga’s drum kit, right on the edge of the stage and in front of the amplifiers on both sides.

Something about seeing Stone Sour that night felt extremely nostalgic to me, in a sense. Probably because I saw them in that same venue six years ago, when they headlined a sideshow for Soundwave. But not only that – seeing Corey Taylor without his Slipknot mask is not only a refreshing sight, but it really gives people a good understanding of how he’s not just your everyday entrepreneur, but he also has a distinctive characteristic that makes him stand out from a majority of musicians these days.

Overall, Stone Sour’s ninety minute headliner was nothing short of a glorious and really energetic performance. While you can expect more heresy to take place in a Slipknot pit, the excitement is just as powerful at a Stone Sour show, and you can definitely expect to get your money’s worth for every gig you attend that the group themselves, put on.

Photos by Bethany Mafrici