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By Travis Failey, Planet Earth Contributor
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 @ 4:55 PM

Summer's Last Stand Tour Hits Mid Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre

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All photos by Travis Failey/Rocket Sports & Entertainment

The second stop of The Summers Last Stand Tour arrived in Tampa at the Mid Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre or “MFCUA” on Saturday night and brought with it a headlining monster in the multi platinum selling SLIPKNOT. If SLIPKNOT was to tour by themselves, this tour would still draw big crowds, but accompanying them would be a revitalized LAMB OF GOD, a reconfigured BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, a quick riser and one of my personal favorite bands, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE. Put all of them together and you had a packed house on Saturday night. Not even scorching heat or treacherous thunderstorms would keep the SLIPKNOT fans (affectionately known as “maggots”) away from the venue.

The show started promptly at 6 p.m. The sun was shining and it looked like the Tampa area might get some relief from the wettest summer that I’ve experienced in 25 years in Florida. MOTIONLESS IN WHITE got the crowd amped up early and often with lead singer Chris Motionless leading the goth metal circus. I’ve been following MOTIONLESS IN WHITE ever since I was turned on to them at the Mayhem Festival in 2012. Their stage performance was the initial draw but their song writing has put them into another class where upward movement is no longer in question.

Chris Motionless draws you into the band with his powerful vocals and presence and the other players are solid and also play a huge role in the stage performance with the gear that they wear. During their set, Chris Motionless changed into an old school Tampa Bay Lightning Jersey and addressed the crowd with “Fuck The Blackhawks!” which got a huge cheer from the fans. Bassist Devin “Ghost” Sola likes to keep the crowd guessing with each tour and broke out a new costume for this tour with a crazy cage like box and a straight jacket. Definitely something you don’t see every day.

Some highlights from their eight-song-set were their breakout anthem in “A.M.E.R.I.C.A.”, which received rotation on Sirius XM/Octane, and the title track from their third release, “Reincarnate”. Both of these songs had the audience singing in unison with Chris Motionless, as would be the case throughout the entire evening.

Next up would be the equally heavy but more melodic thrash based, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE. The Wales based quintet opened with a new track in “No Way Out” from their upcoming August release Venom. It was obvious that they were leaving everything on the stage on Saturday night especially when they played the Guitar Hero track “Scream, Aim & Fire”. Guitarist Michael Paget impressed many with his playing abilities that are reminiscent of Dave Mustaine and other axe legends. His performance on stage musically and physically is something to behold and singer and guitarist Matthew Tuck’s command of their songs and the crowd put them in league with the other veteran bands on this bill. Tucks vocals are predominantly clean and crisp and project well, which the women in the crowd seemed to appreciate as they harmonized with Tuck. They finished their set with two of their most popular singles in the melodic “Tears Don’t Fall” and a huge video single in “Waking The Demon”. With drummer Michael Thomas along with their new bassist in James Mathias providing the backbone, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE provided their fan base with an exceptional performance and as I talked to the crowd after their set, BFMV gained new fans along the way.

Randy Blythe and the members of LAMB OF GOD not only put on a memorable performance but provided me a whole new respect for their band. I had never been to a LAMB OF GOD show before as their brand of metal is a little extreme for my taste, but for the four songs that I was able to see due to the now pouring down rain with a backpack full of camera gear, it was amazing. Starting with “Walk With Me In Hell”, Blythe never stopped moving. From jumping off the riser to head banging and thrashing about all the while not missing a beat vocally, Blythe didn’t need to engage the audience as their music directly provided it.

Moshing ensued for the first time tonight with mass crowd surfing also taking place with video screens emblazoned in imagery of falling down buildings and of soldiers struggling in battle. They were a perfect match for the music that LAMB OF GOD was performing. Blythe and his bandmates, bassist John Campbell, drummer Chris Adler and guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler looked like they were ready to resume kicking ass and taking names after a hiatus due to the Blythe situation in Prague and also with the release of his book (Dark Days).

They played a ten-song-set that spanned their entire career. From the early days with songs off the albums, As the Palaces Burn and New American Gospel and “Stir Echoes” and “512” from their most recent release in VII: Sturm Und Drang.

LAMB OF GOD has a formula and they stick to it and they don’t care about building their base. I compare them to SLAYER and PANTERA and I see and hear a lot of Phil Anselmo in Randy Blythe. They both have gone through trials and tribulations in their lives and continue to make quality music. Do I think LAMB OF GOD has played as big a role in the heavy metal timeline as PANTERA? Probably not, but a lot of hardcore and metalcore bands continue to cite them as their main influence, and if you go see the bands on the main stages at the Vans Warped Tour and at Rockstar Mayhem Festival, their influence is undeniable.

As SLIPKNOT’s crew was setting up their elaborate stage show, there was an eerie calm before the SLIPKNOT storm. The rain was starting to slow down but it had already done its damage. Actually the fans that were up on the lawn did the damage as the usually lush grass turned into a huge mud slide down the hill and then the AC/DC classic “If You Want Blood” started playing over the sound system and everyone gravitated back to their viewing area. “Running With The Devil” by VAN HALEN really got the crowd bouncing with anticipation then SLIPKNOT dropped the lights and ”XIX” played as the curtain fell.

Corey Taylor and SLIPKNOT exploded onto the stage like the pyrotechnics behind them, donning their trademark masks and played a perfect combination of songs new and old throughout the night. Taylor once again proved why he is so successful and diverse. His talent seems to be limitless and he can adapt to any playing situation. From playing acoustic one man shows to doing a duet with Lzzy Hale on “Hunger Strike” at the AP Awards last week, to fronting one of the biggest bands in the world in SLIPKNOT, he deserves the accolades he receives. Taylor’s voice cut from the front of the stage to the back of the lawn like a razor in a blender mesmerizing the packed house of fans. Chris Fehn and Shawn “Clown” Crahan provided thunderous beats on the toms attached to the sizzorjacks as Sid Wilson bashed into everything when he came down from the caged riser containing his turn tables and keyboard.

They performed a seventeen-song-set full of fan favorites and deep cuts to satisfy the maggots new and old. Amongst them was the opener “Sarcastrophe”, “Pyscosocial” and two of this year’s staples on Sirius/XM’s Big ‘Uns, in “The Negative One” and the very melodic and mellower track in “KillPop”.

As I watched SLIPKNOT, I took a step back at stared at the bombastic scene in front of me. The overwhelming choreography and the nuances of the individual movements of the performers are timed perfectly to get the most response from the crowd. It’s a performance that fans of the theatre and other artistic outlets should attend at least once even if they don’t care for the horned demon figure lurking over the crowd or the musical chaos coming through the speakers.

Even with the two significant changes in the band in the additions of drummer Jay Weinberg and bassist Alessandro Venturella, SLIPKNOT proved once again that they are a well oiled machine. They’ve always given their fans everything and more and they did it again at this year’s Summer’s Last Stand Tour.

For more dates for the tour: http://www.slipknot1.com/home

For complete set lists:


Check out some more photos from the show!
All photos by Travis Failey/Rocket Sports & Entertainment

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