Korn, Chevelle, and Code Orange play Giant Center: 25 takeaways from the nu metal show

Nu metal band Korn performed at the Giant Center on Tuesday night, alongside metal bands Chevelle and Code Orange. And while spending an evening at Hershey’s Giant Center, listening to all three bands shred, moan and growl throughout a loud concert, I had more than a few thoughts popping into my head.

Here are my thoughts, reactions, and realizations that came to mind as I enjoyed a night full of headbutts and distorted comments.

  • Wearing a bright red hoodie and yellow shirt, I’m dressed too colorfully for this show. Of course, there are reds to be seen, mostly in flannel form. But the rest of this crowd’s color scheme makes me feel like I’m in a Zack Snyder movie.
  • I wondered before arriving what sort of crowd would turn up for Korn. They had some of their biggest hits when I was at the end of my high school career, and sure enough, the crowd seemed to be mostly millennials and Gen Xers. It was great to see that everyone’s Doc Martens and JNCO jeans were still in good condition!
  • I actually only saw one pair of JNCO jeans, but I’m so glad I did.
  • The first parts are always a difficult concert. Only half of the crowd has arrived at the start of the show, and no matter how hard you try, they will only give you a limited response.
  • That said, Code Orange does perhaps some of the best work I’ve seen in the first game, getting the hype from the crowd. They were going hard non-stop throughout their set. “I know it’s early,” the Code Orange lead singer told the crowd at one point. “I’ve been there, sitting, listening to a band that I’ve never heard of in my [expletive] the life. I understand. Thanks for being early!”
  • Code Orange hails from Pittsburgh and took a moment to acknowledge his PA roots. “You know we’re Pennsylvania boys, right?” asked the singer. “You’re going to learn !”

  • It occurs to me that metal concerts are a bit like a baseball game, in that I have nothing against them and normally wouldn’t go to one. But once I’m there, I realize how damn fun they are, whether you know what’s going on or not.
  • How do metal singers maintain their voice when they get into those screams and growls? It’s so impressive to hear them do an entire set for an hour or more with that kind of intensity.
  • However, I confess that I often have no idea what they are singing. And that’s not a criticism: their fans clearly know what they’re saying, and my hearing has never been better before I even started attending professional concerts on a regular basis. I just mention it because looking at the lyrics is usually how I find out what songs they played. So it’s going to be tough this time.
  • Shout out to the lady sitting across from me, who looks a bit like Jinx from “Arcane” minus the blue hair. You’re having a great time listening to Chevelle!
  • It’s hard to deny Chevelle rocks, even if you don’t like their style of music very much. There is also a surprising politeness in their banter. “Thank you so much,” singer Pete Loeffler told a grateful crowd. “I guess you feel pretty [expletive] How are you, Hershey?
  • Man, I don’t care what anybody says. Head banging is cool.

  • Chevelle hit the ground running at the top of their set and kept the energy going song after song. There wasn’t a ton of theater, no pyrotechnics or anything like that. Just lots of rock, a modest but dedicated mosh pit, and even some crowd surfing.
  • “Why is everyone sitting down? Loeffler asked. “Get up from those seats!” Please don’t take it personally if I sit still. I have work, after all.
  • “All of you seated, I still love you!” he added later. Oh thank you! I appreciate that. “Thank you for coming to our rock show!”
  • I noticed more than one “Still a Freak” t-shirt from Korn fans, referencing their song “Freak on a Leash”. I wondered who would be young enough in spirit to still be ready to mosh, and there were certainly a decent amount of them doing it for most of the night. Bless them. My neck hurts just to sit here and tilt my head slightly to the left to see the scene.
  • The moment Korn took the stage, my nostalgia for the late 90s hit hard. Somebody get me a surge and a chain for my wallet, please.

  • The members of Korn have such an ease in working the stage and the public. They’ve been there a long time, and I’m sure they have much rowdier crowds, but I’m still impressed with how well they can ride the wave of public excitement.
  • I pulled away for a moment only to hear a strange moaning siren. The moment I returned, I saw that Korn’s lead singer, Jonathan Davis, was actually playing bagpipes. I did not expect that.
  • Incidentally, stepping out of the seating area to take concessions or use the restroom did little to block out the sound coming from the stage. It was one of the loudest concerts I have attended in Hershey.
  • Similarly, the band bursting into a rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” was also unexpected but not unwelcome.

  • Davis led the crowd in a collective reversal of the general deplorable state of current world affairs. It was very cathartic.
  • Since it was one of the rowdiest shows I’ve seen at the Giant Center, I shouldn’t be surprised there were a few people who didn’t make the whole show. Ushers and Giant Center staff with the words “public safety” on their shirts came out in numbers I had never seen before. Just like the police. I saw a few people who looked like they had some sort of injury or were otherwise sick, and at least one person who was, uh, asked to leave the stadium.
  • That said, it’s important to note that it was also one of the friendliest crowds I’ve even been in at the Giant Center. The awkward passage of other audience members to get to your seat was really sweet in a way that I had never seen before. People were excited to be here and enjoy the music!

  • “Freak on a Leash” sounds really, really good live. And if this song ever got your heart pumping for something, I hope you get the chance to see, hear, and feel what a crowd does when Davis yells “Go!” at the highest point of the bridge.
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