Review + Photography by Kate Snape

More accustomed to playing arena shows, tonight the legendary frontman of Korn, Jonathan Davis, is getting a taste of his earlier days by playing to a crowd of less than 600 in the intimate Manchester Club Academy. With the new release of his debut solo album, Black Labyrinth, JD is doing a series of smaller shows in anticipation for his upcoming performance at Donnington’s Download Festival later in the week.

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As the room darkens and the stage is lit with red light, it’s time for the main man to take to this very basic set up. Joining him tonight he has Korn’s drummer Ray Luzier, a keyboard player, guitarist, a double bass player and a second multi skilled guitarist who also has a violin. The room hasn’t even reached full capacity but that doesn’t stop JD from belting out his signature vocals. He kicks off the show with ‘Underneath My Skin’ taken from the new Black Labyrinth album. He takes very little time to speak to the audience tonight and powers through all of his new tracks, minus ‘Gender’ and ‘The Secret’.

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A highlight and most unexpected part of the night was JD and his band hitting some bluesy jazz tones with a groovy instrumental before bursting one of JD’s personal favourites and final song before the encore, Neil Diamond’s ‘Love On The Rocks’.

The band exit the stage for a short time, leaving the crowd chanting for more, they return to play the new single from the album and a new JD classic in the making, ‘What It Is’. Bringing the show to an end with the upbeat yet gravelly ‘Happiness’.

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It’s unusual seeing this rock icon play such an intimate setting and I think it’s obvious tonight that it’s something he’s no longer used to. JD seems somewhat shy and awkward being within arms reach from his adoring fans and although it doesn’t taint his vocals and performance, I have seen him many times before interact much more comfortably to crowds of thousands.

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