Stone Sour – Arena, Birmingham – 29th November 2017

Judging by ticket sales tonight Stone Sour have reached that difficult point in a touring band’s career. They’re way too big for a tour of Academy venues, but arent big enough to sell out arenas, so with the venue tonight in full arena configuration it feels a bit empty when in fact they’ve sold around 6000 tickets for tonight’s show which is pretty impressive, and I have to wonder if with a different support act they might have filled the place.

First up tonight was The Pretty Reckless. Frontwoman Taylor Momsen comes on in a long black leather coat looking like a blonde version of Marilyn manson. At first her vocals were a bit low so got drowned out by the guitars, but that got sorted and that made a big difference. I enjoyed their set, with the songs from the newest album sounding heavier than I was expecting. I’m not sure they were the best choice to open for Stone Sour, but they are very good. It was nice to see a support band getting a full hour for their set as it’s far more enjoyable than having a couple of bands with sets of 20 minutes – barely enough to start getting into before their set ends. The Pretty Reckless did a good job opening tonight and I hope they’ll be back in the UK soon.

Then it was time for Stone Sour, and they got off to a flying start. The fans were cheering when the first band members came on stage during “YSIF”, the intro tape and got much louder when Corey Taylor came on. He seemed overwhelmed by the chants of “Corey, Corey” from the crowd. They kicked off with two songs from the new album, Hydrograd – “Taipei Person/Allah Tea” and “Knievel has landed” before travelling back to the 2006 album “Come what(ever) may” with “Made of scars”. It’s a set that covers pretty much every Stone Sour album (only House of Gold & Bones – Part 2 is unrepresented tonight), including their self titled 2002 album with two songs from that album getting a welcome airing tonight.
Talking to the crowd is a tricky balance to get right – some bands like Shinedown spend so long talking to the crowd people are shouting for them to shut up and play more songs, while some bands barely acknowledge the presence of the crowd, but Corey Taylor gets things just right – he talks to the crowd at a few points but generally keeps it fairly short and never lets it drag on too long which would kill the flow of the show. As we see early on he’s a real showman – with pyros firing sparks into the air, he grabs a confetti gun and fires it over the crowd. He runs around the stage, coming to the front not just centre stage, but on both sides of the stage interacting with the crowd.
They ended the set with a tribute to Black Sabbath, playing an excellent cover of “Children of the grave”. Combined with Corey’s Judas Priest T-shirt and some of what he said to the crowd, paying tribute to Birmingham as the home of metal, it was clear he has a lot of respect for these metal titans. A great end to the set.

There was of course an encore with three more songs bringing the night to a fantastic end.

Stone Sour have grown significantly over the years since I first saw them and watching them tonight it’s easy to see why they continue to go from strength to strength. If they keep growing at this rate they’ll be filling arenas on their next tour and it can only be a matter of time before we see them headline the main stage at Download festival.

Taipei Person / Allah Tea
Knievel Has Landed
Made of Scars
Say You’ll Haunt Me
Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)
Do Me a Favor
Cold Reader
Get Inside
Song #3
Through Glass
Children of the Grave

Gone Sovereign
Absolute Zero

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.