On the cusp of the release of his second solo album, “CMF2,” later this week, Corey Taylor’s supporting national tour stopped at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair last night. Oxymorrons and Wargasm were on hand to open the show and create an eclectic trifecta of rock acts that seriously know how to deliver a performance.
I hate traffic. That’s not a novel declaration but I need to say it. My apartment is only 20 miles from Montclair. Proximity matters not to rush hour traffic in Manhattan; no matter where you’re going, you aren’t getting there anytime soon. It took me over two hours to get to the venue. And if I’m begin honest I technically don’t mind a two hour drive, even when it should take much less time – if the end result doesn’t mean I’m late to a show.
I plan for traffic, you see. My plan is always foolproof – until it isn’t. So I felt helpless as I watched my planned ETA of 6:45PM on Google Maps crawl later and later until it finally settled on 7:35. But then there was parking, going through security, and all that fun stuff. So realistically closer to 8:00. What time does Oxymorrons go on? 7:30. Yeesh.
There are times where I rush to a venue to make sure I catch the first act and then proceed to spend their set feeling like perhaps I didn’t need to literally sprint to hear this band. Then, there are the times where you regret that you didn’t run to the venue faster. For Oxymorrons, it was the latter.
I made it inside the Wellmont Theater just in time to catch the tail end of Oxymorrons’ set. I could tell I liked them almost immediately. Catchy tunes and lots of energy. The band’s sound is a mix of rock, metal, and hip hop that allows you to recognize the influences of each genre and appreciate how seamlessly they can transition from one vibe to the next.
Oxymorrons’ setlist primarily consisted of tracks from their forthcoming album, Melanin Punk, offering fans a sneak peak of the album, which is out October 20th. The band closed with their 2020 single, “Justice,” but not before asking the person running the lights to cut them all so that the crowd could light the room with their phones. It was a cool sight to see. It made me miss the days when it was a sea of lighters instead of screens; I’m getting old.
Wargasm was up next and god damn do they put on a good show. Their set was a blast from start to finish. Every member of the band demanded the crowd’s undivided attention with their performances while feeding off of each other’s energy. Vocalists Sam Matlock and Milkie Way work the stage well together with a playful dynamic supported by some serious shredding.
Like their tour mates, Wargasm have a new album coming out soon – October 27th to be exact. The album is called “Venom,” and the band treated fans to a preview by playing the lead single, “Do It So Good.” The band’s setlist also featured a handful of singles from “EXPLICIT: The MiXXXtape,” among others, including an outro that teased Metallica’s “Fuel” before bringing their set to a close.
The house lights dimmed and the crowd roared as “The Box” played over the speakers, the crowd getting louder as the backing members of Corey Taylor’s band took the stage, and going batshit as soon as the man himself took the stage. It was time for the main event.
The band kicked things off with the mega-heavy “Post Traumatic Blues” before immediately switching gears with “Tumult,” a Stone Sour song. Such would be the trend for the evening, as Taylor’s setlist showcased the breadth of his career, from solo material to Slipknot to Stone Sour to “SpongeBob Squarepants.” When all placed side by side in this manner, it’s really mind blowing to see just how talented and musically versatile Corey Taylor is.
Much of the second half of Taylor’s set consisted of Stone Sour and Slipknot material, notably the classic song “Bother“; a song I listed to on repeat for days on end when it first came out, and downloaded the music video on Limewire so that I could watch it on repeat for just as long. Remember Limewire? You do? We’re* getting old.
After taking a bow, Corey Taylor and his superbly talented backing band returned to the stage for a two-song encore that concluded with an epic cover of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spaces” to end the evening.
Every musician’s dream is to be in a successful band that makes good, influential music. In Corey Taylor’s case, with his solo career now in full swing, I’d say he’s three for three.
My late arrival prevented me from getting to cover Oxymorron’s set, but while I wasn’t able to shoot it, I was thankful to get to watch it as a new fan.
You’ll recall my mention earlier that every member of Wargasm demanded your undivided attention; this was especially true from a photographer standpoint. The band members were all performing with an energy that was so visually apparent that it was easy to capture. They did all of the work; all I had to do was point my camera in their general direction and shoot. The same can be said for Corey Taylor and his band.
The more you shoot concert photography, the more you can pick up on the performing artists’ vibes in terms of getting their photo taken. Some musicians will ham it up for you while others are lifeless. At the end of the day, some musicians want their photo taken and others don’t. It’s totally valid for them to feel either way, but I have to say that, and I’m stating the obvious here, it is infinitely more fun to shoot bands that “want” to be shot.
For both Wargasm and Corey Taylor and his band, I got the vibe that they wanted us taking photos, and I was happy to oblige. Combine that with the clean, bright lighting that the bands had consistently throughout the night, and it was a relatively stress-free shooting experience.