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Photos by George Sakkestad.

Korn and Ice Cube go through the motions at Family Values concert in Oakland

By Sarah Quelland

Alternative metal band KoRn pulled together Orgy, Limp Bizkit, Ice Cube and Rammstein for its first Family Values tour, which passed through the Bay Area Saturday (Oct. 12) at the Cow Palace. Though intended to be a "parent-free zone," the event still found plenty of chaperoning parents patiently cringing in the stands as their kids staggered in and out of the sweaty crowd. Police officers and event security grimly guarded the doors. There were even a few Jesus freaks picketing in the parking lot.

Despite all the hubbub, the show wasn't overly abrasive or dangerous, and it didn't make a revolutionary political statement. Although KoRn and Ice Cube are known for politically motivated songs, the potential of the Family Values concept wasn't fully explored.

Rammstein German industrial-metal band Rammstein was the surprise hit of the night and the most exciting band on the bill by far. Till Lindemann stepped onstage wearing a flaming jacket, stomped around in spark-shooting boots and later picked up a flame thrower and a spark-shooting bow and arrow. Rammstein's intense, driving music, impressive pyrotechnics and entertaining stage antics shook the entire arena. No other performance compared.

Ice Cube Ice Cube's set was a giant statue of himself, and the self-important rapper walked offstage several times when the crowd didn't respond to his music. KoRn never performed "Children of the KoRn," a song featuring Ice Cube, presumably because Ice Cube was so incensed with the audience's indifference that he refused to get back onstage.

Despite that small setback, KoRn gave a strong performance. Singer Jonathan Davis stalked around the stage writhing and screaming in his trademark speaking-in-tongues manner. Brian "Head" Welch and James "Munky" Shaffer thrashed on their guitars, Reginald "Fieldy" Arvisu lumbered around with his heavy bass and largely invisible drummer David Silveria kept the rhythm going.

Korn KoRn opened with "It's On!," sped through a number of songs, including "Ball Tongue," "Faget" and "Kill You." The pace slowed when Davis stepped offstage to get his bagpipes. In his absence, the band played music from "Daddy," a dark, tortured song about child molestation that's only been performed live once.

When Davis returned, a hush fell as he began the intro to "Chutes and Ladders." The show ended with the crowd pleaser "All in the Family," a barrage of insults hurled between friends Davis and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst.

Korn

Though KoRn's performance was sound, its style hasn't changed since it made the leap from clubs to arenas, and it tore through its set too quickly. With the exception of Rammstein, the Family Values Tour felt contrived. There was no real message and no real magic; there wasn't even an encore. The concert ended abruptly around 11pm, and the police officers and event security immediately herded everyone out of the building into the cold night.

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Web extra to the October 15-21, 1998 issue of Metro.

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