21st Century Appearances: 2002 Main Stage, 2000 Main Stage
The Defining Reading Moment: The arrival in 2002, food, bottles, cans, rotten fruit, and according to legend, a pig’s head were all thrown at Slipknot, not out of hate, the crowd clearly came to see a show, but as a sign of respect.
Few albums made a bigger impact than Slipknot’s self titled 1999 debut. For a while it appeared that Nu-Metal’s legacy would be that of a brief spasm of creativity that ended in a mixture of comedic embarrassment and sonic evolution, with the genre’s biggest hitters (Linkin Park) moving on to more traditional hard rock dynamics.
Slipknot however, changed all that, their debut was incredible raw, maniacally abrasive, and haphazardly amateurish in places (Corey’s rapping in particular), but the loose wildness of their sound came together to create one brutal, and genuinely intimidating, cathartic outpouring of oppressed hate and depression.
Having made their mark with a game changing debut, Slipknot quickly followed it up with 2001’s Iowa, an album which streamlined the formula and turned the Iowa nine piece into a anthemic hit factory.
When the festival season rolled around Slipknot were legitimately terrifying. This is no exaggeration, fans worried about wild mosh pits and crowd surges, while others fretted about being doused in animal intestines or pelted by bottles. The band’s initial performances were divisive, and their 2000 set was a chaotic mess, a marriage of hate, love and confused apathy that created an incredible surreal atmosphere that turned the band into Reading’s own urban myth.
So much so that by the time 2002 rolled around, the Reading crowd was ready and waiting with all kinds of objects (bottles, cow’s heads, wheel barrows, wheelie bins) and preceded to dance their arses off, sporadically pelting the stage, and bizarrely, pelting themselves almost continually. And if the crowd was nuts, then the band were that little bit more insane, as Shawn spent part of the set rubbing his face in the Reading dirt. David Hayter