Cliché Bingo fans would have had a field day watching Stone Sour at Wolverhampton Civic Hall last night because it was a smorgasbord of tried and tested cheesiness. It was a checklist to die for, courtesy of singer Corey Taylor.

  • “I love you guys” – tick
  • “This is one of the best crowds ever…” – tick
  • “I can’t hear you muddy funksters” – tick
  • “We do this for you guys. You’re our family, man” - tick
  • Over-tight shirt – tick
  • Over-tight shirt soaked in sweat – tick
  • Clenched fist held to the heart – tick
  • Spitting on stage – tick
  • Overuse of the word ‘Wolverhampton’ to curry favour – tick


The Civic is a funny old venue but despite its intimacy, compared to the festivals I normally go to these days, it draws some very big bands. And Stone Sour is a big band.

As a result the place was pretty much packed but it was still a markedly smaller audience than I’ve seen Stone Sour play to before, which made for a very different, calmer, atmosphere. There wasn’t the surging injurious mania I’ve seen at Sonisphere and Download, yet Taylor still acted as though there were 70,000 sweaty metalheads bouncing around in front of him, breaking each others’ ribs for fun. There was a lot of fist-pumping, stomping, one-foot-up-on-the-speakers, forced laughter (that makes me die a little bit inside) and self-indulgent posturing. You could almost see the testosterone in the air.

Now I’m not the biggest Stone Sour fan in the world but I’ve listened to an album or two in the wife’s car so I can hum along to a couple of the tracks. I do like Corey Taylor though (I’ve met him, you know - he’s shockingly short) but I prefer to watch him performing solo with just a mic, a guitar and few flashy lights because he’s got a seriously impressive voice and great stage presence. I even prefer his other band, Slipknot, despite the fact that every 12-year-old metaller in the world likes them too.

The 90-minute set ticked along nicely and the fans lapped it up although, despite the enthusiastic moshers at the very front, it was more of a stand around, clap your hands now and then and nod your head with gusto type of gig.

Not having heard the new album House of Gold and Bones Part 1 I swung my pants and tapped my foot idly for half an hour until something came up that I recognised… then it was gone. Another half an hour later and they started something I actually knew a couple of the words to… and then came the stand-out highlight. From the very first acoustic guitar chord I recognised Alice and Chains’ Nutshell. I clapped, cheered very loudly and perked right up – ready for a good old throat-busting sing-a-long.

But judging by the overwhelming nothingness from the audience it appeared I was the only one who knew what was about to come. Taylor seemed to spot that too so he changed to something else a quarter of the way through. He built me up then knocked me down. Gutted.

Of the Stone Sour songs I knew the words to, there was Through Glass, Digital, 30/30-150 and maybe one or two others but I was far from hoarse by the time it was all over. I suspect it was my own fault that I found it all a bit ‘meh’ because I should have listened to their stuff more, but there were a lot of happy people around us on the way out.

That said, the three I was with all concluded the gig was just “okay”, which makes me think that perhaps Stone Sour aren’t really suited to smaller venues. They need a bigger crowd to get things going properly.

As a final note, the once-bald-as-a-coot Taylor has grown his hair in to some kind of wavy mane. It immediately reminded me of my mate Wobbler – who also looks like a pillock.