|Evanescence singer Amy Lee commands the stage at the Tweeter Center Friday night. (jason johns for the boston globe)|
Evanescence, Korn rule 'Family Values' metal fest
MANSFIELD -- When it comes to the "Family Values Tour" it's good to have strong parental figures.
Friday night Jonathan Davis of Korn and Amy Lee of Evanescence ably presided over the Tweeter Center as twisted patriarch and matriarch of the long-running metal fest.
Although light is clearly not a friend, Evanescence managed to bring its brand of grandiose gloom to life before sunset with a sharp 65-minute set that earned the grudging respect of the metal faithful.
With one of the most tensile voices and widest ranges in rock, whirling frontwoman Lee meshed sound and vision with ceaseless energy. If some of the songs too closely resembled one another -- thanks to similar patterns of attack-dog guitar and chugging grooves -- Lee's passion put the tunes over. "Call Me When You're Sober" was a seething highpoint, with Lee heaving and hurling her bitterness like so much china at a betrayer's head.
While there was some halfhearted crowd-surfing in the stage-front pit for Evanescence, this was clearly Korn's crowd. The Southern California nu-metallurgists may no longer enjoy the heat of their '90s heyday -- the venue was about three-quarters full -- but no one can accuse them of mailing it in.
If Lee's presence was electric, Davis and his headbanging, stage-roaming, wildly grinning compadres were downright manic. Clad in a black kilt and sleeveless T-shirt, the gaunt frontman wheeled around uncontrollably, barking, screaming -- and occasionally taking oxygen breaks -- during a taut 90-minute set.
On a bleak industrial stage, featuring bare scaffolding and a wall of lights, songs like the stomping opener "Here to Stay" and the tremor-inducing "Dead Bodies Everywhere" featured all of the creeping unease, innard-rearranging bass-drum punishment, and intricately mannered Davis psychosis fans have come to know and be freaked out by.
The boundary between catharsis and cacophony was breached several times but never irreparably. A cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" (parts 1 and 3) was epic, and closers "Freak on a Leash" and "Blind" brought Davis to the straitjacket edge.
A major traffic jam prevented seeing any of the bands on the substantial undercard.