I push my fingers into my popcorn.
Day of the Gusano. A new documentary about metal colossi Slipknot and their festival Knotfest, directed by their very own Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan. For one night only it was screened in cinemas across the UK. Here in Nottingham, Showcase Cinema. A slightly unexpected drop that only came to my attention through following them on social media. However, as a long-time follower of Slipknot I was delightedly curious to see what Slipknot had in store for the silver-screen.
It was brought to my attention that it’d be a pretty odd experience watching this band whilst laying in a padded recliner chair instead of being pummelled left, right and centre wiping the sweat from my eyes and unable to hear myself scream my favourite lyrics. But hey, I still enjoyed the show, and at times there were a number of us on the same row bobbing our feet in rhythm and moments where I found myself having to watch the volume of my voice as Vermilion and Before I Forget compelled me to sing along. This is because Slipknot, over their 20+ year career, have a bona fide reputation for performing some of the grandest scale and intense gigs anyone has ever experienced, so not being able to join in as a fan traditionally would can prove a little alien.
The film was divided into sections with scenes interchanging between footage of a “historic performance in Mexico City” (as said on the official website), backstage footage, and interviews with the band and fans.
Their live show was fantastic, as to be expected. The pyros, the lights, the fireworks, the destruction and visceral anger present on stage; it was a spectacle. And all for the greater wellbeing for everyone involved.
Most of the band is interviewed, however some members get more screen time than others, namely Clown, Corey Taylor, Jim Root, and Jay Weinberg, the newest drummer. However, since 26 year old Weinberg had massive boots to fill when joining the band a few years ago, DotG serves as a great icebreaker for fans to get to know him. He’s a humble character that admits to knowing how fans feel when meeting Slipknot, since he was in their shoes less than five years ago.
Love was admitted, tears of joy and disbelief were shed
Clown’s thorough philosophy of their music and performances can have the effect of viewers thinking retrospectively of how Slipknot’s music has enhanced their life in any way. This made me excited to learn more of the fans of a different culture. Taylor says that the chaos of Slipknot and the crazy lifestyle that lies within the fabric of Mexican culture blends together seamlessly and made a staggering live experience that was very special for their Mexican fans. But this leads to the main disappointment of this film: no subtitles were included, and interviews with fans took up a lot of screen time. It was indeed moving to watch the passion clearly expressed on the fans’ faces and in their tone. However, since it is explained that a big part of being in Slipknot is appreciating the community that has been built because of them over the years, it feels like a great disservice to the fans they interviewed and to us watching, that we couldn’t understand what was being said. Taylor even explains how he finds it amazing that the tight-knit Slipknot community is full of people so individualistic. So surely their individuality shouldn’t be represented with their language as a barrier; it would have been nice for feelings to be shared as well as learning a thing or two about metal music in another culture.
However, it does suggest that a lot of what was said was praise for the band that other fans can understand without having to be told. Plus, it is heart-warming watching the fans we follow through the documentary meet their idols. Love was admitted, tears of joy and disbelief were shed, and Taylor even embraced wearing a fan-made Slipknot-inspired mask which was immortalised with a photograph. By the end, we got to see the fans enjoying the show in the pits which did fire up the same energy and excitement within us that can only be felt when listening to a Slipknot album or watching a Slipknot show. I guess all we can do now is wait for Knotfest to come to the UK so we get a taste for it ourselves.
Day of the Gusano is available on DVD from October 20th