With over two decades to their name and now six albums following the release of ‘Hydrograd’ last year, Iowan hard rockers Stone Sour have built a solid reputation for themselves over the years, rising the ranks of the elite step-by-step.
With ‘Hydrograd’ marking their highest charting album to date in the UK, it only makes sense that they’re finally back over here again to deliver the goods for a short headline run.
Set with the task of warming up the crowd are Nothing More , who have finally been getting an awful lot of buzz recently now that they’re up to album number five, including a couple of GRAMMY nominations to rave about. Running onstage topless, once drummer now frontman Jonny Hawkins has an impressive set of pipes on him, and putting into play songs like ‘Jenny’ and the highly praised ‘Go To War’, they make sure no-one questions their energy.
Sure enough, as a spectacle Nothing More are far from a dull experience. They’ve got plenty of intriguing gear on stage, including a fixture right in the middle which suspends a bass guitar, and at one moment all members bar drummer Ben Anderson are gathered around it playing a solo together. The issue is that, though technically proficient and talented, the songs themselves just meander for the most part, and ending the set with a Skrillex cover just brings the set to a discordant close.
Bursting out to salvage the energy, Stone Sour  come in with a one-two of ‘Whiplash Pants’ and ‘Absolute Zero’, and already the crowd is theirs for the taking. Donning a pink suit jacket, frontman Corey Taylor is as suave as he is compelling, dominating the room with his voice, and it’s not long before he brings out a confetti cannon to shower over the crowd which makes several appearances during the night.
What makes Stone Sour such an assertive and profound name against many of their contemporaries is that not only are they not a one-trick pony, but their range of styles, aggression, and flourishes on emotions are all done with finesse and dexterity. Drummer Roy Mayorga and bassist Johny Chow deliver an intimidating rhythm section on the likes of ’30-30/150′ and ‘Made Of Scars’, ‘Get Inside’ shows that they can step up to the world of metal, and ‘Say You’ll Haunt Me’ and ‘Song #3’ boasts choruses so huge that they could swallow you whole.
Tonight though, it’s the more exposed moments that shine the brightest. Taylor tackles ‘Bother’ on his own with a guitar in hand, and more often than not the crowd’s voice overpowers his – it’s a moment that truly has hairs raising and standing tall.
Melodic hit ‘Through Glass’ receives a similar overwhelming reception from the fans occupying the O2 Apollo, and coming to the climax of newer hit ‘Fabuless’, not only does it display the band’s confidence in their current material, but they also bring out a small army of wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men onstage, just like in its video. Now, how many bands do you know that would do that?
The thing is, Stone Sour have it all to make it big. Like, really big. They’ve got the heavy-hitting slabs, they’ve got the heart-tugging numbers, and they’ve got the radio botherers. If album number seven comes with some pure bonafide hits that are given the chance to infest mainstream radio on a constant basis, you can expect the next stage to be them playing to packed out arenas with ease.