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Agora Theatre on April 13

The Agora Theatre was filled to capacity with tattooed, metal-loving meatheads, a legion of half-naked, Gothic mall girls, and a stageful of identically dressed metal-rappers in evil clown masks from the middle of Iowa. Some would call this a twisted circus; others would call it a Slipknot concert.

When Slipknot took the stage, it blurred the lines between "concert" and "freak show," as the nine bandmates did a brilliant job of living up to their highly volatile and senselessly angry reputation. With a pocketful of third-rate metal licks and enough F-words to make Andrew Dice Clay look like Mary Poppins, the Slipknot set was the musical equivalent of a low-budget slasher film.

And if a Slipknot show is a circus, it must be said that No. 8 (leather-facemasked Corey Taylor) is the ringleader. And when No. 8 speaks, his loyal "maggots" listen. Spouting such profundities as "The world is a fucked-up place, and this next song is about how the world is fucked up," No. 8 orchestrated the mosh pit with the same stunning brainwashing tactics that have earned his band of goons a "fucking gold fucking record." But just owning the record isn't enough for many Cleveland maggots, and the highlight of the set came near the end, when No. 6 (the tubby clown) beat his head against his beer keg turned percussion instrument after setting himself on fire. Next time they come through town, maybe they'll bring the bearded lady.

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