The 10 strangest places heavy metal bands have performed

Metallica perform in Antarctica in 2013
(Image credit: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

It takes a lot for a band to stand out from the competition and capture the hearts and minds of their fans, and live performances are a great way of doing that. It turns out that some bands are not content with purpose-built concert halls and sun-kissed festival fields though, and have taken it upon themselves to perform in some of the most awkward, far-flung and dangerous locations imaginable. From ice shelves and volcanoes to restaurants and planes, we count down 10 of the strangest gigs ever played by metal artists.

Metal Hammer line break

Metallica in Antarctica (2013)

The world’s biggest metal band proved their global domination in 2013, when they became the first musicians to play on all seven continents. Their Freeze ’Em All show was played in a protective dome without amplification and the 120-strong crowd wore silent-disco-style headphones to hear Metallica rip through a set of classics.

Rage Against The Machine on Wall Street (1999)

Despite mayor Rudy Giuliani decreeing that “Rage Against The Machine shall not play on Wall Street”, the band descended on New York’s Financial District with documentarian Michael Moore for their Sleep Now In The Fire video. Moore was arrested and the band (plus fans) stormed the New York Stock Exchange, prompting it to cease trading early.

Korn at 37,000ft (2005)

Nu metal reached wild heights at the turn of the millennium – and Korn took that literally, performing on a passenger jet full of contest winners and soldiers. They had to downgrade to battery-powered amps and a kids’ drum set to fit into the aisles, with Jonathan Davis singing into the plane’s PA system, but it still kicked ass!

Limp Bizkit on the roof of the World Trade Center (2001)

Another nu metal band on top of the world was Limp Bizkit, who reflected that in the video for their international megahit Rollin’. They performed atop the South Tower of the original World Trade Center and won an MTV Video Music Award, harrowingly, just days before the September 11 attacks.

Linkin Park at Grand Central Station (2017)

We’ve all had that moment of racing down a platform only to miss your train because it’s just too busy. Presumably this was the case for a number of commuters at New York’s Grand Central subway station in 2017, when Linkin Park played an acoustic version of their most famous song, In The End

Chino Moreno in a volcano (2016)

As part of 2016’s Secret Solstice festival, Deftones frontman Chino Moreno performed in Iceland’s dormant Thríhnúkagígur volcano. His short acoustic set was at a depth of 400ft to just 20 lucky people, and tickets cost the best part of £2,000. No, he didn’t play Hole In The Earth.

Tesseract on an igloo (2015)

In 2015, djent pioneers Tesseract headed to the northern climes of Finland, deep within the Arctic Circle, to perform as part of Jagermeister’s Ice Cold Gig series. The world’s largest igloo was constructed as their stage, and devoted fans braved minus-20-degree temperatures to witness the act alongside local Sami tribesmen.

Shining on the side of a mountain (2015)

Jazz-metal leaders Shining had the bonkers idea of filming a music video on Trolltunga in 2015. Marketed as “the most spectacular rock formation in Norway”, Trolltunga is a thin layer of stone that hangs over a 700m (2,200ft) drop. While we tip our hats tipped to the band’s bravery, fuck that.

Live Without at Denny’s (2013)

If you’ve existed on the internet at all in the past decade, then you’ve probably heard the phrase, “What the fuck’s up, Denny’s?!” Texan hardcore mob Live Without birthed the immortal sentence in a closing branch of the fast food diner, and the guerilla gig has since ascended into metal meme godhood.

Unfathomable Ruination in an airtight metal box (2014)

As part of his Box Sized Die project, visual artist João Onofre stuck this death metal band in a hermetically-sealed, soundproof box and tasked them with playing until they ran out of oxygen. The quartet lasted around 20 minutes in their cramped confines, before being released back upon the world.