Modern, classic metal meld well at Linkin Park concert

08.05.2008
Anybody who doesn't think nu-metal owes a lot to the old school wasn't paying attention at Linkin Park's show last night.

The Southern California triple threat of Linkin Park, P.O.D. and Hoobastank, along with St. Louis-based newcomers Story of the Year, lit up the sold-out crowd at Gaylord Entertainment Center with hard-hitting doses of modern rock laced with some familiar elements from days gone by.

Such as actual singing talent, for instance. LP's Chester Bennington, recently beset with myriad health problems that culminated in a show cancellation in L.A., was in fine form vocally. He would croon from the band's softer material such as Somewhere I Belong or Breaking the Habit from current album Meteora, or he would growl along with rapper and nominal front man Mike Shinoda. Bennington possesses some major chops, and had one less Danzig or Black Flag record entered his life at a young age, he could've ended up smoking Clay Aiken's ballad-singing bacon on the adult contemporary scene.

But fortunately for the amped-up masses attending last night's show, Bennington, Shinoda and band mates guitarist Brad Delson, turntablist Joseph (or Mister, take your pick) Hahn, drummer Rob Bourdon and bassist Phoenix, ply a hard-rockin' trade full of hooks and overcoming teen angst sentiments.
Linkin Park shot out of the gate with the Dust Brothers collaboration With You from their debut Hybrid Theory, carving out three more tunes from that record before entering Meteora territory with Don't Stay.

San Diego stalwarts P.O.D. played the role of the Rolling Stones for the night, veteran band still breaking in a new guitarist, former Living Sacrifice six-stringer Jason Truby. P.O.D. was by far the most theatrical act of the night, really bringing the crowd energy up with anthems such as Alive, Boom and Youth of A Nation from their 2001 set Satellite, as well as their current single Change the World from last year's Payable on Death.

Vocalist Sonny Sandoval sounded a little more gravelly than usual for most of the set but was unafraid to mix it up with the appreciative, yet appropriately barricaded crowd before him. They also pulled out a trio of old-school green lasers that highlighted most of their set, extending the visual aspect from the stage for the first time in the evening.

The four-piece Hoobastank, getting good reviews for their album The Reason, mounted the stage to the strains of the theme from Three's Company, setting the scene for their hard-hitting yet oh-so-slightly goofy set. The band, most notably singer Doug Robb, exhibited much more polish than their Nashville River Stages set two years ago and deserved a tad more time than the 40 minutes they got.

Story of the Year set a frenetic pace with songs from their debut Page Avenue but need a bit more seasoning before they can truly climb the ranks of the new rock scene.

Vocalist Dan Marsala never really took the time to establish a dialogue with the crowd, instead choosing to use the f-bomb as an adjective to describe, well, everything. Guitarist Phillip Sneed and Ryan Philips, along with bassist Adam Russell, are all the mutant children of David Lee Roth and Poison's CeCe Deville, having never met a jumping spin kick or around-the-neck guitar sling they didn't like.

Now if they'd just spend a little more time on compelling parts, they'd truly be a story worth telling.

The Tennessean - March 1, 2004


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