Rap-rockers Linkin Park warms up its fans

08.05.2008
The temperatures may have been dropping towards the freezing mark late Wednesday night but inside the Freeman Coliseum fans easily warmed up to Linkin Park’s bubbling cauldron of rap-rock-metal fusion.

Unleashing guitar fury and growling raps at industrial strength volume, Linkin Park smoked the sold-out house packed with hardcore fans.

With an opening run that included "Points of Authority" and the melancholy "Somewhere I Belong," the band kicked off with, and maintained, a blitzkrieg pace. The fans were in hog heaven, robustly singing along and cheerfully pumping their fists in the air. The latter tune seemed to connect solidly with its poigant lyrics of seeking, but not finding acceptance.

The show also featured P.O.D, Hoobastank and newcomer Story of the Year. It was a four-hour festival of bands that specialize in nu-metal, post-grunge guitar rock, rap fusion and punk attitude. And for the fans, the groups delivered the right mix of cathartic songs, with themes of rebellion, resentment, anger and pain.

The house went wild on Linkin Park’s "Faint" when the band brought up a fan – someone named Alejandro from stagefront to sit in on the guitar. He impressed everyone, including the band.

All through their 90-minute set singers Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda traded off vocals with aplomb. And the group peaked early with the combination of "Crawling" and "In the End." The former appealed with it's ambiguous lyrics of insecurity while the latter has become a rap-rock anthem with its bitter tome of a bad relationship that never should have been.

Story of the Year was first up at bat, opening up at 7 p.m. with a crisp 30-minute set that impressed with its intensity and punk energy. Lead singer Dan Marsala led his troops in an invigorating performance that showcased the band’s love of punk attitude tempered by the slighest hint of melody on the tunes "In the Shadows" and "Until The Day I Die."

The metalfest slogged on with Hoobastank, a North California group that leaned more towards the emo-rock school of music. Unlike most punk and rap-rock vocalists, Hoobastank singer Doug Robb has a distinctive, almost pleasing tone and he shined on the more melodic numbers like "Running Away" and "The Reason." The band was more than competent, balancing rock-punk fire with pop balladry but the fans seemed distant, providing little more that polite applause.
If the various post nu-metal strains of rock are all about working out anger, resentment, dispair and disillusionment, that P.O.D. was the perfect recipe Wednesday.

Led by charismatic, dreadlocked singer Sonny Sandoval, P.O.D. seemed like shamen working their magic on stage to ward off all the evil emotions the faithful had come to exorcise. Prancing on stage with pants so loose, he had to hang on to them Sandoval whipped the crowd into a frenzy with the fiery tunes "Southtown," and "Wildfire."

But it was on the anthemic "Youth of a Nation" that P.O.D. shot the knockout punch. Delivered at a volume so high, it was enough to shake the rafters, "Youth of a Nation" had everyone singing on this dark song of teen alienation in a world turned upside down.

For those seeking release and resolution, this seemed like the zenith in a long evening full of youthful anger and frustation, hope and healing.

My San Antonio - February 26, 2004


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