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Cleveland concert review

With dynamic live sets that depend more on the personal charisma of the band members than on special effects, Linkin Park is one of the few nь-metal bands capable of defusing a non-fan's resistance to the genre. The six-man band heated up a packed house of moshers with a well-paced show that showcased material from its two multi-platinum CDs in a 15-song, three-encore set.

With drummer Rob Bourdin and DJ Joseph Hahn set up on high platforms on either side of stage rear, rapper Mike Shinoda, singer Chester Bennington, guitarist Brad Delson and bassist Phoenix worked the front and sides of the stage, jumping up on platforms to play to the crowd. Linkin Park didn't let its stage antics detract from its music. It has strong material with a wide dynamic range, from the epic rock of “Breaking the Habit” to the quietly brooding “My December,” and it mixed it up well so the show never lagged. The interplay of the melodic vocals and rapping created sonic contrast and, unlike many heavier bands with a DJ, Linkin Park made sure Hahn's contributions weren't lost in the mix so his samples and scratches added texture and depth. So did Hahn's creative videos shown during songs like “In the End.”

Like Linkin Park, P.O.D. isn't afraid to embrace both its metal and its hip-hop sides, blending them in a meaty, mid-tempo sound. The quartet was the least mobile of the bands on the bill, offering lasers as a visual enhancement instead. It seemed more focused on putting musical power behind its familiar tunes such as “Alive.” Story of the Year would probably have fit better on a Simple Plan show with its light melodic rock and awkwardly manic show that featured lots of aimless jumping around. Its faithful cover of Metallica's “Enter Sandman” belonged in a local copy-band bar. Hoobastank was less frantic than Story of the Year although it too indulged in some forced crowd pandering. Its music differed wildly though; its rougher sound, working behind Doug Robb's coarse, croaking vocals, was almost anti-melodic. That gave its cover tune, Cyndi Lauper's '80s hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” an oddball flair.

Cleveland Free Times - January 21, 2004


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