Linkin Park Tour 2013: Sydney and Melbourne, Australia
Two skinny white guys in their 30’s alternating between aggressively rapping and screaming at you over densely layered grinding guitar and electronic drumbeats. Oh and there’s a DJ. Describing Linkin Park on paper is at best slightly confusing and at worst a horrific nightmare amalgamation of discordant music styles but the way the band combine these seemingly disjointed genres to create their constantly evolving sound is nothing short of miraculous as the end result is about as fun as rock music can get. In the country for the Soundwave festival Linkin Park tore apart the usual tranquillity of a Tuesday night, tearing the Sydney Entertainment Centre a new arsehole in the process. The band may be hard to define but I guess in the end it doesn’t even matter (I’m so sorry).
Supporting band Stone Sour had a fairly sizeable crowd who arrived early for their brand of lite-metal rock, however I can’t say it’s exactly my cup of tea. It felt to me a little bit like an angrier, slightly metal version of Nickleback which should be enough of a description to communicate my response to their performance. The fact that front man Corey Taylor is also the lead singer from Slipknot also just works to confuse me further at what exactly I was listening to. The rotund bro in the polyester Holden jacket in front of me seemed to enjoy them though so… what the fuck do I know.
Speaking of bros the dude-heavy crowd could really only be described as a Brogasmic Brosplosion of epic Broportions. Bros from all walks of life were present there were big bros, small bros, teen bros, old bros, bros with hats, bros with tatts, bros wearing thongs and bros named John. The ‘All-Ages’ part on my ticket definitely wasn’t lying with every generation represented in the crowd including a large portion of Dads rocking their way through that mid-life crisis as well as a few mini-moshers who couldn’t have been older than 8. Seems kids are learning the ropes of nu-metal younger and younger these days.
Founding members of the rap/nu/alternate-metal scene in the early noughties and moving towards the electronic, ravey feels of their most recent album Living Things, Linkin Park have never been afraid of experimenting with their sound, a fact which makes their stage shows feel like a combination of a heavy metal show and an Ibiza nightclub. Opener ‘Faint’ from 2003’s Meteora album introduced this dichotomy with the interplay of the looping synths and the more explosive guitar riff showing off what Linkin Park do best. Moving through the set-list consisting of a perfect mesh of old and new the band know exactly how to keep a crowd thrashing with even the nosebleeds up out of their chairs for the bulk of the show.
Considering he’s been screaming like a banshee on ice for over a decade now it’s truly amazing that Chester Bennington (who doesn’t even slightly resemble Gollum, that’s rude, why would you even suggest that) hasn’t completely worn down his trachea. The man must fucking love his lemon and honey teas. Getting his scream on alongside co-vocalist Mike Shinoda’s swift rapping, Chester nailed every shriek with frightening intensity.
Accompanying the aural assault of Linkin Park were some impressive visuals with a gigantic live feed of the band overlaid with apocalyptic, fiery graphics depicting bodies collapsing and worlds imploding. The technique didn’t hit the mark every time however with one filter that made the band members look like horrific pudding monsters intent on devouring their own dripping, delicious flesh and which will continue to disturb me for some time.
Closing the night with a succession of their biggest hits ‘Numb’, ‘What I’ve Done’ and ‘In The End’ Linkin Park had the entire Entertainment Centre fist-pumping like crazed fiends with bros of all ages losing their minds to some of nu-metal’s finest tunes. To be touring in 2013 after a decade of playing music when many of their counterparts have faded into obscurity is testament to not only Linkin Park’s ability to continually evolve their sound but the skill and precision of their live performances. Which by the way are a shit ton of fun.