Lovers Lane
Rialto Square Theatre
Avondale Music Hall
ATT Internet 75

Linkin Park live!

| January 31, 2011

While most rap-rock and nu-metal acts faded as the last decade closed, Linkin Park were wise enough to continually take major risks to expand their sonic boundaries. Their largest evolutionary step took place with 2010’s A Thousand Suns, a release that delves beyond angst and radio-friendly hooks and deeper into anthemic melodies and electronica. And it worked. From the first Mike Shinoda rap to the final Chester Bennington scream, Linkin Park proved Thursday night in Chicago they are still standing strong and right in their prime.

The band were tight, intense, and high-energy all night, which in turn kept the crowd standing, singing, and moshing. Despite touring to support the new album though, LP surprisingly didn’t perform a single track from it until nearly halfway through their set. The first half focused primarily on hits from Meteora and Minutes To Midnight, which more than pleased the nearly sold-out arena. Openers “Faint” and “Lying From You” allowed both Shinoda and Bennington to do what they do best, followed by the angry “Given Up,” which pushed Bennington’s vocals to the max early. Amazingly though, he was able to scream with full intensity on song after song, while still maintain the vocal control to sing out the “softer” melodies on tunes like “Shadow Of The Day” and “New Divide.”

Finally the band did get around to playing the new stuff, and it was well worth the wait. “Waiting For The End,” “Blackout,” “Iridescent,” and “The Catalyst” all proved to be as powerful live as they are on the record. The crowd was also treated to a few of LP’s oldest hits: Mega-hit “In The End” helped close the first set, with “Papercut” and “One Step Closer” playing perfectly in the encore, the latter’s chorus (“Shut up when I’m talking to you!”) once again providing a powerful climax as the night’s closer.

Both frontmen showed some musical versatility as they took short turns on electric guitar, keys, and even percussion. The rest of the band delivered solid, non-flashy performances. The conundrum of the night may have been DJ Mr. Hahn, who, donning a ninja mask for no apparent reason, appeared bored during most of the songs, and was never really given any featured time at the turntables. The huge screens that loomed behind the band provided some interesting black-and-white closeups of the band and crowd, but did little else to add to the overall experience. The set lasted just 90 minutes, but LP made the most of it, spending very little time on instrumental solos or dialogue with the crowd.

Does it Offend You, Yeah? kicked off the night with their British-influenced dance-rock, playing songs off their debut and showcasing some new tracks off their forthcoming release Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

Australian techno-rockers Pendulum provided the other opening set, blasting their electronic-rock while dressed in all black and performing under non-stop strobe lights (which were as annoying as they sound). The band debuted songs off the new album Immersion along with older favorites, but with nearly every song being driven by the same techno beat, it became impossible to distinguish them.

— Carter Moss

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Category: Featured, Live Reviews, Weekly

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