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Linkin Park headlines dark-edged teen dream

A triple bill consisting of rap-rock wunderkinds Linkin Park, the vaguely Christian-rocking P.O.D. and alt-metal youngsters Hoobastank descended upon Worcester on Saturday night to the delight of middle-schoolers throughout the region.

With all the heavy guitar distortion and howling machismo on display, it was interesting to note the preponderance of barely adolescent girls at the show. It seems the teeny-boppers of last year have dumped their boy-band fixations for the still-boyish but more edgy n-metal bands of the day. Though there was a disturbing sameness to the three bands' sets, none in the crowd seemed to mind, pumping fists and tossing ponytails to a heavy dose of the same tried-and-true formula.

The unfortunately named Hoobastank began its set impressively, delivering its biggest hit, ``Crawling in the Dark,'' to the shrieking audience. Singer Doug Robb possesses a strong clear voice that effectively cut through the guitar crunch, but after one song it became obvious that the others were simply variations on the first. As far as stage shows go, Hoobastank's was refreshingly spartan, with the only stage prop on display being a stool on which Robb stood and howled. It seems the young singer has a height complex.

Though never quite admitting to being a full-fledged Christian rock band, P.O.D. (Payable on Death) nonetheless brings a heavy sense of the biblical to its shows. Ambiguously Christian iconography was prominently displayed and flashed on the large backing screen throughout the set, as the dreadlocked band thrashed around the stage.

The band's sound resembled that of a less angry and infinitely more religious Rage Against the Machine. The hammering crash of ``Boom'' and the anthemic and strangely creepy ``Youth of the Nation'' reflected the San Diego band's raucous preachy style.

Linkin Park is the headliner of this tour for a reason: It puts on a flawlessly executed and ridiculously exuberant live show. The combination of Chester Bennington's yearning nasal tenor with Mike Shinoda's rapid-fire rhymes is a heady pop concoction that translates even better on stage than on disc.
Though the young rap rockers take themselves way too seriously, andtheir second album continues the same exact formula as their first, they have the showmanship and raw skills to pull it all together.
Highlights included the angst-fueled melodrama of ``Somewhere I Belong,'' the adolescent anguish of ``Nobody's Listening'' and the supremely melodic ``In the End.''

Though entertaining, the boys from Linkin Park will have to come up with a different sound rather quickly. Teenagers are a fickle bunch.

Boston Herald - January 19, 2004


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