Story and photos by Phil BonyataLos Angeles natives Hoobastank made an odd move Saturday night. They did what most bands in the now never do - they played the "dreaded" county fair. This is the last haven for aging rock acts to rehash their old hits while massaging the memories of their middle-aged fans. Hoobastank could have surley filled The Rave in Milwaukee or The Metro in Chicago. With a recent string of hits - the band was either paid very well to attract customers to the fair's vendors or their star power is fastly dimming.
The grandstand at the Walworth County Fair was filled with many eager young fans and many older folks who took advantage of the free admission and a place to park their butts as well. Lead singer Doug Robb and company burst into a high-octane rendition of "Out of Control." Robb is certainly a dynamic performer roaming the stage like a caged tiger until finally opening a locked door from within as he plotted his squatting body on a ramp at center stage. Bouyant and lithe he swayed with confidence as he tore apart the lyrics.
Hoobastank culls heavily from the dark brooding sounds of Tool and Incubus, but water down the darker elements with a sunnier California groove. As some fans were throwing lawn chairs in front of the stage - the band put the heavy chops on with "Oxygens Gone." Drummer Chris Hesse and bassist Markku Lappalainen chipped away at the song's busty foundation while guitarist Dan Estrin let loose with some blistering power chords. Hoobastank also put some fire back into hits "Remember Me" and "Pieces."
While the band is certainly not charting any new paths musically - their music sparkles with a dynamic energy and Robb's riveting stage performance. Nonetheless the band still tastes a lot like cotton candy.
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