Story by Phil Bonyata and Karen BondowskiProjekt Revolution, featuring Linkin Park, Korn, Snoop Dogg, The Used and Less Than Jake, scorched the hills of Alpine Valley, for a few hours at least, with their melting pot of ska-punk, West Coast gangsta rap, nu-metal and some sounds yet to be determined.
Photos of Korn, The Used and Less Than Jake by Karen Bondowski
Photos of Linkin Park and Snoop Dogg by Phil Bonyata
Less than Jake quickly piled onto the stage and eagerly took their positions. The bands' hot sauce of ska-punk and infectious stage antics reminded us of a missing element in much of today's music. FUN. The intensity and energy these guys put out was as much for themselves as it was for their hungry audience. Bending and breaking their notes, whether it was coming from the guitar, bass, drums or the sax and trombone, each chord they struck reached a flawed purity. The entire set was filled with highly evolved, upbeat melodies. Between Chris and Vinnie doing jumps in the air, they were able to stay in tune as every member hit their happy notes - time and time again.
The Used, featuring Bert McCracken, used his 98 pound frame to muscle his lungs to overpower the mic and hopefully the first few rows. Howling out the crooked verses to "Maybe Memories," Bert's maniacal eyes wandered the crowd like a bad police line-up. Bundled with an energy source all his own, Bert dug deep inside to a place where timid men surely fear to tread. Roaming the stage like a wounded leopard bent on fighting back, his bruised and battered voice forced the lyrics out on "Take It Away," from their upcoming release, while laying a claim that the Used's sloppy brand of rock is more a statement of what modern punk needs to be...rather than what record company execs say it should be.
Snoop Dogg, a cultural icon in the making with his pioneering rap verses, mainstream film, pornography, and a language all his own (traaanslate it from the shizzle to da shiznet), proved he's heads above many of the newer rap artists today. Emerging out of his makeshift "doghouse" and sporting a Brett Favre jersey, Snoop puffed on something that was sure to make his eyes red later that night. "Gin and Juice" inspired the Snoopadelics to eagerly back Snoop's velvet delivery and laid-back swaying cool. "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)" also enjoyed a rebirth of sorts. Chunky and blistery at the same time. The many Snoop fans in the audience let it be known who they were here to see tonight.
Korn's statement was not about change, but rather for celebration of the past. Their newer material has certainly lost much of the excitement of earlier masterpieces, but transformation and change are left to the hungry and philosophy to the rich. "Freak on a Leash" put the jerky rhythm section on alert, while Jonathan Davis put his soul on hold and let his personal demons takeover. "Shoots and Ladders," "Somebody Someone," and "Adidas" had the metal-churn working in overdrive as the band collectively bobbed their heads in cliched unison. Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" played too fast as the melody got lost in the bands' weighty assault.
Linkin Park, riding high as the reigning kings of nu-metal, opened up with the crunchy "Don't Stay." Mike Shinoda's rhymes set the tone on "Somewhere I Belong" as Chester Bennington let the vein-popping verses find it's unsure middle ground between hell and purgatory. "Step Up," a very early Linkin Park song, opened it's long dormant eyes only to be reborn as a refreshing reminder that the less-travelled past can be re-incarnated into something fresh and new. Bert McCracken, blasted out onto the stage during Linkin Park's take on "Faint" and Bert begged that Bennington's screams and howls merely keep up.
Linkin Park, while overproduced and physically reduced on record, make a convincing case that their luster shines much brighter on stage and less in the studio.
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