It’s been a tumultuous year or so for Limp Bizkit, multi-platinum selling, self-defined poster boys of rap metal. After losing guitarist Wes Borland and failing to find relational happiness with various plastic pop princesses, Mr Durst also scrapped his band’s entire new album just before release, and to cap it all, pulled out of their “comeback” appearance at the Download festival in June. By that point, opinions of the band had dropped somewhat.
The solution to regaining their throne of nu-metaldom? To host a free mini-festival in North London’s Finsbury park, not as a PR stunt on the eve of their new album, no, no, no, but as payback to their loyal fans (of course!). However, with 40 000 tickets selling in less than 48 hours, I’d say the fans were grateful either way. Hotly tipped Yorkshire rockers This Girl kick off the proceedings, but are missed by many (including myself), due to tube delays.
If Biffy Clyro‘s soundman is not already seeking alternative employment following his abysmal performance for the Scottish emo-rockers, he bloody well should be. However, despite the piss poor noise that spews from the speaker stacks, faithful fans of the band shout along throughout the set, going especially mental for live favorite 57.
Fast rising metallers InMe are next to take the stage. Knowing very little about the trio, I am left with first impressions of Papa Roach with a better singer. Their set is comprised of technical riffs and melodic hooks a plenty, but with the exception of Neptune many of the songs fail to have a forceful impact.
The Cooper Temple Clause go down about as well as the coinciding goal from Macedonia as they take the stage, and overheard conversations clearly state where these music fans would rather be! Sounding like an Oasis / Depeche Mode supergroup, the Reading sextet’s unique blend of psychedelic, epic rock tunes are strong but seem strangely out of place on the bill.
A’s first few numbers are bright enough, but it isn’t until the Top 20 single Nothing that the pit goes wild, hopping about like possessed bunnies on speed. Frontman Jason Perry is less than impressed with the pit safety barriers, which hold back hundreds of screaming fans, and thus decides to work the security men by running full circle around the barrier during new single Good Times. Closing with last year’s hit Starbucks, A definitely proved to be today’s most entertaining band, putting on a blindingly energetic show. So powerful in fact that a foldback bursts into flames mid-set. Very rock and roll.
It is not unheard of for the headline act to keep fans waiting, but with live coverage being beamed across the planet on MTV, even Mr Durst has to do as he’s told. Long overdue and many pelted bottles later, the lights go out and applauding hands go up. Limp Bizkit are in da house (or is it da park?).
Filling the stage with comically huge amplifiers and oversized, flashing stereo parts, the kings of nu-metal launch into their set with new single Eat You Alive, displaying the kind of energy and showmanship that won them their crown.
Fred stops early on to tell the masses, “We owe this show to you, it’s yours!” The crowd are putty in his hands, as the band tears into Hotdog. This is quickly followed by My Generation, which sparks mass hysteria, forcing even mums and dads to abandon their disapproval of Mr Durst’s addiction to such vulgar language and bounce along to the infectious groove.
An unexpected cover of The Who ballad Behind Blue Eyes (trying to tell us something, Fred?) gives the frontman cause to mingle with the crowd, losing his shoelaces and microphone in the process. Break Stuff is (somewhat bitterly) dedicated to Britney Spears and is, as one red baseball-capped devotee perfectly puts it, “Ultimate road rage music.”
On the downside there is a break of at least a minute between each song (while MTV pump their sponsorship into homes around the country), which severs all exhilaration in the crowd every single time. Although there is an encore, (including the predictable tongue in cheek cover of George Michael‘s Faith) the blatantly obvious omission from tonight’s proceedings is the monster chart hit Rollin’. This was presumably neglected due to time restrictions from the TV slot, which leaves a particularly sour taste, especially after Fred assured us all this was our show.