Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Linkin Park, Incubus & MUTEMATH: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta

Linkin Park: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta
Linkin Park: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta Linkin Park: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta MUTEMATH: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta MUTEMATH: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta MUTEMATH: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta Incubus: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta Incubus: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta Incubus: Honda Civic Tour 2012, Atlanta

Memorable concerts are a lot like riding around in nice automobiles…not only are they nice to look at, but they’re intense, exciting, thrilling, occasionally blowing out a little smoke but always full of precision!

Such was the case at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park when Linkin Park, Incubus and MUTEMATH all performed as part of the 2012 Honda Civic Tour on Sun., Aug. 19. Concert goers kicked off the dreary and rainy evening in style experiencing two of the automobile brand’s signature models. Beginning with a simulator of the 2012 CBR250R motorcycle inspired by Linkin Park’s single “Burn It Down,” the bike was trimmed in pale blue accents, black undercarriage, burnt orange around the seat and wheel, deep brown and flame highlights. The SI Coupe adjacent to the bike followed suit with a motif of a shattering gray crust across the body and orange 18” spokes: inspired by the band’s current Living Things sleeve.

As Honda Civic Tour curators, each act individually possessed strong degrees of musical diversity, respect and integrity that might not otherwise be detectable: proving great strengths not only for the bands, but for the Honda Civic Tour’s appeal outside of rock music. There was something for every lover of music…period.

MUTEMATH’s fusion of alternative rock, blues and electronica, running approximately 45 minutes, kicked off the evening. I was running a tad bit behind schedule, so I didn’t get to peep much of their set, but from what I could hear echoing from the will call window, the New Orleans-based quartet’s momentum really set the tone for some stellar performances. Once Incubus hit the all-black stage around 7:20, the blankets of sonic guitars and fist pumping morphed fluidly and quickly. The Calabasas, CA band’s 90-minute set introduced its fair share of alternative rock and melodic pop, too (i.e. “Quicksand,” “Drive,” “Promises, Promises” and “Megalomaniac”): yet, bringing to the surface some heavy rhythmic and deep pseudo-funky bass riffs, electronica and drum ‘n bass-styled drum cadences (“Rebel Girls” and “The Warmth”), cuts and scratches from the turntables (“Pardon Me”), orchestral Middle Eastern sounds (the sitar-laden “Aqueous Transmission”) and syncopated funk-looped congas (“Clean”) along the way. Lead singer Brandon Boyd even improvised covers of the 1984 Lionel Richie ballad “Hello” – great guitar accompaniment by Mike Einziger, I might add -- and INXS’ funk-pop hit “Need You Tonight.”

While we’re on the subjects of better performance, full features and smooth shifting, Linkin Park’s headlining 90-minute set was nothing short of being one hell of a spectacle and ultimate live extravaganza. The Agoura Hills, CA alt-metal band definitely put on one of those rock-doc-styled concerts: intercut with high definition projections of shattering images, M.C. Esher-styled pixelated silhouettes of the band members, news footage, their corpus of music videos, live concert footage and sporadic pyrotechnics to the rear of the three-dimensional hologram stage. Taking center stage precisely at 9:20., Linkin Park – one of this generation’s most successful bands with two Grammy Awards and over 50 million albums worldwide to their credit – magnificently blurred the lines of punk, alternative, metal and hip hop. Chester Bennington’s patented jagged wails and croons kept the crowd on its feet and the edge of the seats singing along: especially during performances of “Crawling,” “Given Up,” “Points of Authority,” “Lost in the Echo” and “Numb.” I honestly didn’t know what I was looking at on-stage: rock or rap.

Try to overlook the absolutistic rock music and concert aesthetics for just a moment. There’s a colloquial term us diehard hip hop fans use – “ridin’ the beat” – when an artist can catch a melody with ease and perfectly marry and layer the lyrical delivery over the music. Mike Shinoda – Linkin Park’s founder and possibly one of hip hop’s lost and underrated talents – clearly demonstrated this to a tee – crankin’ out the polyrhythmic bounce over some killer rock riffs on “Papercut,” “Bleed It Out,” “A Place For My Head,” “Lies Greed Misery,” “With You” and “Lying From You” -- with his exponentially, well-crafted rap cadences alongside Bennington’s vocals and his bandmates’ modern rock and electronic grooves. There was even a moment when the band impressively covered a crowd pleasing rendition of Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” Say what you must (whether you think so or not), but dude got some stellar flow on the mic. Not to mention, Linkin Park’s DJ, turntablist Mr. (Joe) Hahn, did his thing cuttin’ and scratchin’ on the ones and twos along with a sampler: pattering these semi-rugged drum machine rhythm tracks. Rather than head bangin’, I found myself head noddin’!

Once Linkin Park returned to the stage post-guitar echoes and crowd euphoria, the moment only heightened to see an encore of “Faint” with the band facing the audience this time (remember, the Mark Romanek-directed short featured the band’s silhouettes in front of screaming fans from the rear) along with “Somewhere I Belong” and “One Step Closer.” Again, trust me when I tell you that any true fan and lover of hip hop will indeed become a fan after checking out Linkin Park’s epic live set; their energy and stamina alone is enough to keep anyone wanting more.

For more information on Honda Civic Tour, log onto Honda Civic Tour like Honda Civic Tour on Facebook or follow @hondacivictour (#hondacivictour) on Twitter.

Photos: Troy Browder (of
Words Christopher Daniel

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