The influencers: Linkin Park plays with the heart of a thousand angry copycats
There is little the city of Houston could have hoped for to officially kickoff the non-Rodeo 2011 concert season than Thursday night's rescheduled Linkin Park show at the Toyota Center (the band cancelled a February Toyota date due to illness).
(OK, it isn't exactly the the "official" kickoff of the season since Ozzy Osbourne played the Toyota Center early this year, but who are we kidding? These days an Ozzy show is a cross between senior center theater and a puppet show. No?)
If there is a band that has been more successful than Linkin Park over its first decade of recording in recent years, I couldn't find it. Since debuting with Hybrid Theory in 2000, which raced to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album charts, the group's following three albums of rap-metal fusion all topped the charts. That includes the Linkin Park's most recent release, A Thousand Suns, which also produced two No. 1 alternative rock singles — "The Catalyst" and "Waiting For The End — over the last six months.
The numbers don't stop there. Link Park has sold over 50 million albums courtesy of angry anthem generation-defining songs like "Numb," 'What I've Done," and "New Divide."
The best part is that the band, led by the soothing vocals of Chester Bennington juxtaposed with the bristling rap screams of Mike Shinoda, has done all this while carving out a genre that they virtually own the monopoly on. The mating of rap and rock was played with in the 1990s by bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn. In the end, both of those were still rock bands first.
Linkin Park is the first to weave a true symbiosis of the two genres into their songs. Take one element away and the songs don't stand up. It's truly an art form.
But the main reason that I know that Linkin Park is one of the biggest bands on the planet right now is the mimicry from their adolescent fans. I was judge at a local band challenge at the House of Blues a couple weeks ago and no less than two of the six acts on the bill were taking their cues from Linkin Park and the rap-rock movement.
That, my friends, is influence in action.
Linkin Park, 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Toyota Center