Correction to This Article
A photo caption with this Aug. 21 Style concert review incorrectly said that the band My Chemical Romance covered a Meat Loaf song.

Projekt Revolution: It's All the Rage

Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington (left, with bass guitarist Phoenix), in full satanic strut during Sunday's performance at Nissan Pavilion.
Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington (left, with bass guitarist Phoenix), in full satanic strut during Sunday's performance at Nissan Pavilion. (Photos By Susan Biddle -- The Washington Post)
By Tricia Olszewski
Special to the Washington Post
Tuesday, August 21, 2007

As California nu-metalheads Linkin Park moved away from the '90s rap-rock sound on its fresh album, "Minutes to Midnight," so did its baby, Projekt Revolution. The annual multi-band tour originally brought acts such as Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg to its mainstage; this year, emo is Projekt's new hip-hop, with groups such as Placebo, Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance sharing the day-long bill.

Linkin Park closed the tour's Nissan Pavilion stop Sunday with a set that was clear and controlled for all its material's alleged anger.

Vocalist Chester Bennington was in fine satanic squall, bringing as much bluster to older, hate-you/hate-myself hits such as "Numb" and "Crawling" as he did to new, Iraq-focused tracks "No More Sorrow" and "Given Up." His rage, though, was better heard and not seen: Occasionally Bennington bolted around the stage and danced as if no one were watching, but it never felt rock-and-roll raw.

The group's in-house rapper, Mike Shinoda, meanwhile, was often relegated to sensitive piano tickler, which made for a one-two-snooze interlude of "Pushing Me Away" and "Breaking the Habit" as he sat hunched over a keyboard while Bennington gripped the mike intently, eyes squished shut. Another ballad, "Shadow of the Day," showcased the band's new direction if not originality -- its "With or Without You" melody was laced with Edge-style guitars without offering any edge.

While Linkin Park was technically meticulous and deliberate with each hopefully rousing roar, its co-headliner, My Chemical Romance, was sloppy but fun. A terrible sound mix turned parts of the band's hour-long set into "Name That Tune," with frontman Gerard Way's reedy voice at times straining to be heard over jam-gone-wrong muddles of guitars and beats. MCR dropped the ruse of its last solo tour, in which the band opened for itself as "The Black Parade" and devoted the first half of each show to tracks from its same-titled, death-themed album -- with Way first appearing onstage on a stretcher, his face painted ghostly white.

Sunday, such theatrics were toned down but not forgotten. The group mingled less operatic "Black Parade" selections such as "House of Wolves" with older angsty hits like "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" during most of its performance, but it turned out that Way was merely waiting to unleash his inner Meat Loaf: With a pink feather boa wrapped around his neck, Way announced an intermission to introduce the band -- and give a weird, breathy "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"-esque lesson on romantic "bases." Then he brought out the band's Broadway-worthy guns, "Welcome to the Black Parade" and the set closer, "Cancer."

In between was a fantastically sludgy version of the infectious "Teenagers," which, despite the pure drama of the other selections, ended up being the band's best-sounding song. Way, as full of bravado as ever, asked, "Are we [bleeping] better tonight than you've ever seen us?" and asserted that even "the toughest rock critic" would have to say yes.

Sorry, guys -- but you were a good time nonetheless.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company