Tuesday night's Limp Bizkit concert at Patriot Center presented Jacksonville, Fla.'s favorite metal-rap band with a grand opportunity to seize the moment and throttle it for all it's worth. The group's second album, "Significant Other," has been atop Billboard's sales charts for three straight weeks, with the biggest opening-week figure of the year (650,000 copies). Little wonder, then, that the concert was moved early Monday from the Nation nightclub, where 2,000 tickets had been sold in a matter of hours, to Patriot Center, where 5,000 sweat-drenched fans ended up pogoing the night away.
There, Limp Bizkit found itself having to live up to one of its song titles: "Show Me What You Got." And while it showed plenty, it didn't always show enough.
That's mostly the fault of singer/ songwriter/bandleader/tycoon-inthe-making Fred Durst. As long as the perpetually pugnacious Durst remained focused on rap song, cheerleading and jumping around the stage as if he were barefoot on burning coals, the music had a visceral crunch that provoked a sea of bouncing souls.
Certainly the band, featuring DJ Lethal and frenetic guitarist Wes Borland (looking like an escapee from "Planet of the Apes"), did its part, melding the molten mash of metal to the hard beats and swagger of rap. "Just Like This," "I'm Broke," "Break Stuff," "9 Teen 90 Nine," the speed-rap cover of George Michael's "Faith" and the group's current single, "Nookie," were all mosh-pit fodder for a crowd that looked perpetually eager to explode.
But Durst, who takes himself far too seriously, undermined the show's momentum with too much talk, too often demanding respect that is traditionally earned. And things really slowed down when he got sensitive on slower, moody, almost mainstream songs like "Re-Arranged," "A Lesson Learned" and "No Sex," the last an earnest duet with Staind's Aaron Lewis.
On "Show Me What You Got," Durst turned to one of rock's hackneyed rituals, the multi-city shout-out, proving he'd studied either geography or the band's itinerary. The singer made up for that by performing several songs amid elated fans in Section 108 at the back of the arena--the wonders of wireless microphones!
When the energy was as high as Limp Bizkit's spirits, the music blazed. That was not the case with opener Staind, whose debut album, "Dysfunction," was co-produced by Durst. The band favors brooding metal, plays in two basic gears (sludgy and fast sludgy) and features the morbidly curious vocals of Lewis, who alternates between a traditional rock yowl and a sub-woofer rattle and rasp straight out of Hell. It sounded as if good and evil were fighting it out in Lewis's throat--he was possessed one moment, repossessed the next, a visceral effect that got boring after two songs.
Tuesday's noise-fest also featured rap-rocker Kid Rock, who tends to layer his more traditionally braggadocious raps over Deep Purple-style rock riffs. The onetime deejay now fronts a classic metal band (with an added deejay, Thug Boy), and his frenetic set included such party jams as "Bawitdaba," "Cowboy," "I Am the Bullgod," "Where U at Rock" and "Somebody's Gotta Feel This," as well as the finale in which Kid Rock jammed on both guitar and drums (separately, or this would have been higher in the story!).
Kid Rock also had metal-rap's most unusual sidekick, rapping midget Joe C, sounding like his own Mini-Me at "3 foot 9 with a 10-foot . . ." Sorry, couldn't quite make out that last word.
CAPTION: Fred Durst slowed Limp Bizkit's momentum with too much talk.
CAPTION: When the energy is as high as Limp Bizkit's spirits, the music blazes, but sometimes the show, moved from the Nation to Patriot Center, got too talky.