sat 23/10/2021

Hoobastank, P O D , Alien Ant Farm, KOKO | reviews, news & interviews

Hoobastank, P.O.D., Alien Ant Farm, KOKO

Hoobastank, P.O.D., Alien Ant Farm, KOKO

Triple-headed metal package thrills fans into a frenzy

Christian metallers P.O.D. give it some attitude

It was a strange atmosphere inside Camden’s KOKO last night, like a very particular nu metal subgroup of 2003 having a reunion. There was no one under the age of 20 but there were still dreadlocks and beards aplenty. First up on this nostalgia-fest were Alien Ant Farm, the American rock band who formed in 1995 in Riverside, California. By the time the band come out on stage, the crowd has had time to buy a few warm, over-priced beers and are ready to let loose.

As they launch into “Wish” there’s a surge of excitement, with grown men and women suddenly reverting to awkward angst-ridden teenagers. Lead singer Dryden Mitchell wishes everyone a happy birthday before the excitable crowd go wild for “Movies”, followed by “Courage” and “What I Feel Is Mine”. A short rambling interlude about MTV no longer playing music videos is followed by “These Days”.

Robb says he 'doesn't feel old', and the crowd are staunchly not succumbing to age either

The warmed-up crowd are thanked repeatedly for being there early before they dedicate “Attitude” to Mitchell’s mother. Suddenly we are thrown back into the music with “Simpatico” and “S.S. Recognize” before they play the one song everyone's been waiting to hear – their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. The delighted crowd surge and dance, beers and elbows going in all directions.

From the eager chatter in the crowd, P.O.D. are the band everyone has really come to see. The standing area grows busier and hotter as people push forward for the American Christian Nu Metal band who formed in 1992. Straight in with “Murdered Love”, followed by crowd-rouser “Boom”. More people are cramming themselves in and pushing forward to sing-a-long as Sandoval climbs up on a barrier and screams into the feverish audience. “Lost In Forever” is followed by Bob Marley's “Get Up, Stand Up”. Continuing the reggae/metal mash-up the band play “Roots in Stereo” before the slightly crazed crowd are rewarded with the 2001 hit “Youth Of The Nation”. There are a few more reggae interludes before they end their set with “Alive” to raucous cheers and a mighty audience sing-along.

The manic crowd have cleared and calmed a little by the time multi-million-selling Californian alt-rockers Hoobastank take the stage and fill the venue with an angst-inducing “Crawling In The Dark”. The mass of bodies move to the rhythm of the strobe light for “Inside Of You” and “Right Before Your Eyes”. The compliant audience split into two halves during “My Turn”, each half screaming and harmonising their respective parts. The crowd has thinned even more now but the fans that are left more than make up for it, apparently having the time of their lives. “This Is Gonna Hurt” is followed by Robb talking about the nostalgia in Hoobastank’s music, although he says he “doesn’t feel old”, and there’s overwhelming sense that the crowd are staunchly not succumbing to age either. The opening bars of “The Reason” riff out across the venue, then everyone cheers at the closer, 2003’s “Out Of Control”.

There were a few glitches with the sound throughout the evening, but as the remaining crowd leave, dripping with sweat, it’s clear this sold-out high energy show has hit the button, giving them exactly what they were after.

Overleaf: Watch 20 minutes of Hoobastank live on MTV2

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