When Limp Bizkit announced their run of UK shows on the Kerrang! Tour in late summer last year, 30-year-old metalheads and nu-metal fans all across the country erupted with the excitement of their teenage years. It was their first full tour since 2010 and whilst 4 years is a bloody long time to wait, we’re pretty lucky not to be in the US. 13 years. Yes, 13 years of near absence their homeland?! Crazy. Anyway, tonight was THE night if you were a Birmingham Nu Metal fan.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, as some may see it), delays in Birmingham inner city transport meant that I missed my very own hometown’s Baby Godzilla. Their self-proclaimed ‘break neck speed metal’ isn’t particularly easy on the ear, but Christ, do they know how to keep you watching. As I say, I didn’t watch, so… that’s enough of that.
Next up, California’s Nekrogoblikon: a band I wish I didn’t watch and truth be told, after approximately 10 seconds, I didn’t particularly give them my full undivided attention anyway. Their ‘goblin metal’ does little in the way of pleasing the crowd once the novelty of watching a goblin in a shirt and tie jump around the stage wears off after 5 minutes. Kerrang! may have only booked them onto the tour for a bit of a laugh, but surely it would have been a bit better to pull in an up and coming band? Oh well.
As for up and coming, that is a perfect description for the penultimate band of the night, Crossfaith. Following their now infamous 2012 Warped Tour UK performance, the Japanese Metalcore gang have become the biggest thing to come from their part of the world since PSY and that wonderful masterpiece, Gangnam Style. It seems that their dance infused Metalcore sets every venue they play alight, whether crowds know who they are or not. From start to finish, the floor was shaking under the bounce of a couple of thousand people, picking up pace even more after their monstrous cover of the already mental Omen (The Prodigy). It seemed to be a special night for Kenta Koie as he announced to Birmingham “if people told me that I would tour with Limp Bizkit when I was younger, I would say I will never give up my dreams”. Touching. Following this, more chaos ensued, getting the crowd lively and rowdy ready for Fred and the boys.
On comes Wes Borland dressed in God knows what, white face paint, pink lipstick, square sunglasses and a sunhat. His mic stand is decorated with toy lobsters, flower garlands and various other Tikki-themed objects. His guitar has a Baywatch-like scene of a woman lying on the beach printed across the front. He begins playing a ukulele and singing in an extremely strange voice. Enter Fred Durst, Sam Rivers and John Otto, along with the start of 15-year-old tune, appropriately named 9 Teen 90 Nine, and 80 minutes worth of madness proceeds. There are shirtless 30-year-old burly men bouncing around in pits for the first time in 10 years, kids like myself who have been listening to the likes of Chocolate Starfish & The Hotdog Flavoured Water since the tender age of 6 star struck in the presence of the Nu Metal titans and redcaps flying in the air amongst gallons of beer. As Fred quite rightly puts it, “this is no longer a concert, this is a party”. At any other metal gig, fans would be surprised to see a band walk on stage with a freak wearing no trousers, stood in front of a tiki bar, an old school DJ spinning the decks and a front man wearing a red New Era cap, a white hoody emblazoned with his own band’s name and black Nike golfing gloves. But, Limp Bizkit? They don’t need excuses, they pull it off.
Throughout the set there is an onslaught of colossal early 2000s Nu Metal classics like My Way, Rollin’ and My Generation that are still floor fillers of local rock clubs even now. The minute Fred set foot onstage he commented on the fact that he felt something very special in the air tonight, proceeding by telling us all that we had made him “stoop very low”. Cue a mass sing-along to the genius cover of The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes. This isn’t the only cover, mind, joining the likes of Welcome To The Jungle, riffs from Metallica and, of course, fan-favourite Faith. Their set tonight is sublime, retaining the energy and venom of the songs that were recorded some 10-15 years ago and keeping in the same vein of only playing the classics, holding back on their newer releases. My only criticism of their set tonight is that it isn’t any longer, 13 songs from their back catalogue just isn’t quite enough. Still, with an album in the pipeline for 2014 and a sub-headliner slot at Sonisphere, Bizkit aren’t going away any time soon.