REVIEW: Limp Bizkit at The Olympia TheatreTweet
If music’s a popularity contest (and sometimes, when we turn on the television, we feel like it is), Fred Durst lost. In fact, not only did Fred Durst lose, he was banished from the contest for pretending to deflower the prettiest girl in school (Britney – did he or didn’t he?), getting into slanging matches with the cooler kids and continually having his head flushed down the toilet by the ever-amused media.
Music, though, is about a whole lot more, and sometimes it’s the most controversial stars who build the most impressive of followings. To say the Olympia is up for seeing their favourite group of musicians named after a badly miss-spelled snack this evening is an understatement of epic proportions: one song into Limp Bizkit’s set, Fred has the circle on its feet and is proceeding to mouth off in his own lyrically special way while the rest of the band melt the front rows faces with some seriously slamming riffs.
In amongst all the hyperbole, it’s easy to forget that Limp Bikit actually have some pretty stellar tunes: throwing in ‘Rollin’ early on quickly reminds us, and from that point on the Olympia is one huge sweat fest, bouncing along to a band who – as a live outfit at least – seem a whole lot more relevant to this decade right now than we thought they might.
Durst, to be fair to him, is on fine form. In between praising the crowd, his only words of abuse are firmly tongue incheek. He produces swear-filled vocals that cut like lightening through the air, the atmosphere tingling with static down the front. Significant Other plays a big role tonight, with ‘Re-Arranged’ superbly mashed into the ever-ridiculous ‘Nookie’, ‘Just Like This’ and the brilliantly abusive ‘Break Stuff’.
‘That foul sounding one about starfish’ is getting a good run out tonight, too. ‘Take A Look Around’ might be essentially a pumped up cover of a movie soundtrack, but it’s lively as hell, we can’t help but leap. ‘My Generation’ sees 15 and 50 year olds alike mouthing off about the injustice of life, and ‘Bizkit even make fun of themselves in a quick 80s aside, throwing out a few cheese-fest tracks through DJ Lethal, intro-ing ‘Jump Around’ and finally setting on a floor-shaking rendition of George Michael’s ‘Faith’. The old-school lives on, and a great thing it is too.
Down the front, meanwhile, the entire place never looks more than a few seconds from an outright riot, one both instigated and controlled by a front man whose clearly grown up, if not quite completely. The show’s pumped up a notch by Wes Borland’s masked strutting and Sam Rivers violent bass lines.
Yes, Fred Durst sure is easy to hate, but on this evidence he’s also pretty easy to enjoy, and certainly not the ape-like, vicious persona his detractors make him out to be. Tonight, surrounded by his own people and performing like he’ll never play another show, it’s not all that hard to push aside his reputation, take the cheesey nu-metal stylings at face value and have yourself a bit of whatever it is Fred’s been enjoying all these years. After all, Limp Bizkit made their name through the music before Fred started shooting his mouth. Tonight that’s what’s doing the talking.