Linkin Park kicks UIC into frenzy
It was all about two guys on the mike, a man at the skins and a scratcher at the turntables last Friday, when Linkin Park brought its "Projekt Revolution" tour to the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. The punky rap-metal band didn't put on just a normal concert, belting out the tracks from its debut Hybrid Theory and allowing opener Cypress Hill to warm up the crowd.
Instead, the band created a non-stop, sonic sensory overload, setting up a spectacle atmosphere from the moment the audience set foot inside the arena. Instead of allowing the people to get bored waiting in their seats for the entertainment to start, the tour featured a DJ stage set up in the middle of the main floor, where, prior to the show proper, a DJ-ing contest was held, warming the crowd up for opening act Cypress Hill. When Cypress Hill did finally take the stage, some of the moshers got enthusiastic enough to body surf, but the crowd's reaction was nothing like the fist-raising, pogo-jumping reaction to Linkin Park's set. Ultimately, Cypress Hill's wash of tribal rhythms and abrasive rap didn't have enough hooks or instruments (they mainly rapped over drums and samples, with occasional rudimentary guitar lines) to hold the crowd's full attention. Following Cypress Hill, the DJ tower took things over again, tossing out free shirts and whipping the crowd into a frenzy with Green Day and Rage Against the Machine samples.
When Linkin Park finally came on, the UIC Pavilion instantly became a sea of bouncing fists as the band demonstrated frantic celebratory energy, and proved it could actually play its guitars, (as well as bravely singing out in the middle of the crowd, at one point). The Beastie Boys were doing it a decade ago, but Linkin Park proved that it definitely has a corner on the market of white boys rapping over turntables, drums and rockin' guitars in the '00s.
DJ Encore featuring Engelina
The debut dance disc from this Copenhagen duo is a refreshing blast of galloping synthesizer rhythms and gorgeously soothing vocals from Engelina. The duo has already scored a No. 1 hit in Denmark with its first single "I See Right Through to You" and should play well here in the states with its upbeat, yet ethereal mix of dance and pop. Intuition has the dreamy quality of Robert Miles' beautifully layered dance CDs, with the modern synth-pound of the more danceable B96-FM playlist club tracks.
This is the kind of delicious pop that you can just as easily drift off to sleep to as dance to, since DJ Encore excels at melding a rich palette of sound effects (from rain to washes of bleeping synthesizers to midtempo beats), all percolating beneath Engelina's soulful, angelic vocals. Intuition offers the sensual, yet upbeat, appeal of Cathy Dennis or B-Tribe, with the club savvy of latter '90s synth tricks. This album plays equally well late at night alone in the living room, or in the midst of a crowded party.
New on the Shelves
The Legacy label has released a couple of discs for classic blues fans. The Best of Johnny Winter covers the early years of the albino blues rock guitarist's career, with tracks from 1969-1979. Included are "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo," "Johnny B. Goode," "I'm Yours and I'm Hers" and live versions of "It's My Own Fault" and "Mean Town Blues."
The label also has unveiled a live collection recorded in 1996-1997 from Junior Wells titled Live Around the World: The Best of Junior Wells. Included are "Broke & Hungry," "Hoo Doo Man," "Got My Mojo Working," "Little Red Rooster" and more.
Also new on the collection shelves are two collections from reggae popster Shaggy. Mr. Lover Lover: The Best of Shaggy, Part One appears on Virgin and includes the premiere toaster's hits "Boombastic," "In the Summertime," and "Oh Carolina," among others. MCA, meanwhile, offers Shaggy's Hotshot Ultramix, with special mixes of "It Wasn't Me," "Special Request," "Freaky Girl," "Keep'n it Real" and more.
Harry Connick Jr. has released not one, but two discs of standards and other covers on Columbia. Songs I Heard lets the pianist toy with "kids" classics like Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious," as well as songs from "Annie" and "Wizard of Oz." On 30, which follows his other discs named for the age he was at the time of recording (11, 20 and 25), he includes more "adult" music, from the jump-blues of "Walkin'" to the gospel blend of "There's Always One More Time" to a collaboration with trumpeteer Wynton Marsalis on "I'll Only Miss Her (When I Think of Her)."