We Like Linkin Park, and We Will Not Apologize

Chester Bennington is kind of a genius. Maybe you don't agree, but back in 1999, when Linkin Park emerged on the scene, you put your hat on backward and jammed to this nu-metal rap shit. The California-based band's rap-rock tunes were part of your real emotional life.

Hybrid Theory landed this band on the map with hits like "One Step Closer," "Crawling," and "In the End," which blew up car radios around the country and became the anthem of every angry teenager in the U.S. The combination of rock, courtesy of Bennington's vocals, and rap, by Mike Shonda, to the music of Rob Bourdon, Brad Delson, Phoenix, and Joe Hahn offered a blend of genres that caught fire and brought the band tons of fans, mainstream success, and a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.

You probably caught Linkin Park on the Family Values Tour back in 2001, when the band went on the road with other noteworthy acts like Stone Temple Pilots, Staind, and Puddle of Mudd.

And while Linkin Park has received some criticism from fans about "going soft" and "not sounding like Linkin Park anymore," we also know that people in bands grow up just like the rest of us. And, well, maybe Bennington took some anger-management classes with Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson or got into Transcendental Meditation à la David Lynch. He's a big boy now. So what if he's not as angry as he used to be? Or maybe the group just wanted to release an album that was stylistically different from its others. Go figure.

Either way, the guys of Linkin Park are celebrating their latest album, The Hunting Party, with the Carnivores tour that hits Cruzan Amphitheatre on Friday. The band'll be joined by Thirty Seconds to Mars, featuring the gorgeous Jordan Catalano... um, oh, no, the gorgeous Jared Leto.

Kind of funny that Leto's a part of a tour named after meat-eaters when the man's a full-fledged vegan, but we're not judging. The bottom line, say what you will about LP, but the band puts on one helluva show.

Linkin Park. With Thirty Seconds to Mars and AFI. 6:30 p.m. Friday, August 8, at Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $31 to $100 plus fees. Call 561-795-8883, or visit

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Ashley Zimmerman