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Staind and Hoobastank: When edgy anger meets up with technical turmoil
by Jessica Garcia
May 23, 2009 | 829 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Between the lightning strikes and Staind’s extremely eager use of stage lighting in the Reno Ballroom Friday night, it was a night of sensory overload for the eyes and ears.

But fans didn’t care. The zealous Reno crowd couldn’t get enough of the alternative rock group’s visual and musical repertoire that knocked a few decibels off the life of eardrums and for which they braved the rain in a long line leading into the ballroom.

Hoobastank, which spent 30 minutes getting the crowd warmed up for the headliners, played a mix of its old and new material with the angst of young adults who appreciate the band’s rock music. Lead singer Doug Robb had to contend with a mellow crowd opening when he opened with “Crawling in the Dark.”

Sensing the need to nudge the majority of the stand-up crowd with some choosing the seats in the back, Robb invited concert goers to loosen up – not an easy task in the "Biggest Little City."

“I know this is a casino, but this is a f---‘in rock concert,” Robb said, getting adequate applause and cheering.

That being said, he worked his way through songs of the latest album that have an edgier, angrier quality than the stuff of the past. The new album’s title, For(n)ever, intentionally tries to get away from a love/hate concept and is somewhat successful in its juxtaposition of emotion in some songs they sampled on Friday, including “All About You” and “So Close So Far.”

Robb revved up the crowd with interaction from the men and women when he had them echo him in different parts for “My Turn” and when he performed an abbreviated version of Pink Floyd’s “Brick in the Wall.”

Of course, Hoobastank knew it would have to capitalize on its most popular hit from 2004, “The Reason.”

However, their time ended and after about a 15-minute intermission to take down and set up instruments, Staind took the stage in a pandemonium of lights that surely blinded most eyes with a dark-sided kaleidoscope of colors, but there wasn’t much to see as far as presentation went anyway. Staind’s lead singer Aaron Lewis rarely departed from the microphone with guitar in hand and didn’t have much to say, virtually eliminating all audience interaction.

But he and fellow band members guitarist Mike Mushok, drummer Jon Wysocki and bassist Johnny April were far too overcome in their own music to really care about talking to anyone, anyway. It was a post-grunge symphony just for them.

Incorporating new songs from “The Illusion of Progress,” Staind traveled down a path of troubled torment in “The Corner” and the oddly uplifting “Believe,” through which the audience found empowerment.

They also sang with loyalty old favorites “Right Here” and “It’s Been Awhile.”

All in all, though, it was difficult to truly appreciate the ballads’ lyrics about halfway in when the deafening lack of balance of the guitars drowned out Lewis at times.

At the end, Lewis apologized for not coming to Reno sooner and promised to return in swift time.

“You are all f---‘in amazing,” he said, exciting the crowd, who immediately called for an encore with screams that seemed endless.

The end, though, was worth waiting for as Lewis’ moment of triumph came at the very end when he received an encore to which he answered without the use of any hookups to amps or a microphone. Lewis lit up a cigarette with a smile as fists and fingers raised in approval. It was his night. With lighters faithfully swaying in the air, he belted out with his pipes impressively through “Intro,” but Reno fans couldn’t keep quiet long enough for others to fully appreciate his acapella talents, angering other fans whose yells to shut up wouldn’t overcome the whoops and screams of devoted fans.

But that’s Reno for you.
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