In what is quite a major switch up in genre for the historic 18th century cloth hall, tonight marks The Piece Hall’s first foray into hosting a more metal/rap-based gig with Limp Bizkit set to headline with support from Kenny Hoopla and Joey Valence and Brae. As the sell-out 5,500 crowd snakes around the venue well before doors open, it’s clear that despite the switch in genre, the fans have turned out in their masses. Band t-shirts, chains, spikes and mesh clothing are a-plenty as the crowd seek to reflect the music style providing imagery that would not look out of place at the iconic Castle Donington, alongside a dash of colour with more than a few bright red baseball caps à la Limp Bizkit style.
Opening tonight is American hip-hop duo Joey Valence and Brae. Often compared to the Beastie Boys, watching and hearing them live it’s clear to see why. The 80s and 90s hip hop influences are undeniable, but the beats and clear lyrics offer room for anyone to join in, whether they are familiar with the band or not. Closing track ‘Crank It Up’ offers the opportunity of a call and response section with the crowd and the guys seem genuinely blown away by their reception staying around after the set to shake hands with everyone on the barrier.
Second act KennyHoopla is a whirlwind, spinning his way around the stage yet somehow managing to not tie himself up in the knots of his microphone lead! Working under Travis Barker’s record label DTA Records, several of Kenny’s original releases are in collaboration with Barker on the drums so there are bound to be some comparisons to the pop punk genre as a whole and whilst the pop punk sounds are distinctive, there is a modernity incorporated giving it a newer more developed feel. A signature backflip from the drum kit is thrown in, as is a segment where Kenny immerses himself in the crowd. Closing with the punchy punk-driven ‘Estella’, whilst the sound of this set is quite different from the opening act, the energy levels never seem to dip.
The infectious yet effortless energy from both support acts, ensures the crowd are more than ready with anticipation levels now reaching fever pitch, so much so that the first crowd surfer is over the barrier and into the pit before Limp Bizkit have even entered onto stage, setting the precedent for what is a swarm of them before the night is over.
As the PA commences ‘Who’s in the house? Who’s in the house? Limp Bizkit is in the house!’ Fred Durst takes to stage accompanied by Wes Borland, Sam Rivers, John Otto and DJ Lethal, bringing the original gang back together. As ‘Show Me What You Got’ begins, drinks are thrown in the air with careless abandon, as are shirts and jackets freeing up limbs to be thrown around in the many mosh pits – at one point so vast they almost become one. Fred is clearly impressed with the crowd and venue, declaring he had no idea the energy would be so dope and that Halifax is now his favourite spot, much to the delight of the fans in attendance.
Unsurprisingly a good chunk of the song selection comes from the Significant Other and Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water albums, with ‘9 Teen 90 Nine’, ‘Nookie’, ‘Hotdog’, ‘My Generation’ and the smash hit ‘Rollin’ (Air Aid Vehicle)’ all featured. After several attempts from the crowd to get the instantly recognisable Yorkshire chant going, unfortunately it wasn’t quite so recognisable for Fred who jokingly thought they were chanting ‘nauseous’. To the crowds glee he then leads another Yorkshire chant before dedicating ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ to the county.
Before anyone is even close to being ready for the night to end, it is upon us, finishing with the rip-roaring ‘Break Stuff’. As everyone screams back the angry lyrics, the atmosphere is electric and whilst Limp Bizkit may have faced some not-so-great press from the recent Netflix Woodstock documentary, there’s nothing negative about what the bad boys of nu metal have brought to Halifax tonight. Seeing the footage from the show afterwards shows the entire (and I mean ENTIRE) crowd bouncing along, a huge feat for any artist, irrespective of crowd size. Phenomenal music and chaotic, balls to the wall energy with not even a whisper of any negatives, nu metal was well and truly welcomed into Halifax tonight and it’s safe to say there will be more than a few calls for some similar bookings in next year’s event calendar with many declaring tonight as the best event of the year so far!